Letters to Inspiring Writers: Dear Christopher Buckley
Each time I ride the Acela, I look for you. Maybe I’m headed to New York as you’re returning to Washington or vice versa. Maybe you walked by me at the very same moment that I had to rummage through my bag to look for a pen to sign my ticket. Either way, as of today, I haven’t seen you. I won’t assume that you were purposely being inconspicuous. Instead, I’ll simply write to you and tell you everything that I planned to tell you, including the one question that I would ask, if we would ever meet on the Acela.
To be quite honest, this works well for me for two reasons. First, I write more eloquently than I speak (damn my Philly accent!). Second, I publish a column on http://www.nonpretentious.com entitled “Letters to Inspiring Writers.” The gist of it is pretty self-explanatory. Basically, I can post this letter to you, Inspiring Writer, and kill two birds with one stone.
Back to what I wanted to tell you…
Quite simply, I’m addicted to your writing. It’s witty. It’s sarcastic. It’s simple but profound. If it were a food, I imagine it would be like Wonka’s three-course-dinner gum (minus the blue side effects). In other words, it’s satisfying, it’s easy to chew on, and there’s no extra fat.
I’m not going to claim that I’ve read all of your books because then I’d be lying. I have read _Boomsday_, _Florence of Arabia_, and _Supreme Courtship_. I saw _Thank You For Smoking_ in the theaters. (While many people will consider movies, tapes, or cds a substitute for reading, I’m one of those old-fashioned nerds who thinks that reading the last line and then closing a book is one of the greatest feelings in the world.)
From what I’ve read of your collection, I’ve been quite impressed with your reliance on female protagonists. You portray them as no-nonsense females with a strong sense of self. I also respect how they don’t lack a sex drive.
I feel a bit “scooped” myself. I had written a draft of this letter but became too scared to send it before your “coming out” hubbub on _The Daily Beast_. I had waited so that I could (tastefully) figure out how to mention how much more artistic your late father’s debate with Noam Chomsky was – and, is – compared to the debates we heard this year. Now, I will simply say that as a daughter of two lifelong Republicans, I remember when I found my late grandmother’s wallet and she had her voter’s registration in there. I cried because she was also a registered Democrat and I didn’t feel as alone. Family will influence you, sure, (especially with a last name like Buckley) but I’m also confident that your Mum and Pup, wherever they may be now, recognize your accomplishments (see: your writing) and love you for who you are. Sometimes family histories are strange. Did I mention that I found my grandmother’s wallet circa 2002 and my mom (without telling my dad) voted for Kerry in 2004 and both of my parents are now highly considering voting for Obama in 2008?
I hope that your hate mail subsides. If it doesn’t, you can always post them on Passive Aggressive Notes. Needless to say, I’m excited to read your forthcoming articles in _The Daily Beast_ because, it’s true, I do not subscribe to _The National Review_.
I always ask inspiring writers one question. I figure this increases my chances of receiving a response. My question for you: Your books remind me of _The Daily Show_. I know that some people claim to get their news from _The Daily Show_. Similarly, I could see someone claiming to learn history or current affairs from your books. As a lifelong contrarian (see: above), I am of the opinion that the people who appreciate _The Daily Show_ the most are the people who actually read the news. Do you write your books to satirize the Washington industries that lay people don’t know much about? Or, do you include a lot of “inside jokes” that just go way above my head?