Monica’s Brilliant Literary Career

As tempted as he is, Chatterbox feels compelled to take his name out of the running as the ghostwriter for Monica Lewinsky’s forthcoming memoirs. Chatterbox will admit that he had already been hard at work on the title. Leading contenders: The Jaws of History and the recycled Been Down So Long, It’s Beginning to Look Like Up to Me. Granted, ghosting this ultimate kiss-and-tell memoir would have been the literary adventure of a lifetime. But flush with Monday’s windfall stock-market profits (Chatterbox’s guiding theory: “Buy high, and then hang on for dear life”), he must, with deep reluctance, take a pass.

Maybe New York Post gossip maven Cindy Adams is right, and Monica’s Mom, the irrepressible Marcia Lewis, will take on these bookish labors herself. But what is certain is that Monica will need all the help that she can get. Monica’s last tangle with the English language came late last December when she flunked the press-release-writing exam at Burson-Marsteller. As Time magazine reported, quoting a source at the PR firm, “It was sloppy when it came to details and it showed no imagination.”

Now it should be remembered that Monica was fresh from a well-paid perch in the Pentagon press office, and she had already displayed her fertile imagination in other endeavors. But maybe it was the difficult artistic challenge of a press release that gave her problems. History might have been different if only Burson-Marsteller had tested her ability to write in the style of Leaves of Grass or asked her to match the literary lyricism of Vox. After the exam, the always obliging Monica then followed up with a thank-you note to Vernon Jordan’s friends at the PR firm. But that eager missive, according to Time, “was just as bad, full of bad grammar and misspellings.”

With The New Yorker reporting that an unnamed publisher has already offered Monica $6 million, it seems evident that the Lewinsky-Lewis family is poised to cash in. All this buttresses Chatterbox’s conviction that–even without Ken Starr, Linda Tripp, and the Paula Jones law suit–Monica would have gone public by now, since this is a woman whose lips are never sealed.

Walter Shapiro