Monday, February 12, 2007

If you want my advice

Here's the thing....I edit and write for a living. I used to love writing, but my enthusiasm for it has been all but crushed by the rigors of writing for a salary. I don't get to choose my topics; I don't have the final say on my copy; and succinct, funny, heartfelt prose doesn't get much respect in the workplace.

I have neither the fortitude to write a novel, nor the talent for poetry. Instead, I've decided to do an advice column. That's manageable, don't you think? About 250 words max, a new topic every time and, I hope, a wide variety of them at that. And not to be immodest, but I think I'm pretty good in the listening and advice-giving departments. I tend to be nonjudgmental, I'm not easily shocked, and I'm empathic, open-minded, moderately analytical, and deeply practical but given to occasional flights of fancy.

Think there's already a wealth of advice columnists? I don't know...Dear Abby? Too old-fashioned for me. Are you going to write Abby about a topic that would make you blush if you mentioned it in the presence of your grandmother? What about Dan Savage? He's great, but he seems to *only* do sex questions. Ask Carolyn? Too snarky, too much of a scold. My inspiration is Cary Tennis, the advice columnist on He's literate and gentle and funny. He can meander like nobody's business (in the best way) but, by god, he gets right to the point when he has to. He takes peoples' problems seriously. He took my problem seriously...he answered my letter like he was talking to me, not at me.

So, please, send me your questions. Life, love, the pursuit of happiness; it's all fair game.

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