Stalking the Brat by Deb Tish

I’m not a rebel–that’s too glamorous a title for me. I’m more of a common brat. The moment I hear I’m supposed to do something is the moment I’ll refuse. From wearing skirts as a kid, to trying out for cheerleading, to buying a minivan for carpooling–I wanted nothing to do with it. When other kids were attending Friday night football games in high school, my friend and I were swiping on silver lipstick and wrapping ourselves in my uncle’s Planet of the Apes capes and sneaking into clubs in Hollywood.

And while my brattiness might not be the reason I write, it certainly made me fit for very little else.

My first job was working at a pizza restaurant in Orange County. The other employees showed up and worked. I worked too, but in between pizzas, I made cockroach motels out of pizza cartons, wrote pepperoni messages on people’s pizzas and made dough figures of my bitchy boss’s enormous breasts–just to see how big they’d get in the microwave. I got fired.

Then I worked at a pet insurance company–the first in California. Our first client was Lassie. Another girl and I were hired together–she had super long red nails and could type a zillion words per minute, I had stubby nails and no skills whatsoever. While my speed did improve over the months I was there, I refused to let anyone know it, slowing down so I could languish in the jokes people made as they walked past me while I pecked with one finger. Remarkably, the owner didn’t fire me, I quit when I got bored with the jokes.

I quit my jr. account exec job in advertising when, after a McCain’s shoot, my pawsy boss told me I did a lousy job of washing the french fry vats–which I’d had to do with cold water. (Didn’t mind washing the pots, only minded the insults.) Shortly thereafter, I bratted up an art gallery job, a receptionist job and a fitness instructor job.

The real brattiness peaked in my communications job. I worked for an international organization and, once I mastered writing and editing my newsletters, I got bored. I began writing and illustrating children’s manuscripts when no one was looking.

With my immediate boss’s approval, I created an in-house mock tabloid that skewered me, my coworkers, my boss and upper management. The paper came out every two weeks and was called The Tattler. It was meant to boost morale and staff loved it. I wrote it with someone else, and we laughed our faces off as we created article after article of made-up crap. Management despised it (and me) and didn’t seem to remember or care that it had my boss’s blessing. The Tattler was no more. Neither was my career. But that was okay, I’d realized by then that I was unable to conform for longer than a few months without getting bratty and blowing it by having too much fun.

Turned out not to be such a bad thing–having bratted myself out of any type of normal career. It really took being unemployed for me to carve out enough time and focus to write my first (horrible) manuscript. Which, come to think about it, was about a girl who couldn’t hold down a job. A real brat. Coincidence, I’m sure.


You may or may not realize it, but tomorrow is the day you’ve been waiting for–the day our loyal blog reader Patry Francis’s book comes out! Run, don’t walk, to pick up a copy of THE LIAR’S DIARY from a publisher I happen to adore, Dutton. And while you’re at it, grab a handful and create a stunning display at the front of the bookstore. Maybe in the window. It’s a gorgeous book you will not be able to put down. Utterly real characters and a plot that twists and turns in ways you could never imagine.




11 Replies to “Stalking the Brat by Deb Tish”

  1. I had no idea you knew Lassie. What other famous connections are you hiding? I already talked to my independent who is ordering The Liars Diary for me and then more for the store. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. Now I just need to be unemployed so have more time to read….

  2. Man, I am laughing so hard right now! And, um, you and Anna sure got fired from a lot of jobs. I’m afraid I was raised on the idea that being fired was the worst thing in the world that could happen (I’m laughing at that now) and so I was a total suck-up when necessary.

    Now I’m a SAHM . . . and no one can fire me from that . . . even on days when I wish they could.;)


  3. So here I was contemplating my inner brattiness and laughing out loud at your exploits when all of a sudden, I come to the most beautiful and generous mention of my book. Larramie is right; you’ve lost all claim to brathood. You’re way too kind.

  4. Tish, I can’t imagine you were ever a brat. I’m with Maprilynne; in my house, being fired was one step up from being murdered. Still scares the bejesus out of me. Maybe I should get back to work.

    Can’t wait to get Patry’s book, too. For anyone in the Massachusetts area, we’re having her do a workshop at Grub Street South at Buttonwood Books ( February. And you’re all welcome to come to The Liar’s Party at my house.

  5. Mia – it was titled “Wait, Don’t Jump.” It got me my first agent, got shopped around and rightly rejected because it had, um, no plot. But by the time the rejection-go-round had ended, I’d written the new book and found an agent who would be ruthless with my sorry efforts.

    Larramie, Amy – you guys are in for a treat. I couldn’t put it down – literally walked up and down the stairs reading.

    Eileen – I never got to meet Lassie in person. But a few years ago I came close at Universal studios. There she (he) was, on a podium, just waiting to be petted. But I had to pee, so I ran to the loo and when I came back, she (he) was gone. And you have to understand how Lassie was my childhood idol.

    Maprilynne, Amy – Being fired was the corporate equivalent to rotting in hell in my family too. But I was such a wretch, it didn’t even slow me down.

    Patry – Now how did I know you were a brat too? 😉 I’d LOVE to hear your brat stories!

  6. Patry’s the best. We got together in Hyannis this summer and spent 7 hours in a restaurant talking. She’s fun and fascinating and has great instincts for scuttling past dark alleys at midnight. 😉

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