From: Natalie Gibson
Date: Tue, Nov 12, 2013
I am sending you some pictures of the last bag of beef jerky that I bought. I absolutely love beef jerky and was very very disappointed when I looked at the package before I was to open it, and seen that it is green. Needless to say, I lost my craving for beef jerky. The bag was never opened and the expiry date isn’t until May18th 2014. Now I can understand that things happen, but beef jerky isn’t cheap. It’s a treat at my house and everyone looks forward to eating it. This is the second bag that I bought with green jerky in it. The first bag I threw away. This bag seemed to turn green within a few days. It wasn’t like this when I bought it. Of course since I bought snacks from the store, I threw out the receipt, so I cannot take it back to the store for a refund. You need to know about this. You need to improve your quality control. This cannot continue. People depend on you to deliver an excellent bag of beef jerky. This is two bags bought at different times, about a month apart.
Thank you for your time and I sure do hope you get this problem fixed.
I used to be a big fan, but now I’m a disappointed customer.
Mrs. Natalie Gibson
Saskatoon, Sk. Canada
From: Vanessa P
Date: Mon, Nov 11, 2013
Subject: “How Not to Write a Screenplay”
I’m simply writing to convey my heartfelt gratitude for the many unexpected laughs I got from reading an article on your website with the title noted in the subject heading, written by Garth Horn.
Granted, I have never written a screenplay, have never set foot in a college fine arts or drama classroom, and have never had the inclination to write a screenplay.
That is, until I was struck with a grand idea for a story (well, what I think is a grand idea, in any case). So I began to surf the Internet for ideas on how a person without an arts degree may go about writing and publishing said screenplay, and I came across your article and laughed myself breathless for the better part of an hour (I don’t read slow, I just like to re-read what I find engaging).
So I would just like to thank you for putting that article on your site. It was cleverly quite humorous (quite cleverly humorous?) and yet very informative.
— Vanessa P
From: Jeremiah Christie
Date: Wed, Nov 6, 2013
Subject: Gourds in China
I live in China. Yesterday I went to an art gallery and LO AND BEHOLD it’s motherfucking decorative gourd season in China, too. The original painting is by Hanfeng.
From: Blake Speers
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 2013
Subject: Some inaccuracies in your latest story
Dear Mr. McSweeney,
As a regular reader and occasionally rejected contributor to your daily periodical (it may have been my bewildered 19th-century time-traveller monologues, or one of my many wacky hat reviews), I wanted to take a moment out of your day to correct a few of the inaccuracies in your latest story “Would You Like to Join My Start-Down.”
First of all, I can confirm that I am the actual individual singled-out in Dan Rozier’s rather toothless character/poison dart assassination. My name is actually Blake. I am indeed 33 years old, and I do, like most of us, wish to destroy America. Who doesn’t? I just asked my 2-year-old son, and he totally does. He’s started right now.
There are, unfortunately, quite a few innacuracies in this piece I would like corrected. Firstly, while I am technically “within” the continental territory of North America, I was not born anywhere near Baltimore. I was actually born to a shack on a small island off the coast of British Columbia. While I am a “dreamer, a big picture kind of guy” (I really do believe that compulsary Juggling education could realistically catch on in our school system. It’s just common sense!), I have never attended a prestigious anything unless univited. It’s actually my motto. “Never attend a prestigious anything unless uninvited,” I always say.
At first I thought the numerous serious fact-checking errors committed by Mr. So-called “Rozier” were a coincidence. But then, how many 33-year-old Blakes not only read the site but have (failed to) contribute, thus yielding my personal information for your Mad Libs-esque “News Service.” How else would you be aware of my “negligence and greed”? Plus, when has there EVER been an article about a Blake. I mean other than the other McSweeney’s article about a guy named Blake featuring someone named Chip.
However, I do not now, nor have I ever sold “hypothetical condominiums.” I’m not even particularly good with hypothetical basement suites. I once rented a purely imaginary split-level apartment in a non-existent suburb of Vancouver, but that was a ONE-OFF SITUATION and furthermore, in a dream. I ask you, Sir McSweeney, are our dreams now your intellectual property? Will I be banned from YouTube for my reoccurring nightmares involving a boat that inexplicably flies to Olympia? What next, publishing thoughts without our consent as or before we think them? Cashing in on my unfinished dystopian YA novel set in a world without bees? Is there nothing the modern post-“post-modern” “ironic,” internally referential, new media won’t exploit for page clicks?
Where are my years struggling through school, my time working morning shifts in a chain bakery, my actual background teaching juggling to Supreme Court judges (common sense!)
I’m not angry, of course. Danny was just doing his job. The only thing I ask is that in the future, before publishing future pieces about me (or my wife—my son is okay, he doesn’t have much vested in his reputation), please perform a cursory fact check. Or lie to make me look better. Actually that one.
Lie to make me look better.
Yours in (rejected) solidarity,
— Blake Speers
From: Janet R Binkley
Date: Sat, Oct 19, 2013
Subject: Beautiful book design
From my local public library, I took out Dave Eggers’ A Hologram for the King. I want to thank whoever designed that book. It’s a pleasure to pick up, good heft, paper that’s nice to touch when you turn a page, each page a pleasure to look at, with nice margins, and a typeface and text layout so easy on the eyes. I haven’t held such a nice book in years. Thank you all for the pleasure!
— Jan B.
From: Max Zaron
Date: October 10, 2013
Subject: An article on the use of emoticons and smileys
My name is Max Zaron, and with the hope of learning how to communicate better with my teenaged daughter, I took it upon myself to learn more about emoticons and smileys used in emails and instant messaging. And, as a result, I recently wrote an article about it.
During the research for my article, I found your page http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/important-new-emoticons to be helpful. I don’t know if you are looking to update your page, but I think my article might make a nice addition. Would you be able to add it?
Let me know your thoughts about the article.
From: Corning Josephine
Date: Thu, Oct 10, 2013
Hello You @McSweeneys ….
Just a quick question. Who is Timothy McSweeney, or asked another way, how did McSweeneys get is name?
My reason for asking is simple.
My first marriage was to Edward Francis McSweeney III in Manhattan, and we had one child, Edward Corning McSweeney.
Son Edward & I have visited the McSweeney family castle in County Donegal, Ireland, named Castle Doe, several times and studied the history of the family. Why it’s taken me so long to ask about your firm’s origins is beyond me.
I am a huge fan of Dave Eggers but don’t know his connection with McSweeneys except that it’s substantial.
For years I lived in Manhattan, but how reside in the almost gridless Dripping Springs, Texas, west of Austin, the only blue spot in the state.
I’d love to know more. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
With high regards to your writers and editors,
Editor’s Note: Here is info about the real Timothy McSweeney.
From: David Rowe
Date: Thu, Sep 19, 2013
Subject: thank you
Just writing to affirm all that you are doing for the world of writing. I stumbled across two issues of your quarterly in an independent bookstore in northampton, mass, and was intrigued and delighted by it all, from layout to content. Now I have just purchased 100 apocalypses. I am a very mediocre writer of too many self-published books, so I take extra joy in every effort to keep exciting writing happening and available. Thank you, and god be with you, whoever you are.
— Rev. David Johnson Rowe
Greenfield Hill Congregational Church
From: Delphine L.
Date: Tue, Aug 13, 2013
I was reading your article concerning how you helped save a couple’s house from foreclosure. My home is currently in foreclosure and the hearing date is August 27. I have applied for a loan modification and the company keeps asking me for the same forms I have already sent in. My mortgage company is Nationstar. I have considered filing bankruptcy. I just enjoyed the article.
From: Josh Logue
Date: Tue, Jul 30, 2013
Subject: sisters, dentists
My sister just sent me the following text: “I’m at the dentist. They have a catapult for the handicapped.”
I don’t know what she means. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the dentist though.
From: Andrew Tucker
Date: Tue, Jul 9, 2013
Subject: Re: Office Drinking Game
Five minutes ago, my boss said, “It takes a village.” There are no drinks to be taken anywhere in this office.
Not even Sailor Jerry’s.
From: Briana McNair
Date: Fri, Jun 21, 2013
Subject: Re: An Open Letter To Johnny Depp’s Tonto
I want to say [the open letter] was touching, well written, and important. It couldn’t have been written better, and I think there’s a lot of truth behind it. I hope more people read it. And I hope more people start to wake up, and respect Native American/American Indian culture, heritage, and spirituality.
From: Michael Doyle
Date: Thu, Jun 20, 2013
Subject: Re: An Imagined Conversation Between the Construction Workers Upstairs From Me
I just wanted to say that this post was brilliant. Well fucking done.
From: Michelle Lindsay
Date: Sat, Jun 15, 2013
Subject: Dangerously Obsessed
I feel compelled to tell you that I am dangerously obsessed with your hardcover binding. Each one is beautiful and calms my brain. The weight, the balance, the texture … it helps that the words are nice too. More than once I’ve contemplated building and enjoying a McSweeney’s book fort/igloo.
I am 29. I make and distribute eBooks for a living.
Have a nice day.
From: Penny Luksic
Date: Fri, Jun 14, 2013
Subject: Re: Touching Of The Jaguar
THE CAR OR THE ANIMAL?
This has been a particular setback for quite some time.
Editor’s reply: The animal and/or the field goal kicker for the professional American football team.
From: Tim O’Kane
Date: Fri, Jun 7, 2013
Subject: A Letter of Thanks to Charlie Hopper
Dear Charlie Hopper,
Last weekend, I finished writing the Greatest Country Song Ever Written and, as I subsequently discovered, the Third Greatest Song Of Any Kind.
So I cranked up the Google Machine and typed in “Selling A Song In Nashville” and received “about 19,000,000 results”.
The first result was an article by a Mr. Andrew McGee titled “You Can’t Sell a Song in Nashville” with Google bolding the last five words to graphically demonstrate why it was the perfect result for my search even though it was the soul-crushing opposite.
Still, I read Mr. McGee’s article.
“I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s very likely that your song just isn’t that good.” No, Andy, my song is that good. You are just projecting your own mediocre songwriting onto your clearly more gifted readers.
The next two results were your own Dispatch 13 and Dispatch 2 on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Apparently, Google did not find any of the other 37 Dispatches worthy of my attention; take from that what you will.
But I ignored Google’s advice and promptly read all 39 Dispatches, in order, in one sitting. 39 is also the number of lashes Jesus got before they nailed him to that cross, but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. Right?
Thank you for the effort and time you took to write them. I learned so much. They were entertaining and inspirational; just what I needed after Downer McGee tried to derail my delusion train.
I excitedly explained this newfound wisdom and clarity to My Beautiful Wife and then immediately blew up the Greatest Country Song Ever Written. I grabbed my guitar, pen and paper, and tried to figure out what chunks and scraps I could salvage.
That’s when My Beautiful Wife, the woman who assured me mere hours earlier that I had indeed written the Greatest Country Song That Ever Was or Ever Will Be, started lobbing grenades from the kitchen at my already thoroughly blown up song.
“You know what I’m not crazy about? That French phrase in the chorus. I don’t think you can have French in a country song, unless it’s french kissing or french fries.”
She’s right, of course. The French language might be the exact opposite of country music even though, technically, France is a country. Scratched it out.
“And you know that line about the Lotus Eaters? If you asked a thousand people on the street ‘Who are the Lotus Eaters?’—how many would know?”
I love that line! It’s the Second Best Line in the Greatest Country Song Ever Written Being Rewritten! That line was off limits! The Lotus Eaters were UNTOUCHABLE!
“Depends on the street!” I defiantly shouted back at the kitchen.
Long Pause. Then, real quiet, slowly, almost an apology: “Wellllllll, maybe. But if that street does exist, do you think it’s in Nashville, Tennessee?”
That’s what I’m pretty sure she said. What I heard was “No, it don’t.”
Charlie Hopper, that’s when I closed my eyes and channeled one of your seminars! Barbara Cloyd and the song publishers and your favorite fellow songwriters were all there. I was playing my song!
And when I was finished, the composition left everyone in stunned silence. Then one of the publishers cleared his throat.
I was ready to hear the inevitable “Well, I think we just open this up and start a bidding war for whoever want to record this great song” or “Elvis himself might rise from the dead to sing this one!”
Instead he asked, “Umm… what’s that… LOAD US EASTER line supposed to be about?”
What? “It’s the Lotus Eaters, from Homer’s Odyssey. It’s Greek mythology.”
Some sympathetic smiles, maybe a couple snickers. “Greek mythology …?”
“Tennyson wrote a poem about them…”
“Oh, Tennyson wrote a poem! WELL WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!”
The room exploded in laughter. My (your) supposedly supportive songwriters had metaphorical milk gushing from their noses. Barbara and the publishers were slapping each other’s backs. Someone uploaded a someecard that just said “Tennyson wrote a poem” and it already had a quarter million likes.
I opened my eyes and stared at the paper. I crossed off the line. Touchable.
So thanks again, Charlie Hopper, the rewrite is actually going great.
I replaced “No place sweeter for the Lotus Eater” with “At the county fair, wind blowing through her hair”.
I’m a couple of lines shy of starting that bidding war and the Greatest Country Song Ever Written, Then Rewritten is going to be Even Better!
I’ll keep you posted.
From: Dylan Davis
Date: Wed, May 22, 2013
Subject: Concerning The Searchers
At about 35:10, can you see how John Wayne flinches when the hat is flung at him?
Lord. Isn’t there something to that and his hat and the low canyon behind him?
Let me know what you think,
From: William Pettus
Date: Thu, May 16, 2013
Subject: Holy Hell! They have McSweeneys!
Bruised and battered from a week of finals, I walked into Morrison Library, the no electronics, no homework library. Filled with couches and leather chairs and wood paneling, it’s a great place to relax and just read into obliviousness. While cruising the bookshelves looking for Jack London or John Steinbeck, I saw a book with a very shiny spine. In fact, it was rather too shiny, I couldn’t read the title at all. But I could make out one small word at the bottom: “McSweeneys.” My heart fluttered with joy as I’ve always wondered if your books are as good as your random works on Internet Tendency. I took the the book off the shelf and stared at the cover for about ten seconds so I could finally make out the title, Moment in the Sun. It’s also at this moment that I discovered it is more of a tome than a book at 1000 pages. I proceeded to sit down on one of the red couches (Morrison is often referred to as “the library with the red couches”) and tore through the book voraciously. Taking a quick breath of fresh air, I saw in front of me a face drawn onto a box sitting atop a table. I knew that face, I knew that box. I got up and walked over to the table and sure enough McSweeney’s Quarterlies and various McSweeney’s books are eloquently laid out waiting for a loving human being to take them to bed. Anyways, thanks for making eye-catching books that are shiny and just downright weird.
From: Marcy Campbell
Date: Wed, Apr 24, 2013
Subject: Alternate food review of WhoNu cookies
I was just getting ready to follow up on my review of WhoNu cookies, when I find a review of the same on your site this morning! I’m not surprised this product has caught the attention of more than one consumer.
What is perhaps surprising is our very different take on these cookies. My perspective is that of a parent looking to sneak fruits and vegetables to her kids. The other reviewer was looking for a low-cal snack for herself. She likes the taste; I don’t.
Here is my review:
WhoNu? Nutrition Rich Cookies
A chocolate chip cookie chock full of vitamins and minerals? WhoNu? Not me. Not my vegetable-averse kids.
I found these cookies while pushing a red race car cart (containing my two children, who are much too big to be crammed into a race car cart, especially in winter coats) down the snack aisle to procure some innocuous graham crackers, honey graham crackers because I was feeling particularly generous. Then, I saw a yellow-orange box emblazoned with the question, “WhoNu?”
Inquisitive shopper that I am, I pulled the box off the shelf, if only to cluck at yet another purposeful misspelling on product packaging (With all the school funding cuts? Can’t we even help a newbie speller out in the grocery store? Krispy Kreme, I’m looking at you…).
The front of the box explained the cookies have “as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal, as much calcium and vitamin D as an 8 oz. glass of milk, as much vitamin C as a cup of blueberries.” Are you serious, I’m thinking? But wait! There’s more. I turned the box over to discover that these little, round, chocolate-speckled wonders also contain: as much vitamin A as an 8 oz. glass of tomato juice, as much vitamin B12 as a cup of cottage cheese and fruit, as much vitamin E as two cups of carrot juice, AND as much iron as a cup of spinach!
Next, I thought of the Jetsons and of the space-age eating future promised to me when I myself was a kid. Weren’t we all supposed to be eating a pill once a day that provided all the nutrients we needed? WhoNu, my friends, could be just that pill, in cookie form.
I looked at my children, who are oblivious to the daily attempts I make to help them grow strong bodies and minds. I looked in the cart at the leeks and cannellini beans and pesticide-laden strawberries, which I reluctantly bought because they cost merely $2.50, while the organic ones were $7.99!!! Jesus H., it’s like the whole food industry is trying to give my sweet children cancer… I know they won’t eat the leeks or beans, and the picky one won’t even touch the cancer berries. I have no other choice, really, it’s my job, as a responsible parent, to trick them.
The good people at WhoNu Cookies understand, that although I plan out a week’s worth of balanced, healthy meals and shop for the finest local produce whenever possible, when it gets to be 6 p.m. and the kids sit down at the table only to say, “I’m not eating that!” I will likely resort to my trusty box of “silly noodles” (rotini) covered with “yummy goo” (cheese) and the please, just eat one side dish of “tree tops” (broccoli).
See? Do you see how I’m already lying to my kids? So, what’s the difference if I slip them a cookie that’s really good for them? WhoNu understands. They really get me. They get me so well, in fact, that they know I’m in denial about my eyesight deteriorating, and so will not fetch my glasses to read the tiny print on the bottom of the box that says, “Enjoy as part of a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.”
Later at home, we all tried a cookie. It was not good. But my sweets-deprived kids know to take what they can get. If rated against a regular kind of cookie that you really want to eat, I’d give WhoNu two stars out of five. When rated again after considering my parental guilt at failing at yet another meal time, they’re a six, baby; they’re off the charts. And now, YouKnow.
— Marcy Campbell
From: Sam Hamlin
Date: Fri, Apr 12, 2013
Subject: Veternarians and Practice Managers
I’m looking for a veterinary clinic in the area to start referring some families to. Do you treat both dogs and cats?
These families are mostly new to the area or those who just got a pet. If you can take on some new clients, please give me a call as soon as possible.
From: David Heinimann
Date: Fri, Apr 5, 2013
Just a compliment on the quality of your production. Have just picked up John Horgan’s End of War. Having one myself, I like your self-definition as “a privately held company with wildly fluctuating resources.”
From: Steve Davids
Date: Wed, Mar 20, 2013
Subject: Small Feedback for Your Blog
Looked at your website yesterday and was pleasantly surprised.
I noticed that there are several authors writing for your blog. And I decided to take my chances and write a guest post for you (of course if you don’t mind). I mostly write articles about education, technology and tips for bloggers on how to write different kinds of articles. If you don’t mind me writing for you, please let me know and we can discuss topics and article features in further detail.
Thanks for your time.
From: M. Lynx Qualey
Date: Fri, March 8, 2013
Subject: RE: Open Letter to Arabic Labials
Dear Arab Joke,
As I remember it, my childhood was awash in a sea of jokes about how Chinese people couldn’t pronounce the letter r. The punch line was often “fried lice,” although there was also the ubiquitous, “Me Chinese / me play joke / me go pee-pee in your Coke.”
It’s important to note that what made the kids giggle isn’t really the confusion of the r and the l—even if “fried lice” makes a pretty good visual. Pee-pee is endlessly funny and may suit your purposes, but you’re also going to need a character. In constructing Chinese-centered humor, my age-mates relied on the dull-witted (but crafty) Chinese fellow who could be found urinating in soda.
Fortunately for you, my dear Arab Joke, the Chinese jokes have slowly gone out of style. Currently, there seems to be an opening for a new brand of mispronunciation humor. AJ, this is your chance.
Now, there is absolutely no need to feel ashamed of your impediment. Not many people can speak a foreign language flawlessly. I can talk some funny-sounding Arabic, but unfortunately, now that I’m tarrying in North America, not many laugh.
Perhaps you protest. You remind me that, a few weeks ago, my eldest child had a “cultural concert”, for which I and a hundred other parents crammed into a tiny, cold gymnasium and listened to our children sing in languages they don’t know. One of the songs, sung by the second graders, was “Ahlan w sahlan.” You know, أهلا و سهلا.
Before the song began, we were told that it was inspired by an ordinary Lebanese. This dear soul had apparently begged a famous American composer to please, please go visit his homeland. And the composer, instead of booking a ticket to beautiful Beirut, made a song out of the Arabic for “welcome.”
And the children bust out with:
“A-holin’ w say-holin’.”
Maybe you laugh. My husband didn’t understand it at first, thanks to the echoey sound system and the din of the other parents. I had to lean down and shout in his ear, “They’re saying أهلا و سهلاا!”
“أهلا و سهلا!”
Then he listened, and his face transformed. Since you weren’t there, I was grateful to have him.
My son’s school is not without employees from the Levant. Indeed, his classroom teacher is a hard-nosed Lebanese woman who would sooner make a famous American composer sit down to write “I will not mispronounce Arabic words” a thousand times than to ask anyone, much less with dewy eyes, to come visit her “homeland.” I could perhaps have shared the joke with her, but it freezes my blood to think what might happen if I were to step into her classroom and say "a-hole.”
Still, AJ, none of the other parents laughed. It’s a warning to you, as mispronunciation is not so funny all by its lonesome. The Arabic speaker’s p/b confusion can be funny if you put it in the mouth of an English-spouting wannabe, as Egyptian novelist Ahmed Alaidy does in Being Abbas El-Abd, where a character’s cussword turns into “pullshit.” According to Alaidy’s English-language translator, the joke was a b/pitch to translate.
You, like Alaidy, need characters. For an Arab audience, the half-fluent English speaker can work. For non-Arabs, well, you’ve already seen the usefulness of the prudish Arab male (never mind which Arab country!) who confuses “brick” and “prick.” It’s even funnier if you get all scholarly on us, because in English these sounds are called “labials,” which, you know, sounds like “labia.” Arab, labia… the yuk-yuk possibilities are endless.
So, AJ, you might well have a bright future in the American consciousness. Just remember to keep it simple. Try not to give too much cultural or political flourish. How would an illegally detained Arab struggle to properly pronounce “waterboard”? Would he say “waterpoard”? No. Not funny.
— M. Lynx Qualey
From: Greek Prime
Date: Tue, Mar 5, 2013
Subject: Urgent Order
Hello Good Day,
This is Greek Prime. With regards to your Company i am sending this email Regards to order some (BREAD CRATES) i will like to know the type and sizes you have in stock and get me the sales price of one so that i will tell you the quantity i will be ordering, and if you accept credit card as a form of payment. hope to read from you soon about my order request….
From: Irina Raicu
Date: Wed, Feb 27, 2013
Subject: RE: Performance Enhancing Substances in Lit Competitions
You forgot to mention the Plathebo effect.
From: Alexandra Uchniat
Date: Tue, Feb 26, 2013
Subject: Tell Kim Rose to shove it!
Similar to Kim Rose, published writer of a recent letter to McSweeney’s [see below], I too enjoy your magazine on- and off-line. However, I will not quantify that enjoyment with the amount of money I may or may not contribute to your publication (shame on you Kim Rose, no one gives a shit about your $100 book club).
I have never been disappointed with McSweeney’s and still am kind of not. I was disappointed with Kim Rose’s letter—why was it published? Why does she hate on “gonna” so much. It’s not like you guys are saying words like “badonkadonk”_ (by the way that’d be fine by me too), or spelling “gas chamberz” as such. In fact, when yous guys wrote “gonna” it made feel familiar to y’all, like you were really talking to me; right to ME! So, I’d like to say thanks for that and that it doesn’t make you sound less educated or careful or anything that you already are which boring suit types relish (i.e. Kim Rose). If I were you, McSweeney’s, I’d be a vengeful bitch and make the next column you publish solely out of “gonna’s”, maybe you would need about fifteen hundred “gonna’s”.
All in all, all I was gonna say is that Kim Rose can shove it.
Big Al Uch
From: Julia Dillard
Date: Sun, Feb 17, 2013
Subject: A fan letter to Sarah Walker…
You should stop selling yourself short. Your column has improved my life by AT LEAST 112%.
Thanks to you, my mother no longer wears her blow-up neck pillow on airplanes. It has been life-changing, to say the least.
Your column has also helped me become much less self-conscious about shooting coffee and other beverages out of my nose in public. People are much more accepting once I show them your column and they inevitably shoot coffee, or sometimes green jasmine tea, out of their nose.
Thank you, for sharing your invaluable wisdom, and your sense of humor.
From: Aaron Berg
Date: Thu, Feb 14, 2013
Subject: Quarterly submissions
Hi, my name’s Aaron and I have a few questions. I was reading your magazine for guidelines. Is quarterly submissions for fiction short stories? Is McSweeney’s Magazine an actual magazine, or just an online magazine? If it is an actual magazine, would I get a compliment copy (between 1 to 3 copies) of the magazine my work was published in? I know it said I get paid for my work. I was told that this magazine is sometimes read by hollywood producers and executives. That’s cool; do you guys have any knowledge of this?
Hope to hear from you soon
Have a nice day
Yes, we are both a printed magazine (our quarterly) and an online journal. Contributors to the quarterly typically receive two complimentary copies. Hollywood producers and executives have been known to read both the quarterly and our website. Same goes for Hollywood teachers, store clerks, nurses, firemen, librarians, and singing telegram delivery people. So yes, we are very well-read in Hollywood, Florida.
From: Jeff Moses
Date: Tue, Feb 12,
Subject: If my submission is rejected
Will you tell me why it sucked or do you use a default, polite declination? I would do the latter, but I’m lazy like that.
We get hundreds of submissions a week, but when time allows we make an effort to politely tell submitters why their stories sucked.
From: Barb Nelson
Date: Fri, Feb 8, 2013
Subject: IT’S DECORATIVE GOURD SEASON
Yes, indeed it is. I just ran into your article IT’S DECORATIVE GOURD SEASON, MOTHERFUCKERS by Colin Nissan, while surfing for a gourd book titled … you guessed it …“Decorative Gourd Art”. Although I am a serious gourd artist and teach the craft, I just gotta tell you, I never laughed so hard in my whole life. That was so funny it had me in tears, with my sides aching from hysterical bouts of laughter. My dog is sitting here wondering what the hell is wrong with me.
I’m going to a Gourd Society show next week and I’ve printed out Mr. Nissan’s humorous post to share with the gourdheads at the event. I have to wonder if they’ll have the same reaction, or if I’ll be looking for another venue to vend my booth. Whatdaya think?
Thanks for the laughs,
From: Adam Webb
Date: Wed, Jan 23, 2013
Holy shit the new issue is fantastic! This is perhaps my new favorite issue (I don’t know, I really loved 25). That’s all.
From: Kim Rose
Date: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 6:46 PM
Subject: January newsletter
Dear letters-to-McSweeney’s reader,
I am a huge fan and supporter of your company and lovely publications and a subscriber to your “book of the month club” series ($100/year) for several years. I love receiving your newsletter, and I often recommend your books (and cool sales) to friends, etc.
BUT, I must say reading your newsletter today disappointed me and motivated me to write this email. As writers and publishers I was disgusted when I read this:
adult-story-for-children / enchanting piece of work for any person, ever. It’s heavily discounted in our store, and for a limited time, we’re gonna offer it as the first book for every new McMullens subscription, too.
While it may be possible this word has now been added into official English language usage volumes, I find its use in written text almost offensive. PLEASE as a distributor of fine writing and ideas, don’t destroy the language in your own newsletter.
Thanks for considering this request in the future. I realize there’s the argument of language “evolution” behind this but as far as I am concerned the word “gonna” is a prime example of language deterioration and erosion.
From: Peter Holtje
Date: Tue, Jan 1, 2013
Subject: “Wi-Fi- Hero”
Macs, (Mike Lacher)
I’m 77, and for the last 72 years, I’ve read a mountain of (un)important writings. I even took an Evelyn Woods’ Reading Dynamics course so I could read more in less time.
But the piece attributed to you in the Sept 2012 RD, “The Wi-Fi Hero” absolutely blew me away. The story was interesting, but the writing was absolutely the finest I’ve ever come across.
Keep my address, and send me any future writings that you consider even just close to the referenced piece.