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The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastily Written & Slopilly Edited
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Pitching to Cousin Graydon

by K. Robinson Carter

Dear Graydon,

Hey-ho! All the best of the New Year from the Winnipeg Carters to the New York-via-Ottawa branch of our glorious and widespread clan. Today, as long promised, I am delighted to be able to float a small piece of literary craft for your inspection. It can wait a moment more. First, to family matters.

Mums and I are confident Her Majesty’s hands will soon be freed to perform a proper investiture upon her most illustrious subject this side of the pond. You, Edward Graydon Carter. You, Sir. That a man who has given more service to the Crown than practically anyone should remain a commoner for no better reason than the accident of his having been born elsewhere in the Empire than in its centre, while Mick Jagger struts about with a knighthood (nothing against Mick as a celebrity, of course), is preposterous! If, as you famously proclaimed, the age of irony is over, the age of absurdity is surely in overdrive. It must be stopped.

We continue to exert our influence upon Buckingham Palace, the British Foreign Secretary, the Governor General of Canada, and every Member of the Canadian Parliament. I compose the letters; Mums writes each one in her still elegant and imposing calligraphy. Two full years off the fags as of New Year’s Day, Mums is as sharp as ever, but her hands must be kept busy against a relapse, heaven forbid. Permit me, cousin, also to hoist a pint to your good health—that is all I will say. Only, when you are ready to break free, and you need a panic pal to talk you through the darkest hours, I am a direct-dial phone call away.

All right, Graydon. Before we get all emotional—shall we get to that bit of business I mentioned? Excellent. I am wondering in regard to the ifs and whethers of you or your executive staffers perhaps taking a look at a manuscript I have produced. It is just a little thing. “Writers! Want to Give Your Articles Blockbuster Boffo? Add Today’s Top Celebs! These Proven Pro’s Tips Will Up Your Prose’s Hip!” is its title. I will “paste” it into the body of this e-mail, just below my letter.

Would it ease your deliberations to know that one of the tips is based on an actual writing success story? Yes, about a year ago, I landed a piece of topical how-toolery in the Post (the feistier of our national scene-maker rags), thanks to referencing of a certain top celeb. That item was called “Throw Your Own Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Perhaps you saw it. Or the tear sheets I sent. In any event, here is the exemplary passage again:

Is your skin tone equal shades of Gwyneth Paltrow and raw poultry? Six months before your special day, begin a regimen of tint-enhancing treatments at your tanning salon. By the time you walk down that aisle, you’ll be Olympic Bronze! Warning: don’t be shy about stripping down to the full Margaret in the tanning booth. Otherwise, yikes. My Big Fat White Honeymoon!

The tips work, Graydon. They are good tips. They are presented in an engaging Q&A format. Further, with over twenty-five current stars, the article offers exciting opportunities for photo-illustration.

Why, only yesterday, who should come slipping through the mail slot but Gwyneth herself, along with an assemblage of other gorgeous starlets, simply beguiling on your of March cover. In bleakest winter, a breath of quickest spring.

I would be basking in Gwyneth’s jonquilescent effulgence this minute, but the arrival of a new issue—especially when it is The Hollywood Issue!—is Mums’s cue to sally off to the hairdresser’s, and she has this morning absconded thither, with the new Fair in tote. “Come along, Kev,” she says. “Come have a spa day. Graydon would come have a spa day.” She means well, but what would I do with myself afterward, all gussied up? We left the ranch in 1995. After nine years in the city and I am still a frowzy old farmosexual, I am afraid there is no hope for me. I must leave the high-style scene to you and Mums.

Graydon, the perfect happiness it would give Mums to open her favourite magazine and gaze upon an article penned by her own and only child, and then to pass it round among the old dolls under the dryers, might well be the final great happiness there remains for her to know in this life, her annual Oscar bash notwithstanding. Do take a look at “Writers! Add Today’s Top Celebs!” and, when you can steal a second, send me word of your intentions for it. Why don’t we say, by next Tuesday? Brilliant. Thanks, mate. That’s sorted then.

Now, tell us when you are going to pack that good-looking crew of yours into the wagon and come up for a visit! It’s been ages, Grady. It would be nothing short of magnificent to meet you at last. Till then,

With warmest anticipation and fondest regards,


K. Robinson Carter
Winnipeg, Canada

raw poultry March cover jonquilescent effulgence
K. Robinson Carter has written under the name Kevin Baker for Maisonneuve, Salon, Pop Politics, Opium, and Haypenny. One of his articles for the National Post was excerpted by Gawker, while one of his regular contributions to his hometown daily, the Edmonton Journal, was copied holus-bolus by With so much hot Internet action, who needs a personal Web site? But don't be fooled by all the glamorous fluff: K. Rob is also smart. Using the name Kiberius Spark, he once won a prize in the McSweeney's Brain Exploder contest. Oh no, he did not! Enough! This stealing the identities of brilliant and successful writers and quiz-solvers has got to stop! Meanwhile, K. Rob's gift of his life's wisdom--"Writers! Add Today's Top Celebs!"--remains available for publication. Read about it here.