Ginny Hoyle
How to Breathe

Ginny Hoyle - How to Breathe

Contest - 2nd Place
Ginny Hoyle’s work has appeared in Copper Nickel, MARGIE, Pilgrimage, Wazee and elsewhere. She collaborates with Colorado artist Judy Anderson… Read more »
Shirley Fergenson
How to Leave a Garden

Shirley Fergenson - How to Leave a Garden

Contest - 3rd Place
Shirley Fergenson is the literary fiction specialist at The Ivy Bookshop. This piece is part of a collection of linked… Read more »
Diana Spechler
How to Love a Telemarketer

Diana Spechler - How to Love a Telemarketer

Contest - 1st Place
Diana Spechler is the author of the novels Who by Fire and Skinny. She has written for The New York… Read more »

How to Love a Telemarketer

Diana Spechler

Be lonely. Be lonely as only an eighteen-year-old in a college dorm can be. At night, watch circles of girls eat pizza on the floor. Watch girls in tank tops and underpants shave their legs together at the sinks. Watch those girls join sororities for which you lack sufficient hygiene and social skills. Shave your legs alone. Bleed as though you’re lying on a Civil War battlefield. Cry and call your mom. “Ouch,” tell her.

Let go of your fantasy: You will not be best friends with your roommate. Your braces-wearing roommate from the Colorado-Utah border does not need friends because she has a twenty-three-year-old boyfriend who visits her in his UPS uniform. She burns so much incense, you experience life with her through a cloud. She blasts Enigma, the least enigmatic band of the 1990s: Love. Devotion. Feeling. Emotion.


Answer the phone in your dorm room one afternoon when you have nothing to do. Any afternoon, really. The telemarketer wants to sell you a long-distance plan. Tell yourself his deep voice is sexy. Later, tell everyone who will listen, “His voice was so sexy, I bought his long-distance plan.” But you’re too young to understand… Read more »