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Author Archive: "Kelly Corrigan"

From Housewife to Housewife-cum-Author, In Four Parts — Part Four: Starting the Conversation

Phoebe dressed me down, in the kindest way possible. She said people get rejected for years before they get a book published. "That," I said, "is precisely why I'm letting it go. I don't want to pursue anything for years. I've got my kids. I'm happy. Why would I do something that would make me unhappy?" I was not a fool.

But Phoebe persisted. Her husband stood next to her, nodding at her every word. Now, at this point, Mike had sold three screenplays. Only a couple years ago, Mike wrote manuals and other corporate crap for Pfizer pharmaceuticals. Now he flew business class cross-country for last-minute meetings with Scott Rudin and was "on set" with Charles Grodin, Amanda Peet, and Mia Farrow. Sometimes it happens, I had to admit. Sometimes people actually get called in from the cold.

I promised Phoebe I'd try the agent in NY one more time, and then, in response to a raised eyebrow, I also committed to sniff out other agents who might be interested (which ...


From Housewife to Housewife-cum-Author, In Four Parts — Part Three: Giving Up, Growing Up, and Moving On

So as I was saying yesterday, this agent from New York — this woman who was one degree of separation from people like Michael Beschloss and Patricia Cornwell — wrote me a personal email asking to see more. Naturally, more I produced. 30 pages. To which she responded, "I'm still hooked. What happens next?" So, I cranked out 60 more pages, creating a partial manuscript of nearly 100 pages, which, Jack told me, was plenty for a non-fiction proposal. If this agent wanted to, Jack said, she could sell the book on just what I'd sent to date.

Apparently, she did not. In fact, the line went dead and stayed dead. July, August, September. Silence.

I got a call from Glamour magazine. They had seen some essays I'd posted online about chemo and losing my hair. Could they reprint one, they asked, for their big upcoming issue on breast cancer? 12 million readers? Well, sure, OK. Another good excuse to call that agent, I thought.

First, the agent was in ...


From Housewife to Housewife-cum-Author, In Four Parts — Part Two: About Those Seven Pages

Phoebe, my sister-in-law in New York, has an old college friend named Jack, who, for many years, lived downstairs from her in a five-floor walk up that was referred to by most of its occupants as "the crack house." (These are not pretentious, unapproachable people.) Jack has a little dog named Clovis, a friendly boyfriend named Dan and perhaps the most becoming pairs of eye glasses in New York City. For many years, Jack was in the book business. During his stint at ICM, Jack worked closely with a powerful literary agent, Esther Newberg, whose authors include Carl Hiassen and Tom Friedman. Shortly before I started writing, Jack left ICM to get a graduate degree in journalism at Columbia.

Naturally, Phoebe couldn't wait to show Jack the seven pages I wrote about my dad.

My dad, who inspired most of the book, is both easy and impossible to describe. Perhaps this is true of most people. Regardless, when I sat down to capture him in those first few pages, although it will ...


From Housewife to Housewife-cum-Author, in Four Parts — Part One: The hint of death, night school and keeping myself company

I wrote a memoir. It's the only book I've ever written and it comes out in a week. O Magazine and Elle really liked it. So did Powells, I guess. That there is any book, bad or good, for sale with my name on it is — well — highly improbable.

I'm 40 with two kids that I can still pick up and carry around if I need to and a nice husband who works in Silicon Valley at this company called VUDU. Before all this book stuff happened, I was a housewife. And that was going well. I was happy.

But then, in November 2004, it looked like my dad was dying and I found myself in my office typing. Just seven pages about growing up. Something to give him because he'd always thought of me as a writer. That he would say "Lovey, you're gonna write a great book one day" was silly, really, since anyone could see I was both too lazy and too practical to be an artist. Mind you, I had visions. I was quick to think up perfect first lines and titles for movies and isolated fragments of comic dialogue. Those sorts of things popped into my mind all the time. But my nose and the grindstone had never touched. And I was busy. I had fifteen pounds to lose and a '70s kitchen to rehab and those kids I mentioned.

But I liked what I wrote, those seven pages. It was more or less a download of a hundred conversations I'd had with myself on long car rides over the years. My husband liked the pages too. That really threw me. (He's slow to compliment.) I sent the document to his sister in NY. She's a bona fide creative. And her husband is a working screenwriter. They run around with people like John Hodgman and Darin Strauss and Jonathan Coulton, people who are written up in the New York Times and get Guggenheim fellowships and appear on Jon Stewart. Anyway, my sister-in-law loved my pages and called me up to tell me. Still though, it seemed silly. I mean, what was I doing? Did anyone honestly think I was going to write a book? Why bother?


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