Cullen Curtiss

ABOUT

 

And please listen to my son sing.

about

I am a writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience in print, web, and book publishing. I've always wanted to work with words. Writing is an obsession that allows me to continue to learn about myself and the world.

I believe language is not taken seriously. Words are more powerful than the credit they receive. Most stuff too many words into a sentence or use those they do not understand to impress. Idiomatic language is on the rise and it's used inaccurately. If poor grammar ("There's some fools" rather than "There are some fools.") is used and heard often enough, it will be so. It will become part of our lexicon and we will be fools without knowing it. I feel we should try harder to realize what we say and what we mean. I'm trying harder. Though I do understand the evolution. As Robert Lane Greene says in his latest book You Are What You Speak, "Yesterday's abomination is today's rule." True, true, but one can still resist! As the New York Times book reviewer Geoffrey Nunberg then writes in retort, "Yet the prospect of future acceptance doesn't allay my feeling that the phrase is a pratfall. It's as if I'd tried to tell my parents when I was growing up that I shouldn't wear a jacket to a restaurant since people a half-century late would be showing up in jeans and flip-flops." My parents used to force me to wear a skirt when we flew. Seemed appropriate then; now, it does not.

After graduating from the University of Vermont with a BA in English, I began writing for Outside, Aspen Daily News, San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Chronicle. The university's literary magazine was great, but the real thing was better.

In 1992, I moved to San Francisco to work as an editorial assistant for religious books at HarperCollins San Francisco. After a few years I began freelance copyediting and proofreading for PC World, Chronicle Books, and Ten Speed Press.

At that point, it was either graduate school for journalism or fiction. I think I chose fiction because it seemed quieter, a vocation I could take with me to the remote edges of the world literally and in my imagination. I didn't worry that it might not pay now or ever. Ironically, I've had more success with journalism, but I am optimistic you will one day read my novel(s). I keep in mind that whatever I write is story.

While enrolled in St. Mary's College of California's fiction writing program, I founded a literary journal called in~tense. At the same time, I worked as a publicist for a small Japanese book publishing house in Berkeley called Stone Bridge Press where, on shoestring budgets, I launched several seasons of eclectic books about Japan. After finishing my degree, I taught freshmen composition for the college.

Aware of a buzz across the Bay, I looked into the opportunities a writer might have in the booming world of the web. In 1999, I joined Sapient, a web and business consultancy, and soon became a senior content strategist. My clients included Hewlett-Packard, Janus Mutual Funds, CSAA (California's AAA), and Risk Management International. After leaving in 2002, I worked with web clients such as Verizon Wireless, Tickle.com, General Motors, and Wells Fargo.

My husband and I then moved to his native Santa Fe, New Mexico. I began as a writer and web strategist for Nambé, a local company specializing in beautifully designed, handcrafted products for the home. Ever curious, I have pursued other local writing opportunities as well: several articles in The Santa Fean, the Santa Fe Reporter (won second prize in their 2007 fiction contest), and Mothering. I freelanced for Mothering and Upsite Technologies, as well as clients across the country. While at Santa Fe Girls' School, I was their voice through marketing and PR communications and grant applications. It was deeply satisfying to help girls become stronger just at the age where they can so easily lose their footing. At Rio Grande School, serving preK through 6th grade students, my role was to shape and increase positive awareness of the school's programming through strategic marketing, including community outreach.

Now, I am reaching out from this high-altitude hamlet for new projects. I think the proper words can heal and I'd like to wield the pen that does so. While there's always my novel The Garden of Eva, a project so full of potential it tugs on my pantleg for more attention daily, there's also always my boy Gus, so I must find a balance.

Please see my resume for more details.

 

cullenarlingtoncurtiss@gmail.com | 510.847.0570