Pamela Jane     An Incredible Talent for Existing by Pamela Jane

Pamela Jane’s New Memoir: An Incredible Talent for Existing

It is 1965, the era of love, light—and revolution. While the romantic narrator imagines a bucolic future in an old country house with children running through the dappled sunlight, her husband plots to organize a revolution and fight a guerrilla war in the Catskills.

Their fantasies are on a collision course.

And then, just when it seems that things cannot possibly get more explosive, her wilderness cabin burns down and Pamela finds herself left with only the clothes on her back.

From her vividly evoked existential childhood to writing her first children’s book on a sugar high during a glucose tolerance test, Pamela Jane takes the reader along on a highly entertaining personal, political, and psychological adventure.

“Jane has woven a richly empowering memoir…a five-star read!”–Story Circle Reviews

Buy An Incredible Talent for Existing Now:

Barnes & Noble
Open Books Press

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I tried to become famous as a saint, but that didn't work out too well.

“I tried to become famous as a saint, but that didn’t work out too well.”

About Pamela Jane

Pamela Jane is the author of more than thirty children’s books, from board books to memoir. Her recent children’s books include the much-loved Halloween book, Little Goblins Ten, a spinoff of the classic rhyme “Over in the Meadow.” The Christmas sequel is Little Elfie One. Both books are published by Harper and illustrated by NY Times best-selling illustrator, Jane Manning.

Pamela is also the author of a new memoir, An Incredible Talent for Existing: A Writer’s Story (her main talent growing up though she never became famous for it.)

In addition to children’s books and memoir, Pamela is the coauthor of Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover’s Romp Through Jane Austen’s Classic. Pamela’s essays have appeared in The Writer, Literary Mama, Mothers Always Write, and The Huffington Post. Read more.


Memoir Excerpt Published in The Writer:

Just wait! A short story rejected in grade school becomes a cause of action

In elementary school, back in the 1950s, we were never given writing assignments, and I never imagined there were any living authors. I pictured a cemetery filled with tombstones of my favorite writers with their last names first, like card catalogs in the library: Baum, L. Frank 1856-1919. Writing – the pleasure of articulating interior worlds sensed but not seen – was something I did on my own. I was in eighth grade before I got a chance to write a story for school. My eighth-grade English teacher, Mr. Mortem, was a malevolent-looking man with a low brow and small beady eyes. We joked that he moonlighted as an axe murderer. But he was even scarier as an English teacher. He terrorized us with menacing-sounding exams called “evaluations,” which turned out to be ordinary multiple-choice tests. But he was the first teacher to give us an assignment to write a short story. “Remember,” Mr. Mortem called as we filed out … Read on

My Perfect Writing Fantasy!

peaceful nature scene

Recently I was taking a woodland walk, while indulging in an unbelievable fantasy. It’s the same fantasy I’ve had, with variations, since I was a little girl. I’m a children’s book author who works at home while her wonderful husband is away at work and her wonderful child is off at school. So, what’s my real life like? Well, I’m a children’s book author. I work at home while my family is away at work or off at school and they are wonderful-most of the time. And yet my fantasy couldn’t be further from reality. As I walked through the spring woods, I pondered why. To begin with, my children’s author fantasy is set sometime in the 1940s. I write quietly at home; I don’t have to market or promote my books. I’ve had the same editor for twenty years; she buys everything I write, and all my books stay in print forever. If I need a little extra money … Read on

I’m Not Panicking – This is Just My Writing Process!

Little Elfie One by Pamela Jane

Years ago I took a weekend seminar with renowned screenwriting teacher, Bob McKee.  The large auditorium was packed.  Screenwriters, novelists, children’s authors, and editors of all genres had come to hear McKee talk about the art of writing and storytelling.  I could hardly wait for the seminar to start. McKee walked out on stage and stood for a moment, looking out at the audience.  Everyone was silent, waiting for him to begin. “Writing,” he said finally, his intense gaze scanning the audience, “is not about the words.” Yes! I thought, someone finally said it!  I had always felt that words were merely messengers of a deeper truth concealed behind or beneath them. Writing, McKee went on to say, is about characters, meaning, and emotional impact.  Recently I rediscovered the truth of McKee’s statement when I sat down to write Little Elfie One, a Christmas sequel to my rhyming Halloween book Little Goblins Ten, which had been published the year before.  … Read on

Am I Good at Anything Else?


Children’s book authors get asked all kinds of questions at school visits. “How much money do you make?” “How old are you?” “Does your hand get tired when you color?” (This last was asked by a kindergartner and I consider it one of the great existential questions of all time. Often, when I’m in a philosophical mood, I reflect on it.) The most unnerving question I’ve ever been asked was “Are you good at anything besides writing?” As I stood in front of the school auditorium with 500 curious faces peering up at me, my mind went blank. The embarrassing truth is, I don’t do anything but write. I don’t even have a hobby. I’d like to act in a daytime drama and play the piano and write lyrics for Broadway but I don’t have time. Then suddenly, as I stood staring out at the young, expectant faces, I remembered something. “I’m good at laundry!” I said. The kids weren’t … Read on

How I Broke Into Publishing – Literally!

broken china

Years ago, when I was struggling to write my first children’s book, a noted writing teacher and expert in the field of children’s literature, offered some advice. “If you want to get published,” she said, “don’t write fantasy, don’t write seasonal material and for heaven’s sake, don’t write about dolls!” She suggested instead that I wrote about “real life”-my own authentic childhood experience. This was sound advice, as far as it went. The trouble was, my idea for a Christmas story about an ambitious ballerina doll was my authentic childhood experience. As a little girl, I had been deeply impressed by the seeming dedication and discipline of a lovely ballerina doll sent by a favorite aunt. When I explained this, my teacher shook her head, “It’ll never sell.” I went home and told my husband about what happened. To my surprise, my usually kind and supportive spouse said something so infuriating and outrageous that I hurled a china vase against … Read on