much like jessie spano, i am SO EXCITED to be the new host of the New Books in Biography podcast. for starters, a discussion with Charles J. Shields, author of the insightful/provocative/definitive new kurt vonnegut biography, “and so it goes.”

the podcast can be accessed HERE on the New Books Network or on iTunes.


taking a play out of the Lara Ehrlich Playbook of Successfully Gaining Success Now That You’ve Successfully Attained Your Overpriced Liberal Arts Degree, i owned up to the fact that what i want to be is a “writer/editor” and ordered business cards.

they came the other day. pretty! see:

i can only imagine how people must feel upon having published an actual book. all i did was successfully convey my contact information so that is was properly printed on a piece of chipboard and now i want to shower the resulting incandescently beautiful product around the world like confetti.

here’s the thing though. the package came with a handful of leftovers and samples and as incandescently beautiful as my card is, i know that one day- maybe in the long long way far off but one day nonetheless- when money is no longer an option and it isn’t so much a matter of manning up to declare myself a “writer/editor” as ballsing up to embrace hot pink, this card that is merely a sample now will be mine:

just desserts

(1 april 2011)

on 21 may 1994, in mrs. watson’s 7th grade science class, a girl in white short shorts met jackie.

at the age of 14, before ebay was ever invented, this girl begged her parents to take her to antique stores and began funneling all her lawn mowing money into vintage tabloid magazines.

at 15, she won tickets to the sotheby’s auction, but considered going to new york so outside the realm of possibility that she never thought to ask anyone to take her.

at 18, she wrote lee radziwill a fan letter.

at 21, because she really really wanted to write about the virgin suicides but couldn’t find anything valid to say, she wrote the 10th chapter of a non-existent jackie biography for her master’s thesis.

at 22, she was living with her parents, had $16 in her savings account and the job of “applebee’s waitress” headlining her resume. thoroughly demoralized, she began writing the rest of the non-existent jackie book.

when she did get a job, the girl went to work at 7 a.m. so she could get off at 4 and go home to write until 10. the day before her 24th birthday, which was also the day after her cat died, she finished.

her boyfriend, in detailing her various inadequacies during The Worst Break-Up To Have Ever Taken Place At A Rogue Wave Concert, leaned back in his chair and, taking a sip of PBR, said, and then there’s your strange obsession with jackie…

he compared her to the jimmy fallon character in fever pitch.

fyi: nothing will make an ambitious biographical girl feel less sexy than being compared to the jimmy fallon character in fever pitch

the girl moved to chicago.

she sent her book proposal to 50+ agents and publishing houses during the next four years, spending exorbitant amounts on postage because she needed the confidence that comes only with fedex.

the girl wrote an article about liz taylor. it was rejected 15 times. only when liz taylor died did it see the light of day.

in may 2004, the girl began emailing a certain biographer every six months to “check in.” six years later, the biographer wrote back.

biographically, there are always two stories: the true story and the story that’s told.

the true story is the ugly bare facts whereas the story that’s told is a sweeping over-arching tale built for public consumption. it often has a moral. it does not always have an end.

in the past three months, i’ve stumbled into an odd streak of luck that has left me with the nagging sensation that i deserve absolutely none of it. i’m realizing this isn’t so much a problem of self-esteem as one of narrative.

because i’d honestly rather believe my own propaganda about the post-it and the 9/20/13 plan than confront the fact that this is, in reality, something towards which i have been moving, however indirectly and unconsciously, for the last 18 years.

the story of how i put a date on a post-it is, in its cinematic brevity and seeming effortlessness, far more pretty than my sitting in a dive bar and being compared to the jimmy fallon character in fever pitch. but these two stories are inextricably linked.

i deserve none of this and yet i’ve earned it all.


(30 march 2011)

two things.

one: i have a rate. a rate ten bucks beyond what i expected and fifty dollars more than the astonishingly low amount i would have been willing to accept.

because i am an english major, i initially worked this out into a math problem of words ÷ words per page = # of pages ÷ estimated # of chapters ÷ hours per chapter x rate, which equated to roughly $16,800 for 50 hours of work. alas, um… no.

regardless, at this rate, i will be earning a mere 1/3rd less than what the highest earner in my area of expertise would earn. for a girl who got her start earning $13.95, being 33% shy of the maximum ain’t half bad.

and here’s the two: i have a contract.

an actual, legally binding document. yes, i’m operating on the assumption that signed word documents with the word “contract” in the file name are legally binding, but regardless, my time is now valuable enough to warrant a $100 cancellation fee.

dear actual biographical income, why, hello there!

a father responds to the publication of “the sexy dance”

we’re very proud of you, don’t get me wrong, but, i mean, it’s kind of like our daughter is in films and just did her first nude scene and we have to live with that, but yeah, even though there are bad words, your writing is amazing and we’re still totally proud of you all the same.

the formal acceptance of fath caroline eaton

(28 january 2011)

the sex toboggans have been accepted for presentation elsewhere.

wait. let me be precise. an essay by “fath caroline eaton” that has been rechristened with a suitably academic name because the phrase “sex toboggan,” though “spectacular,” is too “mysterious,” has been formally accepted for presentation at a film conference in london this summer.

that is what i wake up to. this email to “fath caroline eaton” and a groupon.

i’m pretty sure that’s why what i’m doing seems so small when it should feel monumental. because it’s hard to wrap your head around the potential life-alteringness of something when it is coupled with a coupon for a cut-rate coffee-making class.