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Showing posts from August, 2016

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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 …

England in Colour

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A policeman directs buses in the intersection of Trafalgar Square, London. IMAGE: CLIFTON R. ADAMS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE/CORBIS

My brother sent me this series of photos of England, circa 1928, by Clifton R. Adams for National Geographic. The images are so amazing that for this week's British Isles Friday post I'm bailing on my weekly London walk to share these photos with you. I was stunned at how vibrant and bright the the clothing colors are. I've lifted the article directly via Retronaut, a very cool site that specializes in historical images. Their twitter profile says simply "time travel without the time machine."  The only change I've made to the piece is adding the "u" to Colour. This is British Isles Friday, after all.


1928 England in Color The King's Country, caught in Autochrome by Amanda Uren In the late 1920s and early 1930s National Geographic sent photographer Clifton R. Adams to England to record its farms, towns and cities, …

5 Ways to feel like you’re in France when you don’t have the francs

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Are you Dreaming of France but finding yourself short of the francs you need to take you there? Ladies and Gentlemen, Mesdames et Messieurs, step right up and join my travel club and take a journey that won’t cost you a red hot centime. Because this is a trip you take in your mind. Okay, it’s not exactly there-there but if you can’t actually get to Paris or the Cote d’azur, it’s the next best thing.  Here’s five things to pack in your virtual valise to put you in a French state of mind. Substituting French words for English is a great starting point... Un: French AmbiencePretend you live on a charming street near the Eiffel Tower with the simple application of this artistically incorrect mural. How do you say cheesy in french?


Or better yet, decorate your home with every Eiffel tower you can find —never mind most self-respecting French citizens would likely prefer to leave the tour Eiffel on the Champ de Mars where it belongs. 



Deux: La musique français. Surround yourself with sounds that…