Give The Rumpus five buckaroos a month and theyâ€™ll send you a Letter in the Mail almost every week from a more important person than yourself â€“ like Dave Eggers, Nick Flynn, Emily Gould, and Jonathan Ames.Â By buckaroos I mean dollars, five dollars.Â An online literary publication with the quality of The Rumpus, to sustain itself, needs your buckaroos, and sending cowboys that donâ€™t do rodeos and unimportant people whose names you forgot wonâ€™t help at all.Â But sending five dollars a month for a weekly Letter in the Mail will.
And if theyâ€™re all as good as the seducing letter I got in the mail from Marie Calloway this week, thereâ€™ll be buckaroos, of the dollar variety, flowing like fiber out Stephen Elliottâ€™s rumpus.Â Callowayâ€™s letter is far superior to the last Letter in the Mail.Â Sorry Margaret Cho, but your letter included neither a sex offer nor a nude photo.Â Callowayâ€™s letter included both:
â€œhello,â€ she wrote. â€œiâ€™m marie calloway.â€Â She then thanked me for this column, A Forsley Feuilleton, and, after telling me how it has broadened her mind, said, â€œplease look at my tumblr if you want.â€Â I didnâ€™t want to, but since she said, â€œplease,â€ I made an attempt.Â The attempt was in vain because she didnâ€™t like being watched.Â But she did like being looked at. . . Â Why else would she send me â€œsome art me and some guy made?â€Â Even though I didnâ€™t get to read her tumblr blog, I did read her writing at Thought Catalog and can say, with confidence, that no â€“ if youâ€™re reading this Miss Calloway â€“ I didnâ€™t â€œhate it since it could be seen as self-absorbed narcissism.â€Â I love self-absorbed narcissism, especially if that was what motivated you to send those nude photos, invite me to have sex with you, and add me as a friend on Facebook.
Breaking News: the other subscribers to The Rumpusâ€™ Letters in The Mail didnâ€™t get any nude photos, sex invites, or adds on Facebook from Calloway.Â What can I say?Â Maybe those subscribers should try to get a column on PANKâ€™s blog so they can become celebrities like Adrien Brody and I.Â Then they too will start getting seducing letters from pretty young girls. Before I started writing this column, I was giving my writing away in zine-form on the streets of San Francisco and the only letters I got in the mail were those from my landlord informing me that either my dog or I would be living at a shelter in a weekâ€™s time, those from a collection agency trying to bully me into paying the hundred grand I owed the Emergency Room for fixing me up after an ambulance ran me over, and those from my Number One Fan that usually started off as adoration but quickly descended into threats of strangulation, castration, and lobotomization.
Ok, I admit â€“ even with this critically acclaimed PANK column â€“ those are still the only letters I get in the mail.Â And that seducing letter I got from Marie Calloway was a fake.Â I wrote it using a cut-up technique, in the tradition of William Burroughs, with words from her fictional short story, â€œAdrien Brody.â€Â Or was it a non-fictional journal entry?Â I donâ€™t know.Â I do know that Callowayâ€™s â€œAdrien Brody,â€ like Burroughsâ€™s novella, Queer, was a little sexually shocking, a little thought provoking, and a lot captivating. . . and I wish I was subscribed to The Rumpusâ€™ Letters in the Mail so I could get a real letter from Calloway.
But Iâ€™m not subscribed to Letters in the Mail because my girlfriend only gives me a monthly allowance of five dollars, and I need at least one Jumbo Dog a week from that guy with the dirty fingernails at the Daly City BART station.Â He charges a dollar twenty-five, so my five dollar allowance can get me either four Jumbo Dogs or four letters each month. . . four Jumbo Dogs or four letters. . . four Jumbo Dogs, four letters. . . decisions, decisions.Â But the fact of the matter is that Iâ€™m an MTV-raised, semi-literate American who usually uses phrases like â€œthe fact of the matterâ€ to express opinions, and I care more about Jumbo Dogs than literary letters.Â And, besides, the founder of The Rumpus admitted how lazy he was in an email to me, so I bet subscribers to Letters in the Mail will end up only getting three, at most, letters each month.
Even though I went with the Jumbo Dogs, I still made an effort to get this weekâ€™s letter from Calloway.Â I went to The Rumpus Stuffing Party with intentions of slipping her letter into my pocket while the other stuffers were busy stuffing.Â But there were too many stuffers.Â I not only failed at stealing Callowayâ€™s letter, but I also failed at getting into the Stuffing Party.Â There was no room. Too many other MTV-raised, semi-literate, Jumbo Dog addicts whose girlfriendâ€™s only gave them a monthly allowance of five dollars had the same idea â€“ for thereâ€™s no way that many people volunteered to stuff letters into envelopes all night if it wasnâ€™t with intentions of stealing Callowayâ€™s letter.
Why do so many people want Callowayâ€™s letter?Â I want one bad â€“ so bad that I wrote my own â€“ and itâ€™s not because I want her to tell me how much she admires my writing and how much she wants to come meet me and my pecker. No, no, no â€“ I want a letter from Calloway for the same reasons we all read, discussed, and obsessed over her story, â€œAdrien Brodyâ€: we enjoy confessional writing with some shock value told with a voice not yet diluted with the teachings of MFA professors. . . just as we enjoy Jim Carrollâ€™s Basketball Diaries and Harmony Korineâ€™s Kids.
I suppose by â€˜weâ€™ I mean â€˜me.â€™Â Basketball Diaries, Kids â€“ thatâ€™s my shit.Â I can only guess why you people read, discussed, and obsessed over â€œAdrien Brody.â€Â And my guess is that itâ€™s all, at the source, biological.Â The male readers of Callowayâ€™s story are biologically enchanted by pretty young girls, especially girls that face paint with cum.Â And the female readers of Callowayâ€™s story are biologically threatened by pretty young girls, especially girls that face paint with cum.Â I wonder if any members from the queer community read, discussed, and obsessed over Callowayâ€™s story. . . if Truman Capote got his hands on it heâ€™d probably just, biologically, say, â€œThatâ€™s not writing, thatâ€™s typing.â€Â But thatâ€™s just a guess, just as Iâ€™m guessing that whether youâ€™re enchanted or threatened, youâ€™re going to read, discuss, and obsess over a story like â€œAdrien Brody.â€
Even respected and accomplished writers like Tao Lin, Stephen Elliott, Roxane Gay, and Rae Bryant canâ€™t stop biology from influencing their likes and dislikes:
Tao Lin, according to the New York Observer, liked Callowayâ€™s â€œability to describe a memory objectively and interestingly and without preconception or judgmentâ€. . . but, biologically, he just liked the thought of luring Calloway, without preconception or judgment, into a Paris hotel room.Â On The Rumpus, Stephen Elliott writes that he liked Callowayâ€™s story because it was â€œriveting, fresh, and written with a distinctive new voiceâ€. . . but, biologically, he just liked the thought of Calloway cradling him like a baby while singing lullabies in her distinctive new voice.
Roxane Gay, over at HTMLGIANT, makes it clear that she disliked how Calloway wrote â€œbehind the safety of a persona and did not afford the same courtesy to the man she writes about so intimatelyâ€. . . but, biologically, she just disliked the thought of Calloway getting away with using a fake name when she, Roxane, was forced to go through adolescence in Omaha, Nebraska with the last name Gay.Â Rae Bryant, on The Nervous Breakdown, wrote that she disliked Callowayâ€™s story because â€œthe lack of nose in â€˜Adrien Brody,â€™ in (her) Jungian perspective, was a missed opportunityâ€. . . but, biologically, she just disliked the thought of Calloway, even with a lack of a nose, getting the kind of attention that Adrien Brody, the actor, gets.
You donâ€™t think the young Calloway will ever get the kind of attention Brody gets?Â I disagree.Â No one paid attention to Brody, his movies, his acting, or his nose until he, like Calloway, wrote a seducing letter to an older, more accomplished, and better connected man in his field.Â That man was Roman Polanski.
Unlike the situation with Calloway, who chronicled her exploits in a published story, most people donâ€™t know the details of Brodyâ€™s escapades with Polanski.Â Journalism is dead, and the only news we get is from blogs and the bloggers that run them â€“ bloggers like Jimmy Chen at HTMLGIANT.
Chen was the only one to report on the Brody-Polanski affair.Â But he got it all wrong: he reported that it was Polanski who sent a seducing letter to Brody.Â Does that make sense? Polanski was already a legendary director, both for his films and his molesting, and Brody, at the time, was an unknown actor.Â It was Brody that initiated communication and it was Brody that sent the revealing thigh-high photos and it was Brody that offered his body to the director.Â Polanski then, because of biology, gave Brody and his nose a chance: the lead role in The Pianist.Â Brody turned that opportunity into a career launching moment, making him, at twenty-nine, the youngest to ever win the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Will Calloway be able to do the same â€“ turn this â€œAdrien Brodyâ€ opportunity into a career launching moment â€“ with her literary pursuits?Â I have no idea.Â The only idea I have is to learn from the girl, to learn how to get the attention I crave as a writer.Â And, from what Iâ€™ve learned so far, the best way to get such attention is to let older, more accomplished and better connected members of the literati fuck me.
So, dear readers and fellow writers, please fuck me.Â Fuck me, Tao Lin, in a Paris hotel.Â Fuck me, Stephen Elliott, with my own Letter in the Mail.Â Fuck me, Roxane Gay, by morally banning this column.Â Fuck me, Rae Bryant, with a devastating analysis of my writing.Â Fuck me, Adrien Brody, with a highly publicized slander lawsuit.Â Fuck me, Roman Polanski, with. . . actually you should stay out of it.
Like Calloway, Iâ€™m from the MTV-generation.Â We were raised on Jumbo Dogs.Â All we want is attention, and weâ€™ll do whatever it takes to get it.Â Iâ€™ll even spread my cum all over the internet with hopes that it will impregnate the consciousnesses of as many people as possible.Â Consequences be damned. . . After all, when The Rumpus asked Calloway about the repercussions of her fucking story, she said that they were mostly positive and that she got a lot of exposure for her writing.Â â€œObviously there were a lot of negative reactions,â€ she concluded, â€œbut they seem to have overall little relevance to my life.â€