Cary D. Tennis
an American author and columnist
A columnist is a journalist who writes for publication in a series, creating an article that usually offers commentary and opinions. Columns appear in newspapers, magazines and other publications, including blogs....
. He is best known for his work as an advice columnist in his column "Since You Asked," which appears on the website Salon.com
Salon.com, part of Salon Media Group , often just called Salon, is an online liberal magazine, with content updated each weekday. Salon was founded by David Talbot and launched on November 20, 1995. It was the internet's first online-only commercial publication. The magazine focuses on U.S...
Tennis is a native of Tidewater, Virginia.
He is based in San Francisco and is married.
Cary Tennis graduated cum laude from the University of Miami
The University of Miami is a private, non-sectarian university founded in 1925 with its main campus in Coral Gables, Florida, a medical campus in Miami city proper at Civic Center, and an oceanographic research facility on Virginia Key., the university currently enrolls 15,629 students in 12...
in 1976 with a B.A. in literature and journalism and entered the masters program in creative writing at San Francisco State University
San Francisco State University is a public university located in San Francisco, California. As part of the 23-campus California State University system, the university offers over 100 areas of study from nine academic colleges...
in 1978. He passed his oral examinations (Wallace Stevens, William Faulkner and Vladimir Nabokov) and had his creative thesis approved ("The Riverwood House and Other Stories"), but he never completed the degree program.
After university, Tennis worked in the mailroom of Western Electric in San Francisco, worked as a bike messenger, formed a new wave band called the Repeat Offenders (wrote, sang, played guitar), and worked as a rock journalist for the SF Weekly.
In the late 1990s he spent five years in a clerical job at Chevron
Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States and active in more than 180 countries. It is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining,...
. In 1999 he started working for Salon Magazine, first as copy editor, then copy chief and from 2001 as Salon's resident advice columnist.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, Tennis played in a rock and roll group known as The Repeat Offenders.
Cary Tennis announced in his column of November 19, 2009, that he has been diagnosed with a chordoma
Chordoma is a rare slow-growing malignant neoplasm thought to arise from cellular remnants of the notochord. The evidence for this is the location of the tumors , the similar immunohistochemical staining patterns, and the demonstration that notochordal cells are preferentially left behind in the...
, a rare malignant tumor that usually occurs in the spine and base of the skull.
Tennis' "Since You Asked" column began in 2001, and was based on a previous column by Garrison Keillor
Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor is an American author, storyteller, humorist, and radio personality. He is known as host of the Minnesota Public Radio show A Prairie Home Companion Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor (born August 7, 1942) is an American author, storyteller, humorist, and radio...
entitled Mr. Blue
"Mr. Blue" is a popular song written by and first recorded by DeWayne Blackwell in 1959. It became a hit for The Fleetwoods, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1959 and giving the group its second chart-topping hit of the year.-Cover versions:...
which appeared in Salon's Books section. In an unusual format for advice columns, "Since you Asked" publishes long letters, sometimes of 1,000 words, and equally long responses.
In the column, Tennis makes occasional reference to his own life, both as a suffering cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...
patient and a recovering alcoholic.
Tennis writes of his craft: "I'm no expert. I know the same things we all know," he says. "What I'm offering is, you know, good writing! Good writing can clarify overlooked or obscure areas of emotion. With sufficient craft, these things can be illuminated, and in a way that's pleasurable to read. Plus I'm kind. I offer sympathy to people who are in trouble."
Tennis writes of America: "Nothing has changed structurally; we are still a hateful, war-waging culture that denigrates women, celebrates killing, despoils the planet, plunders the resources of less powerful people, keeps a permanent underclass in virtual economic slavery and wages imperialist wars abroad. We're still the same country we were when I was growing up in the 1960s.".