Essays, Stories, and
Occasional Writings

NO WOMEN WRITERS: An Introduction to Anais Nin (essay), in Cafe in Space Anthology.. How I became a writer—because of Anais Nin. Because she was unapologetic about herself as a woman and a writer, and sought artistically to find a voice, a uniquely feminine voice, for her internal life—braving all scoffers, everyone who insisted a woman was less-than. “The way she had painted her house was like pulling the dream life into the outside world—which of course is also what the writer and the artist does…” A Cafe In Space: The Anais Nin Literary Journal, Anthology 2003-2018, Sky Blue Press.

BOOKS WE HOLD IN OUR HANDS COME ALIVE IN OUR HEARTS (essay) A meditation on being a book lover, a Christmas piece for the Los Angeles Times. When it comes to books, form and content are inseparable. “…Small enough to fit in the back pocket of a pair of jeans, it has that slightly perfumy old-paper smell which prepares me for nostalgia.” December 21, 2018 online, December 23, print.

LIVING IN INTERESTING TIMES (essay) A reaction to our current historical moment for The Write Place At the Right Time.  "I’ve spent the last ten years writing a novel set during the Russian Revolution, that time of almost unimaginable change—and now, in a strange way, my novel has caught up with me. We discover that we too are riding on the back of this out of control horse called History...." Winter/Spring 2017 issue.

OUR NEXT CHAPTER: What One Author Learned From Her Mother’s Struggle With Dementia (essay) in Real Simple Magazine.  "I spent five years taking care of my mother as she succumbed to dementia. Real Simple asked me to write about it, the way our relationship changed during those years. For all the grief, something surprising also happened that I never would have known had I not entered the thick of it."  November 2017 issue.  

“Poems in November” and “Weeping in the Rothko Chapel” (poems) in Only Light Can Do That: 100 Post-election Poems, Stories and Essays, The Rattling Wall and PEN Center USA, 2017.

The Russian Soul, Janet Fitch on Eugene Vodolazkin (essay) in Los Angeles Review of Books, Feb. 11, 2016.

“All But Dissertation” (short story) in Southern California Review VIII, 2015.

“A Shrine for Unbelievers” (early chapter for my novel Paint It Black) in Black Clock 18, edited by Steve Erickson, designed by Ophelia Chong, Black Clock, 2014.

Forward to No Stopping Train, a novel by Les Plesko, Soft Skull Press, 2014. A dear friend, the novelist Les Plesko died, too soon, in 2013.

“Four First Novels” (essay) in My First Novel, Tales of Woe and Glory, edited by Alan Watt, Writers Tribe Books, 2013.

“Room 721” (short story) in Black Clock 13, edited by Steve Erickson, California Institute of the Arts, Fall/Winter, 2012.

“The Middle Years, A Meditation on By Nightfall” (essay) in Los Angeles Review of Books Issue 5: Satisfactions: The Fiction Issue2012.

“Introducing Los Angeles to Itself” (essay) in Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2012.

“My Mother's Kitchen Kingdom” (essay) in Los Angeles Times, December 22, 2011.

“Janet Fitch’s Ten Rules for Writers” (essay) in Jacket Copy, Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2010.

“Denishawn and the Birth of Modern Dance” (essay) in The Devil's Punchbowl: A Cultural and Geographic Map of California Today, Kate Gale and Veronique de Turenne, Red Hen Press, 2010.

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk, (essay) November 2008. "Fiction is all about decisions..."

“In the Line of Fire: Where We Don't Belong” (editorial), Washington Post, October 27, 2007.

“The Method” (short story) in Los Angeles Noir, edited by Denise Hamilton, Akashic Books, 2007.

“Coming to Your Senses” (article) in Writer's Workshop in a Book: The Squaw Valley Community of Writers on the Art of Fiction, edited by Alan Cheuse and Lisa Alvarez, introduction by Richard Ford, Chronicle Books, 2007.

“Thirteen” (essay) in Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves, edited by Kate Moses and Camille Peri, Harper, 2005.

We are losing the ability to enjoy our private thoughts, where the privacy of thoughts (messy, contradictory, self-amusing) is part of the pleasure of having them. The airless feedback loop of our social networks… is a thin substitute for the kind of mental life Cunningham depicts so richly — the private life of the adult mind.
— JANET FITCH, “The Middle Years, A Meditation on By Nightfall

Earlier writings include: 

Fiction:  Kicks, Novel, 1995 (see below). “The Dark Beach Dream,” Room of One's Own, Summer 1997; “Valentino,” Room of One's Own, N/A; “The House Not Right In the Head," Rain City Review, Spring/Summer 1994; “White Oleander,” Black Warrior Review, Fall/Winter 1994 (100 Distinguished Stories Best American Short Stories 1994); “The Enormous Room,” Venice West Review, Jan/Feb, 1993; “The Temporary,” Venice West Review, Aug/Sept, 1992; “Simplimente Maria,” Verve, Fall 1992; “The Luncheon,” West/Word 2, Winter/Spring 1990.

Non-Fiction: “Margi Scharff” (essay), Art LTD, 2007; “Great Girl Trash,” film crit,, April 2000; “And Then There Were None,” essay on solitude in Vogue Magazine, March 2000; Book reviews, Speak Magazine,1998-99; automobile pieces in the Los Angeles Times, mid-1990s; “The Woman from the City that Did Not Exist: A profile of Kate Braverman,” essay, The Bloomsbury Review, 1995. Book Reviews: Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

I regularly review books on Goodreads.



This was my first novel – a young adult novel published in 1995 and now out of print. It stayed mostly below the radar, . Two girls growing up in Hollywood, and all one wants is to be the other.

When Kicks was published, I had a party and put my rejections up on the walls of my living room. They reached from baseboard to over my head on all four walls.

Capture[s] the dark underside of growing up . . . Teens will empathize with Laurie’s desire to be free from familial rules and responsibilities, and the realism of some scenes will horrify yet fascinate them.
— School Library Journal
This accomplished work packs quite a kick.
— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review