Merle Ginsberg, CA

Critically Acclaimed Writer

Merle is a Los Angeles-based published poet, journalist, author, and editor of culture, business, retail, and entertainment pieces. She’s won a number of awards for her stories and writing style and has a NY Times bestselling book. In her long career, she’s written for Rolling Stone, MTV, The New York Times Magazine, the London Times, Harper’s Bazaar, People, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, the LA Times, Town and Country, The Hollywood Reporter, The Daily Beast, the New York Post, Elle Décor, and more.

As a Story Terrace writer, Merle interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

An Outsider Looking In

I came out of the womb loving—craving—words and stories; that’s how I made sense of the big scary world right away. Creativity—looking around from a crib with toys dangling above my head, putting together a composite picture of who I was and wanted to be—was necessary, I believed, for my emotional survival. And what you believe when you’re a kid becomes your reality.

I had the feeling the world was full of mysterious things and places. So I sought them out for myself in the only way I could—through books: first fairytales, then novels, drama, poetry, and philosophy. I started writing poetry at a very young age—had a very active fantasy life. Daydreaming about becoming someone exotic, worldly, elegant, educated, witty, charming, stylish, like Anais Nin, and finding people like this in literature and old movies led to a self-recreation, reinvention.

By the time I was fifteen, my parents barely recognized me: I wore big hats, long dresses with clogs, and emulated Virginia Woolf and Colette. I was never without a book, which baffled my TV-sogged parents, impressed the hell out of my teachers, and alienated most friend-possibles who saw me as a geek and a butt-kisser.

I was none of those things.

I just didn’t like what they liked: playing ball, playing hooky, playing with toys, or boys—or both. The more they seemed to ostracize me (they probably just didn’t know what the hell in the world to make of me), the more books I consumed, the more teachers I courted. I gave puppet shows for class projects on historical topics when everyone else just plagiarized reports out of Encyclopedia Brittanica.

I knew the so-called “popular kids” had no interest in me—but I had no interest in them, except to study their machinations and social ambitions (yes, even at age twelve). I just wanted to get some kind of grip on human behavior: I was an outsider studying the inside, and that’s where I remain. And sometimes, being on the outside can be every bit as fun as being in the middle of everything.

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