An amusing subject line for an amusing newsletter
Well, here I am again, trying to write a monthly newsletter that is amusing, because if it’s not amusing, you won’t read it, and if you won’t read it, there’s no point of having a newsletter. Oh, you say that you’ll read it even if it’s a dry recitation of what books I have coming (such as The Bad Weather Friend in January) and blathering about my writing process, but you won’t. It’s not that you’re a terrible pack of liars. No, no, you are exceedingly polite people who don’t want to hurt my feelings, and I love you for that. Some of you are so polite that if a newsletter is boring and you can’t get through it, you send me flowers or candy or cookies with notes that say things like, “I’m so sorry, but I couldn’t read your stupid, boring newsletter. Are you all right? Is something wrong with you? I sincerely hope nothing is wrong with you.”
Even as my spirits are lifted by your kindness and concern, I am devastated that I’ve let you down with a boring newsletter that hammers you with such things as announcements that The Bad Weather Friend is available for preorder. After receiving your condolences for my poor performance with a newsletter, I often find myself lying in bed, weeping uncontrollably. Or I find myself walking barefoot on broken glass to punish myself. It is most disconcerting to “find oneself” where one doesn’t remember having gone, especially as I often find myself in the strangest damn places.
As you might imagine, the urgent desire to please you with a readable newsletter and the blind terror of failing you puts me under extreme stress (as is the case with Benny, the lead character in The Bad Weather Friend, which is available for preorder). But I’m okay with stress. I thrive on it. I’m down to 102 pounds, which is what I weighed when I was eleven years old, and I look great. It’s not your fault if I write a newsletter so tedious that you want to throw yourself off a bridge rather than continue reading it. It is my fault. Only mine. You have zero responsibility and should not feel that you have any. There’s no need to send me candy and cookies, if only because I will throw them up after eating them. That is not because your candy and cookies will be bad—they will be wholesome and delicious, just as you are—but it will be a consequence of my stress, which affects my digestion.
I want you to understand that whatever this newsletter demands of me is within my capacity for suffering and endurance. I will not relent in my effort to write a newsletter worth reading, not even if the consequences are more hallucinations involving rabid bats and yet additional episodes of bleeding from the ears. I wish I had a 7-foot tall friend with attitude who would solve all my problems by whatever means necessary (like writing this newsletter), as Benny has in The Bad Weather Friend, the cover of which has just been revealed. I don’t have such a friend, but I persevere in spite of the most horrific challenges, because that’s just how I am.
My publisher wants me to talk about my next book here, but because I hate self-promotion, I will make this short. The Bad Weather Friend, coming in January, is one of my favorites of my own work. If you haven’t thrown yourself off a bridge by now, you might want to consider preordering it.