We are both in the same issue of Playboy.

Dear James Franco:

A few weeks ago, I lambasted books like The Secret. I take it back.

Something is amiss.

Over the last seven years, creative visualization has become dominant pop-spirituality trend. Like I said in a previous blog, the scientifically unsound theory behind creative visualization is that you attract into your life what you think about most. So, if you think about back pain all day, you attract more back pain. Accordingly (and here’s where CV goes wrong), if I think about becoming rich, checks will start arriving in the mail. My argument was, “Get a fucking job.”

I don’t think of you often. I only acknowledging your existence when I’m writing this nonsense. But maybe I’d concentrated on you to such a great extent that, um, I’ve attracted you into my life. That wasn’t my intention.

Speculations about mysticism aside, I’m bewildered by the enormity of this coincidence: you and I are sharing real estate in the October issue of Playboy. Little me, and big you, both sandwiched between the covers. That sounded a bit too sexual, but I’m not going to edit that out. Let some imagined reader (who has a hard-on or sudden moisture) live vicariously though me, and my blessed proximity to the great James Franco.

Today I went to the Barnes and Noble in Newport, Kentucky. I plucked the four issues of Playboy off the shelf, along with the new issue of Poets and Writers Magazine. I brought the stack up to the cashier, hiding the Playboys under the P&W magazine. Embarrassed, I whispered the cashier, “I have a story in Playboy this month.” Then I asked her if there were any more issues in the stock room. She called someone to the front. He said, loudly, “We’re all out of Playboy.” Everyone on line was looking at me. I said, “It’s not what you think…”

Anyway, when I got back to my car, I checked out the magazine. Flip through three pages of ads, and we get down to business. Right there, the first thing mentioned in the magazine: me. There’s my name, highlighted in red, and there’s my picture, taken by my wife, out in our front yard. I’m not boasting. I’m actually trying to come to terms with the reality of this. I started giggling. And then I noticed, a little more than halfway down the page, your name, highlighted in red. Off to the right, your professional headshot. You and me, James, same page.

Now here’s the thing. If you actually looked at this page, did you recognize my name? Did you think, “Hold on… isn’t that the mother fucker who has been attempting to use my cultural prominence as a way to draw attention to himself? Son of a bitch. I ought to call someone.”

Mind you, this blog does not have a wide readership. My friends might on occasion give a quick glance, but they hear enough of me in person, so why would they want to read my 3,000 word digressions? Other “clicks” are accidental: people looking for a way to contact you, or get the latest news on your love life. I’m willing to bet you still don’t know about Letters to James Franco.

Still, the coincidence startled me. In my book, Wally, which you’ll pre-order because you fucking love me like two guys sandwiched together in a Playboy magazine, you’ll read about how my protagonist, Wally, yaps and yaps about coincidences.

In the original draft, the coincidence stuff was actually much longer, but it was boring, so I cut it. I did research; and I don’t mean I used sources like The Secret or the writings of pop-guru Wayne Dyer. Real scientists, with real brains, and a real propensity to utilize the scientific method, have studied coincidences. The biologist Paul Kammerer created a taxonomic method for categorizing coincidences.

Anyway, it’s an honor to be in Playboy with you.

Don Peteroy

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About Letters to James Franco

My name is Don Peteroy. I'm a PhD. candidate at University of Cincinnati. My major has a long name, so try to say it in one breath: "English and Comparative Literature with a Creative Dissertation." I spent the majority of my adult years as a social worker. I decided it's pointless to help people, so I've devoted the rest of my life to reading and writing. Here's all my publications and works in progress: My novella, "Wally," published by Burrow Press, in the fall of 2012. Novella: "A World Without Owls" Unpublished. Novel: "My Helicopter Heart" Unpublished. A failed playwright stalks Kirsten Dunst during the Christian apocalypse. My short story, "The Circuit Builders" is the winner of the 2012 Playboy College Fiction contest, and will appeared in the October 2012 issue. Here's are more published and forthcoming short stories: "The Trouble With Hello is Goodbye": Arcadia Magazine 7, 2014. "Kurt Vonnegut Didn't Like Me" Online Sundries, 2/14 http://www.arcadiamagazine.org/4/post/2014/02/kurt-vonnegut-didnt-like-me.html "Because I Want to Know You" forthcoming reprint in Short Story America "A Hole Without A Rim," forthcoming in the Florida Review "Keeping it for Good," The Heartland Review. Forthcoming. “A Penny In A Pill Bottle,” Dislocate, Winter 2012. “Because I Want to Know You” Yemessee, 19.2, 2002. “The Sluggers” Santa Carla Review. Spring 2012. “Maps and Legends” Chattahoochee Review. Spring 2012. “Melinda, Listen to Me” Permafrost, vol. 33, 2011. “Rondo” Licking River Review, Fall 2011. “The Ugly Marriage Counselor” Eleven Eleven, vol.11, 2011. “The Healing Frequency” Newport Review, Summer 2011. “His Name Equals His Name” The Ultimate Writer Magazine, Summer 2011. “This Is How I Will Hold You” The Westchester Review, vol. 5, 2011. “In Accordance To The Needs Of A Canadian Literary Magazine” Worcester Review, vol. 31.1, 2011. “Too Much Anthropology” Cream City Review, vol. 34.2, 2011. “There Are No Fragments” Ellipsis, vol. 46, 2010. “Confessions of a Misunderstood Sidekick” Farallon Review, vol.3, 2010 “One Day, God Will Kill Everyone” Oyez Review, vol. 37, 2010. “When Hawks Make Love” The Susquehanna Review, Fall 2009. “Goddess Corpse” The Maynard, Fall 2009. “Misconceptions About the Nature of Blood” CRIT Journal, Summer 2009. “Go Up” The Cynic, Fall 2009. “The Misuse of Old British Words” Two Hawks Quarterly, Spring 2009. “Dead or Unlisted” The Rejected Quarterly, Spring 2003. “Sleep Log” The Timber Creek Review, Spring 2002. There are other stories out there, somewhere, but I've lost track. Awards: “From One Object to Another.” Finalist for the Glimmer Train Short Fiction Award, 2009. “His Name Equals His Name” Finalist for the Gulf Coast Donald Barthelme Award, 2009. “In Accordance To The Needs Of A Canadian Literary Magazine” 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee. "A World Without Owls." Finalist, Gold Line Press Chapbook Contest, 2011. “Confessions of a Misunderstood Sidekick” Sacramento Stories on Stage Series in California, June 2011. "The Circuit Builders" winner of the Playboy College Fiction Award 2012. "The Trouble With Hello is Goodbye" nominated for a Pushcart Award.

One response to “We are both in the same issue of Playboy.”

  1. Roos says :

    Irony is inside out. If you could take this blog and do the same, where would James be? Regardless, I think he’s got a stack of issues as well. I can see him now, drumming his fingers across the cover, contemplating what comes next. I can picture his grin and that tiny gleam in his eyes—you know, the one that struggling to peek through those puffy slits? Wally, James, it’s all there right on the page.

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