I’m a Nationally-Recognized, For-Real Writer (Sorta)

Filed under bigtime celebrity, narcissism, readin' and writin', why i'm better than everyone else

Clearly I don’t brag about myself enough here, because I never told you that I totally won an extremely important and incredibly lucrative writing contest earlier this year. The contest was sponsored by the Gotham Writers’ Workshop here in NYC, and the idea of it was to submit a memoir made up of only six words.

Their example was a famous one by Hemingway that says,

“For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Ohhhhhhh, it tugs on your heartstrings, doesn’t it? My boyfriend Kamran’s friend Mike told us about the contest and offered up,

“I should have asked her age,”

to which Kamran replied,

“And then I got crabs again,”

and while I thought those were both brilliant, I went a much more serious route and submitted,

“I’ll never know mom’s meatloaf recipe.”

I didn’t actually expect to be chosen, of course, because I thought it was only meaningful to me. This is sort of embarrassing, but I’d been having a deep hankerin’ for meatloaf around that time, and my mom’s was so much better than any I’ve had since, and I’d kill to make it just like she did. But of course she’s been dead eight years now, and of course I can’t remember exactly what she put in it, and of course my dad isn’t any help in the matter. And thinking about the empty hole in my stomach where that meatloaf should be made me think about all the empty holes in me that parts of her should be filling, and so I entered the contest.

Weeks later, I received an e-mail from the Writers’ Workshop that said,

Here’s a writing contest update from the co-editors of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.

Dear Gotham Writers,

Thank you so much for taking the time to enter our Six-Word Memoir Writing Contest. You guys crafted some amazing submissions, and choosing a winner was extremely tough (when we compiled Not Quite What I Was Planning, a least we got to choose 832!)

But, this time around, the winner is….

I’ll never know mom’s meatloaf recipe.
by Kathleen Ett of Brooklyn, NY


The “but, this time around” dashed my hopes, but then I realized that this was a mass e-mail and that the but was intended for everyone BUT me! So evidently the judges got the implicit meaning, even if the explicit words themselves were sorta lame.

And my prize? Well, absolutely nothing. But it looks like I’ll be published in the sequel to the original six-word memoir book, and that’s pret-ty rad. Plus, my name is all up in lights on the results page at the Gotham website. Neat, huh?

The interesting thing is that this was the same week I found out I was going to be in an issue of Time Out New York (and more on that here, for posterity) and that I’d gotten a part in an upcoming Meryl Streep/Amy Adams film. I guess good things really do come in threes.


  1. caropal says:

    Dude! You’re going to be PUBLISHED! Published-published, too, and not just how we all are via The Internets. That’s incredible!

    Don’t think of this as the last of three – think of this as the first of many. I’m really happy for you, Katie.

    In other news, I never realized your name was Kathleen. I had always simply assumed that it was Katherine. Huh.

    • Oh, didn’t you know?–I’ve already compiled all of your LJ entries into a book and sold them off to Random House. You’re being published later this year. With full-color pictures. Including the nude, friends-only ones. But HEY, thanks!

      I’m glad you know better now about my name. It makes me seem like an entirely different person, right? RIGHT?

  2. Karinya says:

    Congratulations! That’s great!

    And on a different note, I lost my mom when I was ten, and have those “meatloaf moments” all the damn time. I think that’s a good name for that feeling.

    • Thank you!

      I was telling Kamran last night how much I love the phrase you came up with and asked him if he thought we should edit a book called Meatloaf Moments that’s filled with stories about those times when you realize you’re missing out on something that parented people aren’t. What do you think?

  3. shawn says:

    Hi, I am a new reader. I adore you and your writing!

    I am not a creep.

    • I really enjoy that you think you have to tell me you’re not a creep, as if I’m the type of girl who gets so many compliments that she can judge who’s complimenting her. I have friends who are like, “I can’t believe that old guy just smiled at me! Who does he think he is?”, while I’m like, “Where? Did he smile at me, too?! Let’s go talk to him.” That’s embarrassing.

      Anyway, thanks! I’m glad you introduced yourself.

  4. shawn says:

    Oh yeah, duh… the whole reason I wanted to write this is because I lost my mom 12yrs ago and my recipe was her “stew” I finally found it LAST year, and it was the sweetest saddest stew I have ever had!

    • This totally reminds me of that book Tear Soup from my days working in the children’s department of Barnes & Noble, though I wouldn’t actually recommend that you read the book, since it’s laaaaaame.

      I’m so jealous of you, though! There’s restaurant here that advertises its meatloaf as “better than mom’s on her best day” or something to that effect, and I scoff at that. If you happen to find my mom’s recipe where you found your mom’s, please let me know.

  5. Donna K says:

    That’s awesome!

    Congratulations, and stuff. :)

  6. Nicole M says:

    Bittersweet congrats.

    You put into words the exact feeling I have about my mom’s food. It isn’t the same when someone else makes it.

  7. Charles "IT Guy" Robinson says:

    you are uuhh–may–zing!

    Now that you are writing & acting I guess I won’t see you dancing at the Hustler club & Scores anymore…

    Good Luck & Best Wishes.

    Look me up if you’re ever in TX!

    • Hey, listen, I may be a bigimportant actress and author now, but I never forget the little people who brought me this far by sticking $5 bills in my underpants.

      Look you up if I’m ever in Texas? As if you won’t be coming back to NYC every weekend for booze cruises?

  8. You are the awesome my girl. Shall I send you a Lolliemom meatloaf? ; ) xo

    • Do you think meatloaf will keep from Florida to Ohio? If so, then yes, please send me enough loaves to last the year, along with several key lime pies, and Rocket.

  9. kylie says:

    for the record, i think your 6-word autobiography is sooooooooo much better than the runners-up and i am convinced that they’re just being nice when they say it was a tough decision. and i’m not just saying that because i know you’ll like me better if i flatter you. it’s both sycophantic AND true, the best kind of true!

    • Come on, what about “Breast cancer: zero. My future: won”? Soooooooo pun-y. Plus, if you say mine is too much better than everyone else’s, I’ll think that the competition was weak and won’t feel so superior about my win.

      But yes, I totally like you better either way.

  10. Kim says:


    Of course, your utter Rocking-at-Life phase you’re going through here is probably going to negatively impact the friendship I’m going to insist we form once I’m local again.

    I’m stupid competitive, and, you’re clearly better than I am.


    • Luckily for you, when I sense competition, I completely shut down and make it clear that I’m not competing just so I can’t look like a fool if I lose. So you can be the rocking-at-life friend, and I’ll just be the take-good-things-if-they-happen-to-fall-in-my-lap friend.

  11. Tracey says:

    I don’t know how I missed this post, but Meatloaf Moments is a kickass title for just about anything. A cookbook, a memoir, a collection of essays, your band’s first album, your future talk show, etc.

    I think I may enter it into the contest for what we name our next cat.

    “This is where I live, and these are our two cats: Logan and Meatloaf Moments.”

    • I hope it wouldn’t be confused with Moments with Meat Loaf, the book I wrote about my intimate time on tour with Michael Lee Aday. (Totally had to Wikipedia his real name.) Two books with the nearly same title are okay when the title’s that awesome, right?

      Also, Meatloaf Moments may be a pretty intense name for a cat, but you could call it plain, ol’ Meatloaf for short, which is actually an awesome name for a cat. As long as everyone knows he’s not named after Michael Lee Aday.

  12. James says:

    There’s something very striking about that ‘memoir’. It hit me in the chest before I had even processed what it meant.

    And here I was expecting your famousity to have resulted from the fact that you insist on qualifying Kamran’s name in every damn post.

    (How’s that?)

    • So much better. Although I don’t feel like I can copy my reply from the other comment you made, so everyone’s going to think that I’m neither thanking you nor addressing the Kamran bit here.