08/30/2013 07:02 pm ET

The Tell-all Memoir I Decided Not To Tell


I read the email between my two teaching periods at the University of Arizona. “Emily,” it said, “we got the offer.”

I was 30, about to finish grad school, and a walking cliché. Soon I’d have a master’s degree in creative writing, and if I didn’t sell the book I’d just written, I had no plan B. My agent’s emails had gotten shorter with every publishing house that turned us down. “From Simon & Schuster: I’m afraid it didn’t grab me with the same intensity all the way through,” had devolved to, “Generic pass from Scribner.” We were both about to give up.

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