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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 …

New look, same old me

Camille Pissarro, Les chataigniers a Osny (The Chestnut Trees at Osny), 1873

I'm changing up the look of my blog again. I knew my old design, which wasn't really old at all as I'd switched up the format just a few months ago, wouldn't last. I know myself. I get itchy, restless. Some women change their hair color. Others go shopping for a new pair of shoes. Me, when I get twitchy like this, I usually think about moving. Over the past month I've found myself looking in the windows of a vacant property I pass on my morning walk. I love the layout, the light that puddles across the hardwood floor, the glimpse of the stairway that disappears to who knows where. I go round back, peer in through the slats of the blinds at the patio door. The pull is nearly irresistible. But that fantasy won't fly. We can't move again. We simply can't. We've moved so many times, mostly when I get that itch. My husband would almost certainly—and rightfully—divorce me. 

Instead I retreat to our upstairs bedroom where a large window looks out over our courtyard. Open to the breeze and the faraway voices of toddlers at play drifting in, the window reveals some neighboring buildings but mainly the view is of the upper branches of the large Ficus tree outside, green and leafy, with the soft blue California sky behind.  The trunk disappears below the second story window, the leafy treetop lies somewhere up and beyond what's framed within my view, like a painting.  The tree branches, long outstretched fingers reaching upwards, bejeweled with dots of emerald and jade, every shade of green, from deepest forest to palest celadon.  

Taking a deep breath, I open my laptop and ponder the new template sample I've been toying with. It's nothing fancy, but like the view from my bedroom window, it feels light and airy.  The background, a pale shade of California sky, is the same color I use on Chapter1-Take1. A color I love. I don't have to move. All I have to do is press "apply to blog" and I can breathe again. I can own my little corner of the sky.

What do you think? Do you like the change? 

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