Sunday, February 16, 2003

February 16, 2003
A Writing Life

On the corkboard above Beth Ann Bauman's desk, a washed-out photograph hangs from a tack: Ms. Bauman, age 2, stares out at the camera, her blue eyes stubborn and searching, her mouth pressed into a resolute line. "I love how stoic I look," she said, fingering the edge of the picture.

At 38, Ms. Bauman knows something of stoicism. Like so many young men and women over the years, she came to New York to be a writer. For the past decade, she has lived in a West Village studio and worked as an $11-an-hour temp to support herself, barely. She has watched her friends publish books, have babies, buy houses, get tenure.

She has spent her days sending faxes and watering plants for lawyers and junior vice presidents in the city's anonymous office towers, among them the World Trade Center, in a 105th-floor office of Cantor Fitzgerald where she worked until just a few days before the attack of Sept. 11. Her nights were spent at her desk working on draft after draft of stories about funny, smart young women, many of them New Yorkers, in various stages of life.

Finally, those nights have paid off, and Ms. Bauman has become one of those few writers whose labors see daylight. Next month, her first book, a collection of stories titled "Beautiful Girls,'' will be published by MacAdam/Cage, a small San Francisco firm. The stories have been nearly 10 years in the making, a period in which Ms. Bauman has sacrificed much of her social and financial life.

For the rest of this (very long) article on being published for the first time, go to the New York Times:

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