ASK MADDIE: AN ADVICE COLUMN FROM AUTHOR MADELEINE SWANN

Do you have a question for Maddie? Contact her at evilpixie.madeleine@gmail.com with the subject line Ask Maddie.

Dear Maddie,

How do I get my laptop to stop biting me when I try to write? I’ve tried feeding it (I won’t go into that) but it still insists.

Bradley Sands.

It sounds to me like you’ve got an Acme Raging Bastard laptop which are very hard to tame. I could advise you to beat it savagely into submission with a rolling pin but I would never suggest anything so cruel, even though my cousin Margaret tried it and it was totally fine.

An alternative would be to cover it with a blanket and sing Neil Diamond songs until the soothing rhythms of classics like Crackling Rosie render it pliable and eager to please. The only trouble is you’ll need to repeat the gesture every hour or so and playing it on the stereo won’t cut the mustard. It might be an idea to knit a special blanket for your oblong instrument of fiction, though be careful not to buy wool from Threads Forever or you’ll find yourself enslaved to needles forcing you to knit unsightly garments for the rest of eternity.

However, if you find the right yarn, imagine what a sensation you and your word wagon will make as you strut your stuff down the street in matching ensembles. If I may be so bold you could even enter the word renowned laptop and master beauty pageant, the bonding time will do you both the world of good. Failing that you could visit the Museum of Unsightly Garments Knitted by Slaves of Threads Forever together.

Dear Maddie,

How do I avoid seven years of bad luck when all I want to do is break a bunch of mirrors?

Daniel Stafford

The question is not why you want to break a bunch of mirrors…no, it is why you want to break a bunch of mirrors. You clearly have rage issues and this cannot be taken lightly. Like bodily gas anger must not be kept inside lest it finds it’s way to the Semi-Colon and strangles it to death. The only way to release this anger is to hold a Rage Fest.

Beginning a new festival is all the rage (forgive the pun) and can be enjoyed by those with the most niche interests. How can we forget last year’s People Who Came Third in Celebrity Big Brother fest at the Bull’s Arms? By the time the seventh person arrived it was hopping.

Of course you’ll need entertainment, unless you want party goers to start punching themselves in the face or, worse, you, and what could be better than a sarcasm slam? Two contenders sit facing each other on stools while a third rattles off the events of his day, and whoever reduces him/her to a blubbering wreck wins not being punched in the face. The loser is then torn apart limb from limb and ingested in the name of He Who Cannot Be Spoken Of Or Thought About. Fun for all the family I think you’ll agree.

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Find more about Madeline here: madeleineswann.com

Her new book is “Rainbows Suck”.

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