Alumna offers ‘Perfect’ way to approach life

Endnotes spotlights the personalities and published books of faculty, staff and alumni.

Today, Diane Pascoe, BA’72 (Psychology), author of Life Isn’t Perfect, But My Lipstick Is, answers 12 questions on her ‘bookishness’ and writing.

Pascoe worked in human resources for years while writing her reflections on everyday life for this memoir. In addition to winning numerous prizes in writing contests, her essays are regularly featured in local publications. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Eric, and their two dogs. Their four grown children in their blended family are scattered throughout the United States and Canada.

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What book do we find you reading tonight?

One Second After by William Forstchen

How do you decide what to read? Reviews, word of mouth, maybe occasionally judge a book by its cover?

I really enjoy biographies and nonfiction, but I will read fiction referred by friends, my writing group and book club members.

Name one book you wish you had written.

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. With its clear, honest and hard-hitting recollections of his childhood, it is like he is replaying a movie scene by scene. He was uniquely able to bring to life the poverty of his childhood and the absurdity of the characters in his life. I am envious of how McCourt could make readers laugh and cry at the same time with the juxtaposition of pathos and the absurd in his childhood. His boyish voice, his wit and his honesty will linger in my mind forever.

Name one book you could never finish.

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood. The book started off just fine, then it went weird and lost me. I couldn’t buy into the story’s basic dystopian premise or the bizarre characters. I didn’t want to invest any more energy in figuring out the intended meaning of the book – so I quit.

What book might people be surprised to find on your shelves?

Comedy Writing Secrets by Melvin Helitzer.

Any genres you avoid?

Science fiction. In my life, in my writing and in my dreams, I am a realist. I connect with fiction or nonfiction books that deal with the potential, the possible and the probable in life. The human race is fantasy enough for me with its endless permutations of behaviors. Note: I have never seen Star Wars or Star Trek movies – or read Harry Potter books.

If you could require every university president to read one book, what would it be?

Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life by Wayne Dyer.

What sort of objects are must-haves in your writing environment?

Laptop and my diary of ideas for writing.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Mark Twain. Frank McCourt. Erma Bombeck.

How do you explain what your latest book is about to them?

My book details the highlights and lowlights of my life in 41 personal stories written in a conversational style, which readers can commiserate with, relate to, and laugh at. Most women have experienced similar happenings in some shape or form. The stories help us to realize that we can laugh at the small stuff and at ourselves; that we all tend to have the same failures and successes; and that we all need to try to find the positive in life.

What is the best line you have ever written?

“As I have grown older, I have also freed myself to be a better me – a wiser, more confident, funnier version of my younger, safer, unexamined self.”

Who do you want to write your life story?

Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry.

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‘Life Isn’t Perfect, But My Lipstick Is’ by Diane Pascoe, BA’72 (Psychology), (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, $12.70) is available through The Book Store at Western or