In 2006, the year I turned 30, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with my BA in English, my fourteen year old daughter was repeatedly attempting suicide and failing in school, and my four-and-a-half year old ADHD twin boys were rapidly being kicked out of every daycare center in the city – all of which was the death knell for my failing marriage. Around this time, I created a MySpace account to stalk my daughter, who, I discovered, had a clandestine account herself. On my profile I listed writing and reading as two of my hobbies and one day I got an invitation to read a blog written by some “author” named Brad Listi. Everyone was an author on MySpace, it seemed. Most of them were trying to sell me something and the ones who weren’t tended to write boring blogs about finance or essential oils or some other subject I had no interest in.

I was, as a matter of course, rejecting nearly every “author” who invited me to read his or her writing – but for some reason, I went ahead and accepted this Brad Listi fella’s invitation.


Look at this earnest face.

Look at this earnest face.

Dear Dust

I DARE you to print this. I know you won’t. And when you don’t, I’m going to start posting this on comment boards around the site.

Why? Because I’ve been studying “The Dust” ever since the (I won’t say your, because you are not you) first column. I’ve done a good deal of research: cross-checking, old posts, word comparisons, repetitions, likely suspects. And I’ve finally narrowed your identity down to one person.

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?



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.

Hello. I am The Dust.

J. Angelus Dust.

And I am here to help.