Friday, January 28, 2005
Nobody Knows The Wreck Of The Soul The Way You Do
Before I can with complete confidence declare myself a Failed Writer, I think it's in my best interest to investigate writing in all its forms. I'm not bragging when I say I've tried many many methods, styles and media: straightforward mainstream fiction, academic non-fiction and a slew of genre stuff ranging from fantasy/sci-fi to sci-fi/fantasy. Oh, and lots and lots of erotic X-Files fan-fic. That Mulder and Scully... what a couple of sexy bitches.

I think I can say with some confidence that I've tried just about everything. I think I can say with absolute confidence that none of it is fucking working and I'm getting desperate.

Keeping that in mind, I have decided to branch out into a new area of writing: the advice column.

As far as I can tell, advice column writing requires almost zero writing talent along with antiquated senses of both morality and humor. Really it all comes down to how many different ways you can tell someone to "seek counseling" while not being funny at all.

If this blog has proved anything, all those are weapons in my arsenal of failure. So I've decided to steal a letter from a national advice columnist and then write my own response as practice.

I would solicit letters to my e-mail box (which is still by the way), but I frankly don't give a shit about any of your problems. Don't take it personally, but your problems plus $8 would get me a cup of coffee. A small coffee. Your agony just doesn't pay.

I've chosen to steal from "Annie's Mailbox". This is the nationally syndicated column dedicated to shaking the decaying corpse of Ann Landers until every last cent drops out of it while simultaneously standing in judgment of all the masochists and narcissists who think they're ridiculous petty shit would be of interest to everyone else in the entire country.

I think I can see where this is going to go already. Here's the letter.

Dear [Pops]: My husband's sister boycotted my son's baptism because she said it would be hypocritical to sit through a church service she did not believe in. She did, however, find it perfectly acceptable to attend the luncheon afterward.

Last month, I called her and said, "Since your name isn't in our Christmas-gift drawing, should we still include your boyfriend?" She asked why she was being excluded, and I reminded her that she had declared herself to be an atheist. She replied, "Well, I celebrate the winter solstice, so my name should be in the drawing."

How can I get across to her that holidays and other events aren't something you can pick and choose, and participate in only when it's convenient? If I had gotten her name in the drawing, I would not have purchased anything for her because, after all, I don't celebrate the winter solstice. -- Plenty Peeved Sister-in-Law

Wow! A humdinger my first time out. Let's see, where to start...

First of all, Plenty Peeved Sister-in-Law (if that's your real name), how old are you? I only ask in case you're over 18-35 and under 200 lbs. in which case, why not send some pictures along? OK, you can be 35-55, but you have to be in good shape, no visible scars or anything.

I don't hold out much hope, though. Judging by the content of your letter, you're either 7 years old (are you fucking serious with this "problem"? No way you're a grown-up) or 87 (who says "peeved" any more?).

And although I'm swooning from a massive overdose of Idontgiveashit, I'll try to help. Just as soon as the green and yellow spots fade away.

First, my condolences for marrying into a family of druids. It's a drag at holidays with all their "solstice" talk and occasionally they will sacrifice a party-guest on the stone altar in the basement, but the good news is they can talk to trees. You'll never get lost in a forest, let me tell you.

Second, the severity of your next move all depends on what state you live in. Your sister-in-law has obviously not yet received the light of Christ in her life. According to local law, your options range from ignoring her completely (New York), smiting her three times with a birch branch (Tennessee), subjecting her to an old-timey trial by water (South Carolina) or gathering your friends and neighbors together for a good group stoning (Mississippi or California, depending on how you're using "stoning"). Write your congressperson!

Third and last, where is your husband? Isn't this passel of sun-worshiping gift-hording freaks his tainted blood? What kind of a dickless bumbling eunuch sends his wife out to argue with his own sister? Let me tell you from personal experience, nothing is quite as satisfying as screaming at family members until your vocal chords are bloody with all the self-rationalizing righteousness of knowing that you're doing it in defense of your spouse. The fact that you might be a poisonous black-hearted harpy he'd rather see dead than naked anymore is really beside the point. His life has probably devolved into a degrading spiral of work sports porn, work sports porn, work sports porn (except on weekends when it's yardwork sport porn, etc.) so he has to learn to find release where he can at least until he wakes up and realizes that the only true release from being chained to a yammering pug like you is sweet, sweet death. Do him a favor: either turn this "problem" over to his care or smother him with a pillow tonight while he sleeps. I guarantee that either way, he'll thank you.

Also, seek counseling.

The end.

Wow. My 9th grade English teacher was right, I can do anything I want if I only put my mind to it.

I'm encourged. Of course this simultaneously makes me very, very apprehensive. It's the life-cycle of Failed Writerdom. Experiment, encouragment, apprehension, doubt, paralysis, failure. And of course sports and porn.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.3


You enjoy calling people harpies don't you? Though, in this instance, I am inclined to agree with you.

Though I would add:

"Quit being a greedy old bag and do unto others, you money-hungry hooker."

But that is what would get my column dropped. The honesty. Damn, the honesty.
Wow. It's been a while since I giggled madly while on the Bucket. (No slight intended) Just saying job well done, you failed writer, you. ('ll never get lost in a forest)!!!
Let's be honest here, Pops: you found that letter in your wife's things, didn't you? It's okay; we're here to help. Talk to us.

Good New Pornographers quote, at least!
Keep trying, Pops. You are well on your way to being the World's Most Spectacularly Failed Writer. Soon you'll be ready to try your hand at owner's manuals for Korean-made DVD players.
Hey, you got those erotic X-files fics anywhere handy...?
Effing hillarious.

(if that's your real name)

Jess: You're absolutely right. Should have followed my first instinct and gone with "shrew".

SJ: Mightily offended by your high praise. Mightily offended. What's not to giggle at talking about train wrecks, white supremacy and right-wing conservatism?

Oh, right, got it. Been a little dark in here of late.

Brian: Knew you'd catch that. I was listening to it as I typed this thing out. It beats thinking of a title myself.

And NO I didn't find it in my wife's things. I was as surprised as anyone to find out she'd written to Annie's Mailbox.

Larry: Do people get paid for that? Then I'm in.

Steph: Not since the "cease and desist" letter came, no. Stupid copyright law.

Linus: There is a very strict NO CATS policy here in the Bucket. Zero tolerance, I'm afraid. Can't be too careful what with the ticks and the ringworm.
I am just so happy that you have moved from stealing from me to stealing from an old, dead lady.
I oughta use your advise sometime soon. Does it apply to old perverts brothers in law?
I'd like to thank one and all for not pointing out my typo ("if that's you're real name"). I am going to chalk up the lack of attention to the fact that it's Friday and you're probably all half in the bag already. You know, payday and everything.

Linus: Not here you don't.

MPH: I'm actually working my way up the food chain.

Yoli: Absolutely! I would encourage anyone to send an e-mail laying out their personal problems in graphic, hot-hot detail so that I might then publicly mock... er help you. I'll do anything for content. Otherwise I have to think of this stuff by myself.
Pops' Bucket o' Advice - open for business.
Who needs that "Annie's Mailbox" comlumn if we've got you?
Damn, I was hoping to read the X-Files fan fic. I loved to read the erotic stuff. I used to write that stuff, too. Voyager (Chakotay and Janeway) and X-Files.....there was some great stuff out there.

I'd ask for advice, but you'd just tell me to seek counseling and I know that already. :-)

Steph: You can Super Size your advice for just $0.39 more!


Rory: What is it about sci-fi that their fans always want to see the protagonists... er... you know... coupled. Steamily and graphically.

And you don't want to write me with your problems as I'd be forced to mock you, which would make me sad. Unless I could think of something really really funny to say, then I would totally exploit your pain for personal gain. Sorry.
I think you've got a good shot at 2005's Miss Teen Wordpower. Except that you're a man.
And not a teen.....
Alison: Funny, I was going to say the same thing about you.

+1 extra credit point for mentioning the name of the song, -1 for getting said song stuck in my head again.

K: I can be a teenage girl if I want to. Don't you oppress me.
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