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Friends Don’t Let Friends Do pR0n.

Look here is a picture of a dog so beautiful he ought to be subverted into my dog posse. His name is COWBOY and he has screwed up eyes. One eye is blue and the other eye is half blue and half brown. It makes him look goofy and demented and beautiful, like David Bowie, if David Bowie had a bisected two-tone eye instead of them just being different colors. Still.

Cowboy is long and lanky like Bowie, and IF he wandered up to you with glitter paint eyelids, wearing platform shoes, you would say, “Ziggy? IS THAT YOU?”

He is a foster dog living near the mountain cabin I went to with Lydia, but he is a year old which means he is secretly a PUPPY and no one wants their new sofa eaten BY A PUPPY, and also he is HUGE, legs for MILES, must weigh 60 pounds and he hasn’t even filled out yet, and I can barely get any room in the bed as it is because we have two dogs and one cat who pile in with us and they are all veteran SPRAWLERS, masters of insinuating their various stretchy pieces onto the most square footage of bed possible.

ALSO he is an escape artist—we only know Cowboy because he GOT OUT of his home/yard and showed up, filthy and demanding chicken, every day we were on retreat.

Here he is again, giving you the Mook-Eye in front of the fire. In this shot, he is so beautiful! Posed lolling with mad abandon by the fireplace—-why, it is practically dog pRon, but, you know the tasteful kind. Like Playboy in 1958. If Playboy shot dogs. WHICH THEY PROBABLY DO.

Pornographers are all secretly DOG shooters, I think. Also they shoot heroin.


Things have been crazy and I have not slept in DAYS. So. That’s why I did what I did there.

Also because I don’t care much for pornographers because I think the girl stripping to put herself through Law School is an anomaly and most girls in that kind of business are young, and mentally/emotionally unstable and exploited.

Law School, my butt. I remember my childhood friend Jenny, who was pretty and young and mentally SO very ill and at 18 she worked at the Pink Pony to “pay her way through college,” and failed out. She kept her job, even though she no longer had any tuition to pay.

I saw her again after I moved to Atlanta. She had come there, too, now stripping to pay her way though MOUNTAINS of cocaine. I tried hanging out with her again, and so I met her friends, all equally broken and medicated.

We were heading in very different directions. She was so deep down in it there was no pulling her out.

The last time she came over, I remember her saying, “I have to use my face a lot now to work the tips, you know? I just don’t have the body I had when I was sixteen. It’s starting to go.”

She was twenty-one.

Drugs are bad. Pornography is bad. If you are considering a career in porn, may I respectfully suggest you visit a good Job Fair, maybe dig-dog up a high school guidance counselor and take that “What would I be good at” test?

Although, my husband took it at 18, and it told him he should be a “Boat Swain.”


I don’t even know what a Boat Swain is, but it sounds like it COULD be a job in the sex industry. SO. If the test tells you to be a Boat Swain, take it again.

This lolcat is looking to hire a boat swain. Perhaps you should apply.

As for Jenny….I ran into her again a couple of years later, by pure chance. I took her for a sandwich. She looked….used up. We chatted for a couple of hours. She had taken up with a very bad man and was helping him run a ring of prostitutes out of hotels. She was turning tricks herself, and proud that she didn’t have to very often. She made “her girls” do it, not really understanding they were all actually his girls, and she was one of them. He made her feel special.

I am sure he made them all feel special.

The next time I saw her, she was in the newspaper, killed in a shoot out between her boyfriend/pimp and the police. So. I dedicated A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY to her, and to another childhood friend who was last seen galloping toward the edge of the ocean, hoping to fall off I suppose, and meet the dreadful turtle who holds up the planet.

RE: The FAQ. I am asked quite often where the darkness and violence in my otherwise rawwwwwther funny books comes from. I have a long answer, but now I think a better answer might be a simple: It comes from how the world is.

Scott says a Boatswain is actually ONE word, so not a SWAIN per se, but rather a person who is responsible for the maintenance of the hull of a boat. Oh. That’s not dirty at all. It is a better job than Playboy Bunny.


21 comments to Friends Don’t Let Friends Do pR0n.

  • I don’t want to leaven up the heavy or anything, BUT if it’s more fun, you can refer to Scott as a BOSUN.

    It IS more fun.

    That’s…all I got. Jenny made me sad.

  • Mr. Husband

    For the record, a boatswain is not a barnacle scraper…. he is the HEAD barnacle scraper in charge of the barnacle scrapping crew. That’s important to remember.


  • Thank you for telling us about Jenny. I always like reading the dedications in books. I wonder who the person is–of what significance they are to the author–the story behind the dedication. THIS is a perk of being a Best Beloved. Now I know–even though it is sad. And I agree that “that is the way the world is.” I teach middle school in Houston. I want to save them all–from bad chemicals and bad decisions and bad parenting. Alas, I cannot. And sometimes that has to be “okay” even though it’s not Okay. Jenny knew you loved her.


    Scott seems to have an alliterative theme going today: boatswain, bosun, barnacle, boat. Just sayin’.

  • Carrie (in MN)

    You are verrry funny when sleep deprived, but the Jenny story made me sad too.

  • And because A Grown Up Kind of Pretty is not yet in my HANDS. . .I re-read Backseat Saints this weekend. There are phrases you write that just stick like glue “the goodest kind of bad” “wheat bright hair” the list could go on for miles. Words resonate, you know.

  • Asa

    Love it when we get background to your books and info about writing them. Also can’t wait for next book.

  • In the Patrick O’Brian books the bosun is also the smacker-arounder of slacker sailors. Captain Aubrey would say, “Bosun, start that man” when he observed someone not swabbing the deck with enough alacrity and the bosun would smite the man with his…I forget. With his mighty bosun tool of anti-slackery.

    Right on the money about women in porn.

  • Funny and dark by turns. It describes this post, and books by you. I look forward to the next with bated breath, thankyouverymuch.

    Also, loans are good for lawyer school. Then you can pay them off with your first paycheck ’cause all lawyers make bank, right? RIGHT?

  • liz

    Okay, I am a teensy bit worried and I think you need a nap. (Or maybe lots of chocolate.)

  • Now I’m wondering: if the boatswain is responsible for the boat, what is the coxswain responsible for?

    It’s possible I’m a little sleep-deprived myself.

  • Jessica

    This post is everything I love about you, Joss: funny, serious, deep, sensitive, irreverent, and so on.

    And for Mr. Husband? Better a boatswain than a wainwright these days, eh?

  • Neal

    The great A’Tuin appreciates your reference to him. May he never let the world fall. :p

    I appreciate the humor and the darkness in your books as well. Life is darkness and light, though hopefully more of the latter. Hopefully I’ll be published some day and be able to share my own brand of light/dark as well. 😀

  • Also, how come I am a LIPSTICKED BUG here?

  • But sometimes they come back. . .not in a Stephen King sort of way. One of my favorite students was the youngest in his family and not living up to their (or anybody’s) expectations and he developed a heroin habit. Broke my heart to pieces because I saw his huge potential. But you can’t save them all, right? *sigh*

    Years passed and I was in Target, and who should come up but said student, all clean and married with a kid, and he gave me a big hug and told me, “I always knew you believed in me!”. I leaked a little around the edges, I must say. And he’s still in touch and has a good job and things are going well.

    Sometimes they do come back from the edge. For what it’s worth.

  • Brigitte

    My, the site is looking all bright today . . too bright for my morning eyes, they burn!

    Ah, the tasteful pRon of the 50s. Back when all the girl parts were REAL, too!

    My test told me to be a farmer, but that sounded like hard WORK to me. But my punishment for not figuring out what I wanted to be? Sucked into the black hole of the insurance industry for years and years. Shudder! Better than poor Jenny’s fate, however. Perhaps it’s just as well that I don’t know where most everyone from school days ended up.

  • Summer

    Oh, Jenny. That makes my heart hurt. There are so many of her. I’ll think of her when I read A Grown Up Kind of Pretty.

  • kristen

    I was waiting for Cowboy to come home with you – heh heh. The story about Jenny made me sad too, but I so appreciate knowing who she was. Thank you for that.

    And Fran – your story made my eyes leak *smile*

    When I was in 9th grade, we took that test. It told me that I should be either a) a juvenile probation officer OR b) a preschool teacher. heh heh. I actually majored in psychology and spanish thinking that I’d be a child psychologist. Life had other plans for me and I *was* a preschool teacher and LOVED it. We moved and now I’m a substitute teacher.

    And lastly – how is it that in the English language, the word BOATSWAIN (which clearly should be pronounced boat swaaaaane) is pronounced BOSUN? It was YEARS before I realized the word I was reading in books as boat swane was actually the word I’d HEARD pronounced as BOSUN. *sigh* sometimes the English language just makes no sense.

  • jetmom4

    the dog is so loverly, and who needs room on the bed???? We call that kind of tired “stupid tired” here and all sorts of hilarity ensures.
    BTW, have you seen any episodes of “Mercury Men” on SciFi OnDemand???? I’ll say no more…

  • Linda J

    Really enjoying the AGUKOP site update. Yes her story has a sad ending but you were there for her no matter her past or present situation. That makes you the truest kind of friend.

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    ” he is HUGE, legs for MILES, must weigh 60 pounds ”
    This made me laugh because our SMALL dog (of 2) is 60 pounds.
    I took one of those what-should-you-be tests in college and it said that I should be a “heavy equipment mover”. I just kept picturing myself picking up a forklift like the Incredible Hulk. Except my skin isn’t green, so, obviously I had to pick a different career.

  • Les in az

    Jenny’s story made me sad. As a teacher I often see kids headed towards the edge of something dark and sometimes the make it and sometimes they fall down. I think it’s amazing that u dedicated your book to her, that kinda makes you a Backseat Saint 🙂

    The dog was very comical and goofy…I hope he lightened up your days.