Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
XANDER MELLISH SAYS SHE WRITES about "people living in New York with big dreams and no way to make them come true." A few years ago, as rejection slips for her short stories piled up, that might also have described the frustrated young author. "It used to be my dream to be like those fabulous people whose stories I see in The New Yorker," says the unmarried, 28-year-old Wisconsin native. Instead, in 1992 she began hitting the East Village streets at night, tacking up posters with the first page of a story and her voice-mail number. Soon hundreds of people called to ask her to mail the full text. But when the city's crime crackdown made illegal poster-plastering risky business, Mellish, by day a reporter for a financial news service, couldn't risk jail. So she turned to the electronic equivalent of the neighborhood lamppost: the Web, where about 1,000 new visitors a week now discover her quirky stories and cartoons (at http://www.users.interport.net/-xmel). Internet cafes worldwide display her drawings, and fans have added Danish, Japanese and French translations to the site. "People used to have to wait their whole lives for some publisher to tap them on the head with a magic wand and give them readers," says Mellish. "With the Internet, all the power is in the writers' hands."
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