Writing Life

A Room of My OwnThe Manifest-Station  

Listed As A Notable Essay In Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's The Best American Essays 2016

The summer after graduate school, I accepted a job as a copywriter at a well-known publishing firm. I had been recruited and hired by a woman named Serena, a blonde, coolly professional woman, who praised my work lavishly. I loved my job. But two months later, Serena was inexplicably fired. They replaced her with a shrill, sarcastic woman named Crystal, who’d once worked for - and been fired by - Serena, and so she took an instant dislike to anyone Serena had hired. Especially me. I believed my work was good; I was diligent, always met deadlines, and the editors consistently praised me. Yet each week Crystal would summon me to her office, and catalog what she labeled as my professional failings. Some nights, weary and ready to weep, I would finally pry myself from the vise-hold of that office, and Crystal would look pointedly at the clock. “Running out early again?” she would say….

Yes This IS My Real Job, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop

Ever since my memoir Ketchup is My Favorite Vegetable: A Family Grows Up With Autism was published, formerly pleasurable social gatherings feel like death by a thousand paper cuts. (Yes, that’s the title. You don’t like it? Oh, because tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable? Thanks, that’s helpful.) Next question?

Confessions of a Book Buzz BuilderWomen Writers, Women’s Books

When I first signed with my agent to represent my memoir, she reviewed my book proposal. I’d included this tidbit: “as a former book publicist of ten years at several major publishing houses, including Random House, Simon & Schuster and Doubleday, I have the skills to promote my book extensively.” She scribbled in the margin, “They’re going to LOVE this!”

It was a career I’d fallen into by accident. I was 23, finishing my master’s in journalism, and working for a temp agency. They sent me to the publicity department at William Morrow Books. I typed envelopes all morning. When I returned from lunch, a tall man who looked familiar held the elevator for me. When he smiled, I recognized him.

Alan Alda….

Lost and Found, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood

After graduate school I drifted into a glamour job as a publicist for a well-known book publisher, where they paid me a pittance to write press releases and book jacket copy. It was fun for a while, until I went to my high school reunion and someone said, “I thought by now I’d be reading about you in the New York Times Book Review….”

Writers’ Prey and Getting Paid, Huffington Post

I didn't become a writer solely to earn money, and it's still not the primary thing that motivates me. I write because I love it and can't imagine doing anything else. But getting paid validates a writer's professionalism. Without their writers, publishers would have no product to peddle….