Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cary Tennis’ Plot-Point Theatre

Salon’s advice columnist Cary Tennis always gets the best letters. Dear Prudence or that chick who replaced Ann Landers have nothing on the guy. Who can resist reading about the stockbroker dude who banged the nanny and now the nanny is preggers and SO IS THE WIFE, and they’re due within weeks of each other and to complicate matters, the nanny’s been working for the family for years…and was, in fact, Stockbroker Dude’s own nanny, whom, he suspects, had an affair with HIS FATHER. Day-um, that’s so messed up it’s beyond a Greek tragedy. What words of advice can possibly exist?

But Cary always rises to the occasion, and his answers are soothing, artful, and designed to make the letter-writer feel that they are not sick creatures, they just need to live their lives differently. Rarely does he offer the placebo of therapy.

Cary’s letters are so good, they read like works of fiction. Perhaps they are. But there’s a bagload of nuts out there, so I suspect they are real. For the writer, however, the possibilities in these scenarios are endless.

If you need to goose your creativity, take a moment to visit Cary (free subscription required). Today’s letter could easily lay the groundwork for a chick-lit or cozy women’s fic story. Helpfully, Cary also offers a resolution.


Blogger Therese Walsh said...

I love "Dear Carolyn Hax" for different reasons. She is always gritty and keeps it real; she calls it like she sees it. How to use as a writer? She nails deep motivation every time! And don't we all want to probe truth in our writing? Check her out at http://tinyurl.com/byxon

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