If you are a first time visitor to caroljoynt.com, welcome. It has a few different components. Chiefly it is home to a daily diary I write, "Swimming in Quicksand," which is about my life, my community, events in the news, popular culture, food, travel and the occasional rant. SIQ began several years ago on my first website, nathansgeorgetown.com,set up for the restaurant I inherited, Nathans of Georgetown. The site was launched to promote my interview program, The Q&A Cafe, but during the summer months when it was on hiatus I needed to find a way to keep visitors visiting. I started a daily diary. My inspiration was Ana Marie Cox, who at the time wrote for the website Wonkette. She'd been a guest on my show and I was impressed with her candor--both in person and online. I thought, to quote my late mother, Well, why not?
At first the diary was titled "Diary of a Mad Saloon Owner," but I never liked that name. It was unoriginal, and I wasn't mad, only the saloon business was mad. It was the world around me that was sapping my resources, making me vulnerable, scared, feeling as though at any moment I would sink beneath the surface. Voila! Swimming in Quicksand was born.
In its early years, the late oughts, SIQ was where I went to vent a day of feeling challenged by so much I did not always understand. I wrote about trying to stay afloat, especially financially. Every day I had less and I had to find ways to cope. Writing the diary helped enormously, at least emotionally. There was a thousand ton weight on me, Nathans, but when that got cut free in 2009, the relief was tangible. I had much less money, much less, BUT, significantly, I had freedom. The glitch game in that I bought my freedom at the same time the economy was in meltdown. I made myself unemployed when there were no jobs. That's why I kept the diary and new website (caroljoynt.com) up and running. It was as relevant as ever.
I strive to be no B.S.-- honest, candid, funny when possible, compassionate, community-minded, but don't claim to be the official point of view. For example, for grounded online news about Georgetown, I always aim people to The Georgetown Metropolitan. Also, there's The Georgetown Dish. The Georgetowner, a print newspaper, is the dean of Georgetown media.
Caroljoynt.com is also where I post news about The Q&A Cafe. In its first seven years, at Nathans, the show was weekly. Since 2009 it has been monthly, at The Georgetown Ritz Carlton Hotel. It airs on DC Cable, TV 16. The show's ten year anniversary will happen in October 2011. I'm quite proud it has lasted this long. In the last decade I've interviewed some 300 notable people. I hold that up there with my Emmy Award as a proud achievement.
Also here you will find news about my book, "Innocent Spouse," a memoir that is to be published May 10 by Crown. We welcome advance orders on Amazon or any other book website. Writing the book has been my "job" for the last year and a half. It was a writing project and an emotional purge and an altogether excellent experience. I owe a lot of gratitude to my agent, Laney Katz Becker, who found me, and to my editor, Suzanne O'Neill, who fell in love with the book and whose passion for it stayed strong all the way through. Working with the full team at Crown has been a rewarding experience, reminding me of the best collaborations I enjoyed during more than 30 years in mainstream print and network news.
I also use caroljoynt.com to link to a weekly column I write about Washington for the website New York Social Diary. It is not a "society" column, but rather my take on the city where I have lived since 1977. Its about all aspects of the capital, including the occasional encounter with so-called society, but I'm not really sure what that is in a company town. Society, in the wealthy, frivolous, fashionable and trendy sense, is as ill a fit here as reality TV. What Washington has is more a "nouvelle" society, people with some new money and who want to spread it around or show it off. Since generosity matters, that's not a bad thing. The "going out" society in Washington is about fundraisers and rich entrepreneurial suburbanites and more fundraisers. They are commendable for their support of the arts, culture, preservation. In particular they are drawn to institutions that will put their names on walls and at the tops of invitations. I don't fault them for that. If it is a productive incentive, hat's off.
At the other extreme are the "cave dwellers," who by choice are off the grid. Their interest in public mention is entirely old school -- "birth," "marriage" and "death." They are an aging population of Washington families, some connected to government but most not, some with inherited money, some with less money, and they rarely go out. The best place to find them is the January Washington Winter Show, the Tudor Place Garden party and the Chevy Chase and Sulgrave clubs. But really, they don't want you to find them.
There's a young partying group in Washington, also quite active in fundraising. I find them interesting, diverse and ambitious. It includes many pretty women and I wonder why they stay in DC, where the men are mostly interested in other men, and I don't mean that necessarily in gay way.
If there's any authentic high society in Washington it is among the old-guard African American community, as closed and tight as any true social bastion anywhere in the U.S. They dress up, they go out, they are mannered, they know each other well and there is a fierce hierarchy. If I were able to get inside that group and write about them then I could call myself a Washington society writer. But I can't so I'm not.
What I do for New York Social Diary is go to all kinds of places and events, observe the rituals, see things, eat an occasional meal, take photos, and report back, trying to put the experience in context for the most powerful city in the world. My editors, David Patrick Columbia and Jeff Hirsch, are great. When a DC power player is full of hot air, they let me say so. If I could make a living writing my weekly column, I would do it from here to the horizon. But, alas, after the book does its turn, I will need to find gainful employment.
caroljoynt.com is a great front for the fact I am private, shy, not social, not fashionable, a loner, tight with a few close friends and interested primarily in my family and my home. Everything else is what I do to not sink in the quicksand. I hope you'll visit often. And, should you want to, please write. I welcome feedback.