the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

My Brilliant Literary Career


Last week, Sophia was all upset about the James Frey story and his fraudulent memoir, "A Million Little Pieces." Well, actually, she was more upset at me. 

"It’s pretty clear that the book got sold because they thought he was an alcoholic and drug abuser."


"So, you have no grit in your life.  You don’t even like beer."

"I like Merlot."

"No one wants to buy a memoir from someone who drinks Merlot.  You’re like that depressing guy from Sideways."

"I’ve smoked pot."

"When was the last time you smoked pot?"

"When I was 14.  But I didn’t really inhale."

"Jeez, you’re so vanilla.  Did you know I once went out with someone who liked to be spanked."


"He was a college professor."

"Why would anyone want to be spanked?  All my life, I’ve been proud that my mother never once had to spank me when I was a kid.  What would I tell her now?  Sorry, Mom, now I get spanked all the time."


So much for anyone ever buying my boring memoirs. 

But what about fiction? 

Well, today, there was another nail in the coffin for my non-existent writing career.

"Did you read Gawker today?" asked Sophia.


"Have you heard of Opinionista?"


"Well, it’s a blog written by an anonymous blogger, and it’s all about the inside stuff going on at her law firm."


"So, she just revealed herself as Melissa Lafsky!"

"Do we know her?"

"No, but read this."

Sophia handed me "The New York Observer."  There was another article about this woman:

In recent months, Ms. Lafsky has been fluffing the pillows for her landing, a sort of “soft opening” phase for her product launch. Profiled but not named in The New York Times in November, she posed so that her face was obscured; in this month’s The American Lawyer, she hinted that her identity would soon be revealed; and her blog plugged an interview with The Observer minutes after the interview was complete.
Of course, prior to this week’s non-spontaneous self-disclosure, Ms. Lafsky had already procured herself an agent—ICM’s blog-adoring Kate Lee —and worked up 100 pages of a manuscript loosely based on her life as a lawyer-blogger. (“It’s not a roman à clef,” she said. “It’s not The Devil Wears Brooks Brothers!”)

(Talented, Beautiful, and can Blog without looking at the monitor)
(photo by Melanie Flood)

I wasn’t sure what Sophia wanted me to make of all this.

"Good for her," I said.   "Or is this another one of those "I hate Stephanie Klein – type stories?"

"Don’t you get it," Sophia replied,  "There have been a number of anonymous bloggers that have gotten a lot of buzz by creating a mystery about who they are… and then they make a big reveal.  Do you see where this is going?"


"Only a really dumb blogger starts using his real name right from the beginning.  Like Neil Kramer.  You should have just been "Citizen of the Month" and then had a big reveal."

"Too late now."

"There’s nothing new for you to reveal.  Nothing buzz-worthy."

"I don’t know.  We can say I’m gay."

"Hmm…not bad.  We’re already separated.  We can say we got separated because you decided you were gay. 

"Good… good.. just how long do I have to be gay for?"

"Until you sell a book."

Jeez, that could be a long time."

"Well, you’ve always had a problem with procrastination.  Finally, we found a way to keep you focused.   No sex with a woman until you write a book."

"I’m not too sure about this idea." 

"Too much like a bad sitcom episode?"

"What if I’m gay, but you decide to transform me back to being straight again."

"Yeah, then I can write a book instead of you! — "The Gay Blogger and How I Made Him Straight Again.""

"Would I have to go around the rest of my life being known as "The Man Formerly Known as The Gay Blogger?"

Note:  After Melissa Lafsky signed with ICM agent Kate Lee and resigned from her law firm, she posed in a nightgown for a spread on female bloggers for a future issue of Fashion Week Daily.

Luckily, I’m all ready for my fashion shoot with my new Texas hold’em pajamas


  1. Sammy

    Or, you could reveal yourself as the REAL Melissa Lafsky, a gay man who likes wearing Texas hold ’em pajamas.

  2. Spirit Of Owl

    Nice pyjamas. And don’t feel bad. I started blogging anonymously, then kapow revealed my identity, and nobody but nobody gave a damn. And I haven’t sold so much as a pamphlet.

  3. Heather B.

    How about I just read Opinionista for the first time today and really could’ve cared less?

  4. LisaBinDaCity

    I’ve been an Opinionistas fan for a while now. The “Big Reveal” WAS kinda cool. However, Neil Darlin, part of your charm is you are just the opposite of the mystery bloggers. You are the fun “everyman.”

    And fyi, I have NO DOUBT you will get your book or sitcom deal.

  5. The Retropolitan

    Now the world knows my secret plan. Fucking fantastic.

  6. M.A.

    I like your grass roots approach. It’s much more sincere and less calculating.

  7. ashbloem

    I once dated someone who liked to spank me. I didn’t find it that gritty. It was kind of vanilla, to be honest. You aren’t missing much.

  8. JJ

    What grown man wears pajamas? Maybe you’re not Neil Kramer upstart LA writer but actually Neil Kramerovsky 14 year old blogger living with his mom but fooling everyone into thinking you’re really a separated though living with his wife full grown man.

  9. Trix

    Listen, here’s the deal. I dated one of those anonymous NY bloggers with a book deal. The fact of the matter is this…people love to read about the world they create for themselves. If he had written about his pedestrian day job & REAL life, no one would bother with him. He’d simply be another boring guy with nothing to say. So he gets a book deal. So what? He’ll always be an average Joe.

    You, however, are funny, charming, brilliant and endearing…all while being YOU.

    It’ll happen for you. And when it does, you’ll still be funny, charming, brilliant and endearing.

    Who would you rather be?

  10. networkchic

    Hey there’s a king on your…sorry I got distracted. Neil, we like knowing who you are, mysteries are not all their cracked up to be.

  11. Neil

    I guess you also need a glamorous job to write about — lawyer, washington intern, conde nast publishing.

    I guess being a gigolo to Hollywood starlets just isn’t that interesting.

  12. Julei

    No one is gonna believe you’re gay with those pajamas, Neil. Ditch ’em.

  13. Carly

    Sometimes hype is just hype. And sometimes hype is warranted. And most times it doesn’t matter if the blogger is anonymous or not. You dig?

  14. amanda

    hm, not sure about all these blogger-would-be-celebrities. how do i get me some of that?
    love the PJs, by the way.

  15. Neil

    Carly, thank you for telling me that. You always seem to have a good head on your shoulders. I guess I shouldn’t bother with that sex change operation I was going to do just to create some hype. I even already had the book title, “Pussy Anytime I Want: Why One Blogger Became a Woman.”

  16. Kelly

    Being gay works for David Sedaris, only I think that’s because he’s really gay. You know, you have great stories, and know how to tell them, so I promise to read all ten of your books when you write them. No joke!

  17. chantel

    I started using my real name right away too! I’m a dork too! Oh well!

  18. cruisin-mom

    Oh Neil…please don’t go through with that sex change operation…we would all so miss your penis.

  19. Tanisha

    Neil I so miss reading your blogs. Man are you funny!! LOL.. I used to read Opinionista now I have to go back for the big reveal.. She is quite pretty though.. LOL

  20. Jaime

    As usual, you had cracking up. If it helps at all, I would buy your memoirs. I think you are hilarious.

  21. Jaime

    p.s. What a great book title… : )

  22. anne arkham

    Right after you decide to become gay, write a post about gayness is so trendy.

  23. annie

    Don’t worry. There’s still plenty of mystery surrounding you, Neil.

    After all,who knows if half the stuff you write about is even real? And who cares? We’re hopelessly hooked.

    I do hope, though, that the part about you wearing those pajama bottoms is true.

  24. Dan

    Here’s an idea: Tell everyone that nine months ago you kidnapped and murdered some guy named Neil Kramer and have been posing (and blogging) as him ever since. Now that’s press.

  25. Neil

    Dan, that is such a literary cliche! I think being imprisoned is the best bet. I might go out today and drive 50mph in Beverly Hills.

  26. ms. sizzle

    does this mean that you are currently getting laid neil? 😉

    p.s. spanking is good.

  27. Merujo

    Fashion Week Daily is doing a spread on female bloggers? Christ, what a load of crap. Most of the best blogging is likely done by unphotogenic people who simply have a creative jones and no need to “reveal” themselves in some high falutin publication. Flavors of the month fade.

    Sometimes, I’m really, really glad only 10 people ever read my blog. 🙂

  28. AWE

    Just think if you got some big book deal. You would then get all kinds of money, have women falling at your feet, people asking your political agenda, hell you might become the next Neil-a-Nator, then you would have to explain how you lost your penis.

  29. Neil

    I’m forgetting already — what was this post about — literary envy or spanking? In a way, they are related. Writers spend so much time sitting on their asses by the computer, photogenic or not, that I assume most writers have scrawny butts, mine included. Spanking would just be uncomfortable to a weak tush and it could prevent the writer from sitting the next day in front of the monitor.

    If I were a construction worker, football player, or cowboy, with a strong he-man tush, I would say spank away. I could take it. But spanking a writer is a clear occupational hazard, like a concert pianist boxing without gloves.

  30. Edgy Mama

    E-spouse and I had the SAME conversation after the Frey shit hit the fan.

    BTW, Ash and I set up a little site: Come on over and lie to your heart’s content!

  31. Melissa

    You don’t have to be the spankee, you could be the spanker…

  32. Brooke

    I’m at a loss. Is this why you were asking me about spanking the other day?

  33. Danny

    No mystery on your blog—are you kidding? The whole “what’s really going on between Neil and Sophia?” thing you’ve created has everyone I know buzzing. I’ve tried every which way to get the dirt on that topic and you’ve expertly sidestepped each query. I now believe Sophia is a real person but I also know we’re only reading your version of her. For all we know she moved back to Russia years ago and you are having conversations with some matryoshka nesting dolls she left behind.

  34. Aviva

    when you’re famous, i get to say that i knew you way back when.

    even though you have no idea who i am.

    anyway, great blog.

  35. better safe than sorry

    i have no idea who you are, still a mystery. you might even be me. or i might be you.

  36. Won't tell

    Anonymity is overated…


  37. bella

    Hmm… you mean being anonymous can be cool?

  38. Carly

    Oh damn, I shoulda kept my fool mouth shut. Now I’m gonna miss out on a sex change, *and* the joy of taking that book to the cash desk at my strangely conservative Borders!

  39. Lynn

    You just need to be spanked right.


  40. The Rich Gypsy

    Something charming about a bloke who tells it like it is. No fear Neil … look at all the people (ahem … mainly women I notice) who’ll be lining up to buy your book … all 40 of us so far! Scoff not … it’s an excellent start.

    (My first visit to your blog ~ very much enjoyed it).

  41. industrywhore

    book deal — eh. you don’t get that much money to write a book. and they have lots of words. write a screenplay — you’ll make three times as much money.

  42. Neil

    But no one sleeps with the screenwriter.

  43. Neil

    A good post on Opinionistas backlash by Industry Whore.

  44. akaky

    I dont know, that whole reveal thing could backfire, Neal. For example, no knows who I am, and frankly, no one cares; even I have a hard time caring one way or the other and I already know who I am. So drop the whole gay thing. You need shock value, you need something so incredibly compelling that people who couldnt care less one way or the other will stop and take note. So gayness is out; I mean, really, who cares nowadays except for Pat Robertson and Fidel Castro? Spanking? Yesterday’s news. Pedophilia? Bestiality? Becoming a Mormon? They’ve all been done more than once and the shock value is long gone. Here’s the thing: you are one of Sophia’s breasts, the intelligent one, the one that would give Mariska Hargitay a run for her money questioning pervs on Law and Order: SVU. This way you and Sophia could play good cop, bad cop at the same time, and the other breast could occasionally throw in a comment every now and then on how the borscht in America is not as good as it is in Russia, you know, just as comic relief. Maybe you could get your own branch of the Law & Order franchise. You never know until you try, guy.

  45. Nancy

    I don’t know Neil — maybe you could reveal that you are actually someone else. Instead of Neil Kramer, maybe you could be a celebrity or something…

  46. cherchezlafemme

    Your writing is clever and funny. You don’t need a big reveal. Those pjs on the other hand … just kidding.

    As for anonymity, don’t sell it short. It can be a comforting cloak that simultaneously protects the wearer’s identity while allowing him or her to reveal secrets he or she normally may not. This is probably less true of writers (I don’t know. Totally random guess) than lawyers and others jogging along on the treadmill of corporate America for whom an untimely reveal (assuming they even want a reveal to being with) can bring untold repercussions. Just a thought. Of course, for some people it just may be a way to add a certain mystic…

  47. a.maria

    huh, i just started reading opinionista like 3 weeks ago. i’m so behind.

    anyway.. i’m with you on the aversion to spanking. can’t really say i enjoy it…

    now then, having my hair pulled? whole ‘nother story! 😉

    (and anonymous-turned-revealed is getting a little tired. i like to know, or at least PICTURE who i’m reading about. i dig your non-anonymity.. if… thats a word?!)

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