DeeDee Filiatreault ’93 spent most of her career writing words for other people as a speech writer, but with the publishing of her first book of essays, “Tales from the Crib,” the spotlight is on her.
But before she was a speechwriter, Filiatreault studied to be a journalist — and that’s where “Tales from the Crib” was born.
Getting her start
While studying at Elon, Filiatreault was Editor-in-Chief of The Pendulum.
“When I became [Editor-in-Chief], everyone took a step back and I was the one standing there,” Filiatreault said. “It’s not like everyone was clamoring for this job. We were kind of a bad-news-bears operation.”
Filiatreault was Editor-in-Chief at the time of the 1992 presidential election between Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Bush, the Clintons and the Gores all visited Burlington within a single week.
That week led to a 24-page issue of The Pendulum — the longest issue to date in 1992 — after many sleepless nights.
“I remember falling asleep in the shower,” she said. “But I think what you learn from that is not necessarily technical skill as much as just hard work and what’s required of you to get the job done.”
A fellow Elon alumna and former president of the alumni board, Shannon Moody ‘94 has been a close friend of Filiatreault since she was a freshman and Filiatreault was a sophomore.
“Because she was [Editor-in-Chief of The Pendulum], we got to read her writing weekly,” Moody said. “We knew then that she was such a talented, gifted writer.”
The hard work paid off when Filiatreault was hired to work on the gubernatorial campaign of Gov. David Beasley of South Carolina after graduation.
“The person that hired me told me that when he read an editorial that I wrote in that issue, there was a descriptive phrase in it and he said, ‘I saw in that phrase that you had what I was looking for, and that’s the kind of writing I want,’” she said.
After Gov. Beasley was elected, Filiatreault stayed on staff as a speech writer, eventually becoming his chief speech writer.
“At the time I thought it would be a short term gig, and then he got elected and everything changed. My whole life pivoted at the moment,” she said. “I’ve been writing for other people from there on out.”
Filiatreault didn’t anticipate the trajectory of her career while studying at Elon. She was a journalism and broadcast communications double major, but never thought she would stray from the field of journalism.
After working for Gov. Beasley for many years, she moved onto public relations and worked as the communications director for a large church in Greenville, South Carolina as well as a public relations firm in Columbia, South Carolina that was politically active.
After years in South Carolina, Filiatreault moved to Connecticut with her husband. The two started a family and now have two children.
Telling her tales
Filiatreault returned to the journalism field from speechwriting a few years ago when she pitched a column to her local newspaper, the Lyme Times, in which she would chronicle her daily life as a mom.
“They went for it, and they started publishing it every two weeks,” she said. “Every two weeks, I would come up with something about my kids and family life in a sort of funny way and trying to muddle through parenthood and make sense of it and make fun of it.”
The column was called “Tales from the Crib” and turned into a blog. Her new book, of the same title, is a compilation of essays from both her columns and her blog.
“I’d always hoped to compile it in some way for me to have — it’s sort of a family record,” Filiatreault said.
Moody gave some input into the cover design of “Tales from the Crib” and has been watching Filiatreault’s process for the past few years leading up to publication.
“This book is a labor of love and has taken many years to get it to this point,” Moody said. “It’s exciting to see it and hold it in my hands.”
Filiatreault’s publication process wasn’t typical as she didn’t go knocking on doors and pitching her idea to various publishing houses. She was put in contact with an editor at Skyhorse Publishing in New York who began working with her on the book and piecing it together in preparation for publication.