Dare To Dream.

This post, specifically, is a love note to writers everywhere who hope to be published. It’s also a love note, generally, for anyone who dares to dream.

Last year in January, I finally got to meet my editor (and longtime Lo Zoner), the wonderful Jennifer Pooley (aka Lil’ Pools).

We had been speaking on the phone for over a year and I hadn’t had a chance to make my usual trips to New York, but she was going to be at a writers’ conference in San Diego for three days over a weekend and arranged to fly out of L.A. the following Monday so that we could get to see each other in the flesh. The plan was, I would drive down to San Diego that Monday morning after the conference (it’s about two hours away), pick her up, bring her to L.A., show her around my mythical city, hang for the day, then she’d fly back to New York that night. That’s exactly what happened and we ended up having a blast.

She called me a couple of times over the weekend while she was in San Diego, and one of the things she excitedly mentioned was a woman in her eighties (!!!) with a delightful little manuscript. Jen expounded on the woman and her book even more during our drive to L.A., noting how several people didn’t seem interested in someone that much older trying to get her book pubbed, but Jen saw magic in the story…absolute magic. She talked about that book nonstop for weeks, and finally bought it. And guess what?

TODAY is the official pub date of that lovely gem, a book called…

From the moment she first told me about it, I’ve considered this book the little engine that could. Here’s the skinny on Tiffany:

Do you remember the best summer of your life?

New York City, 1945. Marjorie Jacobson and her best friend, Marty Garrett, arrive fresh from the Kappa house at the University of Iowa hoping to find summer positions as shopgirls. Turned away from the top department stores, they miraculously find jobs as pages at Tiffany & Co., becoming the first women to ever work on the sales floor—a diamond-filled day job replete with Tiffany blue shirtwaist dresses from Bonwit Teller’s—and the envy of all their friends.

Hart takes us back to the magical time when she and Marty rubbed elbows with the rich and famous; pinched pennies to eat at the Automat; experienced nightlife at La Martinique; and danced away their weekends with dashing midshipmen. Between being dazzled by Judy Garland’s honeymoon visit to Tiffany, celebrating VJ Day in Times Square, and mingling with Café society, she fell in love, learned unforgettable lessons, made important decisions that would change her future, and created the remarkable memories she now shares with all of us.

The author, Marjorie Hart, in her Tiffany’s wonder years.

Marjorie and her best friend Marty at the beach in the 40’s.

A woman working the sales counter at Tiffany’s, circa 1945.

Marjorie, present day, in front of Tiffany & Co.

Isn’t this just the most amazing, hopeful thing you’ve ever heard? Thank goodness for editors like Jen who still care about writers and stories with heart. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my editor. I always shoot from the hip and she knows it. The publishing industry can be very tough and bottom-line oriented, but there are those (increasingly rare) beacons of light who still get excited about and nurture the art form. My experience with Jen and the remarkable, wonderful folks at Amistad/ HarperCollins was a welcome shot in the arm in a business that can make you very, very weary if not for your passion to write and love of the word.

Marjorie Hart and her/my editor, Jennifer Pooley (Lil’ Pools)

Here’s what reviewer BookPage had to say about Summer at Tiffany:

“Every once in a while a book comes along that is everything one wants it to be; such is the case with Marjorie Hart’s Summer at Tiffany. Hart’s infectious telling of her wide-eyed introduction to New York City during the summer of 1945 is charming and fun…Hart offers a rare behind-the-scenes peek at the iconic store, where Marlene Dietrich, newlyweds Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, a steady stream of the 400, and “Old Man Tiffany” himself come through the doors…reminiscent of Rona Jaffe’s The Best of Everything and Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Equally compelling is that Hart was able to recreate the essence of that summer decades later, developing the book at the urging of her grandchildren and then having it discovered at a writers conference.

BookPage

In honor of the book’s release, HarperCollins has a campaign entitled “Do You Remember The Best Summer of Your Life?” and encourages people to participate. I think it would be great for the writers among you, and for those of you who just want to share. E-mail a tale about your best summer to summerattiffany@harpercollins.com.

Marjorie Hart will turn 83 on April 15th. Today, she realizes a major dream. She went forth boldly, no matter what anybody said.

How many of you out there will dare to do the same?*

*For the record, I have great faith in all of you. This is a love note, remember? Go forth to your destinies, babies. Fly, fly, fly!!!

**Update: Those of you who dare to submit an account of the best summer of your life will receive a free copy of Summer at Tiffany!!! How cool is that?!?!!

Submit your tale at summerattiffany@harpercollins.com. And note, it doesn’t have to be long; it’s just you talking about your summer to remember. If you want to see an example of what’s already been submitted, click here: “Do You Remember The Best Summer of Your Life?

HarperCollins: Summer at Tiffany
Amazon.com: Summer at Tiffany
Summer at Tiffany on MySpace

25 thoughts on “Dare To Dream.

  1. >Dang, Lo, what an amazing story. I will definitely pick it up as I am very interested in that era. Breakfast at T's was one of my favorite books (much more grittier than the movie). I used to love old movies that showed the "shop girls" eating form the automats — I guess those were the earliest "fast food restaurants."As you know, I've been writing since Hector was a pup and at times wonder if I'll ever step out there. This story has made me declare this summer "the Summer of Juan G." I am gonna do this thang.Thanks for sharing.

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  2. >I'm going to buy the book just because….. And hope I get to read it over an upcoming vacation!I was just cleaning out the basement last weekend so it can be remodeled, and went through my dad's boxes of books, correspondence, business records, etc., etc. I was amazed at what I found! Magazines from 1918. Handwritten letters from correspondence schools in the 1920's where his professors were answering his questions. His diaries for years on end going back as far as 1929! Photographs and telegrams from WWII. His original drawings for a 30 foot long Indian dugout canoe that he hand carved from a solid cedar log in the 1940's (my cousin has the canoe at Crater Lake in Oregon and I plan to take my kids up there this summer to ride in it). The kids came downstairs and we ended up looking at all this stuff together. Mementos from a bygone era. I would have loved to hang out in New York or San Francisco back in those days and catch a John Coltrane or Miles Davis gig at one of the great jazz venues that were so vibrant back then. Heck, my best summer tale would never have the backdrop that Summer at Tiffany has.

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  3. >I've quietly noticed stories that portray a time long forgotten seemingly end up being bestseller material. I've often wondered why that is. Is it sheer wonder about a time long forgotten or is it entirely something else.

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  4. >Great post, and what an inspiration to us all…that sometimes dreams do come true. It sounds like a delightful story, and Rich i believe that stories of old are appealing because it reminds of a time of innocence many of us has long forgotten, or never experienced. Thanks Lo for the lovenote….you are a gem.

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  5. >Amen! I agree with all previous comments. This is a great love letter, Sistah Lo – thank u! Greatly needed boost for me, as much of my life seems to echo: "He may not come when u call – but He's ALWAYS on TIME!"

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  6. >WillieD, I can only imagine what sort of backdrop the best summer of your life would have. I'm guessing your tale would begin something like this…"Me and a United Nations of nubile babes—each carefully handpicked that glorious UCLA afternoon from a bumper crop of early admission freshmen—were crammed into my trusty white Beetle, boards strapped to the top, heading west on Sunset to the sea…"(I know the sentence is off to a grammatically incorrect start, but I deliberately broke form, opting for style over the exact rule. That last part was way too easy. I could definitely see Steely Dan being your soundtrack for a moment like this, but then, of course, that's my version of you.)I'm just bursting with glee that so many of you appreciate this post. I've been rooting for this book, the author, and Jen from the beginning, as this is one of the ultimate examples, to me, of realizing a dream.I'd love to see you guys write in at summerattiffany@harpercollins.com about your best summer. I think it would be so much fun and would definitely exercise those creative chops. Sometimes it's just fun to remember the past. Juan G., like you, I love those old movies with Automats—the food setup in those endless rows of compartments always fascinated me. The Best of Everything is one of my all-time favorite movies, as it captures this era perfectly. That is what I love about books and films from this period, Rich…the nostalgia of a time gone by, the innocence, the gloriousness of style (everyone dressed to the nines back then—matching hats, gloves, purses, shoes)…there was just so much flourish. It was all so lovely.

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  7. >thanks for the post lo… i think i'm gonna "walk the grounds" this weekend by stopping by tiffany's. i've passed by it many times, but never ventured into building. i'm sure it's reminiscent of macy's on 34th street. as soon as you walk inside, it's like time travel to a movie set of the 50'sinspirational indeed! hey willied, lemme know when you're coming to nyc. trust me, this whole city is like one large movie set. the village vanguard, the blue note. when the jazz musicians roll through to play at these venues, they have to step their game up to the highest level. places like those as well as the apollo theatre brings out the best in you.

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  8. >Lo, HARDLY! But I will say I remember vividly that first day on campus at UCLA back in the Disco Era (ha! Dating myself!). I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Coming from the University of Washington campus where females wore hiking boots (no, not Timberland's, but bigass honkin' climbing boots), and down parkas that made them look like Sasquatches – My eyes fell upon hordes of volleyball playin', Chemin a Faire jeans, halter-top, and F**k Me Pump wearin' young blondes with cobalt blue eyes…. almost made me wanna date a white girl! But I chose a knockout from Costa Rica named Roxanna Mora – when she stepped onto Venice beach in the tiniest bikini they made back in pre-thong days, rollerbladers crashed into each other!

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  9. >ROFL, WillieD!!!! The Sasquatches are HILARIOUS!!!!Okay, Lo Zoners, you see what WillieD just did there? That account he just made (even though it's not of his best summer ever)? Those are the kinds of candid accounts you should submit to HarperCollins. Go for it. At the very least, it will be cathartic and fun to look back.And best of all……YOU'LL GET A FREE BOOK!!!(WillieD, I think I remember you telling me about Roxanna. A tad feisty and volatile, wasn't she?)

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  10. >A tad feisty? Are you kiding? I learned my lesson with Latin women back then! And they talk about black women having a temper! After a year of living with Roxanna, I lost the damage deposit on the apartment because of all the gouges in the wall from the flying pots, pans, shoes, bottles, furniture….. and she never even caught me with another woman!

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  11. >Lance, I moved to New York one May in the '80's (that's as specific as I wanna be!) and went into the Goldman Sachs training program. I lived there for a year in Cobble Hill down in Brooklyn Heights. Now THAT summer may have been my best ever! Yes, I did Harlem, the Village and evrything in between! Concerts, Ballet, Opera, touring companies from Europe and Asia… Every Friday afternoon we went down to the Cashier's Office on the 3rd Floor at 55 Broad Street (Goldman's HQ at 85 Broad wasn't even built then), and the lady in the Cage would hand us an envelope. It had $250 in cash in it! Never hit a W-2 form or anything… it never happened! But I spent nearly every nickel on Tickets (and refreshments!). I rode that Broadway line Uptown nearly every night! Saw acts like Run DMC as well as The Bolshoi Ballet! Only in New York. One Sunday afternoon I arrived at an Alvin Ailey performance, and the lady I met up with to attend the performance pointed out the makeup on my shirt collar from the night before…. Yes, that was quite a summer!

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  12. >Actually, this past summer may have been my best! Book-ended by a week Surfing in southern El Salvador in June that saw the best surf in Central America in over 20 years, and a week at Burning Man outside Reno, NV in August. Then topped off with three days at the Four Seasons hotel in Vegas over Labor Day weekend. Spent the entire first day at the Spa (to get the dust out of my hair and the dirt from under my toenails!), then dinner at Michael Mina and a Mary J. Blige concert at the MGM Grand! I've seen MJB four times, and she sings her heart out every time, no matter what! But still, back in the 80's, that $250 a week went a long way… no matter how much coin I drop or how far I travel, it would be hard to top New York back then!

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  13. >Thank you Lo for honoring Marjorie Hart's big day, and thank you to everyone who took the time to read about Marjorie Hart and cheer on the story that has lived inside of her heart since 1945–when her best friend Marty lead her headlong into the adventure of a lifetime. Its truly been such a gift to me to both meet Marjorie (51 years my senior) and to publish her book.And the other great gift of course is publishing Lolita Files (and the faith, support, and friendship that comes with that honor) and the birth and endurance of The Lo Zone. With gratitude,Jen

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  14. >Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. It is people like Marjorie Hart, who refuse to let their dreams wash up on the shore, that gives me the inspiration that I need to continue pursuing my passion. Age is definitely just a number. *Shameless plug* If anyone is interested, please check out my website @ http://www.jewellsavenue.com. I have the first chapter to my debut novel posted for review. Hope I haven't stepped out of line. I'm fairly new around here.

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  15. >You haven't stepped out line, Jewells. Shameless plugs are welcome. We're all one big family around here. I'm sure many of us will be checking out the chapter on your website. Congratulations on your debut novel, and welcome to The Lo Zone!!!

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