Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Zippy the Lewd King

It was fun being a superstar till the furor died.


God's forsaken?


Well, one definition of superstar is one who makes his/her entire living thought one's talent.

How lucky one had been to end up in some place like East Jesus, Ontario, find a magazine there alongside a new mall had just been built (lots of advertising revenue)--and write the quirkiest, funkiest column that the farmers could handle...Now these were rich farmers as they had sold quite a bit of land to the malls and the burgeoning box stores. They now needed a literature, right in their backyard and who better for the job than Professor, uh, Ivan Corey.

There I was, hair a-flying in the picture atop my column, pontificating, bragging, lying, largely full of sh*t, but making some waves all the same.

The cable TV folks were all supportive, the Toronto SUN was reprinting some of my stuff from the provincial rag, and I was on my way.

How do you become a media superstar?
Well, you apprentice with a really large metropolitan paper first, work on the rewrite desk, learn the songspinner's trick of "disguise it as if it weren't heard before"--and you are on your way. Bullshit makes the grass grow green!

How do you start?
Find every last magazine article on the evolution of jazz and rock'n'roll, read all the Nat Hentoff you can, become a knowledgeable cat about the world of music, do some fancy, but, hopefully zippy rewriting--and become Hunter S. Elegant, coolest rock critic in town.

And all the while, everybody is feeding you. Hollywood press agents are feeding you, the TV networks are feeding you, the Toronto impresarios and Peggy Lee are feeding you, Ed Mirvish is feeding you, because Mirvish Theatre Enterprises needs the publicity too. Soon stories by you on all the stars are emblazoned all over Ed's theatres, you have hit the gates of New York with your review of a Dan Hlll folk concert performed in a barn theatre in East Jesus, Ontario.
The Red Barn Theatre takes off. You take off.

Zippy the Lood King!

Pinhead makes good.

The trick was to take all the zap you could out of the incredibly creative late Sixties and early Seventies, Including Saturday Night Live--and live off that creative energy. This entitlled you to your Captain Marvel suits, free passes to rock concerts, meeting Country Joe and the Fish and faux-dropping acid at the Electric Circus.

What a job. Hobnobbing with Ritchie Yorke and Dick Flohill and Gino Empry and getting your own column in Starweek Magazine, the TV guide section of the Toronto Star.

But superstardom comes to an end.

You start meeting your turtles.

You had worked hard for this success, but other people, seeing how easy you were to read, thought they could do even better. People were after your job. You became nervous. You can't stay in the stratosphere forever.

Then the turtles began to apply politics. Jealous editors soon made short work of my screeds at the Star, doublechecking my facts, grousing at my inaccuracies, of which there were many. What the hell, if the bastards couldn' t take a joke, piss on them!

Soon the Star job was gone and at the provincial magazine, some woman wanted my spot too.

Little by little, as in a Mexian folklorica, my column was taken over by a lady who was a huge fan of Spike Milligaan and she thought she would pass old Spike, originator of everybody, including Monty Python--onto a bohunk audience of farmers. But I was the "bohunk" who had started all the fuss in the first place. Zippy the Lood King. Or was it Zippy the Lewd King?...She certainly could not match my lewdness.

Soon I was writing nowhere.

I suddenly needed an income

Standard lateral arabesque: Teach.

I began to teach writing, and there again became something of a superstar. They lliked my teaching of French existentialism and French novels in English.
When the dean and I walked down the street, everybody knew who the important person was. Tabernac!

The woman who had taken over my column soon began running out of gas. Things the neighbour said, things the hairdresser said, something she saw on TV that made her think.
She was running out of gas.

Re-enter Zippy the Lood King.

Lucky pinhead.

I was again on my way.

It was fun being a superstar.

For the past twenty years, I have been trying to get it all back.

Recently, somene took a picture of me.

This is the young fool who once soared into the stratosphere?

A picture of a balding, grey-haired old man.

Time, gentlemen, please!

Ah what the hell.

It was fun.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Obscure references department: If you knew what the emu knew

All I want from life is an emu?
Seem of late I am haunted by images of Leda and the Swan.
Anybody else into metaphysical zoophilia?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Non-verbal blog

I think I'm spending too many weekends alone.
(Apology to the emu and to the good folks who run the farm).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kuno Fischer on the brain. Or: Teach a man how to Fisch

Kuno Fischer on the brain.

Don't know why Kuno Fisher.

Kuno Fisher was W. Somerset Maugham's philosophy prof at Heidelburg.

I had the most incompetent guy teaching me Western Thought, though he did introduce me to Canadian thought and to friends of Marshall McLuhan, and I guess that was enough. At least I got to talk to the great McLuhan on the phone. And through my "incompetent" prof, I got to know people at MAD Magazine, on which I was writing my thesis. Heh.

Or is it Hoo-Hah?

Potrzebie in any case.

This morning, I have Kuno Fisher on the brain, Maugham's philosophy proff, specialist on Immanuel
Kant, the "a' priori" and "a' posteriori" guy.

Having a MAD turn of mind since I was writing a thesis on that serious publication, I thought not of Kant, but of that great young-old whippersnapper of history, the Marquis de Sade.

Here was de Sade's take on a' priori and a' posteriori: "You should turn your women around and go a' posteriori."

Wonder how the late really mad Marquis managed to have fathered four children all the same. Poor wife!

But my thoughts are really on Kuno Fischer, Maugham's prof.

Maugham, though an interned doctor, nevetheless had a an affinity for philosophy, like many another fine writer, to wit, Updike, Gardner and and Tom Wolfe.
Maugham took in a lot of Kuno Fischer's lectures.

Why do I have Kuno Fisher on the brain this morning.

Maybe because lately, people have been saying so much about teaching men how to fish instead of giving them handouts, certainly right over here, right in my own family, where my sisters are tired of my financial demands, even though they owe me a ton.

I answer that I learned to fish a long time ago, but it seems someone not only broke my pole, but cut my grass as well, taking spouse , job, bank account and jockstrap all in one fell swoop.

Last time I send my wife to night school!

Randy profs pi** me off!

And they tell me to learn how to fish.

Mothergrabbers dumped me into the water!

But they do tell me that poets always win, poets and their cousins, the preachers, who too are fishers of men.

Well, Dante had to go to hell for it, but he became the poet for all time.

I have been to hell, but I am a poet small time.

But I have broken up two marriages to get to the one I love.

There is only one marriage left to break up.

Batting .666

Kuno Fisher, I think I have gone MAD.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Poor Ess Enn Ell. You've gone straight to Hell.

That Saturday Night Live has sucked for the past 12 years is an understatement.

And last week's season's finale firmly places that formerly great comedy skit show in the Hoover and Juno categories.
No, not the awards.
Vacuum cleaners.

I watched the entire show hoping Kristin Wiig would return with her Simpering one-up-Penelope routine, but all we got was a maddened, menopausal movie reviewer, and for once, Kristin wasn't all that funny, neither was Maroon 5's music all that great.

The promo looked good:

For the Season Finale on May 19, SNL welcomes Zach Braff. Braff makes his SNL debut and has distinguished himself not only as an actor, but as a writer-director as well with his feature writing and directing debut "Garden State." The film, in which he starred opposite Natalie Portman and Peter Sarsgaard was a sensation at The Sundance Film Festival and went on to become one of the sleeper hits of 2004, garnering numerous awards including a WGA nomination for Best Original Screenplay, and an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature as well as the distinction of "Best Directorial Debut" by the National Board of Review. In addition, the soundtrack handpicked by Braff won a Grammy and went on to sell a million copies. Braff can currently be seen opposite Jason Bateman, Amanda Peet and SNLers Amy Poehler and Fred Armisen in the comedy "The Ex" and is currently co-writing an adaptation of the children's book "Andrew Henry's Meadow" with his brother. Previous film credits include Woody Allen's "Manhattan Murder Mystery" and "The Last Kiss" as well as starring as the voice of the title character in Disney's "Chicken Little." In addition to his film work, Braff is a multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for his work on NBC's long-running, critically praised comedy "Scrubs."
Returning to SNL with Braff is musical guest Maroon 5. The Grammy-winning pop quartet recently made history with their new single "Makes Me Wonder" which just hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, making the largest leap in chart history, rocketing from No. 64 to No. 1 in a week. The single's currently topping the iTunes singles chart and pre-sales of their eagerly awaited sophomore record "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" also hit No. 1 on the download site. The record is the follow-up to Maroon 5's Grammy winning "Songs About Jane" which was released in 2002 and sold more than 10 million copies.

Zach Braff and his tiresom New Joisey jokes.

Maroon 5 and its irritating falsettoes.

Maybe it's just me.
I maxed out two credit cards this weekend and may soon join the panhandlers that Josie writes so well about in her blog.

SNL's Season's Finale really sucked last night.

And my banker tells me that I too am a lot like Herbert Hoover.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Simpering, bragging, ends-of-hair-twirling Penelope

Simpering, bragging, end-of-hair- twirling Penelope, wanting to one-up anybody in social occasions to which she is never invited, but simply crashes--Penelope wanting to take over (too much assertiveness training?), Penelope making a total ass of herself.

This brilliant nailing-down of a character, so well rendered for us by Kristin Wiig,marvellous actress, saviour, I swear, of Saturday Night Live.

How many Penelopes do we know?
A guest will say, "My husband and I have a time- share in Fort Myers."
Penelope will simper in, "We have bought the Leonardo Arms in Fort Myers."

"Sally just graduated with an English degree."

Penelope (twisting the ends of her hair with one hand while the other hand is into the canapes): "My husband has a medical degree. He's a doctor. The kids are vacationing in Switzerland."

Penelope, ending up, somehow at an apartnment tenant's meeting.

Tenant meeting secretary: "Isn't it nice to have Ingrid play the piano for us?

Penelope: "I have grade eight in piano and it's a university credit. I love Prokofieff. I can play piano better than Ingrid."

Tenant: "I just bought a Caddy SUV. Cost an arm and a leg."

Penelope: " My husband drives a Lambhergini. He's a doctor in Maryland."

Tenant (irritated now): "Maybe you should go and join him there."

Penelope:" I travel all over the universe. I do it by teleportation."

Tenant: "Maybe you should go to the moon."

Penelope: " I love the moon. I love Mars. Lots of canals. My husband and I just came back from Venice."

There is a break now in the cocktail action.

The head tenant declares a birthday for one of the tenants.

"Happy Birthday, Sally-in-the-red-dress!"

Penelope "I own a red dress. "It is my birthday too." (She tries to grab the microphone).

Head tenant: "Penelope!"

Tenant head (Interjecting): I think we've had just about enough of this. I think we should adjourn to my apartment. You are not invited, Penelope!."

Penelope: "I have a bigger apartment. Nicer. My husband is a doctor."

Everybody leaves at this point, leaving Penelope to snatch at canapes and twirl the ends of her hair.

Haven't we all met a Penelope?

The one-up lady, but crazy as a loon all the same.

Off-the-wall chick somehow married to a high income professional.

Brilliant role for Kristin Wiig.

And so funny and righ-on compared to the stale skits of SNL in recent years.

Ms. Wiig is back at SNL after a two-year hiatus...Producer Lorne Michels has had to fire so many people to meet budget, some of them brilliant, to wit, Rachel Drach.

But Kristin Wiig had me laughing so hard over real people like Penolope that I'd met.

Aren't they totall A-holes?

Fact is, Kristin Wiig started out on an SNL skit just recently, titled something like "Meet the A-Holes", a guy and girl team of the Penelope sort.

Haven't we met every one of these people personally?

Chracters so well nailed.



Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Funny how time slips away

Well hello there
My, it's been a long, long time
And how am I doing?
Well, I guess that I'm doing fine
It's been been so long now,
but it seems like it was only yesterday
Gee, ain't it funny, how time slips away.

Ah, those high school dances.
Nin to chin on the slow ones.

Piano and sax,. Brooke Benton, Tommy Edwards. Dimly remembered Platters.
Your clown buddy's parody of the the Platters' song, "Oh Yes, I'm The Great Sex Offender.
"Pretending I'm happy and gay."

Coming of age. Right down to the clowning around. Charlie Brown.

The shank end of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties.

Certainly dancing to Brooke Benton.

And how's your new love?
Well, I hope that he's doin fine
heard you told him, that you'd love him till the end of time
It's been so long now
But it seems like only yesterday
Gee, ain't it funny, how time just slips away.

Willie Nelson, shuttling between pizza parlor and laundromat, divorced, alcoholic--and writing songs that would be the sound track of our lives.

Do the tapes ever stop?

A song can change the world, says Ritchie Sambora.

Well, some songs certainly stay in your mind.

I't all the same.
Only the names are changed

And ev'ry day
We're just wastin' away.

Wastin' away in my apartment, watching the little booze blossom rise on my all-too-often punched-out nose.

And the call.

Always the call.


Blast from the past.

An old love.

Wants to come up, but can she bring Charley?

Well, Charley had been a mutual friend, the guy who had done the parodies on songs. Why not? He and I used to be pretty close.

Now he's taking out Charlene.

The strange dynamics of a three-way get-together.
Parallel universes. Six years have passed and Charlene and I are still in love, still, in another dimension, still living together.
It's as if those six years were six seconds. Nothing has changed, not even the names.

But Charlie's with her. Good time Charlie
Is their relationship for real, or is it on a fairy's wing like the relationship Charlene and I are having right now at this very moment?
I tell her I have develope callouses.
She pauses to hug me.
I offer a meal for her and Charlie.
It is so much like old times, when she would cook and I would play the guitar to while away the time, putting on the Renaissance rag, pantaloons , lute and all, trying to fire up her imagination.

Maybe magic renaissance man gets lucky.

But then there is Charlie. What is their relationship anyway?

The hormones back up to speed, the nearness of Charlene, the sense of the lost chord when she slips you a kiss while Charlie is out on the balcony examining flowers.
Ferdinand and Isabelle come to visit.

And it's funny
How time slips away.

I know that after six years, she has been very thoughtful.
I know she wants to be my wife. This I know.
But she is somehow broken and vunerable, and she knows she will have to be very careful.
She had been testing me for six years.

Now another test?
Gotta go now, Guess, I'll see you hanging round
Don't know when though,
Never know when I'll be back in town
But remember what I tell you
That in time you're gonna pay
And it's surprisin' how time slips away


Monday, May 14, 2007

Ego Sum

Every so often, unpublished writers get under ones skin, especially if they jump around, throw up tufts of earth, turn various colours and generally do a Rumpelstiltskin in front of you.

You want to say, why, you young whippersnapper. I was already published while you were just being born.

And your trendy sexual polarity?

Heh. My family was already homosexual while yours was still in the trees. :)

So you make the mistake of republishing your old work, just to show enough length. You hope, to win.

And so you reproduce your old short stories, post them. Two weeks go by, and,

Dead silence.

Must be something wrong with your machine. No email. No comments.
Surely, there is something wrong. Blame it on Blogger. Maybe the security on your site is too high.

But another week goes by and it looks like you're the guy in the singles bar waiting for the women to come to him, instead of the other way around.

At the end of the night, cartoon image of a skeleton having a beer and a smoke.

So with all this in mind, I will republish an old poem of mine.

Hope the results aren't as bad as last time.

I have certain images of a lady's big-headed cat that I din't like very much. It's out of an old country song. Seems that down there, in the alley, a boot came down and drove the cat out of sight.

At least that what seemed to happen to me last time I plagiarized myself just to produce a blog.

My old poem reminds me so much of these know-it-all "rats-in-the- slushpile" lady bloggers who seem to have more attitude than actual ability.

By Ivan Prokopchuk

Through the labyrinth of soul
I crawl
Up through the maze
Down to the dregs
And sideways, left, right
But always returning to centre.
Ego centre.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Politically Incorrect Blog: "Stupid Is Good"

I used to think stupid was good.

But the older I get, the more I realize that stupid is bad.

And outrightly dangerous.

Some time ago, I took a temporaty job. I was at one end of the plant, and the forelady, just in from somewhere,
hustled me off to another part of the warehouse, where I was introduced to work left behind by a negligent operator. I had to fix the machine and then rearrange the work.

I thought I would joke my way out of and be assigned back to my own machine/cubicle. "Hey, remember old Freddie Prinze-- 'Eees not my job!'"

"Dat ees your job," she shot back.

"And you (pause) are stupid!"

So I slipped into her mode, reached into my breast pocket, yelled "Important Documents!" and said, "Look here, I have M Sc Degree from University of Ranchinpur! I only work at Proctor & Gamble because Canada is stupid!"

She went back to her official tone.
"We have rules in Canada, she said. What you say is impossible, you see. And you are stupid.

What can you do when you live in a shoe?

People don't get your jokes. You want to buy mayonnaise, you have to use sign language. "No not Fok like this, Fork like this in jar."

You tell your dentist you have a tart taste in your mouth and he thinks you're a connilinguist. Nobody understands what you're telling him.

Canada doesn't have a garrison mentality, the garrison has been long overrrun.

And by stupid people, whose first language, more often than not, was English.

I used to think that hanging out with a dipstick or a shit-kicker would be fun. There would be no challenges, just lots of fun at work.

I mean, would you rather hang with a dipstick or a shit-kicker or some MENSA creep who could
make your as*hole snap at fifty paces and is probably working on night courses that would get him into high-level government?

Hang with the shit-kickers, I'd say. Shit-kickers are more fun, more often than not, they smoke and drink and tell funny stories.

But the stories I hear at work these days are not funny at all.

There is the anti-smoker who sidles right alongside you from three doors downs and tells you to put out your cigarette.

At lunchbreak, at the picnic table, you move up to a lady who is eating custard. You decided to put on a little charm and say, "Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet..."

And she says, "Hey, man, what's a tuffet?"
"You are a psycho!"

Stupid is not good.

Stupid people are not only one-note artists, they are hightly manipulative, and damn annoying.

I walk out of the plant washroom. She is right there outside. "Did you flush?"

How in f*ck did you get to be trirty-six and still live?

I swear I am a stupid-person magnet.

They glom onto me like gnats, whose sole purpose in life is to fly right up people's noses.

I must be putting out signals.

Aha, theres one more smartguy who's trying to hide his own nuttiness. Oh how easy it will be to get his goat!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Short-short thrift

The way some bloggers come on these days, it would seem that it is still l952, Collier's Magazine was still going strong and the short story is still in vogue.
This had sadly changed. There is no market for short stories anymore, unless you're a name author like John Updike, who, because of his awesome talent, can do pretty well what he pleases... Or a documentary maker, your own life story or theme in the videotape.

The rest of us putz around with blogs, putting our stories out on other people's blogs, a prize here, a mention here, a placement in an anthology of blogging writers.

But the religion of the Fifties persists, even if Collier's is dead, even if Redbook is functionally dead, even if there is no market at all for short stores. Short story writing is a religion. The cult continues to have its acolytes.

And I am one.

There used to be a convention in the old slick magazines"the short-short," the short story in about 500 words or even less.

It is out of nostalgia for Colliers, I suppose, that I produce the following:

Magnificen Failure

Boris Lazar had failed.


He had quit his high profile job with the Star Weekly, out of Toronto to write a beautiful novel about Toronto, but the novel would not come. Three hundred pages and the novel would not come. "You picked a hard thing to be," his lovely redheaded wife had empathized. "You hadn't put in the time, hadn't learned to 'draw hands', structure a book, dramatize."

Bills had been piling up. The mortgage. And children underfoot while Boris stumbled from bathroom to study on many a full moon, chasing his own shadow.

Waiting for the snap.

The snap never came. He had failed. How beneficial was it to have the children see their father in an alcoholic reverie, in the middle of the night, stumbling upon their rooms by mistake as he had sought the bedroom where he had finally hoped he would sleep, Loren half awake wondering what he was doing.

Mental calisthenics in the dark. Looking out into the backyard with its garden and white tool shed, looking for Dostoevsky among stars of summer, but it was winter, and he couldn't find the constellations, Daneb, and Altair, and Vega, and the Seven Sisters who seemed, in their miniature way, to ape the Big Dipper. He had once held himself to be a fair astronomer, at least without a telescope. He had had perfect vision. Now there was only Milky Way, all around. Boris turned up the FM radio, whose antenna he had finally fixed to pick up CHUM FM "We are star-bright, we are golden," from the stellar Joni Mitchell.

Not so star-bright, not so golden.

"You fucked up, baby," from the wife, but it was not an admonition.
."Don't vorry, Boris." She had added it in mock Ukrainian.

"Sitting here in your own Ukrainian shit," Laura's millionaire father bullet-headed and smart, had said.
"But you're a good fellow. You have produced two wonderful children.. .Your class will reachdown to protect you."
Boris didn't know how to handle the slap-kiss.
The failure of the book project had marked him down in his own estimation.

Now it was back to the monolithic towers, young man taking on the city all over again, processing other people's copy, underling copyeditor, and even at this he had felt himself failing.
FM station late at night, Jefferson Airplane.
Come with me, my friend. I'll show you another country.

He was not in their league. He was not an authentic artist. He had failed.
And yet, for some reason, Laura kept saying, "Don't vorry Boris."

Don't vorry Boris because he was soon in Nassau, on Paradise Island, rolling the dice down the long green with the hundred dollars his father-in-law had given him, and after that there would be more, much more.

Magnificent failure. Old Elliot Jones' entry in his business log: "Hired in l974 a person who was mentally ill or physically infirm." There were benefits to this, for both Elliott and Boris. The taxman would not sting so hard. There were tax benefits for both employee and employer.

Shaky Boris had become a remittance man.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Guest blog by John MacGregor: How much does it cost to fly to Detroit?

Strange days of serendipity.

An old college Pal, John MacGregor has just sent me this piece, strangely, at a time when blogger JR writes about the screw-ups and miscreants that he has to deal with in the course of his profession as prison educator.


The following are all replies that Detroit women have written on Child Support Agency forms in the section for listing "father's details;" or putting it another way..".Who's yo Daddy?"
These are genuine excerpts from the forms. Be sure to check out #11. It takes 1st prize and #3 is runner up.

Five surely gets "most creative."

1. Regarding the identity of the father of my twins, child A was fathered by Jim Munson. I am unsure as to the identity of the father of child B, but I believe that he was conceived on the same night.

2. I am unsure, as to the identity of the father of my child as I was being sick out of a window when taken unexpectedly from behind. I can provide you with a list of names of men that I think were at the party if this helps.

3. I do not know the name of the father of my little girl. She was conceived at a party at 3600 East Grand Boulevard where I had unprotected sex with a man I met that night. I do remember that the sex was so good that I fainted. If you do manage to track down the father, can you send me his phone number? Thanks.

4. I don't know the identity of the father of my daughter. He drives a BMW that now has a hole made by my stiletto in one of the door panels. Perhaps you can contact BMW service stations in this area and see if he's had it replaced.

5. I have never had sex with a man. I am still a Virginian. I am awaiting a letter from the Pope confirming that my son's conception was immaculate and that he is the Saver risen again.

6. I cannot tell you the name of child A's dad as he informs me that to do so would blow his cover and that would have cataclysmic implications for the economy. I am torn between doing right by you and right by the country. Please advise.

7. I do not know who the father of my child was as all look the same to me.

8. Peter Smith Is the father of child A. If you do catch up with him, can you ask him what he did with my AC/DC CDs? Child B who was also borned at the same time...well, I don't have clue.

9. From the dates it seems that my daughter was conceived at Disney World; maybe it really is the Magic Kingdom.

10. So much about that night is a blur. The only thing that I remember for sure is Delia Smith did a program about eggs earlier in the evening. If I had stayed in and watched more TV rather than going to the party at 8956 Miller Ave, mine might have remained unfertilized.

11. I am unsure as to the identity of the father of my baby, after all, like when you eat a can of beans you can't be sure which one made you fart.
--Compiled by John MacGregor

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ten Commandments for Literary Bloggers

I think I tampered with a commandment or two when I saw the Ten Commandments for Writers, by Barbara Dawson Smith.
Ms. Smith talks mainly of writers, but what she says may well apply to bloggers.

I. Respect for thy fellow bloggers is the Lord, thy God, and thou shalt not worship the false gods of fame and fortune.

II. Thou shalt not take the name of a fellow blogger in vain.

III. Remember to keep holy thy blogging days.

IV. If some publisher picks up your online work, Honor thy editor and thy agent.

V. Thou shalt not kill thy neighbor's ego while critiquing her work, though purple prose may be slain at will.

VI. Thou shalt not allow thy hero or thy heroine to commit adultery.

VII. Thou shalt not steal plot ideas or words from thy fellow authors.

VIII. Thou shalt not bear false witness against another author by spreading gossip or by criticizing her work to booksellers and reviewers.

IX. Thou shalt not covet thy neighboring author's husband, even if thine own refuses to support thy work.

X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighboring author's contract, nor her place on the New York Times bestseller list.