Life, Liberty, and….. Musicals?

When I was fourteen years old, West Side Story was on the required reading list for ninth grade English class.  That same year the motion picture production of the Broadway musical was broadcast on network television.
Since I had enjoyed the paperback version of West Side Story, I looked forward to the televised version, and since both the paperback and the movie were based on the same play, they were remarkably similar.  The exception, of course, was that the paperback didn’t have a soundtrack or a choreographer.
I loved the movie.  Here were tough, street-wise, rough and rumble gangs ready to fight at the drop of a switchblade, with the prettiest girls in the neighborhood hanging on their every move.  The whole experience, specifically Rita Moreno, made quite an impression on me.
Not long ago I noticed that West Side Story was going to be on television again one Friday night.  I could not wait.  In fact, I planned the entire evening around that movie.  I can’t remember being so disappointed.
Because I had put so much planning into the event, I forced myself to watch the entire movie.  It nearly made me sick to my stomach.  It’s amazing how time changes the way we look at the world.  Allow me to summarize.
West Side Story:  The saga of the only two gay gangs in New York City who clash in a neighborhood turf war to decide which gang gets to hang out, get this, at the local candy shop.  I kid you not.
The Puerto Rican gang is known as “The Sharks” and features an ample display of tight fitting clothes, carefully coiffured hairstyles, and lots of gold jewelry.  And those are just the guys.  The Shark girls wear simple cotton dresses with plunging necklines.  Remember what I said about Rita Moreno?
The Anglo (or American) gang is known as “The Jets” and features tight jeans, torn t-shirts, crew-cuts, ducktails and an extremely butch tom-boy named “Anybodys”.  Ellen Degeneres was supposed to be the first openly gay female on television, but Anybodys had Ellen beat by a good 35 years.  The Jet girls are all gum-chewing tramps.
These “street-wise, rough and rumble gangs” exercise their street cred by picking on each other anytime they have the other side outnumbered.  In one scene, the Sharks actually TAKE a basketball from one of the Jets.  (Oooooh.)
Meanwhile, the Sharks and Jets snap their fingers a lot and sing and dance their way all over the neighborhood, threatening and intimidating each other with their incredible footwork.
Tony, a former Jet (duh?), falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the head Shark.  Predictably, this happens at a neighborhood dance and choreographed mayhem ensues.
Eventually the gangs have a rumble, where they sing and dance around until Bernardo accidentally kills one of the Jets.  Whereupon Tony, who’s there to stop the rumble, kills Bernardo (oops), which scares everyone so much they all run away to hide out from each other.
Except Tony, who goes to tell Maria that he has killed Bernardo, but winds up sleeping with her anyway.  Considering that Tony gets gunned down before daylight, I don’t think he made such a bad choice.
Fortunately for me, even the most jaded view of the movie couldn’t detract from Rita Moreno.  Ah-Chihuahua!

The Pains of a Writer’s Rejection

No writer likes rejection. It’s so personal. It’s not just our work that was rejected, we were.

Most adults build their identity around their work and its results. A carpenter doesn’t just say, “I hammer nails.” He says, “I build houses. Do you see that house? I built it.” A doctor doesn’t just say, “I prescribe medicine.” She says, “I help people. Do you see that kid? I saved his life.”

It’s that way with writers. We don’t just type, we create entire bodies of work that inform, entertain, and persuade. Having that work rejected means we have been rejected as people. Our thoughts, ideas, and experience, which made up our words, are not good enough to be read by others.

“Remember, it’s not personal,” say the veteran professional writer, smiling in that annoying, knowing way. “It’s just business.”

Sad puppy

When you reject us, this is how we feel.

He remembers all too well the last time his work was rejected. He remembers, because if he’s a real writer, it was last week.

The new writer looks at the old pro like she wants to stab him in the eye with a pen. He remembers that look too. It’s the same one he gave his mentor 20 years ago, when he wanted to stab that cranky bastar in his eye. He smiles, but prepares to defend himself. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the dictionary makes a better club.

Anyone who wants to be a writer will learn to deal with rejection. Real writers eventually get used to it, and sigh resignedly the next time they get a rejection letter. They all have the same low opinion of editors: slack-jawed mouth breathers who wouldn’t know good writing if it whacked them with a dictionary.

(Note: This does not apply to my editors, who are salt of the earth, cream of the crop, princes and princesses among men, and can recognize sheer genius when it stands sobbing outside their offices in the rain, swearing it won’t go away until you just give me one chance.)

Writers have many coping mechanisms to deal with rejection: they rage and curse against know-nothing editors. They scream into their pillows. They weep silently on the bathroom floor. They entertain wild fantasies where they win the Nobel Prize, bump into that editor at the valet station outside, and ask him to bring the car around. But they mostly drink.

My coping mechanism was probably the stupidest of all: I went into sales. I thought it would be much safer, because no one gets rejected, and everyone is friendly and respectful in sales, right?

If you want to learn about real rejection, try dialing for dollars for a living. You’ll realize that the occasional editor’s “no” every couple of weeks is a walk in the park compared to the 20 “no’s” you’ll get every day in sales. For the next seven years.

Other than going into sales, the only way to get over rejection is to write more and get rejected more. A lot more.

Because the only way you’re going to get better is by developing a thick skin. And fantasizing about handing your editors a copy of your latest New York Times best-selling book, and they promise to read it, but then their manager yells at them to get back to the fry station.

And then one day, you won’t be Rejected. You’ll be Accepted.

Accepted!

It means you’re Somebody now. You’re that dorky kid in high school who got invited to sit at the cool kids’ table, and they all listened in rapt attention to your story about your little sister and the time she got a popcorn seed stuck up her nose.

You’re no longer just a writer, you’re a Professional Writer. (Because getting a $10 check and two copies of the magazine makes you a Professional.)

You’ll celebrate with a $20 dinner, and you’ll promise yourself that you’re going to remember this feeling forever. That this is the beginning of a long and distinguished career, that started with this one step.

Until the next day, when another rejection letter arrives.

Eventually you’ll learn to accept the rejections. Even welcome them sometimes, because you don’t have enough time, what with your next book and three speeches you have to give next month.

That’s when some new writer will come to you, asking what’s the best way he can deal with rejection, because he just got his first one, and he wants to quit writing.

You’ll look at him, knowingly, searching for the right thing to say, to let him know that it will work out in the end.

“Remember, it’s not personal,” you’ll say. “It’s just business.”

Just make sure you have a dictionary handy first.

This post was originally published at Erik Deckers’ Laughing Stalk blog.

Photo credit: hackett (Flickr)

Life, Liberty, and….. Higher Education?

On May 4, 1980, the Board of Trustees of Presbyterian College, on the advice of the President of the College and the Academic Dean, bestowed upon me a Bachelor’s of Science degree in the area of Business Administration.

To my credit I had successfully completed the necessary curriculum for said degree, but I have no doubt that the Board et al heaved a collective sigh of relief when I departed the hallowed halls of academia for life in the real world.

Sadly, my Daddy, holder of a Masters Degree in Education, felt that my participation in the commencement exercises should signal an end (on my part) to stupid ideas, dumb questions, mindless screwups, common errors, and public displays of ignorance.  He was wrong.

I could usually tell when I did something that fell beneath Daddy’s standards because he would invariably ask one of two questions.  It would be either, “Son, why in the world did we ever bother sending you to college?” or “Son, what in the name of blasphemy-after-blasphemy did you do for four years while you were in college?”

Even though I had been toting a pistol since the age of 16, I knew that a jocular response to one of these questions was ill advised unless I already had my pistol in my hand, preferably with a round in the chamber.

I may not have been above making simple mistakes, but I had learned when to keep my mouth shut, and I didn’t learn that at Presbyterian College.  I learned it where most other people learn it, at the dinner table.  Eventually, though, I was able to turn the tables on Daddy so that, no matter his opinion on my intelligence quotient, he at least learned to keep his opinions to himself.

This was back when we were still in the irrigation business together, and we spent the better part of two years working in Reidsville, Georgia, either on the Durrance farm on for one of their neighbors.

I spent a lot of nights camping in a field on the Durrance farm but I also spent a lot of time driving back and forth.  In the mornings, I usually drove so Daddy could read the paper. At night, I usually drove so Daddy could devote his entire attention to critiquing the days accomplishments.

One night Daddy was more vitriolic than usual in his attitude towards our partnership.  He quickly went to questioning my performance at college.

I had enough.  “All right, you’re so bleeping smart.  I’ll bet you anything you want to bet that before we get home, you can’t answer correctly one question on one final exam I had to take to graduate.”

Immediately $100 was on the table, so I gave him an example of Dr. Clinkscales’ statistics exam:

“At a local county fair, you play a gambling game where you draw from a standard deck of 52 playing cards.  If you draw an Ace, you win $5.  If you draw a face card, you win $2.  How much does it cost to play the game?”

Of course, he couldn’t answer the question and I won the money, but only after I gave him the answer and showed him how to work it out on paper.

If you ask me sometime, I might even tell you.

Life, Liberty, and….. Criminals?

Like it or not, we have that element in society that prefers to live outside the law. Our Founding Fathers, while arguing the finer points of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution understood that fact very well.

To the point, dressing up as Native Americans, boarding one of His Majesty’s tea clippers, and dumping the cargo overboard was more than a symbolic gesture. It was against the law.

However, our Founding Fathers understood the difference between justly breaking a law to protest a greater injustice and living a life of idleness six days a week just to rob some citizen on Saturday night so you can enjoy another week of idleness.

For instance, I think the Founding Fathers would understand the “Occupy” protesters and argue their rights to assemble in spite of the fact that many of their motivations are at cross purposes with one another and, in many cases are down right obfuscatory when compared to the overall stated tone of the protests.

Which is why the Founding Fathers relied upon a well understood, unwritten document known as the Social Contract. The Social Contract basically says that if you live peaceably in a community then you’re afforded the protections of the Constitution as well as those local laws and ordinances designed for the same purpose.

Why this lesson in American History and Civics? I’m glad you asked.

I saw on an internet news website that a robber in South Florida was shot by one of his own accomplices in the commission of a robbery. Nathaniel James Clay and two other villians broke into a home on Christmas Eve, around 9:40 PM.

Let me pause here to point out that Mr. Clay (no relation to your modest and beloved author) already had the deck stacked against him. Never trust a man with three first names: James Earl Ray, Lee Harvey Oswald, Barack Hussein Obama. You get the idea.

The invaders on Christmas Eve were met by the home owner who attacked Mr. Clay several times with a baseball bat. One of Mr. Clay’s accomplices then came to his assistance by shooting Mr. Clay in an unnamed portion of his anatomy.

If Braniac’s intentions were to stop the fight, he succeeded gloriously. So well, in fact, that Brainiac and villian #3 fled the scene, leaving the home owner and Mr. Clay calmly (albeit bruised, bloody, and wounded) awaiting the arrival of the police.

Mr. Clay was transported to the Holmes Regional Medical Center while police detectives searched for his accomplices. My guess is that this manhunt will be over some fifteen minutes after Mr. Clay regains consciousness.

Just a hunch, you understand, but I’m betting that Mr. Clay will be more eager to converse with his buddies about such urbane subjects as State’s evidence and marksmanship than he will be to say, plan their next caper.

All in all, though, I’d say the three stooges got off pretty easy in this case. Florida is fairly gun happy when it comes to firearms. In fact, Governor Rick Scott (that’s Richard Lynn Scott…ooops) just signed into law two bills that are very friendly to gun owners.

The homeowner in this case could just as easily met them at the door with an AK-47 as with a Louisville Slugger.

As far as I’m concerned, all’s well that ends well, even for Mr. Clay, who, quite frankly, will be much safer in the county lockup than he will on city streets.

Next week, how to get your GED online using a Ouija Board and a pay telephone

Just want to be… Stuck in the middle with you…

I am a registered Independent. I registered this way when I first moved to Santa Barbara almost thirty-five years ago, partially because I knew nothing about California politics.

“Who’s this Moonbeam guy?”

“He’s the new eccentric Governor, Jerry Brown.”

“Is he an astronaut?”

“Nope. Environmentalist.”

“Far out.”

“Exactly. Can’t believe he replaced Ronald Regan.”

“The host of Death Valley Days?”

“Yup he’ll probably be president some day.”

“Well, that should help the sales of 20 Mule Team Borax.”

Another reason I chose Independent was a purely guy thing. I didn’t know if all those “California Girls” the Beach Boys sang about were republican or democrat and I wanted them to know I go both ways – so to speak.

But I guess the main reason I became an Independent is because I’ve always been a middle-of-the-road kind of guy.

“Hey moron, get out of the street!”

“Okay. Should I go left or right?”

“Where you should go is straight to the funny farm.”

“Thank you.” He must know I’m a humor writer.

Over the years, this middle-of-the-road stance has cost me sometimes. For instance, I was terrible on the debating team: “Yes, I see your point. Oh, good response. Wow, you are so well informed.”

I’ve also always been bad when it comes to giving directions.

“Excuse me, how do I get to State Street from here?”

“Well, you could take the freeway or you could take the frontage road. The freeway is probably fastest, but the frontage road is more scenic, though it might be congested this time of day. Of course there is construction on the freeway so that might offset the slowness of the scenic route. I guess you could bypass it all by going over the hills and then approach from the north, unless of course you want to go to lower State Street, whereby you’d be better of going the beach route, through there are a lot of bicyclists to watch for, not to mention tourists like yourself.”

“I should have known better than to ask someone standing on the median strip.”

Nor have I ever been all that great at making big decisions.

“Paper or plastic?”

“Ah…”

“Soup or salad?”

“Ah…”

“White or red?”

“Ah… Rose! Ha!”

I probably owe all this to my English heritage. Not wanting to say the wrong thing and lose face or make a statement that causes ridicule. Looking back I guess if I had one of those British Royal names that they shout out as you arrive at the event of the season, like:

“Duke Highwaterpants of Squirrel-in-the-Pond.” Or…

“M’Lady BouncyBottom of Abundant Shire.” Or…

“Sir Tipsy of Alehouse Manor.”

Then I would be introduced as…

“Count Don’tAskMe of Doubtin’ Abbey.”

So who knew, that over the years, my vote would become a crucial one? If I would have known that was going to happen I probably would have chosen “other” as my party. But like it or not as a “swing voter” both sides are now wooing me.

“What do you think about the economy?”

“Ah… I think we need one?”

“Where do you stand on bailouts?”

“Hey that was just one time, okay?”

“How do you feel about medical marijuana?”

“Hey that was just one time, okay?”

“Domestic oil is black gold!”

“Really, then why isn’t your wife wearing a petroleum necklace?”

“We need more nuclear energy.”

“If you wait a few more months some should be washing up on the west coast.”

“What are your thoughts concerning wind power?”

“Don’t wear a loose-fitting hat?”

“We should make government smaller so we can create more jobs.”

“But what about all those government folks who will lose their jobs?”

“We should take from the rich and give to the poor.”

“Will we have to hide in Sherwood Forest?”

“Where do you stand on immigration?”

“Well out of the way, so I don’t get run over.”

“What are your views on Chinese imports?”

“Excuse me for a minute I have a call on my iPhone.”

“If you could tell all the politicians what you want most out of your government, what would it be?”

“Ah… Less hate. More love. World peace. Compromise, compromise, compromise. And, if they want to throw in legalizing marijuana a lot of us soon-to-be retirees will learn to live off the land again.”

Life, Liberty, and ……. D-I-V-O-R-C-E?

Question:  Why is divorce so expensive?
Answer:  Because it’s worth every penny.

Okay, now that I’ve broken my long standing rule about not using someone else’s joke, at least I have your attention.  Divorce is kind of like that old beer advertising campaign.  You only go around once in life, so go for all the gusto you can get.  The natural corollary being that if you do it right, once is enough.

Judging from the divorce that I got, I’d say that once will be enough for me, too.  However, since almost half of all marriages end in divorce, I have a few insightful tips and useful bits of information gleaned from my personal experience. 

How you use this information is up to you.  You can use it for a quick chuckle, or you can use it to prepare yourself should you find that divorce, whether you believe in it or not, is in your future.

Guys, women do not leave without a plan.  When a woman walks out that door, in her mind she’s been gone for six months.  Do not expect her to come crawling back. 

Men, on the other hand, frequently storm out the door without a plan. 

Therefore, unless that man has unlimited financial resources and has been bearing the financial burdens of your marriage, you can expect him back in a week or ten days. 

If a man does have unlimited financial resources, then it’s a safe bet that he’s on good terms with all of the judges and most of the attorneys in your judicial circuit.  In this case you should move to a different judicial circuit before filing for divorce.

Divorce has its own language, so it’s important to understand what people mean when words come out of their mouths.

When a woman says “I need a few months to think things over” she really means “hire an attorney because I just filed.” 

When a woman says “child support” she really means “you’re going to pay.”  When she says “reasonable child support” she means “through the nose.”

When a woman says “my share” she really means “all of it.” 

When a woman says “what’s fair” she really means “all of it.” 

When a woman says “what’s coming to me” she really means “all of it.”

When an attorney says “we”, what they really mean is “you.” 

When an attorney says “retainer”, what he really means is “your life savings.” 

When an attorney says “billable hours” what she means is “anytime I think about your case.”

When an attorney says “I recommend” what he means is “It’s cheaper to agree with me now.” 

When an attorney says “Start from the beginning and tell me everything” what they mean is “I got ripped in my own divorce and I really need the money.”

When an attorney says “I don’t handle divorce” what they really mean is “your wife just hired the best divorce attorney in the circuit.”

When an attorney appears to be thinking, they’re counting billable hours.

Judges don’t say a lot.  However, when the judge asks any question, the correct response is “Yes, Your Honor.” 

If the judge begins any sentence with the word “Bailiff”, the rest of the sentence is going to be bad news.

And, finally, keep in mind that if you could really talk yourself out of this mess, you probably wouldn’t be in court in the first place.

Google IDs Newspaper Editor Jon Flatland as Serial Plagiarist

It’s a weird badge of honor in the humor writing world to be stolen from. To have someone else take your work, stick their name on it, and claim they wrote it. To tell the world they thought of that story, spun the words together, and made those jokes about the Mayor’s wife’s nose job.

It’s a strange mix of emotions when it happens.

On the one hand, there’s red-faced anger. Many of us make a mere pittance from our work and to have it stolen by someone who financially benefitted from it is an outrage.

On the other hand, there’s pride. Pride that someone thought my work was funny enough to steal. That, of all the humor columnists to rip off, my work made them laugh enough to declare, “THIS! This column is so good, I must steal it.”
We get special privileges when this happens, like openly mocking humor writers who were not ripped off.

I got to experience all this last Thursday, when I received an email from another humor writer, David Fox, telling me and several other writers, that a newspaper editor named Jon Flatland, of the Blooming Prairie Times in Blooming Prairie, Minn., had been stealing our columns for several years.

Jon Flatland, former editor of the Blooming Prairie (Minn.) Times

Fox had contacted Flatland’s boss, publisher Rick Bussler, and let him know what had happened. In the meantime, one of the writers contacted Flatland directly, and told him we were on to him. According to Bussler, Flatland resigned via email and admitted to the plagiarism, all before Bussler got to the office that day. Last we heard, he had left town almost immediately.

As we started searching for more evidence, we added more victims to the fold. At our latest count, at least 12 of us had been ripped off.

My friend and fellow humorist, Dick Wolfsie, wrote that his wife had said, “Are you telling me that he could have stolen from any of hundreds of humor columnists in America and he picked you?” which helped him experience a new, third emotion.

To make matters worse (or better) Flatland had won a few humor awards from the North Dakota Newspaper Association over the years. The author of one award-winning column has already been identified as blogger Jason Offutt. The rest of us are holding our breath to see if we won any others.

The “real” winners will get to re-experience the joy and anger of having his column ripped off yet again, but secretly we’re more worried about what might happen if it wasn’t ours. Or worse, if our columns were used in the years he lost.

The Internet has already started exploding with stories about Jon Flatland’s thievery. Minnesota Public Radio and some area TV stations are reporting the story, as are several newspapers around the Minnesota and North Dakota area. I was even interviewed by the Poynter Institute, a well-respected journalism school in Florida, and the story was online less than 18 hours later.

If you’re interested in seeing the fallout, you can Google Flatland’s name and see pages and pages of stories about his shameful acts.

And that right there — the ability to go online and find this information in mere seconds — is what’s most surprising about this entire story.

We live in the 21st century. We have technology that lets you find things on the Internet. Type in a word, name, or phrase, and you can find nearly every web page that contains it.

That’s how David Fox tracked Flatland down. He Googled a phrase from a column, and found it had been stolen. He Googled some of “Flatland’s columns” from the Blooming Prairie Times, and found that they had all been stolen. And that’s when everything fell down around Flatland’s ears.

How someone can steal from other writers for years and years without thinking he could be caught is astounding. It’s second only to the fact that it took years and years for the rest of us to figure out he did it.

The end result is that the same tool he ignored is now doubly responsible for making sure he never works in journalism again: it’s how he was caught, and it’s the first place potential employers are going to check when they search for his name.

Guess what they’re going to find.

But maybe he won’t even look for a job. Maybe he’ll turn to novel writing instead, and make a living writing books. I can just imagine it:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

This post was originally published on Erik Deckers‘ Laughing Stalk blog.

Karl the Curmudgeon Wants a Writers Feud

“Writer’s don’t have feuds anymore,” said Karl.

What are you talking about? I said. We were sitting in a writer’s bar called, predictably enough, First Edition. We had run out of internationally-themed bars, ever since Hey Man, the Isle of Man’s bar closed down, so we decided to plumb the literary bars that dotted Indianapolis.

For the last 20 minutes, Karl had been glaring at a publicity photo of some writer hanging behind the bar, muttering something about holes in glass, or something like that. I had been on a mini-rant about how plagiarists should be publicly flogged with the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, hardbound edition, when he decided he wanted to fight with other writers.

“We need more writers feuds!” he thundered, plonking his empty beer mug on the bar. “Jack Kerouac and Truman Capote used to have feuds. Norman Mailer once head-butted Gore Vidal. Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein used to snipe at each other in their books. Why don’t more writers do that?”

What the hell for?

“Because we’re all too nice to each other! Because everyone is just supposed to get along. Not make waves. Not make trouble.”

Of course. We’re a civilised society. See, I even spelled civilised with an ‘s’ right there.

“Screw civilized society,” he snapped, restoring the ‘z’ to its rightful place. “It’s sucking the very life right out of us. I can feel my very soul withering away. It needs to feel. I need something to stir it up and get my blood boiling.”

And so picking a fight with another writer is going to do it?

“Yeah, I think so. Look at that picture of that guy on the wall. René Whitehorse. Some French dude. Heh, René is a girl’s name.”

Do you even know him? I asked. I waved down Kurt, our bartender, and ordered two more beers.

“Actually, yeah. I’ve met him a couple times at book signings and parties for other writers. Pretentious little snot. He publishes one freaking poetry book — a collection of blank verse — and he thinks that makes him a book author.”

Doesn’t it?

“No, it makes him first-time lucky. Kid, I’ve written 18 books so far, and I’m not nearly as pretentious as this guy. When his little ‘pamphlet’” — Karl made air quotes — “first came out, he pitched a fit at a bookstore manager because it wasn’t placed on the New Arrivals shelf with the real, big boy books. He even whined to his publisher, but nothing was ever done.”

What does that have to do with you?

“When my last book came out and it was put on the big boy shelf, I had a friend email him a photo of it and say ‘don’t you know this guy?’”

So you’ve already started the feud with him?

“Well, that’s what I’m not so sure about. I’ve started making snarky comments about him to other people, but I don’t think it’s working. I was hoping you could help me.”

Me? I don’t know the first thing about picking a fight. I consider myself to be a man of peace and quiet action.

“Uh-huh. I’ve ridden in the car with you. You’re anything but a man of quiet action.”

Whatever. Have you tried throwing a drink in his face?

“Waste of beer.”

Heckled him at one of his poetry readings?

“His last poetry reading had two people. I’m not wasting A-material on an empty room.”

Ever tried punching him in public?

“That’s a little drastic, don’t you think? I just want to have a feud with him, not be arrested for assault.”

So write a scathing review on your blog about his poetry.

“Won’t he write a nasty response about me?”

Sweet jebus, Karl! That’s what a feud is! You two carp back and forth at each other, trying to make each other sound stupid by using big words. So write something nasty about his work, and make him sound like the kind of pretentious twit who lists his weight on his résumé, like some county fair beauty contestant.

“Ooh, good one. It’s not like he can retaliate. What’s he going to do, write a woolly-headed poem about me in his next book? Both his readers will get a good chuckle over it. Great, what else?”

Write a novel with a diarrheic penguin who writes blank verse poetry as one of the main characters.

“Is that what you do with your literary feuds?”

I don’t actually have any literary feuds. I get along with everyone.

“Yeah right, what about that science fiction writer from Memphis?”

You mean where I wrote that 3,000 word blog post that he should stick with writing Big Bang Theory fan fiction?

“Yeah, whatever happened to that one?”

His mom grounded him from Facebook for three months after he used his high school laptop to Photoshop a picture of me on Attila the Hun’s body.

“So you. . .”

Count it as a total victory? Oh yeah.

This post was originally published on Erik Deckers‘ Laughing Stalk blog.