How (Not) to Make an Impression

English 112 was supposed to be an easy A for me.

I’ve tutored students through English 112, for goodness sakes.  Babies. Children. Humans half my age and with none of my experience.

So, naturally, English 112 has been kicking my wordcrafting booty in the best sort of way.  I might even share my “impeccably researched” (thank you very much) APA formatted (have mercy) paper for your amusement or sleep aid.

As part of the assignment for that paper, we — the ostensibly starry-eyed freshmen for whom English 112 is primarily intended — were supposed to interview a Person in Our Field.

Well.  Um. So, here’s the thing, I’m forty-six and I don’t know what my field is?  (Deliberate tumblr-esque question mark of uncertainty.)

I thought about taking the safe route and writing about education — my made-up career for the last two decades.  I am surrounded by professional (not made-up) educators. I could have had not only an interview, but an entire panel!

Of course, I didn’t do that.

I decided to write about the field I *want* to be in.  (Though, to be honest, as I sit here buzzed on Benadryl and coated in hydrocortisone cream, I will be in pretty much any field as long as it doesn’t contain chiggers.  But I [scratch, scratch] digress.)

I wrote about writing.  As you do.

I needed an interview.  I pondered . . . I contemplated interviewing the one writer I know in real life and rejected the idea because ugh.  We talk about writing like some women talk about wine or — or — shoes! Making it an assignment — nah. I contemplated interviewing any one of several absolutely fabulous fan fiction writers that I follow but . . . how to explain that I don’t know their actual names, where they live, or whether or not they’ve published anything (because odds are good that they have, but that’s not going to be revealed because that’s just not the way it works)?  Also, there’s . . . okay, there’s a lot about fan fiction that doesn’t belong in an academic paper. Just back away from the idea slowly, and no one will get hurt.

Then, eureka — I remembered last spring, I participated in a poetry event and the author / editor /  publisher said nice things about one of my poems.  (Having nice things said about your work is like crack to a writer.)

Could I?  Maybe? Maybe I could.  Maybe I could interview her.  She would be an awesome person to interview, and also, hey, she’s not only an author but an editor and a publisher.

I sent a message.  On social media.  Asking if I could interview her for my English paper.  Because that’s professional, right?

She answered — and said yes!  

She was every bit as nice as I remembered.  Despite being terribly busy with her trifecta of careers, as well as growing a brand new human, she was engaged and enthusiastic about the project and the opportunity to mentor a new writer and — joy! Happiness!  She provided me with her email address and we discussed the assignment, the poetry marathon, our mutual dislike of Anne. It was glorious.

Eager to prove my fledgling abilities as a writer / journalist / professional wordsmith, I did my research.  My new friend has published under both her maiden and married names. Good catch, right? I do my homework. Obviously, I would want to ask her which name she preferred in the context of the paper.

I emailed to ask her.



I misspelled her name.

I spelled her name incorrectly not once — no, that would have possibly been dismissed as a typo.  No, my humans, I misspelled her name twice.  In the same email.

She was a delightfully wonderful sport about the whole thing but oy vey.  

Did I mention she is a publisher?


::face palm::


Yep.  Makin’ progress with this whole writing thing.