AN OPEN LETTER TO NATASHA BEDINGFIELD
Dear Miss Bedingfield,
I will not be reading your book, thank you very much. It was kind of you to offer but, frankly, you have some credibility issues with me, and your powers of description are suspect, at best. I’m referring to THAT SONG here, Natasha. That song that plays on every station, every other song, that makes me want to disembowel you, yes, Natasha, just rip your innards out and jump up and down on them until I’ve stomped away every last trace of you. Sorry.
While I have your attention, though, there’s something that I need to ask you, for my own piece of mind: Which is it, Natasha? Is it SUNNY or is it RAINING? Because you can’t have it both ways, dear. You can’t LET THE SUN ILLUMINATE YOUR FACE and then, FEEL THE RAIN ON YOUR SKIN in the next breath. Well, you can I suppose. It’s your song. You can say whatever the hell you want. But was that all, then? Maybe there was a snowstorm you forgot to mention? And a heatwave? WERE THERE FLAMING BALLS OF HAIL YOU WANTED TO TELL US ABOUT, NATASHA?
As a writer who sometimes suffers from logic gaps himself, I understand: You were trying to explain earthy, tactile pleasures – rain, sun, wind – and it’s all the same glorious feeling to you, eh, Natasha? But to the casual listener who hears it 397 times a day, every day, rain or shine (see how that works?), well, it can drive you to distraction if you let it.
It’s like that black fly in the Chardonnay who was thoroughly and maddeningly unironic – unless, of course, there was something about him that we didn’t know, like he was an alcoholic fly or he once worked in a vineyard as a teen, and always loved the smell of wine, OH I DON’T KNOW. Point is, these kinds of things stop me from enjoying the song because I keep trying to imagine possible scenarios that might explain away the inconsistencies.
Which brings us back to you: Why ARE your windows so dirty, Natasha. What’s REALLY going on here? Are you just out of Windex? Because you can use ANY surface cleaner, you know, if you’re too poor to afford Windex. Are you too poor, dear? Or infirm? MY GOD, are you UNABLE to wash those windows? ARE YOU TRAPPED INSIDE? Was it childhood polio that has left you HOUSEBOUND and BEDRIDDEN until the FREAKY, CLOUDLESS STORM, with its sun and rain, made you realize you needed to maybe get out a little more, and pay more attention to what’s going on around you?
The rest may still be unwritten, my dear, but perhaps in your case, it would be better to hold off on writing this book until you can tell us the WHOLE story, instead of these DEEPLY UNSATISFYING half-truths, false memories and trite clichés. You have to be honest with the reader, Natasha, if you want your book to sell. If there is something dark and troubling that has you locked in a house and lying in filth – don’t tell me what a lovely day it is. Cut the rainbows and “can-do” crap.
If Elio Gonzales wrote a book about “the lovely ocean waves lapping against his skin” or Patty Hearst wrote HER book about “the nostalgic smell of cedar and mothballs in an old closet” – well. nobody would buy those books, now, would they?
Until you’re ready to tell your readers about the father who beats you and keeps you chained to the wall, keep it to yourself and get the hell off my car stereo.
Thank you for your time.
– James St James