Black Friday Special: How to Shop for Your Neurotic Writer
I may have mentioned before, writers are basically big balls of crazy waiting to unravel on someone.
So for those of you with writers in your life, I’ve prepared this handy Black Friday shopping guide to help with purchasing. Seriously, he/she is going to kill you if you send another copy of Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul. Actual chicken soup would be a better gift. For your sake and for writers everywhere’s, HOW TO SHOP FOR YOUR NEUROTIC WRITER:
GOOD GIFT: ALCOHOL
I might have mentioned it once or twice on this blog before, but writers tend not to be strangers to the bottle. You will never, ever go wrong buying them liquor. The very worst that can happen is that you will buy something they’re not fond of, in which case they will put it on a shelf until things get really desperate, when they will appreciate it all the more. Don’t think of it as being lame and buying an uncreative gift — think of it as a certificate entitling the bearer to One More Day Without Seeing Any Spiders. From Your Loving Friends!
BAD GIFT: NOTEBOOKS
You may think these are brilliant gifts, but they’re not. Your neurotic writer lives in his/her notebook. It’s like buying someone a furnished apartment, and if those were available at Barnes & Nobles for $14.95 they’d be shit too. Don’t even look at the shelf unless you know exactly what your writer prefers — size, color, clasped vs. unclasped, little elastic bookmark or no, lined or unlined, you name it. They will care about at least one of those, and if you don’t have it directly from their mouth you will get it wrong. And because this is a writer, they won’t say anything. They’ll just hate you quietly every time they use the damn thing.
GOOD GIFT: BLANKETS AND PILLOWS
An actual Snuggie might be pushing it, but your writer probably does spend enough hours crouched in front of a computer to make some warmth and padding a welcome addition. And when they’re not writing they’re usually curled up somewhere reading, so something that can go from the chair to the bed will win you extra points. You might sound the recipient out on color before buying, however — you don’t want to buy pink if pink is “the color that blocks my creativity” or whatever. Not making this stuff up…
BAD GIFT: PENS
Remember what I said about journals, and how they have all these options that people really, really care about? Pens are the same way — if they care about them. Really good fountain pens are kind of like fine wines; they come in all these different styles that you’ve never even heard of and can’t tell the difference between and people will look at you like you are retarded if you try to get involved without knowing what the hell you’re talking about. And for the rest of the world (including most writers), anything that flows easily and leaves a legible print on the page will do just fine, meaning you’ll look just as retarded for buying some fancy-ass fountain pen when all they need is a twenty-pack of Bics. Or you could just be the person who buys a twenty-pack of Bics for Christmas, I guess, but come on.
GOOD GIFT: CLOTHING
Socks and underwear are like coal, only for bad children (unless it’s sexy underwear). But if you love your writer dearly and are looking to spend some money on him/her (bless you), figure out the right size and buy something really sharp-looking. If you’ve never lived with a writer, you may not fully understand how hard it is to get them out the door, particularly when a project is
past deadline going well. The opportunity to dress up is one of the few effective temptations. So you can think of a nice sport coat for the writer in your life as a gift to the significant other, too.
BAD GIFT: BOOKS
I don’t care if you think you know your writer’s literary tastes inside and out — if they didn’t ask for it, don’t buy it for them. That creates an obligation. The writer knows you’re going to ask about the book next time you see him/her. It’s like saying “Merry Christmas; I got you some homework. Remember homework?” If we wanted to do homework we’d have stayed in school (you can do that until you die these days, apparently). Don’t give writers books. If you really…really…really have to do the book thing, get a gift card. Preferably one that can be used online because, you know. Going outside.
GOOD GIFT: INSURANCE
Got a few bucks to spare this holiday season? The odds are your neurotic writer doesn’t, and is living uninsured. You can really make their day by buying them a few months of coverage. Alternatively, just help out with a trip to the doctor/dentist/auto shop/whatever. This is great for practical gift-givers, and way better than that nose-hair trimmer you were thinking about. We don’t go out, remember?
AND IF ALL ELSE FAILS
Ha! My little joke. I’ll kill you with a spoon. It won’t even be a nice spoon. Just send cash or something.
Loyal readers, what do you get the neurotic writer in your life? I’ll see you in the Comments section…