Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More Hot Dead Guys

The other day, Val Thevictorian mentioned that Nathaniel Hawthorne was “a bit wordy.” I have a theory that writing schools of yesteryear taught that word quantity was a big determiner of greatness. Big word count=big writer. They never just grabbed the Velveeta. They pondered before the tremulous hands hesitantly reached out in desperate longing for the processed cheese food. And if the author was Russian, the hand would belong to a guy whose name you could never pronounce and there would be peasants and starvation and the Velveeta symbolized something dark and mysterious.

But Hawthorne has one big advantage over other writers of his day that has propelled some readers through his books in rapid and frenzied anticipation: the picture that’s usually printed along with the author’s byline. I am combining expletives here from Lynn and Sioux in order to create one, slightly more socially acceptable expletive when I say: oh-my-greasy-gracious-holy-flying-lardfish.

Hawthorne was hot.

This, of course, was before the hair on his head migrated to his face in great, walrus-like excess as it seemed to have been wont to do in that era. I’m not knocking bald, either—I’m knocking those great, sweeping Fuller Brush push-brooms that sprouted out of their upper lips with disappointing regularity. The ones where I imagine they had to slide food up under the Great Wall of Chia like inserting mail into a letter slot, because how else would you get food past all that briar-rose-shrubbery without sucking some of it in? Bleah.

Here he is in his non-massively-mustachio-ed days. This portrait is akin to female English major porn, which is ironic when you consider how he wrote about all that shameful sinfulness. But he does remind us of one of the cardinal rules of writing: show, don’t tell.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Michael (on dating his coworker’s mother) in The Office: “The only time you should care about a woman’s age is if she is too young for you. And I am not robbing the cradle. If anything, I am robbing the grave.”


  1. Look at him! Hawthorne was the Rob Lowe pretty-boy of his peers. Perhaps they ran in a group called the Lit Pack.

  2. Hawthorne WAS a hottie. I think you could easily craft a short story about a woman writer who engages in time travel to mingle in the same circles as Hawthorne...

  3. Oh my goodness, yes. What a cutie. Too bad we know how he looked later, though. Makes time travel seem almost not worth it.
    But it would, indeed, make a good story.
    I never watch The Office, but "robbing the grave" is a hoot.

  4. Great wall of Chia hee-hee-hee. Send this to a lit mag. It is hysterical.

  5. Too funny, Tammy! And yes, young Mr. Hawthorne is indeed HOT!

    Critter Alley


Any return "messages" are appreciated!