So Cosmopolitan is sponsoring this contest on Wattpad where if you post a Fifty Shades of Grey fan fiction short, you’re entered to win prizes or whatever. I used to read Cosmo in college, and actually weeded through the multitude of perfumed full-page ads to get to the articles, not all of which were about pleasing a man in bed. We had a pleasant relationship until I opened one issue to a photospread titled “Go from Boring Brunette to Beautiful Blonde.”

I said, “Fuck you, Helen Gurley Brown,” threw that Chanel-pungent rag against the wall, and let my subscription lapse. Haven’t read it since.

The notion of sanctioned FSoG fanfic amuses me, because we keep hearing about how E.L. James is soooooo protective of her brand and doesn’t allow it. Meanwhile, with this damned movie on the horizon, media and handlers have gone to great pains to ignore the fact that FSoG was borne of Twilight fan fiction. I suppose if you ignore a point in history enough people will believe it never happened. It’s like when Loretta Young took a nine-month sabbatical from film and returned from some “foreign land” with a baby girl who looked like Clark Gable, saying, “Look, I adopted an orphan.”

Uh-huh.

So, what the hell. I submitted an entry to this blasted contest. I did so on the suggestion of author Jenny Trout, but I’ll admit I didn’t follow everything to the letter. Jenny’s involved in spreading the message about misinformation in these books – how they disguise abuse as romance. If you read her entry, you’ll see what she’s talking about. Other people following the lead have done similar, but I confess I viewed this contest from an absurdist angle. The entire history of this book’s success has baffled me, and in “Entry” I intended to bring absurdity to the project and waste somebody’s time at Cosmopolitan. It’s enough women are made from the cradle to feel bad about their looks and bodies, and I didn’t need to open their magazine and be told I’m boring because I have dark hair, and only if I change color will the men line up to bang me.

Up yours, Cosmo.

If you visit Wattpad to read my ridiculous story, please take a moment to see my other offering, Geek Meets Girl. The complete story is now available and will remain on Wattpad indefinitely. At last check I had over 700 views of my fan fiction and under 40 of Geek. I’d like to see a better balance in the numbers.

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When I set out to complete the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, I chose the list of books in advance. I should know better, since life has other plans for now. So does the library.

This is the original list set up before the challenge.

This is the revised list as I go along.

Though I’ve switched up my reading selections, I intend to go through the original list eventually. To satisfy the audiobook requirement, I picked up the audio version of Martin Short’s I Must Say (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO) on the recommendation of another person taking the challenge. “He does all the voices,” and it’s all I needed to convince me to one-click.

I might be one of the few people in the world to admit that the Dick Ebersol season of Saturday Night Live, Short’s only season as a regular, was my gateway to the show. I was vaguely familiar with Ed Grimley by way of an occasional SCTV episode running either on syndication or on MTV, but on a black and white portable TV on low volume – headphones in the jack – I stifled laughter at the full spectrum of bizarre characters. Grimley, Jackie Rogers Jr., Irving Cohen, Billy Crystal’s Fernando and masochistic, high-voiced Willie to Chris Guest’s Frank. I figured eventually I’d read Short’s book, but I’m glad I opted instead for the audio, which is unabridged and enhanced by the parade of voices woven throughout – not just his creations but dead-on impersonations of Larry David, Nick Nolte, etc. I don’t listen to audiobooks because I am visual reader and prefer to have the words in front of me. I don’t think I Must Say would lose anything if read, but if you have a choice get the audio.

If we can get Martin to read FSoG as Ed, I’ll buy that, too.

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