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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 …

Made on Location: Eating for Two

My son at 15 months and me. On the set of Free Willy II

My son’s twenty-third birthday was this past Saturday. My husband’s birthday is this coming Saturday. That’s my excuse for not giving you a new piece on this memoir Monday. I’m republishing “Made on Location” which is really about the both of them. I could have called it “Eating for Two.” 

Made on Location

On any other Sunday Id be digging shamelessly into a steaming stack of blueberry hotcakes, purple compote oozing out all over the place. The Pig ‘n Pancake in Astoria, Oregon were famous for them, and I usually couldnt wait to wade in. I didnt need—and didnt want—the calorie breakdown you cant escape from on menus these days to know they were pound packers, all buttery and crazy delicious, the kind of food I would normally eschew in favor of leaner fare like two eggs scrambled, cottage cheese on the side, one piece of rye toast. 

But the rules are different when youre on location.
 
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