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.
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?
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.
Marjorie and her best friend Marty at the beach in the 40’s.
A woman working the sales counter at Tiffany’s, circa 1945.
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.
“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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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?“