Friday, September 9, 2011

Full Disclosure

Not long after Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret was published I got a call asking me to write a new edition of a booklet called Growing Up and Liking It. This was to be an educational booklet, preparing girls for the big day when they, too, would get their periods. I was offered $5,000 to write it. A small fortune to me in the early 70's. Five times as much as my advance for the book!

I didn't have a clue how to make this booklet fun without making fun of it, but I took my assignment seriously. I came up with the idea of three friends, Patty, Donna, and Ginny, who write letters to each other. (Any of you remember?) I gave one of them gerbils to add interest to the story but, alas, gerbils were vetoed by the male execs (or so I was told) for being too rodent-like. They strongly suggested changing gerbils to kittens. Also, they didn't want anything icky about periods. The ick factor was not acceptable.

Bless my first agents, who made sure my name would never appear on the booklet or in any connection with the booklets. But, recently, when I came across a website from the Museum of Menstruation featuring covers from the various editions of Growing Up and Liking It I decided it was time to come clean.

I was especially tickled by an editor of the website who says of the booklet:

I thought it was a wooden version of Judy Blume's famous book Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.... but I think the writer(s) had a tin ear for what passes between girls of that age - at least that is how it appears to this non-expert in girls' conversation.
Oops! I guess this proves I can't write to order.

I've never endorsed any product (though, personally, I loved those modess....because ads -- pictured left --so elegant!) But recently I've been getting invitations to write something on the subject of menopause, featuring Margaret and her friends forty years later. Margaret, menopausal? I don't think so. Maybe Patty, Donna, and Ginny are menopausal now, but to me Margaret will always be 12.