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

JANUARY 1, 2011 12:03PM

Ten Reasons I Love Housework

What else would I be doing at 8:45 a.m. on New Year's Day?

Why, washing our ancient, battered hallway kilim (a flat-weave antique rug) in the bathtub, of course! (No, really....Woolite, warm water, handle gently as wet wool, especially old fibers, is fragile. Think of it as a… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 30, 2010 10:13AM

I'm Booooored!

As reported in The Wall Street Journal, a recent conference was designed to be dull:

Boring 2010 is the handiwork of James Ward, 29 years old, who works for a DVD distribution and production company. In his other life, as the envoy of ennui,

Read full post »
DECEMBER 28, 2010 2:39PM

Who's Your Style Tribe?

As we head into 2011 -- and the publication of my second book, "Malled; My Unintentional Career in Retail" (Portfolio, April 2011) -- I'm seriously re-thinking how I dress, knowing media interviews and speaking events are soon to fill my calendar. As I wrote in the book, a… Read full post »

DECEMBER 24, 2010 2:44PM

Painful Memories? Take This Drug

Would life be better if we could erase our most painful memories?

I can think of many I'd be -- literally -- happier without: two horrible Christmas Eves; the night my ex-husband walked out for good; a few really terrifying and unsuccessful job interviews.

We've all got some,… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 19, 2010 9:17AM

Christmas In A War Zone: Cold, Hungry, Frightened

As we unpacked our Christmas tree ornaments this week, my sweetie, a former photographer for The New York Times, (now an editor there), pulled out a Ziploc bag and handed me a small reddish brown booklet, the length of my middle finger, crumpled and water-stained.

He found it… Read full post »

DECEMBER 17, 2010 8:22AM

Two Christmas Eves: Hell, Heaven

Christmas Eve, Mexico, 1972.

I'm 14, living alone with my mother in a Mexican city. We have no telephone. She is bi-polar and, as the weeks tick down to Christmas and we have bought a small tree and decorated it, she is behaving more and more strangely, clearly headed for a… Read full post »

DECEMBER 12, 2010 8:40AM

An Angel At The Mall

"I'm scared," my mother said last night.

She was on the ward phone in the hospital in a faraway city where she has been for the past three weeks, now facing bowel surgery.

There isn't much very comforting or helpful one can do, from a distance, to soothe fear.

I… Read full post »

DECEMBER 10, 2010 11:09AM

Galleys: When Your Book Finally Feels Real

A package landed on our doorstep two days ago. Galleys!

These are the first real proof that all those pages and pages and pages you cranked out of your printer -- and your weary head -- are actually going to make it into bookstores. They are softcover versions of the book-to-be,… Read full post »

Go see this movie. Right now!

"Inside Job" is a film that is so utterly horrifying, so enraging, so depressing that you can't leave the theater unmoved.

Nor can you shrug it off as "just a movie."

This amazing documentary, all two hours of talking heads and graphs,… Read full post »

DECEMBER 4, 2010 10:01AM

You Want A Job?

Dream on!

The latest unemployment figures are as dismal as ever, at more than 9 percent.

The New York Times, in a depressingly accurate occasional series called "The New Poor", discussed the long-term wear and tear of prolonged unemployment this week:

It does not help when job seekers areRead full post »

Here is a new slide show on The New York Times' photo blog, Lens, of the images up to the moment that Joao Silva, one of the world's top war photographers kept shooting -- and stepped on a land mine.

He lost both his legs. He is… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 29, 2010 8:51AM

Life, Modified

I went for a bike ride yesterday -- for the first time in almost a year. My bike felt like a dear old friend neglected, waiting patiently in the garage.

Thanks to my "severely degenerative" arthritic left hip, now with dead bone in it to boot, I've had to cut out… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 26, 2010 7:37AM

Feeling Foreign

This weekend will rouse a projected 138 million Americans from Thanksgiving day food comas to their favorite aerobic actvity, shopping.

These collective national frenzies take some getting used to.

I've started to read blogs written by other women living outside their home countries -- two from OS… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 23, 2010 3:10PM

The Man To Whom I'm Most Grateful

He's someone you've likely never heard of, although he's a well-known and beloved figure in his native France. I dedicated my first book to him and include him -- more than 25 years dead -- in my second book's acknowledgements.

Philippe Viannay, (the photo here of him is one I took), … Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 21, 2010 8:35PM

Ten Ways To Be A Great Holiday Host

Being invited to someone's home -- as many of us will soon be for the holidays, whether for a party, a meal or a few days -- is supposed to be a wonderful thing, a gesture of affection and hospitality. As we all know, it can also lead… Read full post »

Guests approaching!

With the holidays almost here, many of us will soon become guests -- while nervous hosts everywhere hope for the best.

As someone who's (whew!) been called a great guest and (score!) stayed many times with the same friends, even sharing fairly small homes with one bathroom, a… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 17, 2010 8:53AM

Nice Gals Finish Last -- Financially

Here's a cheery reminder from a Globe and Mail story -- Canada's national daily -- that women are screwed financially in old age if they devote their midlife time and resources, as many now do, to caregiving.

I've spent much of my workdays, (which is my only source of income as… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 15, 2010 8:36AM

When Middle Class = Struggling

Here's another grim report on what's happening to the middle class in the U.S. -- sliding beneath the waves.

From the New York Post:

She’s $16,000 in debt to credit card companies. One of her local grocers, who once let her buy food on a running tab, now hasRead full post »

NOVEMBER 13, 2010 7:59AM

The Pleasure Of A Four Hour Lunch

I finally ate yesterday at the Standard Grill, one of Manhattan's trendiest restaurants -- the scene at the front door a dazzling blur of entitlement, of leopard coats and Goyard handbags and great jewelry and the set jaw of the people who expect everything now having to actually wait a few… Read full post »

This piece ran last year on True/Slant, a website since sold to Forbes.

In honor of Veterans' Day, I'm reprinting it:

No one in my Canadian family served in World War II, so why did I end up in a wet, green field in Normandy, weeping uncontrollably at the… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 8, 2010 8:36PM

What Three Months On Crutches Taught Me

Today was my first day, literally, on my own two feet since August 8.

I've been relying on a pair of amazing short crutches that I bought for $200 on-line. They are light, strong, comfortable and made those three months as easy as they could possibly have been. You can… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 6, 2010 10:27AM

No Kids? No Problem

Here's another salvo in the mommy wars, from writer Erica Jong, in today's Wall Street Journal:

Unless you've been living on another planet, you know that we have endured an orgy of motherphilia for at least the last two decades. Movie stars proudly display their baby bumps, and theRead full post »

NOVEMBER 4, 2010 10:49PM

Fresh Eyes Needed!


As I type this, my old friend Sally is sitting reading my book manuscript, racing to get to the end of its 210 pages before we drive back to New York tomorrow morning from her home in central Ontario.

She keeps finding things to change!

This, even after careful… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 3, 2010 10:27AM

Balance, Schmalance

In a time and place when millions are out of work and others working for minimum wage with no paid sick or vacation days, balance is a joke. Long commutes add an hour to two to three to the workday.

The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper, is devoting this… Read full post »

OCTOBER 31, 2010 4:19PM

On The Desperate Need To Not Write

When you lie in bed -- seriously -- and are blogging in your dreams, and writing the headline.

I'm in northern Ontario for the moment, staring as I write this out the window at pine trees overlooking a lake. Two grizzled black dogs snooze on their beds. The… Read full post »