An Open Letter to Martha Stewart, or “I Ain’t Goin’ Back to Jail.”





Dear Martha Stewart,

I am writing to ask you, gently yet firmly, to stop contacting me via email and the U.S. Postal Service.

Our friendship, perhaps our co-dependency, was forged in a much different time for both of us.  Somewhere around 1996, I fell in love with your organizational skills, your quaint yet elegant homes, and your intricate fonts.  You fell in love with my $9.95 per year.

To me, you were the epitome of what I longed to be.  I was very desperate to be something other than what I was at the time.  I was trying to ignore my husband’s indiscretions, trying to ignore our problematic financial situation, trying to ignore my underemployment, my stress eating, and my lack of intellectual stimulation. I have to admit, Dear Martha, that I was simply using you as a distraction from my lackluster existence.

It’s not that you weren’t an important part of my life then.  You showed me there were homes out there beyond my 1950’s tract house addition.  You showed me there were places that served dinner with real silverware, not just sporks.  You showed me how to make handmade Christmas ornaments, which took 7 hours out of my miserable life.  Thank you for that.

But something happened along the way.  You went to jail.  I got divorced.  Funny, that at the same time you were being taken away from your freedom, I was gaining mine. You and I were both finding out there were more important things in life than knowing how to fold a fitted sheet.  We finally parted ways when I stopped paying for your magazine.  Let me explain – I needed the money for food.  Cheap food. Kraft dinners.

Through the years we’ve been apart, I’ve learned some important lessons, some that you may have learned, also. I have learned to be careful with whom you trust your secrets.  I’ve learned not to expect too much from someone just because he wears a suit for a living. I’ve learned you have to earn your success by honestly working for it. I’ve learned that you have to water plants (but maybe you knew that, already.)

As for the emails and letters I have been receiving from you lately begging me to return to your subscription family, I must politely decline and ask you to cease further contact.  I’m good. I  am happily remarried to a man who waters flowers for me and doesn’t care that I don’t have time to properly braise beef.  You see, I have gotten over my need to escape into your world of perfection.  In fact, through your very public problems, I have come to realize your world may not have been perfect, after all.  You showed us that we all have shit.  And for that, I am grateful. But I will not return to you.  I will not invest in your “good things”, because the idea of those good things led me to believe that all other things were “not good things”, and I know for a fact that they are. Store-bought chicken – good thing. An $8.95 bottle of wine – good thing. Fake Christmas trees – good thing. And by the way, votives in a vase of mixed nuts – not a good thing when it sets the nuts on fire, just so you know.



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3 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Martha Stewart, or “I Ain’t Goin’ Back to Jail.”

  1. O.M.GOODNESS… This is the best post I can remember reading in I think forever. Oh, Amy, you hit the nail squarely on the head – it was a PERFECT STRIKE, and you drove your point home. Wow. Can I just say again, wow. I have no words.
    Ok, maybe a few. I laughed – OUT LOUD – to the line about sporks. Oh, that was brilliant! And the nuts on fire… darling girl, you made my day. I never endured the pain of a divorce (though I lived through that as a child and I know it has everything to do with years of overcompensation for perceived wrong-side-of-the-tracks insecurities – but that is beside the point). I had The House. The Perfectly Folded Sheets. The colour coordinated everything in a home where my son was running off the rails and we had too much money, too much space… too much of muchness.
    What was all that about, anyway? Us trying to be perfect at everything? I am loving my imperfect life with cobwebby corners and grown children and a husband that adore me (heaven knows why)… I love my grandsons getting grubby in mismatched socks.
    Yesterday, I killed, plucked and dressed my first chicken ever in a very Un-Martha sort of way. It is currently simmering on my less than clean stove, and it smells good! Maybe I’ll break out the sporks tonight to celebrate my victory over both squeamishness and perfectionism!
    You, my dear, are a genius. You verbalized a response to the disease I could never name. Thank you, Amy.
    Mother Hen

  2. This is an amazing piece! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had to break up with Martha as well…for other reasons, but I can totally relate. Thanks for sharing this. I reblogged at

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