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‘Something Cleverish’: a book for a worthy cause


On Aug. 16, 2008, Christian and Stephanie Nielson, young parents of four children, were in a small-plane crash in Arizona. Their flight instructor, Doug Kinneard, was killed, and the Nielsons sustained near-fatal injuries. Christian suffered burns on more than 30% of his body; Stephanie, 80%. They remained unconscious and in critical condition for weeks.

The reason this incident came to my attention is that Stephanie is the sister of Chris Clark, and Chris and his wife Lisa are two of my best friends. I’ve mentioned them in “Snide Remarks” many times, usually under their pseudonyms Monty and Claire. Their children include Miles and Owen, the latter of whom once had bees in his head and the bees were crazy. I love the Clarks dearly, and that includes their extended family, most of whom I’ve met and laughed with several times.

Anyway, Christian and Stephanie are doing miraculously well. They’ve been transferred up to Utah, where most of their family lives, and Stephanie’s siblings are helping with the kids. But there is still a long road of recovery ahead of them, and that road is paved with obscene hospital bills and other medical costs.

Before the accident, Stephanie wrote a blog called the NieNie Dialogues (get it, StephaNIE NIElson?) that was popular among her fellow young moms. The blogging community has rallied together to support her and Christian, organizing auctions and other fundraisers and setting up a recovery fund, and now those efforts have led to a book — a book that includes a brand-new, previously unpublished “Snide Remarks” column by me, Eric D. Snider.

The book, entitled “Something Cleverish,” was the brainchild of Sue at Navel Gazing at Its Finest. The idea is that since Stephanie was a popular blogger, a few dozen of her fellow bloggers would contribute humorous essays to create a funny, lighthearted book that people will enjoy reading, with all proceeds going directly to the recovery fund. There are 43 writers in the book, of which Chris Clark and I are the lone males. I don’t know if you’d know any of the other writers, but the list of them (with links to their blogs) is here. The essays they contributed to the book aren’t about Stephanie; they’re merely in her honor.

My article is called “In Which It Is Hard to Throw Away a Desk.” It’s a fairly typical “Snide Remarks” column in that it relates an incident from my personal life that makes me look foolish and shortsighted. I believe you will enjoy it.

And the only way for you to read it is to buy this book.

Yes, I’m blackmailing you.

The book costs $19.60. It’s published on demand by Lulu, which takes $8 for itself to cover printing costs. You can also buy a digital copy, which you can download immediately in PDF form, and Lulu doesn’t take anything — the entire $19.60 goes to the recovery fund. Either way, you’re supporting a worthy cause, and you get a book full of amusing prose to boot, including a “Snide Remarks” column that you can’t read anywhere else.

If you prefer to just donate a pile of cash to the recovery fund, details on how to do so — via PayPal, check, or bank transfer — are here.

I can tell you that the family is extremely grateful for all the support they’ve received so far. More fundraisers are on their way, including one next week in Provo. I hope you will buy the book, perhaps multiple copies, or contribute to the recovery fund in some other way. In the meantime, thank God for your blessings, and go hug your kids why don’t you?