Showing posts from June, 2014

#YesAllWomen and Me

I'm an infrequent Tweeter. Don't spend much time on Twitter, but I recently read about the #YesAllWomen movement and realized I had way too much to add to it. I chose one story I thought I could tell in 140 characters, posted it, and forgot about it. The story is this: I was on a crowded train in Boston. I was about 18. There were no seats left, so I held onto a strap. An Asian man moved over to stand right behind me. I thought that was odd... there were other places to stand. Even right next to me would have been fine, but why did he need to stand right behind me? Then I felt him pressing up against me. At first I thought it must have been an accident. I was profoundly uncomfortable, but said nothing. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe he was oblivious. Then he shifted and pressed into me harder. I still thought he might be oblivious, but I moved over. He followed me and did it again. Now I was terrified. I looked around me on the train, trying to make e

When "Free Range Parenting" Goes Too Far

I just read an article on Salon that bothered me a lot. It's here: The Day I Left My Son In the Car. In short, the writer tried to run an errand with her 4-year-old, but he didn't want to go into the store, so she left him in the car for 5 minutes or so while she went in to shop. A bystander saw this, recorded it, and called police. The writer spends much of the article minimizing her actions: it wasn't hot, it was just a quick errand, all her friends are doing it, it's no big deal. She's very mad at the person who called police. And the comments mostly mirror her thoughts-- no big deal, no real risk. In fact, the comment that set me off was this one: "The risk of anything bad happening in those 5 minutes was so absolutely miniscule to not be worth mentioning." I'm here as a reminder of that miniscule risk. I was kidnapped and raped by a serial rapist when I was 10 years old. Maybe others don't think it's worth mentioning, but it wa

The Care and Feeding of Your Ghostwriter

People sometimes say to me, "It must be SO HARD having someone else get credit for your writing!" But it's not, really. Just about all of my clients have remained my friends, and I'm very happy to see them succeed. And maybe I've just worked with really nice people, but the majority of them not only do give me a shared cover credit (by So and So with Jenna Glatzer), but also make it a point to thank me in the acknowledgments and mention me in interviews when they can. I feel I get plenty of credit most of the time. (If you're wondering who usually doesn't want to acknowledge my role, I'll tell you: doctors. I guess they worry it puts their expertise in question.) What I usually write are memoirs and true crime stories, and here's what really IS hard: dialogue. Often, the toughest part of writing someone else's story is trying to come up with dialogue that will help the reader get a sense of everyone's voice and personality. But intervie

Yes, All Women and Not All Men

I've followed a bit of the "YesAllWomen" and "NotAllMen" Twitter stuff, and as usual, it's taken me a few days to put my thoughts together. Here's what I'd like to say to the men: Guys, of course we know that you're not all woman-hating sleazebuckets. But too many men are. That's why women are too often put into situations where we have to worry about our personal safety, even when we've been cautious. I don't go to bars because men do creepy things there. Do you ever think to yourself, "I'm not going to go to a bar tonight because a woman may scare me, follow me to my car, and not take 'no' for an answer?" I can't put those cute little stickers on the back of my car showing my real family dynamic: just me and my daughter, because if I do, it's more likely that a man will see that I'm unprotected and break into my home. I hold my keys between my fingers in parking garages in case I need to