A Damn Fine Way To Start The Morning, And A Notice

A very nice thing to wake up to:

Dear Joe,

The introduction to your book encourages people to write to you with their opinions, so I wanted to write in and say thank you.

This weekend has been very difficult for me. My pet rat has been my staunch companion through stress, college and work, and I loved him with everything. Yesterday I took him to the vet because he sounded sick, expecting to go home with antibiotics. Instead, the vet informed me that he had a tumor in his lungs and the kindest thing to do would be to put him to sleep. I have been wretched and heartbroken since.

My sister gave me your book Mentally Incontinent almost a year ago, and it has been on my shelf ever since. But I couldn't sleep and figured I may as well try out a humor book as anything. Mentally Incontinent surpassed what I had expected from it, and being able to laugh at your stories and the crazy people and situations that comprised them genuinely helped me feel better. I think we sometimes forget just how important humor is when it comes to dealing with the craziness life throws at us.

Thank you for making me laugh when I thought I might never smile again.


This made me smile.

I was very saddened to hear that Emma lost her lifelong companion. And while a rat wouldn't be my first choice (or, a choice) for me personally, neither would a bird or a tortise or a snake, and I know people who have them and have since childhood -- and these folks would never entertain a dog sniffing at their hand for a treat during a meal or suffer a cat jumping on the sofa for a late night cuddle. So to each their own.

But I do know what it's like to lose a companion -- someone you've come to rely on, who you've shared the best and the worst of times with, and it sucks. So to know that something I wrote could help someone out during that time made me smile.

I never, ever expect to see stuff like this in my email, and it's always a delight when someone spends a moment and lets me know that my work and efforts and whatnot reached them. I got this one from Seth a few days ago:

Hi, I just started reading your stories a week ago through Zach Weiner at SMBC Comics.  I wanted to say thank you for writing these entertaining stories, but more so for writing those stories about your love life.  For the longest time I thought I was the only guy who felt and acted that way when it came to romance.  At least, when ever I would look to my friends for support during another break up, that's how they would make me feel.   
I'm still a young, dumb guy so I know I have plenty of time to figure things out.  And I have to say your Romance.Net story [to date the longest damn thing I've ever written - Joe] really struck a chord with me.  I honestly felt like I was reading a story from one of my past relationships when I read you spilling your emotions bare about that girl you hardly knew.  It'll probably be a while before I can honestly learn the difference between love and being in love with love, but regardless, I just wanted to say thank you for that (even though you didn't specifically write that story for me, cuz man that would have been weird and a little freaky.  "I'm going to write a very personal story and put it on the web in the hopes that, one day, a guy I never met will read it and when he says 'Thank you' I will say 'It was all for you...I've waited so long for you to read that...' and then we will sit there in awkwardness."  Sorry, over active imagination and I'm trying to lighten the tone of this e-mail, because it does seem, to me at least, a little awkward no?)  And you might get this a lot, but you've inspired me to take up writing again.  I abandoned it for a long time mostly due to self image issues and a lack of motivation, not to mention no idea what to write about. 
I'll stop typing before I start to sound a little too appreciative, know what I mean?  So once again, thank you for shamelessly letting strangers into your life in that regards.  I'll be sure to always check back at your sites for new stories!  (God I hope none of this came off as creepy.  Am I still typing out an internal monologue?  Who honestly does that, especially in introduction letters?)

A new fan,

I suggested to Seth that he might like Total Prosers as well, as it dealt with a teenage me coming to terms for the first time with the difference between "love" and "lust" and "friendship" and the like. And, you get to read first hand why everyone I went to high school with hated me and is surprised when they Facebook me that I'm actually still alive and have friends.


This is the week before Christmas -- and so, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention to you that you have until Wednesday at noon to order an autographed book or sketch from me and have it shipped to your place of residence (or business) in time for Christmas. I will be shipping everything Priority Mail 2-3 day, unless you order a sketch, which will go out first class, which may not make it in time for Christmas, but it'll make it.

And to make it easy on you, here's the stuff you can get that's actually reasonable:

Hand-drawn sketch / drawing of something from Akira, Ghost in the Shell, or All's Quiet On The Western Front, done in color marker, probably horribly but I'll try my best, on 6" x 6" square Bristol board$3 -- Limited to 20 50  -- 7 left. Yes, I've had to do 43 sketches. I would say it sucked, but it didn't, it's been fun. Thanks to everyone who has given me the opportunity to do this for you.

Autographed copy of Mentally Incontinent - That time I set A Hooters On Fire... (the 2nd book) with stickfigure singing the lyrics to whatever song happens to be on at the moment in the inside cover: $15 -- Limited to 50  -- 6 left
Autographed paperback of Mentally Incontinent (The first book, out of print) with sketch of Christmas tree / Menorah / Whatever-They-Do-For-Kwanza on the inside cover, your choice: $40 -- Limited to 10 -- 1 left

And you don't have to get what I wrote as sketches inside the cover, jsut tell me what you want and I'll try to do it.

If you're keeping score, this is the best thing I've drawn out of all the sketches I've done recently. It's a little more gooder because it was for Mike for Christmas:

It IS a Christmas present, and it's for Mike, so don't expect this for 3 bucks. But you can feel free to expect what you've been seeing out of me for other folks. Cause that's what I'm doing.