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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 …

Memoir/Stories


On the Street Where I Lived: a collection of personal stories

"There are places I remember 
All my life, though some have changed 
Some forever not for better 
Some have gone and some remain 
All these places have their moments 
With lovers and friends I still can recall 
Some are dead and some are living 
In my life I've loved them all"
                                               Lennon/McCartney



If the American Dream is to buy a home and settle down, if that’s the measure of success, I’ve clearly failed. I’ve almost lost count of all the places I've called home. Three continents, six countries, over a dozen cities and well over thirty houses, apartments, condos, town-homes and a couple of summer sublets. Not one of them came with a purchase contract. An odd admission for someone who has been a licensed Realtor since 2006! 

Wanting to share stories of my past, getting them down before I forget them, I’m using the streets where I’ve lived as a road map to navigate these personal stories by. If every picture tells a story, surely every house does as well. 
I blame my parents for the first twenty years worth of homes, the places numbered 1 through 15; from then on ... well, I inherited their very bad case of itchy feet. Looking at the road map of places I've been I may never figure out why my life's journey took this particular route, full of false starts and detours but what I'll try to do here is tell a story set in each locale. I'm beginning with some dusty old pieces which have been sitting here in the archives for ages. I'm gathering the guts to try some new stuff as well. Below is a numbered list of all the streets where I've lived; my intent is to add links as I post my tales, until there's at least one piece for each street. 
You might want to start off with #3, Turkish Delight or #4, "The Boy Who Took Out His eye" since they get things started. 

1. Salisbury Road, Richmond (call it London) England
    Home: Returning to Richmond
2. Queens Ferry, Wales
3. Izmir, Turkey
   Turkish Delight
4. Tripoli, Libya
5. Mansfield Drive, Hayes, Middlesex, England
5A. Our TransAtlantic Crossing
     Bon Voyage
6. Montreal, Canada
7. Eglington Avenue North, Scarborough, Toronto, Canada
8. Ryerson Crescent, Niagara Falls, Canada
     The Sparklers Red Glare
9. Cherry Grove Road, Niagara Falls, Canada
10. Avenida Ponce de Leon, San Juan, Puerto Rico
      Beach Music  via the Los Angeles Times
11. 3rd Street, Santa Monica
       Beach Music
12. 10th Street, Santa Monica
      Jailbait
13. 12th Street, Santa Monica
14. 14th Street, Santa Monica
      Boys and Black Coffee
      Waiting on a Friend
      E Ticket to Ride
      In the Cups
      A guy, a girl and a GTO
      Curbed
      On Sunset
      Behind Closed Doors

         Drug Store Beauty Queen 
         Pretty French Postcards (France)
        The Price of Potatoes (France)
       Sous le Soleil (Bandol, France)
        The Walk (Bandol, France 1/3)
        Garlic & Gauloise (Bandol, France  3/3)

         Dear Mr. Redford
         Job Done

15. Euclid Street, Santa Monica
      Leaving Home: Part Four
      Leaving Home: Part Five
      Leaving Home: Yesterday

16. Barrington, Brentwood
      Leaving Home: Yesterday
17. Broderick Street, San Francisco
18. Washington Ave, San Francisco
19. Gorham Avenue, Brentwood
20. Dorothy Street, Brentwood, California
21. Bentley Avenue, West Los Angeles
      Photographic Memory
22. Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica
       Meeting Tom Cruise
23. Via Marina, Marina del Rey
24. Murietta Avenue, Sherman Oaks, California
25. Kester Avenue, Sherman Oaks
26. Gilmore Street, North Hollywood
27. Dickens Street, Sherman Oaks
      Last Dance
      Meeting Brad Pitt The Favor
      Made on Location (Oregon/Free Willy)
28. Vista del Mar, Redondo Beach, California
       Moving Day
29. Beverly Glen, Westwood (Los Angeles)
       Moving Day
30. Spring Street, Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, Washington
31. Barrington Avenue, Mar Vista, Los Angeles
32. Grandview Blvd, Mar Vista, California
      That Thing We Did
       That Thing You Do/2
       That Thing You Do/3
       That Thing You Do/4
33. Mountain View Avenue, Mar Vista, California
       There's No Place like Home
      A Summer Place, Theatricum Botanicum
34. 110th Street, New York, New York
35. Foxwood Drive, Oak Park, California
36. Ridgeway Drive, Westlake Village, California
37. Conifer Street, Oak Park, California
38. The Street We Live on Now, Los Angeles, California
      Charlie
      7 Reasons We Love Older Men (via Good Men Project)

"There are places I remember 
All my life, though some have changed 
Some forever not for better 
Some have gone and some remain 
All these places have their moments 
With lovers and friends I still can recall 
Some are dead and some are living 
In my life I've loved them all"
                                               Lennon/McCartney

Comments

  1. Brilliant idea. Sorry I've been MIA on your story blog, but I'm always itching to read some good memoir or nonfiction

    ReplyDelete

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