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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 …

Travel: Other Places


Beach Music From San Juan to Santa Monica

Turkish Delight  Izmir, Turkey 


Surfing Lessons   San Juan Puerto Rico

London Blues   Travels with my sister

By the Bay, Barely   On going topless in France

5 Ways to Feel like Youre in France  When you’re franc-less

The first time I saw Paris  Paris when it drizzles

The Height of Hubris  The top of Notre Dame

Storming the Bastille   Paris in the summer of 89

Pretty French Postcards  From Paris to Bandol

The Price of Potatoes  Bandol

Sous le soleil  Bandol

The Walk   About a boy in Bandol [the beginning]

The Kiss   About a boy in Bandol [the middle]

Garlic & Gauloises   About a boy in Bandol [the end]


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