Dear Paul Rudnick,

Some years ago, a former colleague gave me your email address. I don’t remember why he had your email address, but he thought that somehow you could help me, in a mentor-y way. I put off emailing for lack of anything to say, really––”can you help me be famous?” seems like a bad choice of opener. Back then, some-years-ago, I was working at a publishing company as the assistant to a cantankerous but smart independent publisher, and I wanted to reach a point where I could write full-time. Perhaps my former colleague thought that: Paul Rudnick (your last name autocorrects to “Redneck”) writes for a living, so he can tell you how to do that!

But years later, here I am, writing for a living (if you want to call it that) and I realized, gee that’s pretty stupid. It’s not possible to give someone a map that charts how to reach the kingdom of freelance. Even if you could, why would you? It’s a small country with extremely limited resources, and you wouldn’t want to share them!

But maybe the ex-colleague thought: well, Paul Redneck (I’m leaving it) is funny, and ID is funny, so they’ll get along. Lots of people are funny, though, and that doesn’t mean they’re deserving of career advice, or that they’re likable in any way. And I happen to be hysterical in real life, but my writing career has been built on pretty melancholy topics: psychiatric disturbance, suicidal poets, Ingmar Bergman’s novels (which are maybe unintentionally funny.) So then that entree––let’s be friends because we’re both funny!––started to seem even dumber than the original one.

All this to say: Addams Family Values is the best movie of all time. That is all.

With admiration,



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