Category Archives: My Life

Love me! Read me! Buy me! Writer’s Fear-Clenching Book Launch Thoughts

 

Book launch day shoots towards me like an asteroid.

Three weeks.

Not ready.

Almost-final drafts of essays surround me. Fear, sleeplessness, and worry consume me. I won’t get reviewed. I will get reviewed—but they will all hate me. I have nothing to wear to events. Okay, I do have stuff to wear, but nothing will fit, since I can’t stop eating.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter, since no one will come to my launch readings.

Okay. My husband will come. (That’s a law, right?)

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Not Our Shame

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With every listen, the Trump sex assault tape sounds worse. Every syllable engenders feelings of being small and wretched and humiliated. I search for the genesis of these emotions, for the source of my desire to curl up into an invisible ball.

And the truths wash in:

The time my neighbor’s boyfriend covered my six-year-old crotch with his (fifty? sixty?) year-old fingers, inserting them through the fabric, while giving me a swim lesson in Coney Island. My shame, even now, floods back. My shame. My sister was with me. We were two little girls.

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Also posted in Cultural Politics, Domestic Violence, My Opinionated Self, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

How Long Does it Take to Get Published?

Recently, a thread in an online writer’s community popped up, beginning with someone (who hadn’t begun querying) asking why folks sent query letters to so many agents.

Did they have that many “dream agents?

Why not send to just one or two top choices?

And, really, how long does it take?

Answers flew in—achingly honest and reminiscent of everyone’s distant and not-at-all-distant (often painful) publishing journeys.  I thought back to how long it took me.

The answer? You got some time?

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My Father Bought Me Pretty Shoes

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I dreaded Father’s Day as a child. Every year (during those far less aware days) we were asked to make a card for our father as a classroom project. My father died when I was nine, so from that day forward I made cards for my grandfather, embarrassed by my lack.

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Also posted in Family | Tagged | 30 Comments

Food and Loathing and Hamper Cookies

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Everyone hates a fat woman. Or is it that a fat woman thinks everyone hates her? Or does a fat woman simply hate herself?

As someone who’s measured her worth in dress sizes, waistbands, and, when in the midst of bravery, the hard-core truth of pounds, I’ve felt all of the above. We are a harsh country, filled with both self-loathing and a Calvinist push towards walking off, dieting away, running away from, and when all else fails, surgically sucking out unwanted fat.

Do men suffer as women do? I’m not sure. I don’t think so, not as much—not when fat men on screen are allowed to bed and wed women as lovely as Katherine Heigl. I think being fat is painful for men. I simply don’t think they’re as reviled; they need to climb far higher up the scale to merit as much hate as heavy women.

I recently re-read (even re-bought, when I couldn’t find my copy) Food and Loathing by Betsy Lerner. From far too young, Lerner’s existence rested on her body size—real and perceived. The book begins thusly:

“It is 1972. I am twelve years old. It is the first day of sixth grade, and I am standing in the girls’ gymnasium waiting to be weighed.”

 

If your flesh doesn’t crawl with those words, if you don’t want to either go running for a cream cheese smothered bagel, or conversely, vow to stop eating as of tomorrow, this book will still

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Also posted in Books, Family, My Opinionated Self | 15 Comments

Que Será, Será

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At first writing seems the perfect job for a control freak. You are alone. At your desk. Making your very own world.These characters you’ve dreamed up, they JUMP when you say JUMP. Okay, perhaps they squirm away from your outline a bit. Or they do that thing where they start musing about the time in high school when they almost dated that awful guy and didn’t he have the worst clothes ever, and you gotta pull them back—but for the most part, everyone know who’s in charge.

Enjoy this.

Make it last.

Do not go to the next step until you are sure you have done all you can to make the greatest book you could dream up, write down, and edit.

Because now comes the part where the control freak in you might just freak out .

Let’s see. Take this simple test to determine how much you’ll enjoy experience of getting published:

1) When I need someone to help me take an important professional step, I like to:

a) Send out endless emails and letters to complete strangers so they can judge me!

b) Conduct extensive research to identify the best 35 candidates, hoping this will ensure a good match.

c) Pick the one person I want to work with based on my carefully formed opinions.

2) After procuring an agent (see above) I want to find a publisher based on:

a) Hey, whoever is willing to print my words is okay with me! Throw the manuscript  out there and see what sticks! My agent doesn’t even have to tell me who is getting it.

b) Work in tandem with my agent, knowing that ultimately she will make the best choices.

c) Tell my agent exactly who I think will do the best by my book and have her write the letter I’ve dictated.

3) After my book is published, my plan is to:

a) Seeing that book out there is enough! I don’t care what anyone says about it, as long as I can hold a printed copy in my hands.

b) Work with my publicist constantly—knowing that I must also work on my own seven days a week for a while in order to get the attention of readers.

c) Have my publicist get reviews in all the major papers and follow up on every lead I suggest.  Oh, and Oprah before she leaves. My book is PERFECT for her. And Terri Gross. And . . .

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Also posted in My Opinionated Self, Writing | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Oh Santa Baby, I Just Can’t Quit You

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Oh, Santa. Baby. How long will our merry go round keep going round? Do  we need couples counseling again this year?

You and I have been in our indescribably on-again-off-again relationship for too long. I’ve been writing about our tortured love for how many years?

In 2011 it was off.

2012, back on again.

In 2013 we acted like friends with benefits.

But it wasn’t enough. Sure I had Adam Sandler for Thankschanukah, but you can’t intersperse dreidels with Christmas cookies and call it one big happy holiday. Thankschanukah is gone, and as my friend’s 3-year-old said as she wept for a Christmas tree (when reminded of her joyous Hanukah celebration)  “But I’m so over Hanukuh!”

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Also posted in Childhood, Family, Love & Marriage, My Opinionated Self, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

15 Bookish & Arty Gifts to Buy Without Leaving Your Couch

bookish presents

Avoiding malls at holiday time can be your best treat. Small shopping, with artists & small shops—or library shops!—is a treat for all. Below, a sampling of ways to do good, gift friends and family with love, and do it all in your pj’s online.

1) Do you have an ornament lover in your life who is also passionate reader? Combine them with this ornament from the New York Public Library’s gift shop.

 

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2) Reach into the way back machine and find an antique typewriter (or at least vintage.) Hours can be spent searching on Ebay, or it can be done quick by following the link provided.

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How Jobs Taught Me What To Write

wordificator (2) Our writer’s code, written into our secret writer club rules, remind us that day jobs stand between us and a published novel. I understand. For years I thought if only and when and someday. And yes, working one, two, three jobs at a time took a big bite out of what would certainly have been my fast track to a Pulitzer. But slogging through, learning at, loving, and hating a number of jobs, that’s what formed and hold up my novels.

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Secrets, Lies & Clothes: What We Do For Love & Work–Benefit for Girls Inc

 Writing fiction is basically lying for a living. For me, it was a perfect fit. I stopped working with criminals, started writing, and  . . . oh, no! I realized I better trade in my schleppy refugee from the 70’s wardrobe for something with at least an edge of elegance. So I binged on style change (hair, clothes, make-up)—and then lied to my husband about the cost. 

Please join me at the Eileen Fisher store in the Mall at Chestnut Hill, talking about finding love at 47 (after too many bad boys and so many lies, mine and theirs) switching careers at 57, and refashioning my life, inside and out.

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Also posted in The Comfort of Lies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment