Sweetheart Deal, Bitter Wounds

The L.A. Times's Eccentric Ex-Publisher Appears in a Bold Cameo

Lipsyte is yet another Brown alum who edited at Feed for three years and has published several lyrical, funny stories in small magazines. In his story "Cremains," which appears in the new issue of Open City, the narrator mourns his dead mother while working his way through the morphine she left behind. Meanwhile, Daum has made a name for herself writing candid essays. Examples include her 1995 piece in the Times Book Review about working as a waitress at the Bread Loaf writers' camp, the New Yorker piece, and her piece in the December issue of Harper's Bazaar, in which she takes on the taboo of dating men who are "culturally inappropriate." Daum, now a contributing editor at Bazaar, says her model is more Joan Didion than Joyce Maynard.

Another master of the first-person is Jonathan Ames, 35, a novelist whose short story "Writer for Hire" appears in the new issue of Open City. The protagonist, Spencer Johns, is a freelance writer who agrees to do a "stunt" piece for an e-zine specializing in "embarrassing or shocking stories from a person's life." Johns is willing to hire a prostitute and write about the encounter-but only if they both get paid $500. That way, he tells his editor, "I'm whoring for the same amount as the whore."

Next spring, Crown will publish Ames's third book, a "comic autobiography" based on columns he has written for the New York Press. Ames calls these columns "first-person adventures." His new book is called What's Not to Love? The Adventures of a Mildly Perverted Young Writer.

Research assistance: Suzanne Latshaw

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