Letter to my Aunt Marie

                                                                                                July 3, 2003


Dear Maria,

It is great to hear from you.  It has been quite a long time.  How are you and Larry doing?  Danyel, Victoria, and I are all doing well.  I have a job that calls for a lot of business writing.  For such a dry type of writing, I am allowed a remarkable degree of creative freedom.  After a year of a shaky customer base and an equally shaky economy, Danyel’s daycare business is doing very well.  I am currently a senior and at my present rate, I plan to have my BA finished in about two years.

Tory began potty-training last week.  I can say the dog was easier to housebreak.  I blame governmental interference by the far-left political fringe.  The authorities take a dim view of rubbing a child’s nose in her own mess while whacking her with a rolled up newspaper.  No wonder there is an endless stream of guests for daytime talk shows with titles like, “My Pregnant 14-Year-Old is on Welfare” and “My 12-Year-Old is in a Gang, Does Drugs, and Sells Crack, But at Least She isn’t Pregnant, Yet.”  Go figure.

Thank you for all the praise.  Send more.  “The Enemy Up North” was written with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, but the editors took it for serious social commentary.  That probably had to do with the original title; “Another Modest Proposal.”  Either way, I have both their money and the clipping.  From the comment about the other piece as deep on several levels, I can tell you understand the difference between plot and theme.  The often mistakenly asked, “What’s the story about?” drives me up a wall.

I am hesitant to send other published work, as I was serious in my note that much of my body of work consists of sacrilege and pornography.  Writing is writing, I say.  The writers who have become accustomed to life’s little luxuries (such as food, clothes, a place to live, etc.) typically concentrate their efforts into work with proven sales records.  There may not be money for heat in schools, but there is always money to get off.

Also, the popular conception of bald and paunchy gray-haired men who salivate around cigars while carelessly allowing the ashes to fall into their chest hair while sitting behind a desk reading a manuscript with one hand and furiously masturbating with the other is far from the truth.  Unlike the “straight” markets, I have yet to encounter problems with unreasonably long decision waits, late payments, or stolen material.  As a matter of fact, all but one of the erotica editors I have dealt with are women.  Anyway, if you are up to reading my gay porn, let me know, and I will happily send some along.  Fear not, dear Godmother.  I am discrete.

In answer to your question; yes, I do have e-mail.  (XXXXXXXXX@XXXXXXXXX)  I am surprised you have not been able to find it.  Lord knows, everyone else in the civilized world has.  A quick glance at my in-box reveals a plethora of products that will variously cure my chronic bad breath, enlarge my penis, lower my cholesterol, re-grow my hair (presumably on my head), enlarge my breasts, and improve my golf game.  The last two claims have me very interested.

You will have to forgive me, but I am not entirely thrilled with the 21st century.  I lament the 20-odd year deathwatch of letter writing as an art form.  It seems the only people who practice it are convicted felons serving hard time, and believe me when I say they all need more practice.  I much prefer writing letters to writing e-mails, so I indulge the habit whenever presented with the opportunity.  There is more reality with ink on paper.  I both credit and blame you for this time consuming penchant.  In short, feel free to contact me by e-mail, if you wish.  Also, my phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.

The “Holy Ghost” project sounds like a fun assignment and a good read.  I suspect you discovered a much larger amount of salacious material than hinted at in your speech.  If it is not included in the book, you will have to share with me the next time we meet.  As far as Albert’s book, I am certain something can be worked out so it can see daylight.  A subsidy publisher would fit your needs nicely.

To which library down here did you supply the book?  On second thought, just send a review copy, and I will return the favor with a glowing book review to which you may have all rights.  If this is acceptable, let me know the word count and deadline.  I have not been on speaking terms with the local library commission since that unfortunate “Oprah Book Club” Bonfire incident.

The “heavy burden” of a writer’s life is true, and mostly self-inflicted.  As a group, we are troublemakers who pass up no opportunity to antagonize as many people as possible who are in a position to make life difficult.  The most surprising aspect is many people consider our pissy natures an endearing personality quirk to be sought out for the Bohemian snob factor of “I know a writer.”  Alas, the world is comprised mostly of fakes, phonies, and wannabes.

We writers tend to keep day jobs, not in the hope of advancement up the corporate ladder, but to guarantee those little luxuries I mentioned earlier until an editor recognizes our brilliance and offers a six-figure advance with a three-book deal.  It is the elusive dream.  Fortunately, I have a wife who makes a better living than I do.  As a matter of fact, she has had to turn clients away lately because she has reached the limits of her license.  That is such a horrible position to occupy.  Let my worst problem in life be that I have too much work.

It is now quite late, and my bed beckons.  I will leave you to ponder whether you wish to continue acknowledgment of your blood relation to a financially frustrated pornographer who masquerades as “normal,” only if there were such a thing.  I hope to hear from you soon, particularly in written form.  Letter writing ranks with crocheting and smoking my pipe as forms of recreation.




Note: She hasn’t spoken to me since.

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