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Apr 07, 2009; victor et amorata al dente quod vide ipso pecunias res Asks:

Your Question: filling out the paperwork?! Really....?

Stacey answers:

Yes. Filling out the paperwork correctly, making phone calls in a normal voice, paying bills more or less on time, flossing, all hallmarks of adulthood. I hate it, I didn't have to do it when I was 16, I have to do it now or else be committed and be assigned a guardian like Britney.

Apr 04, 2009; yoyome_123 Asks:

Hi, I first read your story, "The Cavemen in the Hedges" when I was about 13. I loved it, and took a few lessons from it as well, but I never really noticed what I learned until I had to do a more in depth analysis of the story for a class. Now I'm an adult (legally at least) and I'm sort of at a crossroads. How do I be a grown up with responsibilities without losing touch with what makes me me? Well I'm still doing some research on your story, and I was hoping you could help. What are some good resources for info on the stories, the historical context, and your life experiences that relate? --If you know of any...

And I was just wondering if you could tell me what your stance was on growing up? Is it really so bad to enjoy plastic pink princess fashions (I think I probably always will --I wear a purple diamond tiara whenever I'm feeling down), or sing random word fragments to the tune of our favorite pop song?-- anytime I forget the lyrics I just mouth "elephant turkey" to the song and it makes me feel like I know it--or at least look like it to whoever might be watching... Why can't you be a home owner and a punk rocker throwing bricks and screaming "Anarchy now!"? Or are those just too different? Is there some kind of balance? How do you find it? I saw in your response to a previous question on this story that the cavemen actually represent cavemen, but what does "The Look" symbolize? Who cares about "evolutionary superior traits"? And most of all, what's wrong with Fred Astaire and James Bond? I think they're both pretty sexy, at least in a sleazy, impersonal kind of way. I know you don't think that there are any answers in literature, but these are LIFE questions, and I need some advice. Please help! OH, and why doesn't your narrator tell us his name? Is because it's embarrassing, like Eustace or Floyd? I can't think of any horrifying names right now...

Stacey answers:

Hi yoyome. First I'll answer your questions about the story, then I'll attempt the life questions. Since the story is contemporary, I'd say the historical context is now, so you don't need to do any research there. The only life experience I can think of that relates to the story is that I, like the characters in the story, have a basement. I guess I was sort of a punk rocker too back in the day but in a wimpy, suburban way--not like running away and cutting my hair with nail scissors so I looked a mental patient or anything like that. Actually, once I did that to my hair, but anyway. The narrator doesn't have a name only because he never gets around to saying it. Sometimes first-person narrators don't have to declare their own names due to the fact that most of us think of ourselves as pronouns rather than names. (And at times I find the introduction of a first-person narrator's name a false moment.) The Look represents unspoken contempt, resentment, longing, shit like that. I don't know who cares about "evolutionary superior traits." I hope no one does. It just seems like if there were suddenly cavemen around the subject of evolution might arise. There's nothing wrong with James Bond and Fred Astaire! The opinions of the characters are not my own.

As for growing up, it has some highs and lows but I don't think there's anything wrong with enjoying your tiara. I like your turkey elephant technique and predict it will serve you well for years to come. I'm almost sure that no matter what happens you will always be you. In fact, even if you don't want to be you will always be you and there's nothing you can do about it, just like you will get older and more mature, and so on, even though when you're very young getting older might seem to be optional, or at least under your control. It's not. You could think of it as gaining things rather than losing them (though it's a little of both). Being mature is not about being serious rather than playful, or practical rather than frivolous, or boring rather than interesting. For me, it's been more about slowly starting to understand things, trying not to be an asshole, and filling out the paperwork correctly. And now that I'm thinking of it, I liked that nail scissor haircut and just might do it again.

Apr 02, 2009; The Future Asks:

Dear Stacey, I recently discovered a new form of writer's block that delivers all of the side effects with none of the guilt! It is so clever, you can sit at the computer for 8 hours straight, not having written a word, and still feel accomplished. It's called the internet. And it assures you: inspiration is just around the cyber-corner. Doubting the meaning of that big word you just wrote? Dictionary.com it. Can't name your character? Babynames.com. Just need to check in on what the cool kids are wearing these days? thecoolhunter.net. I'm telling you, there are endless things to learn and discover. Just keep clicking away and, eventually the story will write itself! I'm not one to hoard such cutting-edge information on the possibilities of procrastination and I thought who better to spread the word than you. And the best part? It's absolutely free! Thanks, Stacey, for all you've given me. Happy Surfing, The Future

Stacey answers:

Interesting. I will have to look into this.

Apr 01, 2009; vasya Asks:

DrinksYou will need something; viagra bwjal; online casino =-]]]; cialis >:DDD; cheap flights 8D; buy levitra >:-DD; ambien ita;

Stacey answers:

Vasya! I put up a CAPTCHA so that you and your robot minions couldn't try to sell us Levitra anymore! But you have mutated into a smarter robot, you little rat.

Mar 18, 2009; Wag Asks:

I recently discovered that my dermatologist is in fact a Scientologist (a derma-scientologist?). Anyway, my wife thought the doctor was just a nice Jewish lady, but is now terrified. Should we continue to allow this woman to handle our skin?

Stacey answers:

No. Doctors should be scientists, not Scientologists. You need someone rational. I switched dermatologists when the one I had, the one who wore two pairs of glasses at once, told me that boils were a biblical affliction that plagued Job, then scraped out the inside of mine with a metal tool (maybe a pen?) without giving me anesthesia of any kind. That was how I learned that there's a real reason why they put a leather strap between the teeth of cowboys in old Westerns when they're digging out the bullet because I clenched my teeth so hard that I could barely talk the rest of the day. Also, when I got up off the table the nurse was cringing in the corner. I asked her what the substance inside the boil looked like and she didn't want to answer. When I insisted she finally said, "turkey gravy." Believe me, you do not want this kind of irrational dermatological experience. Get someone who only believes in science, or better yet, nothing.

Mar 17, 2009; bob fletcher Asks:

what is dirty realism???

Stacey answers:

Here's the url for the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_realism

Mar 12, 2009; Sigh Asks:

Yes. I am a terrible person. Thanks for the suggestions, although I'm going to pass on the Cormac McCarthy, sure, he's a brilliant writer, but I loathed Blood Meridian so much that I nearly burned it in my trash can, but then I realized that if I did so McCarthy would have won.

Stacey answers:

That's fine. I just wanted to give you an assortment since I don't know your taste. I find I have more fun reading Cormac McCarthy novels when I think of them as a form of children's lit, like boys' adventure tales, but for grown ups. It works for Haruki Murakami too.

Mar 12, 2009; Wiki'd Asks:

According to Wikipedia, you are married and a Scientologist. Is this true?

Stacey answers:

I am just so happy to have a Wikipedia entry that I didn't write myself. Does it really say that? I have to go look at it.

Wow, it really does say that. The Church of Scientology is prominently featured. I am not married. I do not belong to the Church of Scientology. I just put Scientology down once on my Myspace page because I saw it on the pull-down menu and thought it was funny. I also also put down married because I told my boyfriend I wanted to be Myspace Married, which is different than being legally married but still sort of romantic.

Mar 10, 2009; SKC Asks:

Hello, I'm writing an analytical essay on your short fiction, "The Cavemen in the Hedges." I was using the psychoanalysis approach for my paper, and wanted to discuss about the suppression and projection that Kim was slowly revealing. Well, my real thesis question is "How does Richter show couples in her (this specific) story, or what does Richter see in couples?" I found that, in this specific story, you took the man's point of view, to show of his faults in the relationship? His negligence to her emotions as she obsessively cleans the house to fill the void of his not wanting to marry. Where can all the cavemen fit in to this, is he also ignoring her initial fear? Maybe you could just give me a hint? Thank you so much for your help, and I really love this story.

Stacey answers:

Oh my. Hello, SKC. I'm so pleased you're writing about my story. I can't give you any answers, exactly, because I don't believe there are answers in literature, just different ways of framing the questions. So here are a few questions: are you sure Kim is the one (or the only one) doing the suppression and rejection? What if the cavemen are all actually female? Is her devotion to order only about her relationship with her boyfriend? Does this help? Probably not. One thing I can say for sure: the cavemen represent exactly what you think cavemen would represent: cavemen.

Mar 10, 2009; MaGillacuddy Asks:

Have you ever known someone for a really long time, and suddenly seen them in a completely different way, so that you suddenly thought - this person is horrible! Why do I keep him/her around?? And maybe you had inklings of this for years but thought you were being snotty or judgmental, or thought that you'd been friends for so long that it didn't matter, you'd always be friends, etc. it's just that he/she is sort of shitty sometimes? And then you just sort of wake up one day and think - I don't have to put up with this shit. Or the person says something horrible and you suddenly say - that was totally hurtful and demeaning, why would you say that? And then the person claims you attacked her which is totally baffling from your end. You wonder why it took yourself so long to say anything in the first place and it feels great. Once you realize this, you have, like, furious rage against this person for all the years you didn't say anything to the shitty remarks and the rage lasts for months. And yet, you still feel guilty because even though this person is toxic, he/she claims to love you and when he/she's not being a total bitch, she can kind of be fun? And maybe you're just crazy for thinking she's toxic. Maybe it's you. Have you ever felt like that? And if so - what does it all mean?

Stacey answers:

Oy. I think things like this happen to almost everyone at one time or another, MaGillacuddy, and it’s never easy. I think what it means is this: people change. They may not change when you want them to or in the way you want, but they do change, and somehow you’ve evolved so that you don’t need so much shitty meanness in your life. That’s fantastic! Congratulations! I’m sure this took considerable thought and struggle on your part and you deserve a lot of credit. Now, here’s the thing: you’ve changed but your friend hasn’t. Really, when you think about it, why would she? It would be a freakish coincidence if she happened to snap out of her crap attitude at the same time you did. So even though I hate being on the side of assholes, I have a smidge of sympathy for your friend in this situation, MaGillacuddy. Here’s the thing: I would guess you’ve been getting something out of this friendship for all this time, even if your friend is a big fat jerk. There can be benefits to hanging out with mean people. It can be rather great to have a fierce person in your corner, who spews all the anger you're too timid or lazy to vent yourself, who scares away the faint-hearted and boring creatures you'd prefer not to deal with. But if you grow out of it, you have a problem: now you're stuck with this person who is used to being loved by you for her ferocity, and suddenly you're turning around and telling her she’s hurtful and demeaning. So indulge me for a minute and look at it from her point of view: she’s acting the same way she always has, a way that’s always seemed to be okay by you, and suddenly you’re enraged—but as far as she’s concerned, she’s just being herself. She’s probably hurt and confused, and if she’s an embattled person to begin with, that’s not going to make her act any nicer. Quite the opposite.

She might change someday too, who knows? One thing is for sure though, she’ll do it on her own schedule. But until then, at least she can still be fun at times, and it’s sweet of her to say she loves you, and I’m sure she wouldn’t be your friend if you didn’t have something worthwhile together. You know, it’s hard for a friendship to survive a change like this—you are essentially saying you’re not sure you like her anymore—but even if your friend doesn’t change, the nature of your friendship can. Unless she’s hurtful and demeaning to you—in which case I hope you draw the line and tell her it's not allowed (do it whenever you're ready but tell her)—maybe she’s just a friend with the flaw of bitchiness, which is on par with, let’s say, stupidity, weird relationship issues, over-drunkenness, and bad art making—it’s not fun, but maybe it’s not a fatal flaw.

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