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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 …

She's come Undone


If you stopped by in April you might have read one of my posts for the A to Z Challenge, a little blogarooni post-writing fest I participated in, where we were challenged to write every day but Sunday, posting on a topic beginning with the day's letter. And you might have noticed I only made it from A to T; leaving U, V, W, X, Y and Z undone. That lack of completion is really nagging at me. Finish it, you loser! That's my inner voice screaming in my ear. I'll be taking my walk, zooming through my two mile and feeling pretty damn groovy and then somehow thought slithers in ... unwanted as those niggling thoughts often are ... quitter. You know what they say, 'winners never quit, and quitters never win.'

But it's not my fault my vacation interrupted the AtoZ Challenge, I hear myself whining back. What was I supposed to do, write on vacation? Wasn't I supposed to be having too much fun to find time to write? Wouldn't you all judge me for pounding out a few paragraphs instead of going snorkeling? Wouldn't you all pronounce my vacation a big fat failure? Not that I actually went snorkeling anyway, so judge that as you may.

It should be noted, I kept my posts up to date on my book-to-movie site, Chapter1-Take1. I pre-wrote some, wrote some on the fly, so I could have done that here on this writing blog but I didn't. I don't make the same kind of demands on myself here, that I do with my other blog. It's a question of numbers I suppose; while neither blog has a tremendous number of subscribers, I get anywhere between 500 and 1500 views a day on Chapter1-Take1. I like knowing that people are dropping by or finding my site in their search engine. And I love it when I get a comment from a new reader, but I don't expect it. It's a niche site, news about books being made into movies. Readers generally stop by for info, and I'm happy to share it. Here, where the writing is personal, I'm lucky if 30 people a day stop by; 99 times out of a hundred they don't say a word.

So yes,  I was unprepared. If prepared means properly expectant, organized or equipped, ready, and dictionary.com says that it does, then UN-prepared means NOT all of those things.  I was improperly expectant, disorganized and ill-equipped. I was NOT ready. 

I came undone. I left my work unfinished which is utterly Unsatisfactory. So, with your permission, you few faithful followers, I'll be invading your email or your google page or wherever you see this stuff, for a few more days before I go back to my more laconic posting style.


Phew! That's U out of the way, I feel better already.


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