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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

An Open Letter to Contemporary Writers

Dear books I've been reading lately,

I would not like to read anything else that sounds like this:

Horton poured over the folder of papers he'd received from the Mr. Gundelbaum's sister. He'd looked at each photograph at least fifty times each. The smile was the same. The sweater she was wearing. The street she was standing on. Still, he knew he was missing something. What was it? How could he not see?

He ate a melted cheese sandwich, with mulit-grain bread, lightly toasted, with a side of sauteed kale and garlic. His coffee, Peet's, of course, was prepared in a paper cup. No cream, two sugars. 

Or this

Dread King Horgaard sat in the great hall, his crown weighing heavily upon his brow. With a single stroke of his hand, he had ordered the deaths of Haarsgaard, Marta Jarl-Bottom, and his cousin TreeFall the Felt. Soon, the Bastards of Belt Pike Creek would be at his gate. Damn them and their Askinash God.

To commemorate the executions, he ate boiled quail and gooseberries, with spiced ground potatoes, a stew of crab and lentils. He washed it down with a delicious honey mead.
Or this

The summer was not summer at all, but spring in reverse. Granny is dead, sure, but that doesn't mean she can't speak to me. There she is now, coming up the path, ghostly, sure, but real as real gets anymore. I mean, if I can't even call my own father my real father, who am I, at the ripe age of seven, to conclude that anything is true or false? To consider reality, one must have a foundation of reality, after all.

I made a green salad, just for Granny, with fresh herbs from the garden I've been keeping in her honor. Turnips, parsley (from the store, yes), carrots, all with a light vinaigrette. The taste of Granny and Summer in those turnips! Paired with a chardonnay, cold.
Enough already.



Rob K said...

Those are still all better than the three-page description of IKEA furniture that Lisbeth Salander bought in "The Girl Who Played With Fire."

klsprout said...

OMG. Amen, Rob. I nearly threw the book into the fireplace after reading that sequence. Goddammit, why did I waste my time with that ENTIRE TRILOGY?

Julia Lee Barclay said...

Um...stop reading these books perhaps? Good contemporary writers include: Mary Karr, Joan Didion, Jennifer Egan - none of that nonsense included, I swear.

Freeman said...

Ha! Thanks Julia.

Andrew Condouris said...

And I hate when they describe the characters as wearing tennis shoes instead of sneakers. And how come women are always wearing Capri pants?

Goose said...

You make me realize that maybe not reading a lot of contemporary books, is not a bad thing. And Andrew - no clue on the capri pants thing, but that is prevalent in so much writing.

Going to probably go make a salad. Or maybe just coffee. Two sugars.

Alison Croggon said...

My God. What are these books? I have been living a life too sheltered.

Freeman said...

I did, of course, entirely invent those quotes. Just to be clear.

David D. said...

I enjoyed this post with some cheap red wine. A jammy Tuscan from Fresh Direct. Hints of cardbox box, and the sweat of strangers bringing it up three flights.

Ruby Claire said...

Wow! so straight answer. pleased to read this helpful letter.

Sales letter

Tara said...

My goodness, Matt...what the hell have you been reading? I think I have a guess at the first one you're parodying, but I'm lost--and rather curious--about the other two. Please feel free to send me a list. =)

(Also, David D.'s comment = hilarious.)