Remember newspaper advice columns? (Remember newspapers?)
I used to skim the crossword/horoscope/advice column pages when I was a kid and always was intrigued when in the Dear Abby or Ann Landers section there was a short paragraph that was titled "Confidential to M in Peoria" or some such. There would be no question printed, simply a brief sentence or two: "tell him no and move on" or "if she asks, then you'll know, but wait till she asks."
I was always fascinated by these - What could the question be? Was it so racy that it couldn't be printed? And if so, oooooh! But much later I wondered, why bother putting that in your column when it doesn't actually help anyone but that specific person? If the advice giver-feels so strongly about it, why not just write back to the person directly? No need to waste column space! It never made sense.
But then newspapers started dying out and advice columns got much more direct. Savage Love, anyone? I was in a bookstore, years ago (remember book stores?), browsing books before seeing a movie* and saw the title "Savage Love" which I thought sounded like a great summer pulp fiction novel so I picked it up. Then I saw the full title: Savage Love - Straight Answers from America's Most Popular Sex Columnist. Well now this was even more intriguing! So I started reading bits and pieces and Wow! This was not your mother's advice column. I was amazed at the the straightforward, tell it like it is, no holds barred thoughts coming from this awesome man. Nothing was confidential any more.
Having only heard of the two above mentioned professional advice givers before then, this was a revelation! I started reading Dan regularly online after that and still just love him to this day. Santorum, anyone?
Back to my title: Confidential to R in Colorado. There is no question to print, simply a response: Thanks for the ass-kicking support that has helped me get back to my early morning writing habit.
*The bookstore was Brentano's in the Century City mall before the big remodel. I have so many fond memories of Sunday mornings, going to the movies, but stopping in Brentano's first to buy books before worshiping at the church of Cinema. When the Landmark Theaters came into the Westside Pavilion, there was a Barnes and Noble right next door. Perfect combo! Buy movie ticket, shop for books, see movie. No better way to spend an afternoon or evening. But alas, that bookstore is gone now too.