A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WRITER: Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Posted by September 1st, 2015

Kicking off a new blog series here on Book Country is the celebrated New Yorker cartoonist and graphic novelist Marisa Acocella Marchetto. Marisa’s 2006 book, Cancer Vixen, was a huge critical success, and today her new graphic novel, ANN TENNA, comes out from our friends at Knopf. Kirkus Reviews said of ANN TENNA: “Zany with a touch of uplifting. You will be measurably hipper after reading it.” Marisa’s husband, Silvano Marchetto, is also the owner of the trendy restaurant Da Silvano here in NYC. Below she gives us a slice of a typical day in her busy writing life.


fridge editedI got up and went to grab the one thing I need to finish my cartoons today, and GAH! No coffee. I need it just as much as I need my fine line Black Sharpie pen to rough out my cartoons.


acocello desk editedAfter a trip to Jack’s down the street, I got back to the drawing board. (I have a new book, ANN TENNA, coming out. Look for subtle product placement throughout this post.)


acocello shoes editedMy husband Silvano leaves for work (Ciao Bella!). I shower and I get dressed for my visit to my editors at The New Yorker today. Which pair of shoes should I wear . . . glam or practical?


acocello walking editedI grabbed my freshly baked batch of 11 cartoons for the meeting, and I took off from my home on West Houston street.


new yorker acocello 1 editedAt the New Yorker offices of Bob Mankoff (cartoon editor for the magazine), I check in with Colin Stokes, an elegant dashing bloke who is also Bob’s assistant. Bob is in his office in the background. I wait with my fellow cartoonists for my turn with Bob.


new yorker acocello 2 editedMy turn to see Bob. Hi, Bob! Please buy one of my cartoons! He has 11 of mine in his hands. He looks them over. We make small talk. For some reason I keep saying the word “awesome”. I’m annoying myself with that word. Awesome! He hands me back my cartoons. Out of 11 he held 3. Here’s how the buying process works: After Bob sees us, he goes through his emails and sees everyone else’s batches of the cartoonists who don’t submit in person. Once he’s made his selections, he meets with David Remnick, the editor in chief of The New Yorker. We find out on Thursday if we get an “ok”–which means we sold a cartoon.


sidney acocello editedA group of us cartoonists heads up town to Des Artistes French restaurant, where we’ve been going for lunch every Tuesday since the New Yorker offices were in Times Square. But our crowd has dwindled because some cartoonists aren’t submitting any more, and some of them, like the great Bud Handelsman, have passed away. It’s a new generation now. But I’m sticking with these guys, while also hanging with some newbies. Over lunch we talk about life as a cartoonist. Here’s Sidney Harris (S. Harris in the New Yorker), who has over 34,600 cartoons! That’s a life’s work, and he’s still going. Go, Sidney!


mort greenberg acocello editedMort Greenberg joins us. He’s also one of the masters and has written several books. Mort chimes in about what it was like when he and Sidney started out. We talk about George Booth. George Booth is a legend! Props to the maestros!


acocello iphone editedI take a cab home and get back to work–social media work. Tweeting. Instagramming. Tweeting. Instagramming. Some authors don’t do it themselves. I don’t get that–you establish your own voice and then you hand it over to someone else? Who else can speak from your voice but you?


acocello da silvano editedI head over to the Hubster’s restaurant: Da Silvano, which has been open for 40 years. Yes, 40 years! I’m meeting Leigh Haber, Books Editor at O: The Oprah Magazine, for dinner. You’ve heard of her, right? I swore I wouldn’t have any wine . . .


acocello leigh editedLet me just say this: Girls rule–but they’ve got to be the right girls. Leigh and I talked book launch strategy. Because…

Ann tenna editedIn case you forgot, I have a book coming out!


silvano acocello editedWhile we were talking, this man kept coming over: Hubster! That’s Silvano Marchetto himself in his trademark ponytail, Robert Graham shirt and Colorful Jeckerson pants.


acocello desk 2 editedWe head home after dinner. Silvano goes to sleep. I’m exhausted . . . but I head back to the drawing board. This is the life of a glamorous New York City cartoonist!

Marisa Acocello MarchettoAbout Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Marisa Acocella Marchetto lives in New York City and is a cartoonist for The New Yorker and Glamour. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and Modern Bride, among other publications. She is also the founder of the Cancer Vixen Fund at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City, which helped bring free mammogram screenings to women all over the city. Her new book, ANN TENNA, is out today from Knopf. Connect with Marisa on Twitter and Instagram. Watch a trailer for ANN TENNA below.

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