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May 16, 2008

The Text of a Children's Book That I Wrote Which My Kids Found Hilarious, But Which My Editor at Simon & Schuster, Who is Normally a Terrific Guy, Inexplicably REJECTED Presumably Because He Hates Me.

NOTE: I have a great relationship with my children's book editor at S&S (shortand those of us in the industry use when referring to Simon & Schuster), and I mean him no disrespect when I say that he's a fucking idiot. The text you are about to read is terrific with a capital "T." I know this because my children told me so and they are both geniuses. How do I know they are geniuses? Because I am a genius and they sprang from my loins. You might argue that my logic is kind of circular here (book I wrote is genius because my kids like it and they geniuses, which I know because I, the author of the book, annointed them as such), but I don't want to get into a syllogistic* debate here. The point is, you are on MY side, and not my schmucky editor's. If you want to be on his side, go read his blog. But just know that by reading his blog, it will be exactly the same as approaching me with a fountain pen and stabbing me in the heart. But if that's what you want to do, by all means go ahead.

Part of his criticsm with the text is he says there "scansion problems," which is a fancy way of saying it doesn't rhyme right. To which I say - horse feathers! I have read this book aloud over and over to my genius children, and not once did either myself of my children detect any problems in the way of scansion. My theory: the scansion is TOO GOOD. It's basically SCANSION FROM THE FUTURE.

The other problem, he said, was that it sends the wrong message. To which I say again: horse feathers! And to which I add, cow pucky! I am a master of sending the wrong message; my entire career has based on inappropriate message-sending, so believe me when I tell you, the message of this book is exactly the RIGHT message, but it is a message which only reveals itself after careful reading of the Futurescansh**.

Anyway, I am publishing it here on my blog because I want others to enjoy it as much as my family did. In fact, our laughter was the only thing that kept us warm this winter; we couldn't afford to heat our house because my editor rejected this manuscript.

I'm considering this story my "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot." That's the album that Wilco recorded, which their label rejected, and then the public outcry was so great for it got leaked online and eventually some other label distributed it, and it sold three and a half billion copies. That's basicaly what I'm hoping happens with this. Yes, I could just take it to another publisher, but that would betray my relationship with my editor, who really is a great guy even though he is being an obstinate fucker in the case of this particular book.

*I have no idea what syllogistic means, but I really hope I'm using it correctly.
** Futurescansh = Scansion from the Future


ADDITIONAL NOTE: The narrator is a sickly, spindly-looking thing. Maybe he's got the rickets.


Do NOT Eat Your Vegetables!

When mealtime comes, as it does thrice a day
Some well-meaning grown-up will undoubtedly say,
“Now Timothy, Margaret, Trudy, or Bert
If you don’t eat your veggies you can’t have dessert.”

If there’s a brain in your head you’ll instantly see
How unfair and uncalled for such statements can be.
Can’t have dessert? The injustice! The gall!
Dessert’s the only reason for eating at all!
Without dessert we’re no better than beasts
Who forage the ground in search of their feasts.
I’m not a rabbit, scrounging for cabbages.
Vegetables, I say, are fit only for savages!
When popsicles begin growing on trees
Perhaps then I will consider eating their leaves.

But until that day comes, I implore you:

Eat cupcakes and cookies! Eat ice cream and candies!
Scrumptious brownies! Warm pecan sandies!
Eat chocolate ice cream in a butterscotch shell.
That’s what you eat when you want to eat well!

Do NOT eat your vegetables - no if, and, or but.
When they offer them to you, clamp your mouth shut.
No broccoli, madam. No asparagus, sir.
Neither zucchini nor turnip should you have to endure.

My friends…
I ate a vegetable once. ‘Twas a pea.
And that pea made me as peevish as peevish can be.
That round little lump of mushy green squish
Somehow found its way onto my dish.
(Where it came from, I have no idea.
Perhaps it arrived all the way from Korea.)
We stared at each other, that pea and I
Until, bravely, I decided to give it a try. 
With a tentative pinch, I plucked up the orb
Which I touched to my tongue so I could absorb
Whatever hideous flavor that little pea had.
I tasted the thing, then started to gag.
The sensation was akin to eating the dirt!
It tasted so bad it practically hurt!
“Ptooie!” said I, as I spat it away,
Then collapsed in a bath that I filled with sorbet.
From that day forward, I swore North and South
To let no vegetable again touch my mouth!


Do NOT eat your vegetables, young masters and misses
If your parents insist, then refuse them their kisses.
“No goodnight kisses for you!” you must say.
If they want to play tough, then tough you will play!

Perhaps you are under the mistaken impression
That vegetables aid in proper digestion.
Or they magically somehow help bones to lengthen,
Hair to grow, and bodies to strengthen.
Well that is a lie that I would like ended.
I don’t eat veggies and I turned out splendid!
I’m fit as a fiddle and strong as an ox.
Need proof? I can lift up this empty shoe box.
Here’s more evidence if you still doubt the truth:
I’ll open my mouth and show you my tooth.
See that? A perfectly formed little chopper
A little brown, yes, but still quite a whopper.
And here – look at this. One half of a muscle.
You wouldn’t want to face THAT in a tussle!

Do NOT eat your vegetables, I beg you once more
No rutabaga, peppers, spinach, or gourds.
Abstain from those foods which are fibrous or bitter.
Cream pies and custard will keep you much fitter.
All leafy things must be met firmly with scorn.
But if you MUST eat a veggie, I suggest candy corn.

Now that I’m done I must go eat some frosting.
All this activity has been quite exhausting.


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The real reason it was rejected was that there not enough violence...or sex.


The scansion *isn't* great, actually, but the moral is fine and treats children intelligently, which I approve of.

Unfortunately your introductory rant makes you sound like a twat. *shrug* And it's not as great as all those arse-licking commenters seem to think.

If I were you I'd pull my head out my arse and fix that scansion and work on making it better and getting it published, rather than sitting back telling yourself how splendid you are.


I dig it.

So, how can we contact your editor and request that he gives it another look and opportunity to see the error of his ways?


This is hysterical (and brilliant). I hate veggies myself, and it all started with the peas my Mom made me eat..... So this poem really hit home with me! Loved it!!!



I saw you perform this poem at the Sasquatch festival and I just wanted to say that, as a third grade teacher, I would happily read this, in book form, to my students. Your publisher doesn't know what he's talking about.

Lizz Westman

Kudos! I will read this to every child that springs forth from my friends' loins to ensure that my future offspring will forever beat them in mental and physical activities as my loinsprings will live on a diet of organic vegetables, grains and legumes. Also they will be 7 feet tall with flaxen hair and the IQs of a large magical pony that can read and write at a graduate school level.


i like, love, the majority of the poem. *hides* do not grill me! about 97% of this is amazing, but there are a few, tiny, little lines i would maybe consider tweaking, only tweaking! but really that's it!

humble apologies with love,

a former poetry student.


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This is crap, good yes, but overall crap. I'm currently waiting for Priscilla at S+S to green-light my graphic novel "Ernest goes to Hollywood" that I wrote and illustrated back in '98. At least they give you the time of day there to give you an answer and take you off the waiting list because you're some kind of fucking star.

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