She had half of Mr. Belle’s yard to finish mowing when the DJs on the local station she streamed started telling a story about a man stuck in a hole in the ground. They slipped it in between a couple of the regular bits they often did — a man catching his girlfriend cheating while he’s on the phone with the station to get romancing tips, a woman asking for help evicting her squatter mother in-law — just like it was another nothing story. …


Please know I appreciate your patience and understanding, and that I love you.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

From: JessicaSmith@mail.com
To: JessicaVale@agentmail.com
Sent: Saturday, 11:07 PM

Dear Jessica Vale,

In my recent email to you requesting representation for my literary novel Letters Lost, I neglected to include my telephone number. I apologize for the oversight. You’ll find the number in my signature below.

I hope this minor error won’t tarnish your opion of my sample or give you the impression that I’m careless about my work.

Sincerely,
Jessica Smith
(212) 555–8871

From: JessicaSmith@mail.com
To: JessicaVale@agentmail.com
Sent: Saturday, 11:11 PM

Dear Jessica,

I apologize for having sent you another imperfect email. …


This Is Us

Despite well-intentioned urging from others, you’re the only one who can say when the time is right

Two swings tangled together.
Two swings tangled together.
Photo courtesy of author.

As young as five years old, I understood without real understanding that when I grew into a woman I would someday, inevitably, become a mother.

As a little girl, I semi-regularly played the game of House with a friend who lived in the next apartment building, and we’d choose our roles before each game: Husband or Wife. We took for granted that choosing Wife also meant playing the role of a mother.

We believed this because we watched as much TV as any kids in the late ’70s, and studies show TV programming has a long and largely unchanged history…


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Women who don’t have children by choice are often asked why they don’t want them.

I understand this question, because expressing a lack of desire to have a child isn’t the norm. People are curious. That’s fine. I’m curious about things, too, and I ask questions all the time.

But those who choose to answer the question can inadvertently give the wrong impression if the phrasing isn’t precise.

Phrasing is important. Take this phrasing, for example:

“You can be happy even if you don’t have children.”

This establishes the baseline of happiness as something that’s automatically achieved when one has…


RJ Keller being cool in about 16 different ways. Photo courtesy of Kel.

RJ Keller and I have known each other virtually for over a decade. Sometime around 2008–’09, she, authors Henry Baum, Eddie Wright, and I created an indie author collective called Backword Books (yes, that’s spelled correctly) whose goal was to deliver and market quality fiction written by those in the collective.

Waiting for Spring was RJ Keller’s gritty, beautiful novel, initially self-published but later acquired by Lake Union Publishing.


I'm happy that a) your friend knows you so well, and b) the piece amused you!


Thank you, Hapsari! I really wonder how often this (or something remotely like it) happens to agents...


Woman photo created by freepik.

Two days ago, I was looking at my Facebook profile picture very, very closely.

Someone I’d known in high school had left this comment below the picture: “Seeing those eyes again after 30 years…”

I wondered, why mention “eyes” and not “face”? Were they trying to be nice by not mentioning how much my face had changed? Did I look so different? And who do I think I’m kidding right now by using the word “different?”

You know what I mean.

Worse.

Just bad, full stop.

Because “older.”

Older is bad.

We need no more evidence of this than Twitter’s…

Kristen Tsetsi

Novelist, former adjunct prof, -journo, -cab driver, etc. Regular contributor to JaneFriedman.com. Co-host, ChildfreeGirls podcast. KristenJTsetsi.com

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