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It’s unsurprising that Heather Havrilesky, aka New York magazine’s “Ask Polly,” is really, really easy to talk to. The advice columnist (and memoirist, Bookforum book critic, long-time Salon tv critic, and once and future comic writer) has made her name (or rather Polly’s) on her intense, often mesmerizing, anecdote and fuck-filled responses to letter writers asking for help, mostly existential, with their lives. Havrilesky’s second book and first collection of “Ask Polly” columns, How...
This year was a lousy one in many respects, but out of the murk and mire emerged some really good writing. Not just writing in books, either: Essays, reporting, and even song lyrics all cropped up this year with lines worth remembering. (My favorite? "He won’t just think about how unbearable it is that things keep breaking, that you can never fucking outrun entropy." I wrote about it here.) For our year in review,...
In the fall of 2011, I was a mess. A combination of calamity and poor decision-making, coupled with several sea changes in my life, left me feeling raw and skinned. It was one of those times where song lyrics suddenly have intensely personal meaning, when the impossibility of seeing your future feels like the cruelest feature of human existence. I lost friends and alienated people, drank too much, took everything too seriously. I earnestly...
Ladies and gentlemen, we know have a term—with its own acronym and everything!—for the polar opposite of the sparkly, frantic princess known as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Let’s all give a warm welcome to the “Manic Bossy Nightmare Girl.” It’s about time. But first, let’s give credit where credit is due: This morning, Heather Havrilesky (otherwise known as “Polly” on The Awl’s excellent advice column) coined the phrase in a piece for Salon called...

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