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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 …

#ThrowbackThursday: Turkish Delight

It’s #ThrowbackThursday and I don’t think I could throw it back any further than this, my earliest memory. 

Turkish Delight 

There's darkness everywhere, shapeless black all around except for a blur of wavering yellow light in the distance. Something has woken me up. Muffled voices in the darkness; a man's—deep, hushed, whispering. Then another—higher pitched, a lady's? My mother's? I hear my name, "Simone" but I can't make out the rest; just sharp, staccato sounds. A shadow crosses the yellow light, so huge it blocks the brightness, and there's nothing but blackness again. The dark shadow, darker than the darkness, is moving fast, coming closer, heading towards me and I'm too terrified to move or breathe or close my eyes. If I stay perfectly still maybe it won't get me. I watch as the black blur moves towards me, growing larger as it comes closer and closer and just as it reaches under the blanket to scoop me up with its big hands, I want to cry because I can tell from the smell that it's my father. "It's Daddy" he says, pulling a blanket around me, and I relax into his arms. I still can't make him out properly but I know it's him, the way his neck feels, warm and bristly, the way his skin smells of cigarettes and Brylcreem.  He moves with me toward the yellow light, and I see now that it's the ceiling lamp in the hallway. There are tiny bugs frozen behind the frosted glass just like always.
Read the rest of the story [here ...]

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