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Dear Stacey: I am constantly consoling my gay friend who repeatedly falls for straight or taken women. I care about my friend a lot, but I'm getting worn down by the drama--and I'd love to talk about other things--like the Boston Red Sox' new pitcher Dice-K or the pollen count or Darfur--How can I respectfully ask my friend to lighten up on her girl chasing woes? How can I ask her to be my friend and talk about other things that are going on in both of our lives without making her defensive? Please help!
Hi JL. There's no good way to tell her. No one wants to hear that they're a narcissistic buzz-kill, and no matter how sweetly you say it, she's going to know that's what you mean. Instead, make her think you're going crazy in a way that's only tangentially related to her. Grab your temples and moan, "I can't take any more talk of forbidden love!" Then suggest something fun to do instead. "Let's go play mini-golf before my head explodes!"
Hi Stacey, I'm vacationing from NYC, a week in the midwest by the quiet Mississippi, and just inhaled your new book. (I was a huge admirer of My Date With Satan and have been waiting impatiently for your follow-up, which, if you don't mind me saying, not only matches your maiden voyage MDWS in swiftness and depth, but roars above it on a narley 10-footer. Here endenth all ass-kissery and bad useage of metophor.) So -- my Q: Is the word
ladyfinger? churlish? rookery?
obviously by what i'm about to ask i haven't cracked your book open yet, but that is definitley not to be taken like i don't love you, it's absolutely just because i'm savoring it and afraid to start and not have time to finish because i'm going to be so happy in richterland and i'm a procrastinator too...anyway my question is where do i start i mean do i start any where? i'm guessing you'll say start from the beginning, but do i have to? i don't want to even sneak a peek and spoil one sentence until i know what i'm doing.
Hi Pinkie. The stories are in a particular order cooked up by me and my editor in order to create a pleasing reading experience--the first and last stories, for instance, are both about pairs of women and have a nice symmetry. But it's fine with me if you want to hop around. Nothing bad will happen. I trust you. Good luck.
I noticed that Twin Studies does not have a table of contents. Or at least, my copy of it doesn't have one. Was this intentional, or did you get jacked by your publisher? Maybe I just have a faulty copy? The lack of table of contents makes me feel kind of weird and uncertain.
I got jacked! It's weird and uncertain, yes, sort of floaty and free form, in a bad way. Sorry. Your copy is not any faultier than anyone else's, if that makes you feel any better.
...and what makes a good collection title? Any tips on how to order the stories? I'm figuring on putting the best stories first, burying the crappy ones in the middle, and finishing up with an experimental bang. Le sigh. Three more days.
Heffalump, I think you have the order of the stories about right. Start with the strongest and the easiest to read, and end with a good one. Also, it's kind of like a mix tape where you want one to flow into the next with a pleasing sameness or a pleasing jolt. It's better to take the crappy ones out altogether than to bury them in the middle, if that's possible.
I like the title "Tales of the Heffalump".
Stacey, I've been writing my master's thesis for AGES. It's due on Friday. Can you give me some tips for keeping my pedal to the metal?
Ha! Heffalump, are your sure you want to ask me? I'm really more of a procrastination specialist. Like, have you looked at your stove lately? Probably the knobs have a little dirt on them, and it's likely that there's grease underneath. Did you know these knobs come off? You can take them off and clean them, and then put them back, and will have accomplished one small, useless thing without making any headway on your thesis at all.
Since that wasn't your question, I'll add some tips. You could try repeating a mantra to yourself, such as: "If I don't finish this, I'm worthless, if I don't finish this, I'm worthless..." Also: coffee. Also (and no one likes to hear this, least of all me), early morning (very early) is, for some reason, the absolute best time to write. It's a terrible, cruel truth that I try to ignore.
Your Q and A is broken
Sorry, Rabbi. I hate to disappoint a rabbi. It should be fixed soon. Sorry also I haven't answered any questions for a few days--I have a terrible virus and I'm going back to sleep now.
Stacey, what is the fastest land animal?
I believe it's the cheetah.
Do you have any advice for young writers? Thank you.
Yes, Chrysalis, I do. My best advice to young writers is that they get other people to move heavy objects for them. Seriously--hire a mover, even if you can't afford it, or at least get some beefy citizens to lug your furniture for you. People who sit all the time (such as young writers) do not have strong backs, and once you screw up your back it may never be entirely unscrewed.
Have I ever told you that you're my literary heart throb? Rikki Ducornet is #2 (she could never replace you), and I was struck almost dumb with joy when I saw that Fairy Tale Review had both of you in one issue!
Oh, that's sweet. You're mine too. Now I have to run and read the Rikki Ducornet story right away. I bet I could kick her ass in Boggle!