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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 …

Throwback Thursday: One Second of Fame



Throwback Thursday: One Second of Fame 


The set was the interior of an appliance store plucked right out of the 1960’s. As usual on a movie set there was a dull whirr of background noise, crew hammering, people yammering. There were a lot of people milling around, associate producers and set assistants who didn’t need to be there. Hair and makeup artists, the prop master, the gaffer, the script supervisor, who did. Oh yeah. And the director, the director of photographer, and the lead actor. 


I was so nervous, they were all a blur to me. I tried not to stare at Tom Hanks conferring quietly with his DP, Tak Fujimoto. I knew Fujimoto was a fairly big deal, he’d worked with Tom on Philadelphia, shot Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs, Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink and Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And now, he’d be shooting me and Russell, for our one second of fame, in That Thing You Do.


[Read the rest of the story...]

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