Open Letters

Dear James Patterson,

I have written a book about you.

patterson-TutNow, I’ve never met you, and I have little more than circumstantial evidence about you. In fact, I’ve never subjected myself to one of your books, but as a library employee, I’ve entered countless volumes of your work into our database so that our patrons could read them. They are quite popular.

Given the fact that your most recent book, ‘The Murder of King Tut’, is billed as a ‘Nonfiction Thriller’, I’ve decided to use the same research methods and presuppositions that you have used to construct your own critically panned book. I mentioned that I worked at a library, and I can tell you that entering this book into our circulation system with a Dewey Decimal number instead of a ‘Fiction’ tag was genuinely appalling to me. At best, it is a work of historical fiction. I have read one paragraph of this book, but it was enough to be able to know the difference.

But I digress. I’ve included some excerpts of my book below, along with annotations I’ve designed especially for you to indicate where I’ve drawn my conclusions from. I am certain that you will not object, as my reasoning about you, your innermost feelings and your daily life is similar to the reasoning that you have utilized when creating King Tut’s inner monologues and other various, unrecorded conversations that were held in private. I’m still not sure how these qualify as ‘nonfiction’ (which generally applies to things that actually happened), but there you have it.



James Patterson saw the first glint of sunlight through his window and rose from bed, scratching his buttocks with a diamond-tipped cane. “Nothing scratches a buttock better than a diamond,” thought James Patterson. [You have sold many books, so I assume that most of the things you own incorporate diamonds in some way, and modern man is known for their morning butt-scratching activities.]

He stumbled to his fridge and peered inside, eyes still hazy from whatever it is that makes your eyes hazy in the morning. Some people believe it is sand, but that’s just stupid. James Patterson’s eyes focused on his favorite food, baby. He removed one from the fridge and laid it on the counter. He began to sing the National Anthem. [Careful research on Wikipedia revealed that you enjoy eating babies. Never mind if I put that paragraph in there myself.]

“MMmmmmmm! MMMMMMMMMMHHMMMMMMM! Babies taste like baby!” James Patterson proclaimed over the alarming sizzle of the baby in the frying pan. [See?] “Today is going to be the day that I finally conquer the moon!”

James Patterson made a side of toast to go with his delicious baby breakfast, and sat down at the kitchen table to read pornography. [A woman at a book signing reports that she distinctly saw toast crumbs on your front pocket, and a general odor around you which she described as 'burnt bread'. Also, men typically enjoy pornography.]


There is much more where this comes from, but I thought that you’d appreciate this, being so similar (and in fact inspired by!) your own exhaustive research and ability to capture the exact words that someone you’ve never met and have no special insight into has thought. We are kindred spirits, you and I.

Your response is appreciated.

Collin David

[sent to James Patterson on November 20, 2009]

Dear ToyFare Magazine :

I believe that we have a problem. See, for months now, it seems that you’ve been sending me proof copies of your magazine instead of the final edition. Since I pay for a subscription, I’d really appreciate if you could send me the final, published copies.

That is – unless you’re asking me to edit these issues for you. You are the dominant magazine in the multi-million dollar industry of entertainment collectibles. You have unparalleled press access to events and product samples, and yet, you can’t put together a coherent magazine. If this is your way of asking me for help, I’ll happily give it to you! I don’t even require much compensation – probably far less that whatever your drunk / special needs / blind proofreader already gets.

It’s not as if I set out looking for spelling and grammar errors in your magazine, but as a speaker of English, I can’t help but notice some things. For most magazines, one spelling error per issue would be a source of terrible embarrassment. ToyFare, however, borders on around a dozen per issue. Let me give you some examples from the most current issue – and please note that I’m not a colossal jerk. I just firmly believe that as a professional entity that I have paid to read, you have a certain responsibility. So, here’s some quick examples from issue #148.

PAGE 7 : See? Right here. I guess you couldn’t decide where you wanted to put your nerdy whinings, so you just overlapped ‘em. I can understand a layout error, but this really should have been caught. I’m catching it for you. I’m assuming the use of ‘DEPT.’ twice is supposed to be humorous.

PAGE 10 : It’s a nitpick, but the company is spelled ‘DC Direct’, not ‘Dc Direct’.


PAGE 13 : I’ll be the first to admit that I’m some kind of giga-nerd for noticing mis-spellings of the names of imaginary characters. But here’s the thing : 80% of your magazine is ALL ABOUT imaginary people. They have names, and it’s incumbent upon you to spell them correctly. It’s ‘Bizarro’, not ‘Bizzarro’. We’re only a few pages in, and we already have three noticeable errors.


PAGE 26 : Honestly, guys. This is a disaster. Three severe errors in one box – and higher up on the page, one of the characters in a speech bubble is actually a square that the computer will slap in there if it’s missing a letter within a font. Is anyone awake over there?

PAGE 29 : IN your ‘Halo Odd Pods’ segment, you spell one character’s name ‘HAYBUSA’ in one place, and ‘HAYABUSA’ in another.

PAGE 38 : Another error in the name of a fictional character. It’s ‘Bariss’ not ‘Barhss’. I know, it’s only one letter off.

PAGE 59 : You incorrectly state that the KidRobot Futurama chase figure is Hypnotoad. It is actually Slurms McKenzie, as there is no Hypnotoad in this assortment. /end geekmode

And I’m fairly certain I saw at least one instance of using the word ‘where’ instead of ‘wear’. Oh yeah – page 24. Homophones, guys. Not the same meaning.

ToyFare, if this is your cry for help, I am willing. If this is all just a big mistake, I’d appreciate an actual subscription. Or for you to take some fucking responsibility for your magazine.

Thank you.