Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Hilarious Tendency

Some of you I'm sure know about McSweeney's Internet Tendency, a site with some of the best...and funniest...writing around. I don't visit often enough, but I think I better change that practice.

Not sure if it's exactly the Web equivalent of getting published in The New Yorker, but I think it'd be awfully swell to get a piece posted over at McSweeney's. (to sleep, perchance to dream.)

I was at a Half-Price Books store recently, and as I'm often wont to do, I wandered over to the Writing/Publishing section. One can never have too many books on the writing craft, and being the owner of approximately 94 tons of them, I know of what I speak.

One of the books that caught my eye was a title called, Fondling Your Muse: Infallible Advice From A Published Author To The Writerly Aspirant. I'd seen the title before, and thought it was clever and a book I'd like to add to my collection. Anything to get my muse to come and visit on a more regular basis.

This time I looked a bit closer, and saw that it was written by John Warner, the editor of McSweeney's. And being on a Half-Price Books shelf, it was marked $5.95. (which, by the way, is substantially less than half of the $19.99 cover price. score!!)

I paged through it quickly, already knowing I was going to buy it. When I got home, though, I wondered how much real writing advice I might extract from the book. Reading his Acknowledgements page, titled, "The Blame Belongs Here," he thanked his wife, Kathy, at the end, "who took a chance on marrying me before I was a world renowned author of fake writing advice."

There are nuggets here and there that may help in your journey as a writer, but what the book mostly is is one of the funniest collections of pages ever bound together and sold at any bookstore anywhere. Perhaps if you're not a writer...or a writerly won't have the same effect. But if you are—whether you find it for half price or less, or have to pay the entire twenty bucks—you will enjoy this book. Tremendously.

"This book is dedicated to you,
by which I mean me, myself.
I say you because when I read it,
I know that I'm talking about myself.
I don't want you to think it's dedicated
to you, the reader, when I mean me,
the writer. It would be silly to dedicate
a book to someone like you, who had
nothing to do with writing it—don't you think?"
—John Warner's dedication in Fondling Your Muse


  1. You're two for two! And you read a book with "Fondling" in the title - sounds like a succesful start to November :o)

  2. Yes, my muse doesn't visit as often as I'd like, but when she does, she's pretty happy.


  3. Did you know the working title was: Vicariously Having an Aspirant Writer Advice Book


    But somebody in marketing didn't like the word Vicariously in the title and thought the word Fondling was sexier.