Funny about being sick—I find myself more interested in everyday life than in anything supernatural. And yet, ghosts are still wandering through our lives. For instance, a ghost has turned up to help my maid for two weeks in a row. She’s a nice assistant, but she’s nobody I ever knew. At least, I don’t recognize her. Obviously, she can’t do much, but she’s there anyway.

In order to prepare Whitley for writing a new series of books, which is partly my idea, I am reading a book by one of the world’s most famous editors, Michael Korda, so we’ll both know better what publishers are looking for. Of course, we do know a certain amount about this, but the idea is very new, so we need to understand how it will fit in. The book, Another Life, is about his experiences at Simon and Schuster. Many years ago, Whitley had a book there edited by a woman called Patricia Soliman, who had a hard time at the company, as many editors apparently have. But not Korda. He seems to have thrived, and the only way you thrive as an editor is if you make money for the publisher, so his ideas are important.
However, his stories are hilarious, and one of them reminds me of so much we went through in our days in New York, going to sometimes lavish parties that were not always what they seemed. He edited Jacqueline Susann, the author of Valley of the Dolls, which was one of the first really gigantic sellers in the history of publishing.

There was a party thrown at the American Booksellers Association to promote her book the Love Machine during which she was nearly set on fire by drunken booksellers lighting tissue paper favors on fire, and a publicist slipped and fell into an enormous cake intended to celebrate the book. Susann had been responsible for the cake, the party favors, and gigantic drinks that had gotten all the booksellers drunk.

Simon and Schuster was not happy, and she invited Korda to dinner at a Manhattan restaurant to make amends. At the dinner, she commented that his watch was rather tacky, and insisted that he accept a Cartier from her. He finally did, but the next day it turned out that he was supposed to buy the watch himself. The ‘gift’ hadn’t been a gift at all, but merely a suggestion.

We have so many wild publishing stories ourselves, I love reading them, and Korda’s are especially good. So is his advice: don’t write what you know about, write what you care about. It makes a great deal of sense to me, and I’m hoping that our new venture is going to be exactly that: something we both care deeply about…but which is also lots of fun to read.

This is my life now, working with Whitley in a new and deeper way, seeing ghosts, battling illness. It all seems very precious, even holy in a way. Despite all the hardship that has come my way, I’m having a wonderful time.

I had a wonderful time talking about ghosts on Dreamland with Echo Bodine. If you’re a subscriber, you can listen.

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  1. So nice to read your latest
    So nice to read your latest entry, Anne!
    You are in my thoughts, and I wish you all good things.

  2. Anne, I really enjoy your
    Anne, I really enjoy your eloquence, wisdom, and open-hearted unassumingness. It was so good to hear your voice on the latest Dreamland. I’m thinking of you and wishing you and Whitley all the continued benefits of your great shared gifts of presence and openness. May you be happy.

  3. I agree with both above posts
    I agree with both above posts – so very good to hear you last week, and read this new post. Anne, you are dear to our hearts…family. Thank you for being who you are… a real gift with a wonderful sense of humor and of what really matters.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  4. Really enjoyed your recent
    Really enjoyed your recent post. I also agree with the above posts. Thank you for your honesty and humor : ) . Sending love and hugs. Wish you well! Blessings!

  5. You are in my prayers. Be
    You are in my prayers. Be well!

  6. Dear Anne,
    Rock on!

    Dear Anne,

    Rock on!

  7. All the absolute best and
    All the absolute best and love to you, Anne.

    I have never met you or Whitley, but have been ‘with’ you since Communion, and have developed a real affection for you both. With love …

  8. Great post Anne! Thank you
    Great post Anne! Thank you for writing it!

  9. Anne ~ after working as a
    Anne ~ after working as a housecleaner for two years some time ago, I can affirm that all of us could use a ghost helper in that respect! Makes me smile…. I second the post mentioning how wonderful it was to hear your voice again on Dreamland. Both you and Whitely are treasures and we are blessed by your warmth, communicativeness, and insights. Looking forward to your new writing adventure when it becomes available.

  10. Hi Anne~ Thanks for letting
    Hi Anne~ Thanks for letting us share in your journey. I can’t wait to read your new writing, inspired by Michael Korda’s insights. I’m also relieved that you’re having such a great time adventuring through your health challenges. Hearing your attitude and spirit in which you face life is like a breath of fresh air–may all the happy, curious and adventurous ghosts that are out and about this month, bring you beautiful, hilarious and surprising gifts you can treasure.

  11. God bless you and my best
    God bless you and my best wishes for both of you.

  12. Dear Anne,
    Your journey is a

    Dear Anne,
    Your journey is a remarkable one and we are privileged that you share any of it with us, the “public”. Your comments on editing got me thinking about how we “edit” – often reflexively – possibilities from our lives instead of making room to explore them. So much of what we do in life is “mandatory” that we may begin to edit our own inclinations, interests, and instincts as though they were distractions rather than signposts that could lead us toward spiritual growth. But we can also “edit” from the other direction: assuming that mundane things are a distraction from the spiritual path when in fact they are opportunities to deepen our mindfulness of what we are doing in each moment. Perhaps you have expended so much energy on spiritual development that a balancing of the scales is being offered to you in the guise of “everyday life”. Whatever the case, I hope you immerse yourself in every nano-second and experience great depths of joy!

  13. Anne – I love hearing from
    Anne – I love hearing from you. You and Whitley are wonderful storytellers. Please consider putting a book together with stories like these. I think it would be a big hit!

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