Thanks to your support, Gentle Reader, I felt pretty satisfied with how I’d handled Whorehouse’s complaint. My mood might even have approached “smug”. Then the following missive arrived and took my hope-status from 101 all the way to a 7. 🙁
Yeah. We read your stuff, me ‘n’ some of the guys. That’s fine for Whorehouse, cuz your writin’ those – whaddya call it – modern smut storys? But theres no excuse for ignorin’ us. We’re givin’ ya ten day’s to use our names. If you ignore us, bad stuffs gonna happen to this heer blog.
Epic, Spork, and Hummer
Smut? Smut?!? It’s quite one thing for me to be self-deprecating about my own writing in an attempt to be funny. But for a reader to diss my genre, in a grammatically- and punctuationally-challenged manner, no less? That’s downright insulting.
So here’s my response:
Dear Trifecta of Linguistic Stupidity:
Have you heard of the Chicago Manual of Style? No? I’m not surprised, although you sound like you come from those environs. Why don’t you let me introduce you, beginning with Miss Spelling?
That’s as far as I got before my daughter, who had seen the steam roiling visibly from my body, came over to rub my back.
“Funny,” she said. “Get ’em, Mom!” Then she stilled my hand on the keyboard and said with an urgent tone, “Wait. Let me see that letter from Whorehouse again.”
I obeyed immediately. Have I told you my daughter is very intuitive? No? Well to give you an idea of her depth, we once watched What’s Love Got to Do with It? together. At age eleven, and without any prompting or education, she knew from Ike and Tina’s first interaction at the piano that he would go on to become an abuser.
And my heard sank, because the longer she read, the grimmer her expression. By the time she finally straightened, it was downright foreboding.
She tapped my Dear Trifecta note with a painted nail. (Black, I noted, but held my tongue for later.)
“You can’t send that.”
“Why not? ”Begin as you mean to end’, right? I won’t be held hostage by one reader after another just because–”
“They’re not readers,” she said flatly. “They’re words. Your words are writing to you and demanding equal time.”
Now I know what you’re thinking, because believe me, I went there too for a while: this is not possible. (Also, I’ve never been the kind of mother to snoop in her kids’ drawers looking for drug paraphernalia, but maybe that was something I needed to revisit.) But she was adamant, relentless in defending her theory, and when forced to recall certain events in my life, her thesis even began to seem plausible.
For example, there was that period last winter when, for three months solid, my mind had all the sharpness of pudding.
Then there’s the Wordmare stuff.
And how about all those times where love for a certain phrase consumes me? I have been known to rewrite entire chapters – heck, even alter the plot – because it’s felt absolutely crucial to end on a particular word.
Have these all been subtle signs of a pending rebellion?
And if she was right, the implications were huge. Huge!
Think about it: all my writing time sucked up by dealing with work-to-rule strikes, boycotts, settling petty jealousies amongst the rank-and-file…
Was I going to wake up tomorrow and find out that Chemise had developed Shirt-envy? And what if Shawty and Mo-Fo edged out Woman and Bastard, thereby forcing me to write permanently in gangsta-speak?
The very thought made me literally sick to my stomach.
But I’m a firm believer in knowing the face of the enemy. So, rather than leap to any conclusions, I dashed off a quick note to the above three antagonists.
I am confused. Note: I didn’t use proper business-format by formally addressing them, but I couldn’t compromise myself enough to do it. All along I have thought you were simply an irate fan, but my business manager seems to think I have misunderstood. She believes you are words. Please confirm or deny.
This was in my in-basket this morning:
Yeah, were words, all right. And youve used up three of your days to ask a fucking stupid question when what you should be doin’ is writin’.
And make it somethin good. We was kinda talkin’ amongst ourselves and we want it to be a sex scene.
Spork and Hummer ain’t fussy, but I like it on top. And make her scream, cuz I like that.
So there you have it, folks. Out of all the words that could have picked on me, I’m saddled with a trio who lack taste.
And now that they’ve thrown the gauntlet, what exactly do I do?