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Saturday, January 10, 2009

I promised, and I deliver – which would be much more exciting if anyone cared, but at any rate here’s my short but sweet e-mail friendship with an NPR employee who I would bet money was named after Alan Alda।

Attn: book reviewers: John Kennedy Toole reincarnate... briefly

Now, we all might intuit that the parlor pinks of National Public Radio could give a rat’s ass about writers who aren’t already hip and safely encased in a charming Manhattan two-bed -- but now we have proof। Although, as my dear friend Brendan of the Royal Pines told me, “This is a good-e-mail, Ann, but I bet they get crackpot shit like this every day।” (I mention that he’s a dear friend because no other kind of entity that likes heshit’s face arranged the way it is currently should say that kind of thing to a Capricorn।) This is the sole attempt at publicizing my first novel for which I found time in fall 2008, while I was being worked (or working myself – it’s finally occurred to me that the one good thing about the amount of unpaid labor involved in a graduate degree is that, since it’s unpaid, you’re free to flunk or walk away) into a bilious pulp (not to mention butterfly net number three)।

-------------- Original Text -----------------Date : 9/14/2008 11:17:16 AM

Dear NPR,
After my habit of blathering about suicide while in my cups got me chucked in the looney bin twice during the four years it’s taken to get no response at all, from any editor at any level of the publishing industry, to my first novel -- a murder-mystery spoof about, ironically enough, the corruption of the newspaper industry -- (deep breath) I have given up and self-published the poor thing as a POD on Amazon।com। Now I would like to emotionally blackmail you into reviewing it। However, budget considerations such as the rising price of bread and peanut butter make it seem wise to send an e-mail asking whether there’s a chance in hell you’ll read the book before I pay too much money to send you a copy. So RSVP. If you’ve read this far, perhaps you would like to see the ad copy I wrote for Amazon:

“Join Edgar Rodger, a fledgling private eye and former murder-desk rewrite man for a Chicago daily, as he descends into the bizarre world of the city’s favorite artsy-cultural alternative weekly paper. Inspired equally by Wodehouse and Chandler, Girl Detectives lightens the murder-mystery brew with social satire and sick slapstick as it conjures up a fun-house milieu where nobody can seem to be themselves -- not even a corpse. Kimmie Wrigley, a functional illiterate whose family fortune helped her skate into a job as a Chiculture staff writer, was driving her editor to drink when she disappeared. She was also busy stealing a man from Maurinette Meede, the imperious, blue-blooded food critic. But the paper’s proofreaders -- all slightly unhinged by their intellectual dead-end jobs -- also hated the dopey heiress on principle. With so many potential killers, there’s only one thing for Rodger to do: blackmail them till they sign on as deputy detectives and rat each other out.”

If that doesn’t pique your interest, I guess I’ll go work on my second novel -- which is better than Girl Detectives and nearly finished despite my exhausting job, thank you very much -- or cry।

Ann K।F. Sterzinger
Dear Ann,
Thank you for contacting NPR’s All Things Considered.
NPR welcomes the sharing of thoughtful diverse perspectives and occasionally provides on-air "reviews." To submit material for consideration, please send to:
All Things Considered
NPR 635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Please note that a submission does not guarantee an on-air review. Material submitted will not be returned. If we have further questions about your submission, we will contact you.
Thank you for listening to All Things Considered, and for your continued support of public broadcasting. For the latest news and information, visit

Alan, NPR Services
NPR invites you to join its audience advisory panel, NPR Listens.Learn more at

Charming, but I never wrote him back. After all, he would never remember which of his crackpot pen friends I was. And anyway, the only thing I could think of to say – well, the only relatively civil thing – would be:

Hey, Alan:
What the fuck are the scare quotes around “reviews” about? Is “spoken” “language” not “really” “language” – or are you saying they’re not actually reviews at all, but mini puff pieces about NPR employees’ kids? Yeah, I thought so। Well, at least you didn’t call the cops...