Author Archives: Wistar

Lame Blog Day

I know that “lame blog” is an oxymoron, since blogs are the definition of cool, but I feel like I haven’t worked very hard at being entertaining today. I apologize to all the minions of people who have left me comments (you know who you are, blood relatives), and who are downloading my blog to their cell phones via RSS feed. Today I was busy shopping for fishing poles, teaching a two-year-old about abstract art, and eating Japanese meat that is boiled in the same plastic bag you buy it in. I also butchered Jason & Jessie’s marzipan wedding cake prototype that costs like $10 a slice. My cake knife hand has a life of its own sometimes – a serial killer’s life. My cake knife hand should be locked up with Charles Manson.

Stephen King on Harry Potter

Stephen King made a great career choice when he started writing a column for Entertainment Weekly. I find him so likable and savvy in his pieces (when I remember to read them). I especially liked this column – The Last Word on Harry Potter. Among other things, King talks about how Rowling’s talent as a writer has evolved in tandem with the fictional growth of her characters. And it’s true – the writing in The Deathly Hallows is worlds better than in The Sorcerer’s Stone. I disagree that Rowling is now on par with Martin Amis – he’s amazing in a totally different way – but yeah, it will be interesting to see what she does next with her newfound talent and public following. I’d like to see her abandon Harry and try something more literary and experimental. Or maybe not. Does the world need another MFA-program-type writer? Lastly, this is a funny Onion article – Final Harry Potter Book Blasted for Containing Spoilers. NO MORE BLOGS ABOUT HARRY POTTER.

Maybe Your Parents Were Married Once

I am cribbing another link from Gawker. Every once in a while, the folks at Gawker stop being snarky and show some genuine, un-ironic human emotion. Today they led me to this article about couples therapy (and marriage in general), because somehow this unaffected comment on the website slipped through the cracks: “Did you read that article in the Times magazine about couples therapy? Poignant, right? I cried at the end. And I had to wonder: is the dream of finding lasting love hopeless?” Reading the article, I got teary too. Perhaps because I was eager to sympathize with the Gawker staff. Perhaps because my own ideas about marriage are still somewhat nebulous. Perhaps because I want to have evidential trust in concepts that probably just come down to faith and work. I wanted to believe that science could heal any marriage, but love transcends science in a really frustrating way. A while ago the Times also did this little piece about “Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying.” And CNN linked to this similar one from Oprah. Journalists (unhappily married?) are obviously trying to heal our nation’s unhappy marriages. Will they be successful? Will that one hipster couple in Williamsburg decide to keep their relationship “open” and not legally binding because of some great article they read in the Times over Sunday brunch? Probably not. People will still get hitched. Sometimes it will work out; sometimes it won’t. Hopefully they can talk about why it’s not working out over a Bloody Mary and some home fries, and not let it fester for too long. Does all this chronicled unhappiness and emotional anguish make the people reading the news online not want to get married to their sweethearts? I doubt it, because the Times (I am sick of italicizing you!) also maintains this section of their daily paper, just begging us naive couples of the world to drop tens of thousands of dollars on string quartets and jumbo shrimp.

How I Motivate Myself to Go Jogging

When I get home, I am allowed to chug chardonnay.

Jobs I Would Hate


Can you tell me what the perp looked like?

He was tall, I guess. He smelled like grapefruit. He was wearing shoes. It all happened so fast.

Can you tell me if the perp had blue or brown eyes?

He had hairy arms. Citrussy. Wearing pants, I think.

Did he have any facial hair? A beard or a goatee?

I don’t remember. He was wearing sunglasses. Or maybe regular glasses. Or possibly contacts.

Does this look like him?


Good Advice

Jennifer apologized profusely for getting home late last night when I was babysitting (i.e. dozing/watching Strangers with Candy), and she hoped that the late night didn’t “disturb my Monday.” But I am an unemployed writer, spending my Monday between my blog and the erotica novel I am editing for money. How can this perfect world be disturbed? She said to enjoy it while it lasts.

Rejection Letters

Now that I am finally sending out some of my work, I am surprised that my fragile ego can handle rejection. Because the rejection letters from lit journals and magazines haven’t been completely crushing me, I wonder why I didn’t start sending out my stories earlier. Here is the cover letter I sent to McSweeney’s a month ago, and their rejection letter that arrived in my mailbox today:


Dear Mr. McSweeney,

I am writing with a romantic inquiry.

I am certain that my extraordinary first novel, entitled The Existential Diet, will be published to great acclaim. Furthermore I assure you that not only am I a gifted writer, I am also an attractive woman in my mid 20’s and I know that my face will light up the book jacket. However I fear that my future publisher will select a shade of pink or teal to color said book jacket. Because my novel explores weight (gain and loss), celebrities (blonde and brunette), and love affairs (lesbian and otherwise), and because I happen to be young, carefree, and good-looking, I suspect that I will be unfairly targeted as a writer of so-called Chick Lit.

I have thought deeply about this matter, in between counting calories and writing in my diary, and I have come up with a solution to my problem. When I assessed the romantic status of popular Chick Lit authors, I found that they, much like their books’ heroines, are unlucky in love. I came to the conclusion that if I were to become lucky in love, then perhaps my debut novel would be treated with a more literary, earth-toned amount of respect.

Mr. McSweeney, I am not proposing marriage, or even an exclusive commitment. I am looking for a relationship somewhere between flirty office emails and spooning to sleep on a nightly basis, something befitting your reputation as a gentleman and mine as a talented and physically stunning young author. The advantages of this arrangement will by no means be one-sided. I ask you to think of the attention you will get, walking into your next literary salon with me grafted firmly to your side.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter. I will patiently await your response, to be mailed to me at your leisure in the enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope, sprayed liberally with my perfume.


Wistar Watts Murray


Dear Witstar Watts Murray,

Many thanks for your recent submission ‘The Existential Diet!’

Unfortunately, due to the large amount of manuscripts we receive and small amount we can annually publish, we are unable to take your work further.

Mr. McSweeney’s was tempted by your romantic proposition but alas, he is already taken.

Again, thanking you for letting us read your writing.

Kind regards,


The story wasn’t about my sister

I took a writing class this summer with Lisa Russ Spaar at UVA (namedrop!), and one day she brought in a blue 80s ankle boot and told us to write a scene or a poem about it. So I wrote about a Peace Corps volunteer’s more fashionable sister. Last night when I saw my mom at a cocktail party at a nursing home, she said that maybe my sister Margaret shouldn’t see my blog because of my blue boot story. Granted, Margaret is extremely well dressed and likes to shop, but she is not the sister in the story. Margaret was far from my mind when I wrote that story. For one, I could not see Margaret in those blue boots. They just wouldn’t work on her wide-set feet. For two, Margaret studies Geography and she is way more globally aware than I am. The other day Darren pointed toward the mountains and asked “What’s in that direction?” All I could think about was walking in that direction until you wrapped around the earth and arrived back where you started. I could not mentally remove myself from the small plot of land where I was standing in my swimsuit. Anyway, I don’t think either sister in the story is very sympathetic, whereas Margaret and I are both really awesome and humanitarian. So take that, Mom.

The ideas I don’t write down when I’m falling asleep

Sometimes I feel guilty and stupid when I wake up, because I did not write down some incredible idea I was having when I was falling asleep. I lie there, passing out, and convince myself that I will remember the story idea or the eloquent sentence in the morning. Because I am too lazy to turn the light back on and write it down. Then I don’t remember the next day and I feel like I have missed out on something special. Today I actually did remember what my great nocturnal idea was. A character name: Cinder Von Deity. I now feel better about all the things I have forgotten. That is a really dumb name.

Unusual Deaths

When I was a kid, I fell in love with a book called The Grim Reaper’s Book of Days which chronicled extraordinary and gruesome historical deaths in great detail for every day of the year, including your birthday. Tonight StumbleUpon showed me this Wikipedia site about unusual deaths. These lists favor ironical, horrific, comic, and bizarre accidental deaths. I find them fascinating, because I don’t have enough to worry about. If I died tomorrow, I would probably make the list. “Blogger blogs about dying and bites it the day after her post.” Maybe I won’t leave the house.

“2002: Richard Sumner, a British artist suffering from schizophrenia, disappeared and was not located again until three years later when his skeleton was discovered handcuffed to a tree in a remote forest in Wales. Police investigators determined the death was a suicide, with Sumner securing himself in the handcuffs and throwing the keys out of reach.”