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Showing posts from January, 2015

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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 …

Before twitter there were fan letters: Dear Mr. Redford

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November 12, 1973
Dear Bob Mr. Redford,I just had to write to tell you how hot and sexy talented, I think you are. 
Laura and I bickered over who was more desirable — Robert Redford or Clint Eastwood — with as much fervor as we girls once debated who our favorite Beatle was, Paul or John, George or Ringo. Laura's mother, tiny Corky, curled up in her easy chair with a ciggie and a cup of tea, pronounced both actors 'tall drinks of water'.

This was so long before water became such a desirable commodity that we actually had to buy it by the bottle, back in the seventies when water was still free even in the once desert lands of Los Angeles, that I never quite understood the praise. But yes, Redford could put his shoes under my bed any time, as our mothers might have said, mostly about men whose paths they would likely never cross.

I had it so bad for Robert Redford after seeing The Way We Were; wishing I were Barbara Streisand with her impossibly long elegant hands and nails, bru…

Leaving Home: A Divorce Story [Part Five]

Not all marriages last, mine didn't. Not my first one. Whose fault? It couldn't possibly be mine.

Here’s the fifth installment of my wedding story, you can catch up with what came before here.

Leaving Home: Part Five

I dreamed of a wedding dress that would make me feel like a princess, Grace Kelly style. Not that 'the perfect wedding' in quotation marks was some kind of fantasy I'd been harboring; I wasn't one of those girls who'd been dreaming of her own wedding day for years, who kept a file stuffed with pictures of white rosy bouquets and reception decoration ideas pulled from magazines. I wasn't a total ninny with a secret stash of handmade place cards hidden in the basement, just waiting for the right groom to come along. But I was getting married, and I knew how I wanted to look. I'd been waiting my whole life to turn into Grace Kelly, maybe this was my moment. Sleek and simple, my dream dress was an elegant slip of floor length satin, a gently s…