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Author Archive: "Carole Radziwill"

Michael Wolff Is a …. (and Other Tidbits)

The road to the Betty Ford Clinic is littered with memoirists who want to be novelists. My own novel is 80% fact but I'm selling it as fiction. (Shhhh! Don't say anything.) Writers are basically vain, self-centered, lazy people who couldn't get real jobs in banking or sales or the healthcare industry, and most of them can't be bothered to make stuff up.

Why should we?

Why make up corny scenes that never happened when you can just write down the weird crap that happens to you every day?

Why make up dialogue when you can just copy down what your friends say?

Why make up a love interest when you can just go on a bunch of bad dates? Or write about your neighbor's bad marriage?

Why look for the "emotional truth" when no one even knows what that means?

Writing Is Easy???But It's Easier to Talk about Writing!

So yesterday Larry King Live called...

...And six hours later, Ray pulled up to Sherwood in a black town car and we're off. There was a tense moment when my brother insisted Ray take this shortcut to Portland he knows (Ray didn't take it). I busied myself with all ...

Are You There, Jeff? It’s Me, Carole

"Did the Oregonian call today?"

I asked my publisher this every day for weeks.

"Um, not yet. But Oprah wants you, and Good Morning America called again and Charlie Rose is on the other line! Did you see the Cleveland Plain Dealer review? The Starred review in Library Journal?"

Crickets. "Isn't that great?"

"Are you sure Jeff Baker got a galley?" She tells me she sent one.

I tell her send another.

"Did you tell him I wrote the book there? That I practically lived there for a year? That I put that under my author photo but you took it off??

"Did you tell him my story? He'd love it, I know! New York girl moves to Oregon to re-invent her life after tragic death of her husband, and writes bestseller!!"

"Um, actually, that's already been done," she mumbled.

"But I'm practically a Kennedy cousin! I see a profile, maybe even serial rights!"

My publicist, fresh from Yale and flush with enthusiasm, calls:

Jenn: Hi, Jeff Baker, please.

Jeff : Yeah.

Jenn: Oh, hi!


Truth and Other Lies (the Lessons I Learned in Washington)

Another story in the Times yesterday! An alleged crack addict writes a book and suddenly we are all interested in the Truth again. Ahhhh, there is nothing like depravation to increase appreciation.

Before I was a blogger or a writer, I was a journalist. Which uniquely qualifies me to run a smallish African nation and also to understand the difference between journalism and writing. One is the pursuit of facts, the other, the pursuit of truth. (Of course, there will always be wackjobs uninterested in either). What distorts everything in life is not understanding the difference. Journalism, at its best, wades through the truth to get at the facts. Writing, at its worst, ignores both.

I worked at ABC News for 15 years (see pp. 61-88; 99-101; 137-140 in my memoir). When I started writing, it was clear to me I was not reporting a story, I was simply telling one. I understand that applying words to memories distorts them. And even with the best of intentions, in recalling the past, we are altering it. But the underlying facts of those stories must be beyond doubt...

A writer's life is a highly vulnerable, almost naked


Career Counseling

Okay, I thought my Wikipedia entry sucked until I read this one.

My friend Jason Blum (see photo) told me he thinks I prefer to write my life than to live it. I admit, it stung a little. But there are advantages. You can edit out all the boring parts. You get to say all those things you wish you had said but weren't smart enough to come up with on the fly. You get to have the perfect second date... in short, you can make things work out! As a writer, wouldn't it be great not to have to actually write, it started me wondering....

It's Easy to Talk about Writing... Even Easier To Do It!

The best way to be a writer is to not be one. Writers are always whining about having to write. You can be just as successful as a writer if you aren't a writer. And this way you can free up all the time you would have to spent writing each day with something more fun.

When I decided to write my memoir, I wasn't really a writer. I was an unemployed news producer. You see ...

Hello, My Name Is Carole…

...and I wrote a memoir.

A blog is a blog is a blog.

This is my first blogging gig, my "web diary." And everyone knows "diarists" are just self-aggrandizing liars, so most of this stuff is just made up. It's like fiction disguised as nonfiction, disguised as 5% true, so don't get all fact-checky. That said, here are some Suggestions for Reading and Enjoying My Posts:

  • I will steal shamelessly: ideas, words, loose change.
  • I will try to be satirical and not sarcastic because Maureen Dowd said satire will get me dates and sarcasm will get me nothing but an obligatory laugh.
  • I apologize in advance for offending your religious beliefs/sexual orientation/sense of style.
  • I will write these posts in my pajamas (the per-word rate doesn't warrant getting out of bed).
  • I will not use a four-syllable word when a perfectly good curse word will do.
  • I will end each post with gratuitous quotes from my book.
  • The opinions and ideas stated in this blog are those of the author and in no way reflect the views of What's the fun of blogging if you can't say the most hilariously dreadful things you wouldn't be caught dead repeating in real life?
  • I am not done talking about this because it's simply too much fun.

The stairway to heaven is littered with promises to not add to the Frey fray. But I'm not making any such proclamation myself. Of course, all the important things to be said have been said. (See Tom Scocca and writer-poet Mary Karr — that her award-winning memoir is called The Liar's Club, is just, well, poetic.)

Which leaves the funny things for me.

It's hard enough to make life interesting enough to carry a whole book, let alone without making it up, but this was my first time. I was new. I was naive. Oh, curse what I only know now! But there's still my trade paperback. Dear Darling Editor, my changes:

  • Your prissy insistence on facts robbed me of a stint in Angola for manslaughter, so that's back in. (I was there, working on a death penalty story, but close enough. I met a guy who killed someone!)
  • And on page 82, I'll swap Grandma Millie's pot plants for a meth lab and pit bull. The pit bull will rip apart Uncle Joey while I watch and Cry in muted horror.
  • That day I skipped school and called in disguised as my mom? You bet that's going in, along with our bloody fight on the soccer field. Me puking and bleeding, and mom, Crying. Crying. Then mom and me, Hugging. Hugging.
  • Oh, and on page 90 where my brother jumps in the creek to save the drowning kid, in the interest of "obvious dramatic reasons" I'll jump in while my brother continues his softball game.

And then I've got the perfect idea for my second book — a memoir. About a Russian Brazilian bikini waxer I meet in jail after assault charges for the hit and run. (Fine, I didn't actually hit a person, it was a tree. Okay, a bush.) And how she protects me from throw downs every week and gives me free brazilians when we get out. I'm calling it Tuesdays (in Stirrups) With Olga.

Hello, Oprah?

Two things happened last September — one anticipated by millions of submissive book buyers, and one anticipated by me.

The first? Oprah Winfrey promised to endorse live writers again, after a three-year commitment to the dead ones. The second? Oprah invited me to be on her show! One morning, producers at Harpo called. "We loved your book," they said. "Oprah couldn't put it down," they said. "She thought it was beautiful, well-written, gracefully done," they said. Oh my God, my little inner voice squeaked. Oh my God, oh my God!

She's asking me, me, me and my book to be on her show! Suddenly my agent was returning my calls! My publisher was picking up the lunch tab!....

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