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The Afflicted: Amy A.W. Bonaccorso, 29, a Laurel freelance writer and government worker.
Diagnosis: Mute point. Bonaccorso regularly divulges romantic details in Canticle magazine and on her blog, singlecatholicwoman.com. But when the government communications specialist decided to write a book about working for the feds, she found state issues more difficult to dish. “This is a one-company town. News travels fast,” says Bonaccorso. “But government agencies are very careful about what they’ll allow you to write about.”
Symptoms: Insider embargo. Bonaccorso has been working on My Life as a Government Gypsy, a “mixture of how-to and personal memoir,” since last spring. But when she approached her agency’s ethics lawyer about seeking publication, “he had a very strict interpretation of federal rules,” says Bonaccorso. “He said I wasn’t allowed to publish anything because that could be construed as profiting from public service.”
Treatment: Pry, pry again. When Bonaccorso switched government agencies last April, she sought a second opinion. “I spoke to another attorney [at her new agency], and he had a slightly different interpretation of the law,” says Bonaccorso. While she’s still barred from discussing her current job in depth, prior assignments are fair game. “I have about seven years of government experience prior to this job, which gives me a very long leash,” she says. Still, Bonaccorso worries about the interpretive gap. “I have different ethics lawyers telling me different things,” she says. When finished, Bonaccorso plans to pass the full manuscript by the powers that be. She’s also hoping the third attorney’s the charm: “I’m going to ask a more specialized lawyer to take a look at it,” she says.
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