I know who Anonymous should target next: SMS spammers. They’re worse than email spammers because when they spam me, I have to pay $0.20 per message. I am, in effect, paying to get spammed.
And at $0.20 a pop, I say, “Death to them all.”
I bring this up because I was meeting with my critique group last night when I saw I had a text message on my phone. Since the only person who usually texts me is my wife, I thought it might be important, like:
Boys found liquor stash, drank entire bottle of Jack. Shud I call 911?
Boys climbing razor blade sculpture again. Where is all the gauze?
U can stay out late. Fernando the sexy pool boy is helping.
Watch the kids! Fernando helping w/ *kids*
Srsly, stay out late. Fernando’s got it covered.
Fernando kicked over candles. House on fire. Come home ASAP.
Boy, were those exciting moments!
This particular message, however, was not from the missus, and only important if I needed to get a $1500 payday-type loan.
Fortunately, my critique group had managed to put me in an incredibly good mood prior to receiving this COD-spam, so I did not immediately go home to mail my kids’ poopy diapers to the company responsible.
Never cross me – I’ve got over a dozen dirty diapers, including a couple from the kids’ stomach virus period, on ice, just waiting for a deserving recipient. Ask Fernando.
SMS-spammers, you have been warned.
Anyway, this brings me to the subject of today’s post: the advantages of a critique group.
Actually, there’s only one advantage:
Yes, if you are part of a professional critique group, when you finally publish your book, they will surprise you with cake. It’s an unwritten rule of critique groups that they MUST do this, and had I remembered that rule, I would not have been surprised.
Sure, I can hear the objection. “Cake? That’s the only advantage of a critique group?”
“But what about pointing out plot holes, and shining the harsh light of literary justice on typos, and using guided imagery to help you work through issues of character development?”
First off, what kind of fascist and yet tree-hugging, hippie-loving critique group are you a part of? Do you launch your meetings with tantric chants and aura adjustments before breaking out the literary truncheons?
Second off, you can pay people to do all that for you. And as an added benefit, instead of being a Socialist Commie freeloader expecting all that stuff gratis, you’re a job creator.
And if the Republican debates have taught me anything of substance, it’s that we need more job creators and fewer Socialist Commie free-loading writers in this country.
So stop being a drag on the economy and start paying money to seedy editors you find on Craigslist or through vanity presses! It’s your patriotic duty.
The history of this cake tradition is actually quite interesting. It started with Marie Antoinette’s critique group. It turns out when it came to writing, she was a complete hack. When her critique group pointed this out, she railed against them, tossed them out of the palace, and famously said, “Let them eat cake.”
Slightly well less know, but speaking volumes about her ability to take criticism, she also said upon their forced departure, “Don’t sully the palace doors by allowing them to hit their asses on the way out.”
She was kind of a bitch.
With 20/20 hindsight, her decision to allow peasants into her critique group looks a little bit like a colossal blunder. After all, peasants are naturally prone to using torches and guillotines to emphasis their points about problems in a manuscript.
The fact that her book was called Lady Guillotine, Why So Timid with the Bitches? probably didn’t help her either.
(The title sounds way classier in French, as most titles do. Except, ironically, for The French Lieutenant’s Woman.)
The cake my group was verbally contractually obligated to get me was damned awesome:
Although frankly, I find it shockingly derivative of Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World:
But at least now we can answer that question that has haunted art scholars for decades: It is a beet Christina has crammed in her mouth in this painting. As with the failed government policies at the time, it is not visible because it is obscured by our limited perspective.
And they refused to issue me that honorary art degree! Pah! Who’s laughing now, Chicago Art Institute?
Although I am certain there was another contributing factor to Wyeth not revealing that beet:
He was attempting to avoid overt eroticism is his work. Because hey, you have to admit, this looks damned erotic:
Damn, that’s two things critique groups are good for: cake and boosting the sale of beets.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the store to create desperately needed farming jobs by buying some bright red comestibles.
Or is that cumestibles?— And now, a word from our sponsor: me! My book, Marlowe and the Spacewoman, is out!