Dear Ms. Ann Thrope

Dear Ms. Ann Thrope,

I’ve always dreamed of living in a hut in the woods, but I’m not sure I can survive without brunch. What should I do? — Hungry

Dear Hungry:

Learn to cook. And remember to buy a stovetop espresso maker. Unless you also buy a generator.

Dear Ms. Ann Thrope:

Why is Trump so determined to send a manned mission to Mars? — Puzzled

Dear Puzzled:

Everyone in New York knew Trump was an asshole. Then he got involved in politics, and everyone in the U.S. knew he was an asshole. Then he stole the presidency, and now everyone on Planet Earth knows he’s an asshole. What else is left? (The moon is too small for his ego.)

Dear Ms. Ann Thrope:

I want to write hard science fiction but I hated science in school. What should I do? — Ambitious

Dear Ambitious:

For those of us who forgot to get science degrees, there is a wealth of information out there—books, reputable web sites, podcasts. With some effort you can learn enough science to frame a story; as fiction writers we get to focus on the human aspects of the story and let the technical and scientific details form the backdrop.

Self-educating, although undervalued in our society, is a beautiful thing.

That said, I think it’s important to be accurate in those details. Read widely, science fiction as well as fact. Concentrate on the field that most enthralls you, be it gene modification, climate science, quantum physics, or that all-time sci-fi favorite, space exploration. (If it’s the last, I recommend a daily dip into Good luck, Ambitious!

Dear Ms. Ann Thrope:

I’m a Bahai, about to enter into a polyamorous marriage with a Druid, a Congregationalist, a Buddhist, a lapsed Catholic, and a Reformed Jew. How should we raise the children? — Wedding Bells, Bells, and More Bells

Dear Bells:

Do. Not. Procreate.

Dear Ms. Ann Thrope:

Why should I vote in 2020 if the Democratic candidate, once again, isn’t truly progressive? I don’t want to simply go back to the way things were. — I’ll Stay Home Again

Dear Home:

Go ahead. I’m old, and I don’t have to care. But you should. Old men (and women–who are often the enforcers of the societal “norms” that men invent) are trying to turn back the clock, and they’re succeeding because so many people refuse to compromise. Vote for president, whether your preferred candidate is nominated or not, and for the goddess’ sake, vote down-ticket for House of Representatives and Senator.

Dear Ms. Ann Thrope:

You say you don’t care, but you sound like you do. — Gotcha

Dear Gotcha:

You got me. I care.

True story: The year was 1969. I had just started college. My best friend from high school—call her Sally—showed up at my dorm in tears. Her boyfriend waited downstairs.

Sally was pregnant. Roe v. Wade was still several years out. My college had a reputation for being in the forefront of the growing new wave of feminism. She thought I might know someone who knew someone, and though I had only been there for a week, I did.

I got Sally the phone number and password she needed to arrange a clandestine abortion in Canada. She hemorrhaged afterwards, which was not unusual. Luckily she recovered.

In 1973 Roe v. Wade finally began to make the coat hanger as medical device obsolete. Now our rights are being systematically demolished with an eye toward reversing the decision in the Supreme Court. And it’s not just women’s right to control our bodies, of course. LGBTQ rights. Voting rights. The rights of refugees to seek asylum. We all have stories.

IMHO, we have to survive the undertow before we can swim.

Dear Ms. Ann Thrope:

This column started out funny, but then it got too serious. I object. — Light-Hearted

Dear Light:

Pain and laughter can exist in the same place.

Dear Ms. Ann Thrope:

I hear you have a friend with a similar name who also writes an advice column. What does she think we should do about Trump and the Republicans? — Curious

Dear Curious:

Yes, I do. Her name is Ms. Ann Dei, and she has just one word for us:

Dear LSQ Community: With that cheap shot, I bid adieu to my column, Breakfast Anytime, for a while. Thank you so much to the readers, editors, and fellow bloggers who have inspired and enlightened me.