Welcome to the all-new, all-improved Singular Existence!
Ummm…where am I? And who are YOU?
If you’re reading this now, it means you were either forward-thinking or foolish enough to stumble onto this Web page, little knowing that I would save your IP information in my site stats so I can track your every move and spam you at some later date.
Wow. That’s kind of scary. I’m not sure I like that.
You’ll think otherwise when I am a fabulously wealthy and successful author with my own radio talk show. Then you’ll WISH I were paying attention to you. Only by then I’ll be too famous to bother.
Okay, okay. I’ll humor you. What’s all this about a book?
Thank you. In case you don’t already know, several years ago I began work on a book, which I finally got up the nerve to shop around to literary agents. One of them liked it, and she ended up selling it to Citadel Press. And now, Singular Existence is now available for purchase at YOUR neighborhood bookstore. Or supermarket (helloooo, Wegman's!). Not only that, it’s still available on Amazon.com (in a gazillion different countries; how cool am I?), book25.co.uk, barnes&noble.com, play.com, Walmart.com, whsmith.co.uk, and even chicklitworld.net (shut up!) to name but a few. I'm global! My goodness! I had no idea you were so brilliant and talented. You certainly wouldn’t know it to look at you. What’s it about?
According to my publisher, it is a “hilarious and surprisingly insightful exploration into the difficulty of maintaining your identity as a single person in a world obsessed with marriage and relationships.” According to me, it’s a bunch of my funny essays in book form. You be the judge!
So, it’s like another Sex and the City, huh?
Well, if by “another Sex and the City” you mean it’s NOTHING AT ALL like Sex and the City, then, well, yeah.
Okay. Another Bridget Jones’s Diary, then?
Bite your tongue. If anything, it's the ANTI Bridget Jones.
Really? Tell me more!
No. You have to buy the book. Then we'll talk.
I can’t wait! Where can I find it?
If you’re looking in a bookstore, you can either find me in the Advice/Self-Help section –
I’m sorry…I’m laughing so hard I have to stop to catch my breath. SELF-HELP? YOU?
Shut up! As I was saying, I will be in either the Advice/Self-Help section or, if I’m lucky, on one of those display tables toward the front of the bookstore.
Are you going to have a big media campaign and a worldwide book tour?
That’s where you come in.
What do you mean?
I have two fabulous publicists - one who works for my publisher and another who works for me. But, let's be real. I’m a new author, and the amount of publicity and attention I get will be in direct proportion to the “buzz” I am able to generate. Get the picture?
So how can I help?
Buying the book is always a good first step. But there's more to it than that. Here's how you can help:
1. If you buy my book online, buy at least one other book at the same time. This will help cross-promote my book, as it will then show up in the “Customers Who Bought This Book Also Bought….” Section on the other book’s page.
If you don’t know what else to buy, I recommend the following:
These are three great, funny books by wonderful authors who were also kind enough to blurb me. I highly recommend them.
If your tastes run to the more mainstream, I might also recommend anything by David Sedaris (if you’re a guy), Laurie Notaro, or Stephanie Klein. They didn't blurb me, but they're awesome nonetheless.
2. Ask your local bookstore if they’re going to stock it. Tell them you’ve heard about this amazing book called Singular Existence that’s coming out in January and that you MUST have it. If they’re not planning on stocking it, they’ll order it for you – and, with any luck, they’ll snag a few extra copies while they’re at it.
3. Tell EVERYONE to buy it. Tell them you know the author. Tell them I’ll personally autograph their copy if they like. Tell them I’ll babysit their children. Tell them ANYTHING.
4. Make me your book group’s weekly assignment. It’s a fast read and I’m funny! Really! Not only that, but I’m so considerate and helpful I’ve included a Discussion Guide in the back of the book. You don’t even have to do any work!
5. Write a review (preferably a favorable one) and post it on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. See how many times you can fit the words “funny,” “brilliant,” “hilarious,” “snarky,” and “socially relevant” into a single sentence. Make frequent reference to liquid spurting from your nose during bouts of uncontrollable laughter. Bonus points for confessions of incontinence. If you're having trouble coming up with the perfect review, let me know. I'll write it for you. I mean...uh...I'll write one as a sample. In fact, I actually have a couple on hand. Just in case.
6. Rally your friends and organize a book signing in your community. If a bookstore knows I can draw a crowd, they’ll be more than happy to arrange an appearance. If you know influential people who can help this happen, send me their contact info! I won’t bother them…too often.
So, after I read the book I’m sure you’re going to want to hear all my suggestions and great ideas about what you could have done better, right?
Most decidedly not. Your job, as my friend/colleague/family member/casual acquaintance/total stranger who accidentally ended up on my website, is to praise me, stroke my ego, tell me how funny and insightful my book is, and, most importantly, insist that YOU WOULDN’T CHANGE A SINGLE WORD.
Wow. I’m heading to Amazon RIGHT NOW to order it!
Don't forget to buy ten copies for your friends!
How did this site get started in the first place?
Allow me to take you on a little trip back in time to that hot, steamy day in July of 2003 when Singular Existence was born. Special props to my friend Jessie, who helped me struggle through the enormity of my decision during a particularly lengthy, thoughtful, and highly analytical Instant Messenger conversation that went something like this....
jessie(4:36:03 PM): Hi Leslie! How are you??
leslie(4:36:09 PM): Bored. Should I get a blog?
jessie(4:40:20 PM): You should get one.
Five minutes later:
leslie (4:46:23 PM): I got a blog.
And so it began. Once my blog was up and running, I embraced the blogosphere with gusto and soon learned that the proper pronunciation was 'blog' and NOT 'bee-log.' And of course my little blog caught on like wildfire! Not only that, but people seemed to like me!
leslie (9:54:15 AM): Oh my god! I got 2 favorable comments about my blog!!!
jessie(9:54:47 AM): REALLY? From a stranger???
leslie (9:55:36 AM): I'm so excited!
Initially, I posted a number of short essays I had done for a writing seminar I had taken in the spring. I had no shortage of material, but deciding which article to post was always a tough choice. Luckily, Jessie was once again ready to lend her support:
leslie:(9:54:01 AM): Which article should I post today?
jessie(9:55:51 AM): hmmm.
leslie (9:57:52 AM): I don't want to scare people just yet.
jessie(9:58:15 AM): Good thinking.
That resolution lasted about a day. Then I began posting some of my more controversial pieces. And, as expected, with the snark came controversy!
leslie(11:53:42 AM): Some comments from an old weird guy about the dessert article (I don't think he understood that it was a non fiction piece): "Maybe she can progress as a character to ultimately become aware of the waste of her life without a man and through other scenes the reader recognizes her independence is a pose, that this is just one side of her hostile dependence, the other side being her fear and pain. She's a handful, but I have a feeling the right man can tame this shrew. That's the ending you should build towards."
jessie(12:32:16 PM): OMG!!! What a JACKASS!
leslie (12:55:44 PM): Actually, I was kind of psyched. It's nice to know that weirdos won't like my blog.
Weirdos didn't like my blog, but I did acquire a solid fan base among individuals who had an unhealthy fixation on hair coloring. To this day, the shadowy network of Chunky Highlights Mystery Searchers still accounts for the largest percentage of my hits, although I should also note there seem to be an awful lot of people out there who hate Cingular Wireless as much as I do!
Speaking of your essays - why can't I find ____________ [insert name of essay you liked here] in the archive anymore?
Thank you for noticing! Some of the essays that have appeared on this site are, for lack of a better word, beta versions of longer (or in some cases shorter) essays that are included in my book. My publisher has allowed me to keep some of them up here to draw traffic and generate interest, but the rest of them have been fine-tuned and re-tooled and are now part of the book.
Whatever. Do the newbies a favor and tell us all again: Who are you, anyway, and why did you start this website?
I am exactly who I say I am. A single, 44 year-old writer who lives in Boston.
I am also a charter member of a demographic that has been alternately disparaged, pitied, or overlooked by our popular culture: the over-forty single professional.
The message our culture sends single women like me can be summed up in one pithy phrase: couple up or die alone. I am expected to get married or turn myself inside out trying. But with each so-called "failed" relationship, I am told I am the problem: I'm too picky; I'm too unattractive; I love too much; I haven't followed the rules; or "he's just not that into me" because he's from Mars and I'm from Venus. The point? Unless I pair up and settle down in a hurry, I am destined to die alone in my cold twin bed, barren, unwanted, and unloved to the bitter end. And, oh, by the way—I'd best get on with the procreating because the clock is ticking!
Then, about three years ago, The Boston Globe ran an article about a Michigan State University researcher who was running around claiming that single people who live alone are destroying the environment. I sat down to write a scathing rebuttal, but, five pages in, realized I had a lot more to say on the topic than a simple Letter to the Editor could possibly convey.
And Singular Existence was born.
Why the blog?
I got back into writing relatively late in life (well, late, that is, compared to other people who have been at it since they got out of college) and I had a lot of lost time to make up for. Securing a rabid internet following was the fastest way for a non-dues payer like me to attract a fan base and the subsequent attention of discerning editors.
Okay, on to your essays. Why are you so bitter, anyway?
I’m not bitter. Not really. You know by now that I can be quite nice when I try. I just get annoyed when everyone else in the world tells me that there’s something wrong with me because I’m not married, that my life has no meaning without children, and that because they are married with children their lives are superior to mine. No, I don’t hate men, and no, I’m not anti-marriage. But I’m not going to spend my spare time running around in a blind panic in search of a man, any man, to stave off my spinsterhood. And I don’t like women who do. It’s about time someone took the Bridget Joneses of the world and sat their asses down in a dusty classroom somewhere until they learn the following lesson: there are many, many things in life that are worse than being single. Like, say, wishing you were. Only that’s a lesson that everyone is reluctant to acknowledge. So I’m doing it for them.
Okay, but do you have to make your point in such a harsh and strident way?
I prefer to think of myself as a "hilarious voice of reason in a marriage-obsessed world" (Okay, my agent came up with that one. What can I say? She's a genius).
Well, I think Dr. John Gray makes sense. Why do you always have to pick on him?
First of all, if you really think that then get out of my weblog. Immediately.
Now, for the rest of you: Dr. John Gray represents everything that is evil and wrong about the Relationship Industry. Dr. Gray and his ilk are cynical exploiters of the fears and insecurities of others. They make millions upon millions of dollars by fooling people - women, mostly - into believing that the antidote to loneliness is a spouse, and that there are magic-bullet blueprints to obtaining said spouse, if you will only buy this book, watch this video, attend this seminar, or whatever. That shit is snake oil and it doesn’t work. As a wise bumper-sticker author once wrote: Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it. If we all spent less time playing guessing games and more time just talking to one another, the world would be a happier place and maybe some people would finally realize that being alone is not the worst thing that can happen to you.
Also, you only have to read a few pages of Dr. Gray’s books to realize that the guy is a raving misogynist.
You get bent out of shape way too easily about trivial things. I mean, really -- beeping at the Walk for Hunger because it got in your way? Why don’t you just chill out?
But then I wouldn’t have all of these funny, snarky things to say to entertain you all! Come on, ’fess up - you may hate me, but I make you chuckle in spite of yourself. Go ahead. Admit it. I won’t tell anyone.
But what about the chilll-drenn? Why do you hate the children so?
I don’t hate children. It’s not their fault their parents are raging assholes who are allowing them to grow up to be raging assholes too. What I do hate are parents who have this warped sense of entitlement that the world should bow down to them because they happened to do something any 14 year old crack whore is also capable of doing (I know that’s offensive; don’t email me). Yeah, yeah, I know raising a child properly is hard work. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of us should rearrange our lives to accommodate your children. No, I will not change my television viewing habits because you choose to leave your child in front of the t.v. unsupervised with a remote in his hand. No, I don’t think it’s okay that you bought a minivan because it’s “too hard” to fit the car seat in a Honda Civic. No, you may not bring your screaming baby into the locker room at my gym because she “gets too fussy” when she’s left at the daycare center. I know children get restless at nice restaurants. That’s why you should leave them at home and not allow them to crawl around underneath my table. Can’t get a sitter? Then stay home. Problem solved. Get the picture?
You’re just a dried up old maid who's probably a lesbian anyway.
See? It’s people like you who made me start this weblog in the first place. Now run along before I write something mean about you. I’m sure you have some more puppies to strangle.
So...what's in store for the coming year?
More essays! Bookstore events! Media coverage! Talk shows! Fame and fortune! At last! Who knows - I might even get around to updating my site more frequently to keep everyone happy.
So....thanks to all of you for reading me, inspiring me, and keeping me sane! See you next year - same singular time, same singular URL!