David Bruce: The Funniest People in Books — Letters, Marriage, Media

From Bruce Anecdotes


• Openly gay writer Dan Woog receives his share of hate mail; however, he once received a letter that stated, in its entirety, “Dear Dan, I apologize.” He has no idea who wrote the letter or what they were apologizing for, but the letter got him thinking about apologies that he wishes other people would make. For example, he wishes that Dick Armey would apologize to fellow politician Barney Frank for calling him “Barney Fag.” Such apologies do not occur often in real life, so Mr. Woog decided to write them himself. They appear in his book, Dear Dan … Apologies From an Imperfect World.

• Maurice Sendak, author/illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, likes to receive letters from children because they are so honest. He says that when a child likes a book, the child will write something like, “I love your book. Thank you. I want to marry you when I grow up,” but if a child doesn’t like a book, the child will write something like, “Dear Mr. Sendak: I hate your book. Hope you die soon. Cordially.”

• Harold Ross received a letter from a writer who used very fancy stationery that included not only his name and address, but also quotations from critics. Before answering the letter, Mr. Ross had his own fancy stationery created which included this quotation by critic Franklin Pierce Adams: “Among those present was Harold Ross.”

• R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series, receives many letters from his young fans. One of his favorite letters says, “Dear R.L. Stine, I’ve read forty of your books — and I think they’re really boring!”


• Lesbian humorist Ellen Orleans has lots of gay men as friends. One day, she was having so much fun hanging out with a gay man that one of her friends said that they ought to get married. The thought occurred to Ms. Orleans that she and the gay man could legally get married — although she and her girlfriend couldn’t. “Whoa,” she said. “He and I actually could.” Her friend thought a moment, then said, “Yes, it’s legal. Perverse, but legal.”

• A little girl reading a Hans Christian Andersen storybook asked satirist George Ade, “Does m-i-r-a-g-e spell marriage?” Mr. Ade answered, “Yes.”


• Gene Fowler was the first managing editor of the New York Mirror, which was owned by William Randolph Hearst. Before the newspaper began publication, Mr. Hearst ordered Mr. Fowler to create a dummy newspaper that could be run through the presses to make sure the presses were all right. Following orders, Mr. Fowler sat down and wrote an entire newspaper — but every article he wrote for the newspaper was about Mr. Hearst’s sex life, including “oddities.” When the newspaper had been printed, Mr. Fowler called up Mr. Hearst and reported that the presses were working fine, but after Mr. Fowler had departed for the day, Mr. Hearst decided that he would like to see a copy of the dummy newspaper for himself, so he called the newspaper office and ordered a copy sent to him. When Mr. Fowler returned and discovered that a copy of the newspaper had been sent to Mr. Hearst, he thought that he would very quickly be fired. However, Mr. Hearst merely sent him a telegram: “DEAR GENE FOWLER. FOUND YOUR FIRST ISSUE OF THE ‘MIRROR’ VERY LIVELY, VERY ENTERTAINING. HOPE SUCCEEDING ISSUES WILL BE A LITTLE MORE CAREFUL ABOUT LIBEL. GOOD LUCK, WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: Dirtcake — “Dirty Blues”


Music: “Dirty Blues”


Artist: Dirtcake

Artist Location: Montreal, Québec

Info: Released November 13, 2013 

All songs written, composed and arranged by Dirtcake 

Price: $1 (CAN) for track; $10 (CAN) for 10-track album. Track No. 11 — “Walking the Land — can be downloaded FREE.

Genre: Rock


Dirtcake on Bandcamp