Dear Man in White Suit,

Of course I knew who you were, but you did not know me.  I was just a young writer crying in the Amtrak waiting room at Penn Station, rejected by her agent, watching the melting snow stain my suede boots.

You did not have my problems. You were published. You were famous. You had spats.

I had just been told, after toiling over a novel for two years, a manuscript my agent had approved chapter by chapter, that she didn’t like what she had “approved”. That my first novel should really have a character closer to my own persona.

Write what you know? Please. How cliche. How trite. How asinine that I took the Acela, thinking we’d be celebrating with champagne.

But the Acela is what led me to you, Tom Wolfe. Who sat near me in the station and offered me a kind smile.

I didn’t speak, didn’t dare ask you for advice through my tears. I feared the way my day was going, you would say something even more banal, like “show, don’t tell!”

The White Suit, however, was the ultimate show.

Because on the train home, my heartbreak turned to fury.  “I hate her” turned into “I’ll show her.” I came up with a new plot based on my own flaws and secrets.  I wrote it in a fever. It nabbed me a new agent who sold it in an auction in ten days.

Because I was smiled on by angel. An angel in a white suit.


Woman in a Black Suit