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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 …

Above Ground on the London Underground: Back to Piccadilly Circus


One of the places I was most looking forward to seeing in London was Piccadilly Circus. I'd written about here for the Above Ground on the London Underground tour in 7 Things You Need to Know about Piccadilly Circus and touched on it in From the Ritz to Piccadilly Circus. I was excited to show the Circus to my husband, telling him we needed to save it for one of our nighttime activities. All those amazing advertising billboards had to be seen lit up at night.






Little did I know that the lighted patchwork Piccadilly is famous for is undergoing a change. The existing patchwork was taken down this spring and will be replaced by one large screen. In the meantime, this temporary fix looked large but ordinary, paper adverts lit up from above, not from behind. 

Of course the Circus is still a major tourist attraction but for us at least, it didn't quite have that magical glow. It's disappointing to travel, to have expectations, whether it's an idea or an image, that the reality doesn't quite live up to. It's best to be open-hearted and flexible, ready for changes that life brings us every day. While Piccadilly Circus wasn't quite what I was expecting it still felt wonderful to be there with my husband, to see it together with our own eyes. And while I've been thinking of our trip—a month in Europe—as a once in a lifetime experience, we've already started talking about places we'd like to go back to, to spend more time in.
Maybe next time, the lights will be working. 




After all, this is still quite lovely.
Do you have destinations that didn't quite live up to the dream?

Connecting to Joy Weese Moll for British Isles Friday


Comments

  1. I thought I would feel something in the standing stone circle at Avebury. Maybe it was jet lag. Or maybe I'm not as in touch with the spirit of the past as I'd like to be. Or maybe I am and resist it because that's kind of scary when I think about it too much.

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