“How to Become a Publicist”
“How to Become a Publicist” first appeared in Jessica Francis Kane’s debut collection, Bending Heaven (Counterpoint Press). Several of those stories appear in, This Close, her collection published by Graywolf Press. Kane’s first novel, The Report, was a finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction. Her stories have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s, Narrative, Granta.com, and other journals.
Kane said this about her story: I wrote the first draft of “How to Become a Publicist” very quickly the year I left publishing, moved to London, and gave myself a chance to write full-time for a few months. Five years earlier, after my college graduation, I had gone to New York, tried to get a job as an editorial assistant, and wound up as a publicity assistant instead. The story is fairly autobiographical, and it was the first story I ever wrote in first person. It was originally in second person, as a poor imitation of the stories in Lorrie Moore’s Self-Help, and because it made me feel like I was talking to myself instead of writing a story about myself. That version didn’t work, but it made me realize I had some material I thought both poignant and a little bit funny.
When I was brave enough to switch the perspective, I learned that just because a story is in first person doesn’t mean it’s your voice. A revelation! Some of the events really happened, but the sensibility does not belong entirely to me. It was my second published story, and I happened to be in Avignonwith my husband when I checked my email and learned The Missouri Review had accepted it. What a great day that was. It appeared in their Fall 2000 issue.