Open Letter to Aloishas, "Aly" September 2nd 2006

Hi there all.

I just wanted to offer advice to anyone who writes a book, or a second book, or desires to express him or herself in any way: Dont read your reviews on AMAZON.

If you do you will go insane and start arguing with yourself and begin to look as if you. I exhibit sure signs of post traumatic review disorder (PTRD), or "Peturd" (peh-TURD) after writing both Hornito and The Underminer. But the following review found on Amazon is so truly like a spiritual dagger to my creativity i dont know where to turn. Here is the review. afterwards is a letter to Aloisha. Its very self indulgent, angry, and one-sided. I just wanted to say that in case someone somewhere writes a review of my review of a review.


"Open letter to Mr. Albo and his readers., August 19, 2005
Reviewer: Aloishias "Aly" (denver) - See all my reviews
The ironic thing about reviewing this book, of course, is that it's difficult to make negative comments without coming off as an "underminer." That said, here's my take:

Mike Albo is a good performer, "good" being the operative word. He's not "excellent," or "noteworthy," or even "wow-ish" (I made that one up, but my apologies if some glossy rag has already used it). I've seen Mike in action and even met the man. He's smart and thin-lipped and has hair that goes on for days. I like him. He has guts.

But "The Underminer?" It pretty much solidifies Mr. Albo's role in the universe as the palm reader of literary fiction. His shows and this book have the feel of the daily horoscope: This applies to you, in one way or another, so take it to heart. Most humor has the same basic format but does it matter? If you've ever met Mike Albo then you'd know why I'm asking. He is capable of so much more.

My questions to Mr. Albo include: Why are you boring us with what we already know? And why are you paying attention to what you think we want in the first place? You are, you know. And how absurd that someone of your budding stature is trying to appease the audience. "Hornito" skipped along the surface of brilliance, and now this? It's like watching Barbra Steisand sing "Happy Birthday."

Don't get me wrong; I liked the book. If you're reading this, Mike, how does that feel? "I liked the book." As in: I'll promptly forget about it and move on to whatever else is on the sale table. How pitiful for a guy who REALLY is a genius of our times. (Side spew: G*dd*mm*t it makes me so mad...we have this perfect representation of thought and grace and, again, THOUGHT in our hands and we blow it with books like "The Underminer."). I'm serious here. I know your friends love you but it's not enough if you're taking that big leap into WHAT MATTERS.

And WHAT MATTERS is a tall order, and man, you're it. You are the one to do it. Sure, you get up in the morning and pee and brush your teeth and search for clean socks like the rest of us, but so did...well, anybody else who mattered. And if I hear one more comparison between you and David Sedaris, I'll scream. You are so much better than Sedaris that it makes me want to skip across the ocean like a Jesus lizard and pluck David from his newfound happy little hideaway and force him to clean houses.

Or maybe not. If you don't step up to the plate then, I guess, all we're left with is the likes of Sedaris. And that is how people are, by the way. They take what's available and go with it. "Oh-I-know-someone-just-like-that," they chuckle as they read your book. How sad it that? What if they couldn't chuckle?

I gave you three stars because I refuse to be a total a**hole and because I know you wrote this book with your friend, Virginia. I've never met her but I've read her work, too, and you know what? She's good at what she does. Perfect, in fact. Take her lead, Mike, but take it into your own realm. "Beauty" has a lot of definitions. When I finish the last sentence of one of your books and think, "Beautiful," I'll be one happy man.

Why? Because I saw your show about six years ago and I thought: "Yep, he knows where it's at." Then I got hold of this latest book, "The Underminer," and it made me think of those people from war-torn countries who come here and work as janitors. Surgeons as moppers; editors as receptionists; that sort of thing. Sad, depressing, whatever. Don't do that, okay?"


Oh are such a sweetheart for taking time and writing something. And part of me is grateful..the part of me that lasts for about 15 minutes a day and feel self confident and hopeful that the world is not cruel and that craven hedge fund analysts arent the ones who find comfort and nice apartments and loving spouses and second Shelter Island homes and happiness in the end. But I just wish i could express to you in a pill or compressed high-rez image pod how much i have gone through, and how many drafts and how much frustration i endured for the five years between Hornito and The Underminer...what, i guess, led to that evil voice being my next book...and then i think you would understand...

The Underminer, to me, is more a comment of the kind of world in which people like me have to work within to survive that i think you give me credit for...there is intentionally no hope in it, and no complicated plotline because I was dirt poor and sitting in my porous apartment (that i pay cash for every month because my landlord is insane and wont give me a lease,) freaking out that Anthrax was leaking in through my windows, watching Bush get re-elected and Paris Hilton become a star, and every person with a voided soul become successful while i sat there brokenhearted and confused. Over those years I had appendicitis, a hernia, kidney stones...i got a job writing for a reality show that no one on the staff liked and I had to commute to work in the middle of the Red Code scare. I watched while hope and the myth of cooperation and racial harmony was obliterated as our goverment marketed the Arab Terrorist as a forefront fear and burnished our American economy into this weird mesmerizing pink plastic pig where teenage girls wear shirts that said "Porn Star" and gay guys are supposed to be experts on how to dress. Near the end of the U I have the character run into the victim at a yard sale, and the U rifles through his/her books, and notices all these titles -- all of them are books of promise and utopian vision. And there the victim is, trying his best to believe in community while luxury lofts go up around him and the U tells him about another pointless product that is providing cash.

The book is about ENVY...which I think is an honest emotion that not a lot of literature has discussed. I wanted it to be hopeless and blank because frankly that is what i felt when i wrote it. Over the previous four years, i pitched three different ideas, all with hopefull, chummy names like "Love After Ever" and stuff. Essays where i exposed my emotions like i did in Hornito. But none of them took. (mostly because Hornito was given a crucially lame review by this hideous writer who i still feel enmashed me in some psychological personal vendetta that i wasnt even a part of. Her name is CATHERINE TEXIER...i want to pinch her SO HARD) Its more a testament to our gross world that the Underminer is my biggest success that a testament to me, i think. I always curdle a little when i hear someone say 'The Underminer is SO FUNNY!" because i think its sort of sad. It's about my disillusionment, in a way. Its my meager, dippy version of Balzac's Lost Illusions i guess...

I just wish Aloisha, that i could take you by the hand and show you how FUCKING hard it was to get a second book publsihed. And how, in the end, i am feeling more witless and confused about a third book.

I wish i could make a living writing from my heart. But the world that doles out money doesnt want heart. They want barbs....

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