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Showing posts from September, 2014

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That time I wanted to pass myself off as Joyce Carol Oates #TBT

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I submitted my first piece of writing when I was seventeen, a story about my first job, working at the employee cafeteria at General Telephone where my mother was a dispatcher. Rolling the 20# white bond backed by a sheet of thin blue carbon paper into my Smith Corona, I typed it out slowly, carefully, on a piece of erasable paper—and mailed it off to Cosmopolitan along with a cover letter. Not just to any editor at Cosmo, by the way, I sent it directly to Helen Gurley Brown. 

The piece itself, meant to be comical, was full of clumsy attempts at self-effacing humor.  I strived for a similar tone in the cover letter I addressed to Brown, completely clueless that the high powered editor in chief wasn’t the one reading unsolicited manuscripts. After I signed off I added the following PS. I could have said I was Joyce Carol Oates. What I thought that would accomplish I can’t imagine. That an unsatisfactory submission would get published because of a lame joke? 

No surprise, in the SASE I’d …

The Star Factor: Jaclyn Smith, Max Factor and Me

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I came face to face with Jaclyn Smith the other day. Well, not exactly face to face. The former Charlie's Angels TV star was smiling down at me from a banner mounted above the clothing racks and shelves at Kmart. The racks stuffed with the cheaply made clothing lines of Sophia Vergara, Nicki Minaj, Adam Levine and Jaclyn Smith herself.
"Hi there, Jaclyn," I thought to myself. "It's been a long, long time. Wow, are you ever looking good!" 
I certainly haven't aged as gracefully. I was a twenty-something in-house copywriter at Max Factor, fond of red eyeglass frames and rainbow suspenders, when we met briefly back in the early 80's. I spent my time trying to come up with color names, writing package copy and sales material.And Jaclyn? She wasn't just the gorgeous spokesperson with the sultry voice who touted Max Factor's Epris fragrance—remember "Part of the art of being a woman is knowing when not to be too much of a lady,"?—she would…