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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 …

Leaving Home: A Divorce Story [Part Four]

Leaving Home: The Beginning I looked at the clock glowing on the dashboard; just after eleven...

Leaving Home: Part Two He was tall and almost cool with aviators and a mustache that matched his shaggy golden brown hair...

Leaving Home:  Part Three
The next couple of months blurred by. ...

OR Read it in sequence here

Part Four

I couldn't tell you how it happened. There weren't a lot of real dates; our courtship was a verboten workplace flirtation. Furtive conversations in the office where we sales clerks counted out our cash drawers. Small get togethers at his place with friends from work, in, on what was becoming our secret. Somehow, slogging through the last, grey, overcast days of a California winter, I found myself looking up one rainy night and finding his reflection in the drugstore's overhead security mirrors, captivated as I watched him fall to his knees on the floor, right there in the middle of the greeting card aisle. Where once he'd asked me to go out with him, now …