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Dear Agony,
I’ve been dealing with a lot of writer’s block recently. It may be because my boyfriend of 4 years has been secretly stealing money out of my bank account to fund his Laser Tag obsession. My question is: is it wrong to use him as a blood sacrifice to the god, Thoth, to help me break through this block? Thank you in advance for your advice.

Val Darcy
Hell, MI

Dear Val,
You aren’t alone in your struggle with one of the most common afflictions to plague those of us who are called to the toil of putting pen to paper. Since our primitive forebears first knit their ridged brows and set to the task of committing the visions in their cave dwellers’ brains to pigmented storyboards on stone walls to be read by flickering firelight, storytellers have suffered from the affliction you describe. I refer, of course, to the overwhelming temptation to sacrifice one’s partner or partners to one or more gods.

The impulse to liberate his, her or their lifeblood from its monotonous, pulsing course, round and round the same disappointing human frame, is a struggle we all face. It’s tempting in even the most harmonious of relationships. When writer’s block, poorly concealed petty larceny and, worst of all, Laser Tag, combine to drive the discord to a cacophonous pitch from which even a peaceful winter spent as caretaker in a spacious Colorado hotel wouldn’t provide the desperately needed imaginative space to untangle one’s word-needles from their knotted skeins and pick up a cheerful knitting pace, you can hardly be blamed.

This guy’s practically begging to be uncorked in the name of some bloodthirsty deity.
Your choice of Thoth, however, gives me pause. Not really one to move with the times, rumor has it that when it comes to sacrifices, Thoth retains a preference for the long-beaked sacred ibis—known to Australians as the trash can raiding bin-chicken—preferably mummified. If a nice, juicy blood sacrifice in exchange for literary inspiration is your goal, my recommendation is the goddess Seshat, the seven-horned “She Who Scrivens”. Seshat appreciates a good arterial gusher. After all, as a wise writer once told me, blood is the sister of ink.




Dear Agony,
I’m trying to get a girl’s attention but she has blocked me on social media. Figure I could go old school and send her a love letter. Should I try my hand at poetry or be straight with her and let her know how I feel?

Not Really Stalking
Anywhere She Is

Dear Notty,
So you’re trying to get a girl’s attention. But she has you blocked on social media. Question #1: Why has she blocked you on social media? Hint: It isn’t because you don’t have her attention.

You figure you could go old school and send her a love letter. Questions #2, 3, 4 and 5: Do you have a dictionary? Does it have any entries that begin with the letter L? Have you looked up the word “love”? Does the definition lend itself to any feeling that might be arrived upon while staring at a postage stamp sized still image of someone who has blocked you on social media because… reasons? Hint: No. It doesn’t.

Should you try your hand at poetry? Question # 6: Is this a non sequitur entirely unrelated to the previous lines about the unfortunate object of your misplaced and misnamed feeling? If your answer to this question is “yes,” then by all means, disengage from social media, apply for an online course in The Romantics, and work on your comprehension of the baffling four-letter l-word mentioned above. When you get to class, put down your misplaced obsession with a girl you don’t even know and pick up a shovel.

You heard me.

By the time you’ve dug your way from 1790 to 1830, unearthing Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Coleridge, Shelley and Keats, you and your new undead Romantic army may be better equipped to tackle the definition of “love” together with a fresh— or not so fresh— perspective.

Or should you be straight with her and tell her how you feel? Question #7: Do you even know how you feel? Hint: Before you answer, look within. Look deep within. Examine the deepest reaches of your heart. Use an ice pick and a flashlight. If you need another pair of hands, ask Undead Keats— he apprenticed with a surgeon in 1810, when he was 14. He knows the intricacies of the human heart and the holiness of the heart’s affections.

Dig deep. You shall find your answer.




Dear Agony,
My neighbor and I do not get along and last summer he built a spite fence to block my view of the valley. Do I conjure a demon to torment his final days that will inevitably end in madness, or should I just burn his house down?

Blighted in Biloxi

Dear Blighty,
There’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned neighborly construction battle to heat the blood and set the teeth grinding. I’ve been there, my friend, and let’s just say the now vacant house next door surrounded by asphalt and encircled with a gleaming white six-foot high vinyl privacy monstrosity will serve for decades as a monument to both my late opponent’s enduring poor judgement and his passion for blinding plastic barricades and endless fields of inky blacktop. Let’s hope he enjoys it as much overhead as he did underfoot.

Blocking your valley view with a spite fence, is he? Not on our watch. If his posts are six feet tall, ours will be thirteen. If his pickets are knife-sharp, ours will be topped with tungsten needles tapering to the thickness of a single atom. I propose a palisade of malevolence the likes of which Biloxi has never known, flanked by ramparts of umbrage and crowned with a balustrade of animosity and fluttering pennants of contempt for all the world to see. At the apex of our beautiful retaliatory structure will be a vantage point worthy of your noble figure, complete with a regal cup holder for your sweet tea. You. Will. View. That. Valley.

As for the demon, why not? And burn his house down too. I recommend summoning Haborym, a three-headed fallen angel and Great Duke of Hell who rides a snake and carries a lit firebrand with which to set requested items on fire. Two birds with one stone. What could go wrong?




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