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Dear Dust

 

A year ago my girlfriend OD’d. At least I think that’s what happened. The medical end of things concluded that she committed suicide. But, in a way I just don’t believe she’d walk away from me like that. Without a word. I know it’s selfish, to maybe embrace something that’s false, but part of me is sure it was an accident. When I tell my friends this, they roll their eyes and act like I’m deluded. No one wants to talk about it anymore and they change the subject when I bring it up now. The subtext is always “What, you’re not over it yet?” My question is, what do I do when the answer is still “No, not yet. Not even close.”

 

Sid

Dear Dust

Lately I have developed such an incredible attraction for Katy Perry. Even though I hate her voice and her songs are uniformly awful, I still buy her cds and watch her on the net endlessly. If it were twenty years ago, I’d have a lunchbox with her picture on it and a poster on the wall. Is this wrong? Am I a bad person? I used to make fun of people like me, and now I am one.

help!

Fanboy

Dear Dust

Long time reader, first time writer. I was very interested in last week’s column when you mentioned your former wife. Can we hear some details about your current wife and family? Castle Dust sounds so cozy, every time you mention it I wish I could visit. Maybe even stay the weekend.

Jessica

Dear Dust

 

There I was sitting in traffic yesterday, trying to find a station to listen to, when I noticed the person in front of me had a bumper sticker that said VISUALIZE WORLD PEACE. Like most people, I’ve seen this sticker around for years, and never really thought twice about it. But for some reason, this time, it fucking infuriated me. It’s like, why do I have to visualize anything? I seriously wanted to get out of the car and say something to the driver. But I sat there and stewed instead. Was I visualizing cowardice? Or did I do the right thing?


Thanks,

Robin

Dear Dust

I am a long time TNB contributor, and I just wanted to take a second to sort of anonymously let you know how fucking hard your column rocks. How do you grind these out every week? Funny, erudite, and wise. I am consistently amazed that your latest is almost always the most interesting thing on the board. But, enough blowing smoke up your ass. The reason I’m writing is to say that I’m sorry for the tepid response comment-wise. Around here, plenty of lame “this happened to me today, isn’t the world crazy?” things about riding the bus get 150 comments, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything! Just wanted to make sure you knew that. To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of TNB lately myself. I don’t participate much any more because the huge volume of material is overwhelming. Back in the day, you posted things and they hung around for consideration. Now, you put something up and it’s off the board almost immediately. And even though there’s good writing, there’s a lot more that is nothing but glorified blogs. And the bloggers zip around writing tepid things on each other’s stuff in the hopes that they’ll get tepid comments back to boost their totals. It’s like some kid’s game that has nothing to do with quality of writing, even though everyone on the site bemoans the state of publishing and how good books don’t get the attention they deserve. Actually, I think deep down TNB is a pretty good reflection of the buying public. Everyone talks a good game, but they still want to read Jodi Picoult in the end. It kind of makes me sick in a way. Or maybe I should say just sad.

Dear Dust

My girlfriend maintains friendships with several guys that she’s dated in the past and whom she meets with for coffee or lunch from time to time. There are no trust issues here–almost all of them are in their own relationships and I’m not suspicious that there’s any malfeasance going on. However, I maintain a friendship with a woman I once lived with, which my girlfriend has recently asked me to “phase out.” It has been many years since I lived with this woman, who now has her own family. I cried foul that a double standard is being invoked. Current girlfriend insists that the fact that I lived with this woman is a sufficiently distinguishing factor to render our comparative situations into apple and orange categories. And so I ask you- 1) is there indeed a double standard in play here; and 2) what is an appropriate policy for exes within a current relationship?

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Nik Helle

Dear Dust

I am so sick of technology. I have an iPad and an Android and a Nook and a Gateway desktop. They all constantly need updating and downloading and tweaking and new peripheral gadgets. My camera is out of date, my music files are degrading, my thumb drive is infected with a worm. Who said all this stuff was an improvement? And don’t even get me started on tweeting and checking my Facebook status. It’s a deluge of input, most of which seems to make my life harder instead of easier. How do I get out from under this avalanche of silicone?

Leona

Dear Dust

I’m a 20 year-old college student who is taking a year off to travel around the world, and I want to bring five books with me. I hate Kindles, so no Kindle. Just five great books to get me through the down times. What should I bring?

(me and my friends all have a crush on The Dust. Just thought I’d share!)

Loo

Dear Dust

I can tell by reading your column (I came in a bit late, but have since gone back and caught up on them all) that you are not an avid Republican. Even though that’s how I would describe myself, it’s fine with me that we don’t always agree. I like your writing style, and I like to have my assumptions challenged, even if I end up sticking to my guns! So thanks for delivering! But I have to respectfully wonder if you can come across to my side a bit now that we are celebrating what would have been Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. Can you admit, in retrospect, that he may be the greatest president we’ve ever had? Curious what you think.

Thanks,

Jerry R.

Dear Dust

Get a clue, asshole. You’ll never write anything half as good as Fountainhead. Ayn Rand spelled it all out fifty years ago and if your [sic] too dumb to get it, then you can fall back in the mud with the rest.

The Light in The Cave

Dear Dust

Unemployment is really high across the nation, but seems particularly bad in my state. Won’t say which one, mostly cause it doesn’t much matter. I’m getting old, my trade has been sold off and become more or less obsolete. My prospects for a job anytime soon are lousy. It’s okay. I’ll get by. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. It’s not so much like my family’s gonna miss meals, it’s that I feel pretty much invisible now. A man without a job might as well not exist around here. My wife would never say it, but I know she’s thinking it. Even my kids. I want a check, but I also want people to know I’m still here.


Thanks for listening

Les Pell

Dear Mr. Dust

I recently discussed the effects of disruptive technology on the publishing business with a well-regarded novelist friend. Let’s call him “Mitch.” Well, Mitch went on and on decrying the demise of proper publishing gatekeepers, bitter about the fact that younger “talent’ no longer has to put in their dues, they can just pimp themselves out to the masses without regard for depth or quality. He drew an analogy to the music business, talking about recently being the only customer in a large record store. Do record stores still even exist? Also, why bemoan the demise of traditional publishing? Real talent will always benefit from disruptive technology. Isn’t it better to go directly to market than be judged on your ability to schmooze executives at Harper Collins?

The Nook

Dear Dust

Why is this country such a racist shithole? From immigration to health care, it’s really all about making sure brown people don’t get a free ride, even though they work harder than most whites. I was so happy for about a month after Obama was elected. For a minute I actually thought things might change. From Boehner to Tea Baggers, calling Obama “socialist” is just a safe way of calling him “black.” Why won’t anyone say it out loud? A big part of this country still don’t want any part of black, period. They’re just better at clever ways of grinning in your face while they slide the knife in your back. Man, I’m almost done. Like ready to move to Denmark.

No shit, Dust, is there any hope?

Ezra

Dear Dust

I love to write and I think I’m pretty good at it. Even though I’ve never had any of my stories published, I’m taking notes on a novel even as I type this. I think it’s a really good, commercial idea. In fact, I’m pretty much leaning toward quitting my paralegal job to write full time. What do you think? Take the leap? Also, I’m wondering if you have any advice for me. And if maybe you know an agent I could reach out to?

Thanks!

Erin B

Dear Dust

What’s your take on tattoos? I thought they’d be out of style by now, but if anything, the trend seems to be picking up steam. We’re looking at a whole generation of old people in nursing homes with those Celtic thingies around their sagging biceps. Please tell me this will no longer be hip when my kids are eighteen.

Ink O Phobe