'I have no business praising myself to you. But who can I trust to do it for me?'
-- Marcel Proust
Like many writers — and many other people, I suspect — I focus intensely on what I’m doing today and don’t spend time looking back. But the days add up. And over the years — okay, the decades — it turns out that I’ve got a lot of lines in the yearbook of life.
The writing here collects journalism and books. The subjects vary. Wildly. “Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window,” F. Scott Fitzgerald writes in “The Great Gatsby.” But although I’ve read “Gatsby” a number of times, the line didn’t register — I never found a niche as a writer and stayed there. I’m a generalist. I bounce around, writing about whatever interests me. And I’ve generally worked on more than one project at once.
This site is a partial anthology of my work. There’s a lot that isn’t here, because I started writing for a New York newspaper when I was 16 and a national magazine when I was 19 and I wrote some pieces to support a book I published when I was 22 and then I became a free-lance journalist — and all of that was decades before there were computers or the Internet. So the Greatest Hits you’ll find here all have links.
Along the way, I wrote or collaborated on 14 books. I wrote or collaborated on a dozen screenplays; I’ve written for Paul Newman, Robert De Niro, ABC, PBS, and Warner Bros.
After stints at The New York Times Magazine, New York and Vanity Fair, I discovered the Internet. In 1997, a few months after I co-founded bookreporter.com, I was asked to become editorial director of America Online. I learned a lot, helped create a ton of great programming, and left in 2003, eager to return to books and scripts.
Well, not entirely. I launched Head Butler in 2004 as a cultural concierge “for people with more taste than time.” I thought I’d write a few hundred reviews and move on; 2,000 reviews later, I still enjoy sharing my favorite books, music and products four days a week. And I still dabble in journalism, for Salon.com, Buzzfeed, and Elle Decor.
But… most days you’ll find me collecting copyrights.
That means theater.
A few years ago, I read a story about the chapel in Vence, France that was Henri Matisse’s gift to a nun who had been his nurse — a love story, hidden in plain sight, ignored by dramatists. The Color of Light had its Equity premiere in 2019.
And that means fiction.
In 2015, I published Married Sex: A Love Story, which was quickly snapped up for a film. That didn’t happen; a streaming series might.
I found another great story hidden in plain sight: the romance of John F. Kennedy and Mary Pinchot Meyer. In the second year of his Presidency, these old friends launched an affair that ignited into a deeper connection. A year after Kennedy was killed, as Mary took her daily noon walk along a canal in Georgetown, she was shot, execution-style. She’d kept a diary. Her family burned it. I read a hundred books, noted every White House event Mary attended, and considered what their romance might have been like. And then I reimagined Mary’s diary, writing a love story that is also a thriller. To read an excerpt, reviews, blurbs and to buy “JFK and Mary Meyer: A Love Story,” click here.