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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 …

Flashback Friday: Photographic Memory [memoir]

I usually take an imaginary Walking Tour of London on Fridays but the reality of Thanksgiving stopped me in my tracks.
Instead, I’m sharing an earlier post, flashing back to the 1980’s when I worked as a copywriter at Max Factor in Hollywood.  I hope you enjoy it. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go on a real walk to get rid of some of these very real pumpkin pie pounds.


Photographic Memory

When my boss at Max Factor was assigned to the company’s London office for six months we were both thrilled. She got to go to London —LONDON!— and I jumped from in-house copywriter straight into her Creative Director shoes. Suddenly I was in everybody’s rolodex; the girl to call if you were working the freelance beauty market in L.A. in the very early 80’s. Along with other writers who came out of their introverted shells to offer their services—No, Im still doing the bulk of the in-house copy, thank you very much—graphic  designers, photographers and illustrators all wanted to come in and show me their books. Id schluff most of them off while trying to maintain the illusion that I had much say in the matter. 

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