Rumpus contributor Steve Almond recently self-published a collection of hate mail that was sent to him (along with his responses) entitled Letters From People Who Hate Me. You can read Almond’s argument for self-publishing here. The following is an excerpt from his book:
You are a fucking idiot!! And your daughter in the picture on your website looks like a maggot! You are a disgraceful american and it would have been so nice if you had been a passenger on one of the planes that crashed into one of the wtc towers on 9/11/01.
Okay, you got me. My daughter does have kind of a maggoty look to her. For a while there, my wife and I were able to delude ourselves. I guess all parents do. We’d tell people her skin was alabaster, or sometimes pearlescent. We thought it might be the kind of soap we were using. But I think in our heart of hearts we knew something was wrong with her.
Then came her first interaction with carrion. There was some kind of dead animal in our backyard. My wife says it was a rabbit, but I’m almost certain it was an opossum. Anyway, Josephine somehow got wind of it and we found her out there, burrowing into the thing’s eye socket. The neighbors came out to watch. It was kind of awkward.
I guess it would be sort of like if you, Joseph Kelly, found yourself talking to some buddies at a party and you said, “You know that guy Steve Almond. I totally wish he’d been killed in the 9/11 attacks.”
And this voice behind you says, “Yeah, totally. We should have killed that filthy infidel Almond!” And you turn around, hoping to maybe give the guy a high-five, only to discover that it’s Osama bin Laden.