The Sharpened Quill

Caitlin Kelly

Caitlin Kelly
Tarrytown, NY, USA
December 31
non-fiction author/speaker/consultant
Bio Author "Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail" (Portfolio, April 2011), deemed "an excellent memoir" by Entertainment Weekly. Out in paperback July 31, 2012. I also edit other writers' work -- everything from thrillers to business books. Email me for hourly rates; references available.

Caitlin Kelly's Links


This recent think-piece in The New York Times argues that we have:

At home, families sit together, texting and reading e-mail. At work executives text during board meetings. We text (and shop and go on Facebook) during classes and when we’re on dates...

We’ve become accustomed

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APRIL 21, 2012 8:09AM

Ten warning signs you're an adult

My Mortgage Docs to be Reviewed by an Expert
My Mortgage Docs to be Reviewed by an Expert (Photo credit: Casey Serin)

We all know the standard metrics: graduate college, grad school, marry, have kids, acquire property and a vehicle.

I never had kids, so that typical dividing line into Maturity escaped me.

But for… Read full post »

One of my close friends works at The Toronto Star, and tipped me off to this extraordinary piece of journalism, about a single, childless, non-celebrity 55-year-old Toronto woman named Shelagh Gordon.

The story came about the way the very best stories often do, when a reporter's curiosity was pique… Read full post »

Here we go again.

This time it is Marie Colvin, a woman in her 50s -- both highly unusual features for a war correspondent -- who has died while covering the uprising in Syria. She was killed with a French photographer, Remi Ochlik, when the house they were… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 14, 2012 8:16AM

Healing the heart as well as the body

Havinghad my left hip replaced a week ago, a few thoughts on the inner healing required...

One of the most essential elements of healing a body that has been injured, damaged or ill is to soothe and comfort the psyche, the soul of the person whose corporeal armor… Read full post »

JANUARY 13, 2012 10:05AM

Hell, Yes, I'm Angry! (And Female)

Angry Talk (Comic Style)
Image via Wikipedia

This is a hilarious/sad post, re-posted on the fab American feminist website, from about what happens when women -- gasp! -- get angry:

What struck me was that both Rex and the attorney had delivered ill-timed, emotionally charged information,

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DECEMBER 21, 2011 1:46PM

Decorating The Tree

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree.

I'm sitting right beside our tree as I type this and ooooh it makes me happy!

I love the smell and the temporary presence of a green, tall visitor in the corner. Sitting at the very top are two small bears, one white and… Read full post »

The turkey's done, the pie consumed.
Time to shop!
Here are a few suggestions designed to make life a little less hellish -- and maybe even pleasant -- for both shoppers and those who serve them...
-- Say please and thank you to associates… Read full post »

I think "success" -- beyond the standard metrics of a particular SAT score or getting into the college or grad school of your choice, or winning the game -- is much less linear than we like to think. (Or wish it were.)

My theory? Like opening a safe,… Read full post »

OCTOBER 23, 2011 3:36PM

The Case For Courage

I think courage is, these days, an under-rated quality.

People who encourage us aren't merely hissing "Great job!" for every breath we take.

When we truly need to find our inner strength, we need someone to encourage us -- to breathe some of that holy fire into… Read full post »

Great essay in the Canadian national newspaper, The Globe and Mail:

For many Americans, the recession began well before 2007, and it’s far from over. It’s become a lost decade of fading opportunity for workers, longer and more frequent bouts of joblessness and declining family income

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OCTOBER 7, 2011 9:15AM

Break Some Rules Already!

If there's a phrase that sets my teeth on edge, it's this one:

"But I played by the rules."

This week the world, literally, mourned the untimely death of someone who broke just about any rule he encountered, Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Here's an Apple videoRead full post »

OCTOBER 3, 2011 10:33AM

Is There Life After 50? Define "Life"

It's so cute when young 'uns discover that old folks, (those of us over 40), actually, you know, exist.

From a recent Styles section story in The New York Times , (by my fellow former True/Slant blogger Austin Considine), about a young man, Ari Seth Cohen, whose photographs celebrate elegant and… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 25, 2011 11:26PM

The Allure Of The Elusive

I've wasted a lot of my life chasing things that weren't there for the capturing -- men, jobs, ideas, friends, affection from the wrong people, approval or admiration from those who were happier forgetting my existence.

I suspect I am not alone in my quixotic quest.

There's… Read full post »



There are kids going to college who have no idea how to ---- change a lightbulb?

According to this recent piece in The New York Times, possibly not:

I will end with a bunch of random, yet helpful, tips garnered from a variety

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Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 8, 2011 8:09AM

Why I'm Not Looking At All Those 9/11 Photos

The visual Niagara has begun.

My latest copy of New York magazine arrived, its cover a color photo of the dust cloud after the fall of the Twin Towers. Inside, it offers an alphabet (!?) of all things 9/11, from three men named Michael Lynch who died… Read full post »

If you're fortunate enough to have a steady paid income -- and millions of Americans this year do not -- you are likely enjoying a holiday for Labor Day.

It's an odd word, labor, as we now speak more frequently of work, off-shoring, out-sourcing, downsizing, right-sizing or,… Read full post »

AUGUST 26, 2011 4:35PM

Two Sudden Deaths

His garage was two doors from mine, holding a red mid-size car. He was not a happy man, rarely smiling. His wife was frail. When we passed one another in the hallway or driveway, he almost never said hello.

Last week he came home from work feeling faint. Then… Read full post »

AUGUST 13, 2011 10:22PM

Meeting Your Readers Face To Face

When your books start heading out into the wider world -- bought (paid for!) by libraries, schools and civilians -- it's hard not to be intensely curious about just who these people are.

It's been four months since my second book, "Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail" was published, and… Read full post »

AUGUST 6, 2011 4:47PM

Making A Beautiful Home

I love to putter, paint, make things, design and build bookshelves and windowboxes, find antique frames to hold my drawings and photos.

For me, home is truly where the heart is. When it's calm, clean and pretty, my world is complete.

I planned to leave journalism in… Read full post »

Spending nine days at a Buddhist retreat where the only speech allowed is when we question the lamas and teachers. Otherwise, we are spending the time in what is called Noble Silence.

This is what I hear:

 The humming of fans

Kids' shouting and laughter from the nearby park… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 15, 2011 8:29AM

Little Boy Lost -- And Murdered

It takes a lot to shock New York, but the city and its suburbs are gasping this week in shock, horror and fear at the death and dismemberment of Leiby Kletzky, an eight-year-old boy kidnapped while walking home -- for the first time -- from day camp.

From… Read full post »

JULY 10, 2011 10:57AM

The Sounds Of Summer

I listen to NPR every day -- and they're running a lovely series called Summer Sounds. The one I heard yesterday was "screen door slamming." So true!

Others have included golf, a steel drum and firecrackers.

Some of mine include:

The clang-clang-clang of a metal halyard againstRead full post »

JUNE 8, 2011 11:28AM

What About Their Wives?

Ah-nuld. DSK. Weiner.

What a sad, stupid, nasty trio of egos gone wild. All-id-all-the-time!

For those unaware of the drama, all three have managed to trash their marriages in the tabloids by chasing/attacking/sexually texting women to whom they are not married -- and usually women who are younger or… Read full post »

MAY 22, 2011 7:57PM

A Woman On A Beach, Alone

There's a new poster at Grand Central Station, the terminus for commuter trains into Manhattan, of a woman wrapped tightly in an orange towel.

It's an ad for Hyatt, and it's unusual for several reasons. It shows -- counter-culturally -- and to my delight:

-- a woman alone

--Read full post »