ABOUT LORRIE BODGER
I was raised in a small town in northern New Jersey, never doubting that I’d grow up to be a visual artist: I went to children’s art classes at MoMA, teenagers’ classes at the Art Students League in Manhattan, then to art school at Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. My plan was to do well in a hot NYC graphic design office and spend the rest of my time painting.
But a year into my very first nine-to-five design job I had the freelance opportunity to co-author a craft book, and I began to have an inkling that I wasn’t cut out for office life. Besides, books were fun; I loved books. After a second craft book and a second futile attempt at 9-2-5, I chose self-employment and plunged into making a living in book publishing.
Publishing was a different world back in the 1970s: if you were reliable, organized, reasonably talented, and you had some good ideas, you could find an agent and a publisher without too much difficulty. I wrote more craft books, then some cookbooks, then “list” books (like 511 Things Only Women Understand), and finally I graduated to Eater’s Digest, a collection of short nonfiction articles about food. (My published books now total more than thirty, and my publishers include Clarkson Potter; Andrews McMeel; St. Martin’s; Stewart, Tabori & Chang; Simon & Schuster; Harmony Books; Warner Books; Sedgewood Press; Universe Books.)
During most of those years I was juggling: spending a lot of hours writing and doing private editing in the not-quite-Soho apartment my husband and I rented, and the rest of my time painting in my Union Square studio. It took me much too long to face the fact that I’d become more involved with words than images—that I’d become a writer. I let go of my studio and changed my life.
- I stopped thinking of myself as anything but a full-time writer.
- I started to write fiction in addition to nonfiction—a collection of short stories and a novel, for starters.
- I focused my editing business on fiction, since that’s what I love most, taking on an occasional book of creative nonfiction when I was enthusiastic about the project and the writer.
- And, when invited more than three years ago, I began to lead and teach a very special women’s writing group.
Working with this group was the genesis of The Book Under Her Bed. Many of the pieces I’ll be posting will reflect what I’ve learned about teaching writing and about helping writers move their ideas—essays, memoirs, short stories, novels—out of their heads and onto the page.