Fran Dorf is an excellent writer. She is also very, very funny. (She should have her own late-night talk show.) Her humor is the hard-won privilege of someone who has faced much adversity in her life. Matching--and even exceeding--her humor is her compassion. Ask away! You will be blessed with wisdom.
Welcome to the Daily Muse’s advice column. I’m open for business, ready to provide thoughtful answers to your most pressing questions.
But first, let me introduce myself, so you know the editors didn’t just drag someone off the street to give advice on complicated life problems.
Although I’ve been a writer all my life, I never aspired to write an advice column—but I probably have the perfect background for the gig. I’m not just a writer, after all, I’m a psychotherapist and clinical social worker, too.
And I have quite a bit of life experience. Back before many of you Gen Yers were born, I got an undergrad degree in communications, then held a bunch of jobs—from car salesperson to corporate promotion manager—before finally accepting that I was more interested in understanding people than selling widgets. I went back to school for a PhD in Psychology, but never finished (although along the way I gathered some other letters, MA and MSW) because I began my writing career, which has included three nicely received novels, as well as published essays, poetry, and articles.
I’ve experienced all the usual things in life—career, marriage, and family, including now a grandchild—and I’ve also faced an extraordinary number of life challenges, probably more than my share. I’ve learned that, while styles and customs evolve and technology is changing our world at lightning speed, human nature and relationships—what we want and need in life, how best to get it, and how to cope when we don’t—remain constant.
The truth is, experience is only useful when we learn from it. And that’s what I’m here to share. I’ve learned so much that I write a blog, The Bruised Muse, celebrating surviving and developing resilience in the face of adversity. I’ve been working on a new genre of memoir, too. It includes self-help in the form of “survival tips” for reader takeaway (you’ll probably see a few sprinkled in my column)!
But enough about me. Let’s move on to you, and your relationships with parents, friends, spouses, co-workers, mentors, bosses. In this column, I’ll tackle questions about your career, love, sex, male/female roles, taking criticism, expectations, ambition, addiction, jealousy, loss. I’ll take on your pet peeves, life’s little annoyances, your worries about navigating this culture and the changing role of women, your existential despair, fear, boredom, bias, envy, anxiety, anger, sadness.
And I’ll do so for the same reason I sit with people in therapy: I want to help. To offer you perspective. To encourage your self-analysis, creativity, confidence, and compassion. To help you think clearly, consider all the options, set boundaries, and be realistic. To help you make good choices.
As I answer your questions, I have three promises to make:
- If I have a useful example from my own life, I’ll offer it, and I’ll always tell the truth as I see it, not necessarily as I (or you) wish it would be.
- If I’m unsure about something, I’ll consult an expert.
- I’ll probably make a joke or three in my answer, usually at my own expense, but I don’t do snark. I’ve been through so much in my life, believe me, I have empathy for whatever you’re facing.
You, Daily Muse reader, and I are beginning this adventure together. You’ll be anonymous, so don’t hold back, but do try to provide some context or background when you ask your question. And remember: The more interesting and honest the question, the more interesting and useful the answer.
So go ahead… Just Ask Me.
Need advice? Write to Fran at firstname.lastname@example.org