Divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood
June 27, 2002
Ann Landers fans, don’t fear the reaper.
The void created by her death Saturday at age 83 may be filled by two unlikely sources. A few days before Miss Landers went to that great kaffeeklatsch in the sky, I came upon the startling news that Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson and Amy Fisher, the Long Island Lolita, had been invited to write columns. Anderson’s will appear in Jane magazine and Fisher will be featured in The New Island Ear, a Long Island, N.Y., newspaper.
Beginning in September, Anderson will write a monthly column called “Pam Honestly.” Had it been me, I would have opted for “Dear Pam Anderson” because it has a nice ring to it like “Dear Ann Landers.”
Amy Fisher’s column will be called “Amy Fisher.” Again, I am critical. In the tradition of O. Henry, that fine jailhouse scribe, why not O. Amy? Oh, well.
Fisher’s first assignment is an account of her life after prison where she spent seven years for shooting Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the head. (Mary Jo survived, forgave Amy and lobbied to get her out of prison). Amy is now a 28-year-old single mother.
I found the first paragraph on the newspaper’s Web site.
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“There I was, sitting in class, proud of myself for trying to put my life together and become a benefit to society instead of a pariah. I was 24 and reinventing myself in college with a new name and a different look. It was great to be in this atmosphere, working toward my degree, among 18-year-olds who were on schedule with their lives. They didn’t know who I was; they were just kids back when my face was all over the news…”
If you are as riveted as I was, the rest will be available Friday at http://www.islandear.com. Robbie Wiliver, editor of the Ear called Fisher “a natural writer.” Her column, he said, will cover a wide variety of topics from cyberdating to celebrity interviews
According to Jane Pratt, editor of Jane magazine, Pamela Anderson “has a very open and honest writing style that I know our readers will be able to relate to.”
The 34-year-old Anderson was unhappy with a Jane profile and decided she could do a better job herself. She was so “chock full of ideas” that the magazine asked her to be a monthly contributor, Pratt said.
Apparently Anderson is chock full of other stuff, too, as she disclosed in March that she has hepatitis C. No doubt she will also be writing about her two little boys with ex-husband Tommy Lee of Motley Crue and her upcoming nuptials to rap-rocker Kid Rock. I anticipate Anderson bringing new meaning to Ann’s familiar “10 lashes with a wet noodle.”
I would like to point out to Pam and Amy that column-writing is not as easy as it looks. If Ann were here, I know she would want me to share tricks of the trade.
First of all, your critics will think you got the job because of your looks. This happens to me all the time. Readers, don’t hate us because we are beautiful. How to handle it? Let your writing speak for you. Prove you are more than just a pretty face.
Write about things you have in common with your readers, like kids and pets and that lady you shot twice in the head when you were 16 because you were having an affair with her husband.
Poke fun at yourself occasionally. Everybody enjoys a good laugh, especially if it’s at your own expense.
Be prepared to have your copy edited. The phrase or paragraph you liked the best can disappear faster than you can spell “delete.” (But here’s what I like to do and it’s easy with the computer. If my editor, Barry Smith, takes something out, I put it right back. He rarely remembers. Journalists have very short attention spans. That’s why we’re not brain surgeons. Wait a minute, does he change it again?)
Buy a good Webster’s and learn how to use it. Do not trust the computer dictionary. A few weeks ago, I was responsible for a little item that included “spelling be.” It sailed right through the spell check And, as Amy knows, Buttafuoco can get you in a lot of trouble.
Stick to subjects you know. The columns are more likely to be “When Botox Goes Bad” or “Beauty Tips After Your Husband’s Ex-Girlfriend Shoots You Twice in the Head.” But as Ann would say, “Suspicious in Sparks” and “Loveless in Lovelock” are just going to have to wake up and smell the coffee.
Sheila Gardner is night desk editor of the Nevada Appeal.
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