Tag Archives: read

Dear Manic Pixie Dream Girl Stock Character

Dear Manic Pixie Dream Girl Stock Character,

We need to talk.

You have a problem, and it’s a rather serious one.

For years, I was blind to your issues.  In fact, I have dedicated a large chunk of my life to attempting to be just like you.  Not just like Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown or just like Natalie Portman in Garden State, but just like you, the ultimate combination of all of the characters who fall in your spectrum.  I wanted to be the girl who appreciated life more than the people around her did, who relished nature, who approached difficult and awkward circumstances with Reckless Abandon.  I wanted to be the girl who lived carpe diem rather than just spewing it forth like the cliche that it is, who danced in parking lots, in the rain, in the woods, in the middle of walking her dogs just to prove to myself, friends and the world around me that I was unique and surely loved life.

And, more than anything, I wanted to change The Boy.  It doesn’t really matter which Boy, because, as you know, Manic Pixie Dream Girl, your shallow, hollow shell of a character ultimately fulfills her own purpose by changing whatever Tortured Soul is thrown her way.  The Boy is often complex, confused about his place in the world, possibly depressed, and has emotions beyond those of Wild Abandon.  And you change him.  You show him the error of his ways.  You show him how to love life – every minute – by appreciating small things and forcing him well outside of his comfort zone.  You are, in effect, his saving grace in what seems to be a bleak, monotonous situation.

The problem is that you shouldn’t be expected to change anyone.  Of course, people change people.  That does happen.  But the weight of The Boy’s eventual happiness often rests entirely on your tiny, Shins-loving shoulders.  And this is a problem.

The Boy doesn’t truly find his way in life.  He finds you, Manic Pixie Dream Girl.  You are responsible for changing him, you are the one in whom he finds his fulfillment, and if you have an off day, he will be detrimentally affected.

The above reasons are why I have decided to stop attempting to follow in your footsteps.  While I want to appreciate the life that has been given to me, I don’t want to force actions just so others think I’m appreciating life (when I don’t even enjoy dancing in parking lots most of the time).  I don’t want to feel the pressure of always having to be upbeat and quirky, even when I’m having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and really just need a hug and some prayer.  And I cannot change The Boy, whoever he happens to be.  I cannot be the agent of change or the steady bedrock upon which his entire appreciation for life rests.

I’m abandoning trying to copy your ways, and I really hope you abandon your ways as well.  You have been a token character in American media for far too long.  Your message is dangerous, your personality lacks depth and, while your love of life is admirable, your other qualities seem unhealthy, and I no longer desire them.



Dear People Who Review Products on Websites

Dear People Who Review Products on Websites,

I’m not sure what part of the phrase “Product Review” is confusing, but clearly there is some clarification that is needed.

When you write a product review, you are supposed to review the product.  When you write a recipe review, you are supposed to review the recipe.  You are not supposed to write a review of the packaging used, the shipping time, or of your own culinary incompetence.  In the past, I felt this was self-evident, but apparently it is not.

For instance, if you purchase a book on Amazon.com and wish to write a review, you are supposed read the book, consider the contents, decide if you liked or disliked it, and write about your like or dislike of the book.  You are not supposed to write a review praising or denouncing the time the item took to ship.  You are not supposed to write a review praising or denouncing the cover art of the book.  You are not supposed to write a review praising or denouncing the author’s other works or a review that simply states how excited you are to read the book before you are actually able to read it.  All of these things serve to give the book in question an inaccurate star rating, which is incredibly unhelpful to the general public.

In the same vein, if you visit AllRecipes.com and wish to review a recipe, you should make the recipe, taste it and decide if you liked or disliked the meal produced from the recipe.  You should not write a review of the recipe if you changed half of the ingredients.  You should not write a review if your own incompetence or ignorance as a cook caused severe problems with the recipe.  You should not write a review if you once tasted a recipe similar that your Great Aunt Miffy made ten years ago and you hated it, like, really, really hated it and no one wanted to eat it and it ruined Christmas.  Once again, these types of reviews only serve to muddy the waters of quality reviews.

If you have genuinely experienced the book, product or recipe that you wish to write about, by all means, review it.  The public has a right to know about the products they are considering devoting money, time and energy to.  However, if you are reviewing anything other than the book, product or recipe at hand, save your comments for a personal blog, your diary or conversation among friends, where they can be properly dissected and not affect the star/spoon/whatever rating that is supposed to indicate the quality of the product.

Thank you for your time.  Please reform your habits.



Dear Mr. Clark

Dear Mr. Clark,

I am writing to inform you of an unfortunate event.  This event will not involve orphaned children, eye-shaped tattoos or carnivorous leeches.  It will not end in you being chased by a mob of people with pitchforks and torches.  It will most likely not cause you to fall while ice skating, step on a Lego, get a paper cut or contract malaria.  In fact, this event occurred about nine years ago, so it probably won’t affect your day-to-day life in the least.

It all started with Six Flags Over Texas.  Actually, that’s not true at all.  It all started with a boring assignment given to me in boring World History class in the boring tenth grade.  I had to read a boring book about boring Athens and write a boring one-paragraph book report in order to complete the assignment.  In reality, all you really cared about was the book report, so I suppose you won’t be very concerned about what I am about to tell you.

I procrastinated reading A Day in Old Athens.  In fact, I think I only got about thirty pages into the book, which contained at least one hundred more pages. And then I went to Six Flags Over Texas, reasoning that I could read it that night.  I’m pretty sure by the time I made this decision, the paper was due the next day, so I had already procrastinated substantially.  What I’m about to admit really shouldn’t be surprising, all things considered.

Regardless, I do have a confession to make: funnel cakes and Six Flags’ signature Pink Things are both supremely delicious.

Also, I didn’t actually read A Day in Old Athens.

Yes, I turned in the assignment.  Yes, it was written based entirely off of the titles of the chapters of the books and a small amount of text skimming.  Yes, you barely noticed the lack of quality in my work and you gave me a B.  But, I felt guilty for years.

At first, I reasoned that I would read the book sometime that week to make up for the fact that I didn’t read it before writing the assignment.  Then I didn’t do that, but I decided I would read the book at some point.

I’m writing to you today, nine years after the fact, to tell you that I still haven’t read the book.

I’m sorry if this letter disappoints you in any way.  If it helps, I never pretended to read an assigned book again.

Until I got to college and realized my teachers didn’t really care.

But that’s another story.

I hope this letter doesn’t come as too much of a shock.  I’m glad to finally get this off of my chest.

Thank you for your patience as a teacher with a class full of students who hated Greco-Roman history as much as you loved it.