Dear Anonymous Co-Worker,

I’d like to thank you for installing new batteries in the milk frother thing, apparently over the weekend, because I used that frother last Friday and it was its usual slothful self, which is to say the milk had no fear of it, not in the least. This morning, though, I stuck the frother into my milk and everyone in the kitchen jumped back, like they were afraid I might point the frother at them and suck them into its mighty wake. Now that’s how it’s REALLY supposed to be done. It was nice of you to sneak into the building over the weekend and juice up the Monday work experience. You rock, Lily

And that is all I have to say today. I’m busy crafting author interview questions. And making a list of authors to hit up. And considering whether the frother might be used as a hedge trimmer in a pinch. In fact, here are my preliminary author interview questions:

what car would you be, if you could be a car

"auto in disguise" does not mean: what car would you be, if you could be a car (in case you are wondering)


13 thoughts on “Dear Anonymous Co-Worker,

  1. Hmmm…does it mean: what manner of disguise do you use for your car so people don’t see you coming?

    Believe me, these are very intriguing questions!

  2. I like the phrase “The Business.” That puts me in mind of the phrase “Giving him the business.”

    Being a paranoid person in general, I give people “the business” when they do things like look at me(Why are you looking at me?) or when they don’t look at me(Why are you ignoring me?).

  3. It means “do you believe that all writing is, essentially, autobiography in disguise?” Or something like that — something about the writer’s feeling about how their experience is transformed into their art, how much distance they keep from their own lives, and whether they are accused by their loved ones of stealing their souls every time they write a blog post, short story, poem, or novel. In fact, having written that really long-winded ridiculous set of sentences, maybe I’ll just ask, “talk about autos in disguise.”

    Hi Kevin — And welcome! I agree, the “business” is scary, when the right person is giving it to you.

    Ingrid — I like that kind of thing too — which is one reason I like your blog. I think there’s something wonderfully intimate about handwriting, particularly when you see it on a computer screen. A lovely contrast. In fact, I have an entire, very weird, blog devoted just to my notebooks — I started it about a year ago and then just recently began to add to it again, because I have to find something to do with all the notebooks I own. it’s at

    Lisa, as you can see, my recent posting output is very caffeine-oriented. I like to think of this period as the Summer O’Coffee. The frother is a big part of that.

    Dear Sandi, I’m glad you think so, because I’m going to be asking you these very questions at some point. I will also be asking other people these same questions too, but they will go nameless because I’m worried they might stop commenting on my blog, but I’m totally hitting up Lisa and Ingrid, who’re both writers — Lisa having finished her first and snagged an agent, and Ingrid being a screenwriter and a master at the witty postcard.

  4. Ask which writers, past or present, they’d like to have a beer with (or tea, coffee, wine, an entire bottle of good Russian vodka — whatever their pleasure).

  5. I do love your handwriting, dear Lily, and what a civilised world you live in! I have a milk frother but you just pump it by hand. No milk has ever trembled in my presence. The questions list is looking splendid and I can’t wait for further developments!

  6. Thank you litlove — how funny, I’ve never thought of my world as particularly civilized, what with the piles of papers everywhere in my house, and the yelling, weapons-toting children, and the dog-who-looks-like-a-sheep-but-acts-like-a-pittbull… still, my work life is sort of civilized, with the big news of the day ending up usually something like the milk frother story.

    I’d especially like to know, Cam, what food item the writer would most like to meet his or her fans over.

    u-dad, or at least we should know what they do or don’t drive, don’t you think?

  7. Enjoy your blog, great author questions. How about a question on self-promotion? Do they use the internet communities, local book stores/book clubs/reading groups? Marketing seems so important these days!

  8. why thank you Mollie Bryant — how funny it is to think about how, on the internet, we never see things like handwriting. But I spend a lot of time making obsessive little lists, including the one I made today of where I’m sending my next story to — and where I’m not… I’m such a weirdo.

    Joanne, Hello and welcome! Yes, that’s what the “business” question is about. It turned out that the actual question was something like “talk about the things that surprised you when it came down to dealing with the business of writing. What would you have liked to have known ahead of time?” I am going to guess that most writers who’ve gone through the cycle of selling one book will say that the amount of promotion you’ve basically got to do on your own is the single most surprising thing. But I could be wrong. That’s what interviews are for, huh?

  9. I like anonymous coworkers who do good deeds. This is a sad story, but at my last company there was someone known as the Soap Fairy. She (we assume a she, because this was the women’s bathroom, after all), would anonymously leave moisturizing hand soaps and lotions in the restroom on my floor so we didn’t have to use the harsh hot-pink soap that the building provided. People took it for granted, yes, but it was also this wonderful thing: Who cared so much about keeping our hands soft? And she was so attentive… we never went without.

    The sad part is when there were lay-offs on my floor. The week after a few people were laid off, we noticed that the soaps and lotions were not replenished. They didn’t come back. So one of the women who was fired must have been the Soap Fairy, and we never found out who, and never got to thank her.

    But about your list, “auto in disguise” sounds very mysterious!

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