“Would You Be Interested In Writing a Book On My Life?”

I got this email today. It’s so, um, incredible that the only way to truly appreciate it is to read the whole thing. I present it here unedited. All I’ve done is remove the sender’s name (why, oh why, do they write to me?)

Dear Sir,

I can only imagine once you have read the first coupple of lines
of this letter you will probably think that I am mad ? but who knows and no one
ever said there was ever any harm in trying?

I was wondering if you would be able to assist or if you would be
interested in writing a book on my life, or at least advice me on how to write a
book, I will give you a brief outline.
I was born in the UK my Dad died when I was little and I had a  real struggle growing
up. I joined the Royal air Force and had a good life in the military,
I was in there for 15 years until I met my girlfriend,I came to America and gave up a military career and  pension and
benefits because I got my girlfriend pregnant, I stood by her and did what was
right, I married her she is an officer in the United States Air force.
I was left with the child our son Rhys at 4 months of age while
she went away on a TDY and partied getting drunk and blowing away $7000 of my
money that I gave to her to pay off a car loan to benefit us as a newly wed

I attacked by her grandmother whilst she was away because I found
out that my wife when she was married before cheated on her husband, with an
other officer and now we were married she was still keeping in touch with her ex
lover, which caused me to ask her why and to this I get told she wanted a
divorce because i did not trust her.  she slept with officers from other forces and the US ones
also and basically acted like a tramp.

I have been kicked out on the street by her, with no
money work permit social security card, things that I have had to fight
hard to obtain, work dead end jobs to try and make ends meet and to
eat, whilst my wife cooks food for her other men friends who she has
cheated on me with. whilst she is cooking they hold my child.   
denied access to my child by her at most every opportunity. lied to by
her.Had all my money taken by her, the only fortunate thing for me was
the fact I have a good friend in the UK who has loaned me some money to
help with all these things, but even he said he can only loan me so
much  Threathend by her bosses including her Colonel because I asked
them to discipline her, and when they said they needed proof to prove
she has cheated on me other the fact that she went and stopped in a
hotel with this man another officer in Monterey, for three days I said
I would take the incident higher, I have been threatened by him, that
he was going to bring the military after me. 
I am thousands in debt to a spineless lawyer because he believes
as a Christian you should love your enemy and let them getaway with
everything. Beaten up in the street by three men because I have no transport
and they were shouting at me and swerved at me whilst I was cycling everywher
trying to obtain work, so I went over to ask why they were doing this they
started fighting with me, fortunately I handled myself ok one on one because
I boxed at international level for the military, but when there is three on to
one, the Marquis of Queensbury rules are wayout of the window.

I am angry by
all of this and so my wife lies and gets restraining orders placed upon me, she
can lie to whoever she likes and because she is the woman it seems she needs no
proof, I have never threathened her or laid a finger on her, I have raised my
voice in anger but she has that ability also to do this, but it seems to me that
as a woman you can get away with almost anything in America.

There is a dozen other nasty crazy facts also like the fact that
our baby son was in intensive care for three days before I was told that he was
ill, that has been the only night in the last 6 months that I have spent with
our child while the Mom went back to the house so she could hook up with another
man, and the Moms view was tough I do not care
I have written out a lot of what has gone on to paper to see
if anyone would be interested in looking at it, I truelly believe that if anyone
thought Krammere v Krammer was a good film then they would shake thier head in
total disbelief at some of the things that as gone on in the last six months up
here in Northern California. 
If you are not interested or do not want involvement in this I
will understand, but I just need to view my anger and points somewhere and I
thought that no bettter place would be in a book or on a film that way I can not
get in to trouble 

How would you reply to this one? If anyone is interested in taking him up on his offer, let me know and I will pass along his email address.

18 thoughts on ““Would You Be Interested In Writing a Book On My Life?””

  1. I only read the first paragraph, then I skipped down to the last and noticed he had told you basically his whole life story.
    I don’t know if html works here, but I will try it anyway…
    “I was wondering if you would be able to assist or if you would be interested in writing a book on my life, or at least advice me on how to write a book, I will give you a brief outline.”
    I’d reply by teaching him the correct use of words.
    We’re not all perfect, but there is a lot to be desired in what I read.

  2. It’s possible that he wrote to you hoping that you would publish his e-mail, thereby granting him some degree of recognition. It’s also possible that he’s sincere in his belief that his life story would make an entertaining book. What’s a total mystery to me is why you would post his entire message on your blog to be held up to ridicule. At best, you will have embarrassed and hurt a troubled man. At worst, you will anger a violent, delusional man (restraining orders? a need to direct his anger in a way that won’t get him in trouble?).
    His message to you was unsolicited, true, and you owe him nothing other than common courtesy. Removing his name from the message won’t prevent your post from hurting him when HE reads it, however, and it could easily reinforce his feelings of persecution.
    Courtesy doesn’t require that you reply to an unsolicited e-mail, but it certainly doesn’t include holding it up to ridicule. The point could have been made in general without tying it so specifically to this individual, or you could have chosen to ignore his request.
    Which is stranger, a troubled man asking an author to help him write his life story, or a published author who feels the need to mock that man’s request?

  3. Bob raises a different, perhaps moral, aspect to the issue, but here’s the deal: regular people doing ordinary things somehow think that it’s worthy of publication, when in fact it’s just mundanity. It’s a word now. If you want memoirs and autobiography you had better do something to earn it. Most haven’t. He should just go on Jerry Springer and have it over with.

  4. Bob,
    You make some very good points and I appreciate your comments. That said, I’m presuming that the guy found me based on this blog, where I’ve made it VERY clear that I post emails that I get (in fact, it’s a regular weekly feature of this blog).
    But I’m certainly aware of the fact that posting the emails can cause people embarrassment.
    A few months back,I posted an email from an actor who wanted me to help him become the next James Bond and I posted my reply. Apparently, the exchange got a lot of play on other blogs and he emailed me asking me very politely to please take it down. And I did.
    Some times that embarrassment is deserved, sometimes not. You’ve given me something to think about today…

  5. Doesn’t he read the papers or watch TV? America is the land of opportunity–and these are just a few of the opportunities one can find here!
    Personally, I’d have preferred staying in some little English village where the highlight of my day was walking the dogs across the moor!

  6. I’m going to have to agree with Bob on this one. This blog is a daily stop for me, and I’m certainly not thin-skinned. However, when I read this gentleman’s email, I was struck by the old adage about kicking someone when they are down. Maybe, I’m wrong, but, to me, the last thing that guy needs is to be ridiculed.
    David V.

  7. I don’t have a problem with the posting of the email. Now if Lee had added some sarcastic remarks, maybe I would feel differently, but he didn’t. He simply posted the email.
    Sure, this guy has a sympathetic story, but a sob story shouldn’t confer entitlement to special treatment. Besides, the blog post does give the guy some publicity.
    With regards to getting people to stop sending these emails, believe it or not, as a nobody I get them too. When I finally posted a ‘don’t send me your work’ policy in my About Me page that seemed to do the trick.

  8. Can’t imagine why the guy would object. There’s no sense here that we’re laughing at him (except at his use of language, and only in a mild way). And remember, he wants his story told. How can this be any less intrusive?
    I know from my journalism experiences that people can surprise you. There are relatives of murder victims who are grateful that you’re there, pen in hand, to record their grief, to listen to them talk about their loved one.

  9. Hi, Mr. Goldberg,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and have generally found it
    entertaining–not least when the comment wars get started over
    fanfiction. And, actually, it’s your very concern for copyright holders
    in the case of fanfiction that has prompted me to finally write this e-mail.
    I applaud your concern for copyright owners/holders overall–but I’ve
    been wondering what difference you see between posting (publishing) an
    e-mail that was sent to you, written by someone else (who, therefore,
    owns the copyright to such e-mail) and fanfiction.
    In both cases, it seems to me, there is a violation of copyright going
    on (and I’m no IP attorney, so I could be wrong about posting an e-mail
    that you didn’t write). So, please, help me understand the difference.
    You have my permission to post all or part of this e-mail as a
    springboard to discussing the issue.
    Thank you for your very enjoyable blog.
    Peggy Kurilla

  10. I’ve been thinking about this since I read Bob’s post and I’ve asked some of my friend their thoughts. In this case, the guy wants publicity…he wants his story told and with this blog he’s reaching people with it (perhaps someone who might be willing to write his life story). So, in this case, I don’t have second thoughts about posting it.

  11. I think you’re all missing something here: if the letter writer simply changes the names of some of the characters to, say, Harry, Ron and Hermione, he’d have himself some damn fine Potter fan fic. It’s all about knowing your market, people.

  12. It should be added, that we have no way of knowing for certain if the story he told in the email is at all true. It could be something a junior high student made up for fun and decided to see if someone would bite.
    Sort of like calling a stranger home and asking if their fridge is running – Bart Simpson gets a lot of mileage out of that, but kids have been doing it for far longer than the Simpsons has been on television.

  13. You certainly have the right to post unsolicited e-mails on your blog, but I would still encourage you to give it careful thought. You’ll never know for certain if you’re posting something that will genuinely hurt someone. The example doesn’t apply in this case, of course, but imagine the damage to an ambitious teen’s self-esteem if they find the letter they considered to be very professional being criticized on their favorite author’s blog.
    A more practical reason is that it leads to more of the same. It’s like clicking on a pop-up ad: it only encourages them, and marks you as a soft touch.


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