Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Are You Trying To Make Me Cry?

I'm off to work (Work! Yay!), but before I leave, I thought I'd share. Last night an anonymous poster responded to my posting about the "In His Steps" school of Christian utopian literature (Including In His Steps (1905), What Would Jesus Do (1950), and In His Steps Today (1987)). And they wrote the following, which I quote in toto:

boy you are pretty judgemental for someone who claims to be anti=evangelical.
In His Steps Today is a corny old book but written with humor and attempt to relate to Christians of that era. At least these people were trying for something better or above themselves, instead of just making fun of what others are doing.
Sorry, I have never read your blogs before, but you sound like a jerk.

There was a time when I was so anxious to have everyone like me that a comment like this would have driven me to sleepless agony. But today I just want to point out what I hope is obvious to everyone who read the original post: the angle of my essay will be tracking the decline in an idealism that I basically applaud. In His Steps is about changing the world forever in the name of idealism; In His Steps Today is a book about a Bible study group of eight people that tries to live like Jesus for a week. I call that shrinkage. What a jerk I am!

Also, of course, I haven't actually written the article yet. So let me point out that one of the interesting things about this strain of literature is that, the less idealistic it gets, the more the writing improves. In His Steps Today is clearly the best-written book of the bunch, and the only one of them that gives sentences and descriptions that provide something akin to actual pleasure. It's also skeptical about its own aims and its history. ("No one ever really does what Jesus did," says one person. "No one sells all their belongings and gives to the poor.") And it's the only one of the books that contains interesting, unidealized female characters and actual black people. (One of the painful things about What Would Jesus Do? is Glenn Clark's loving tendency to write his ethnic people in dialect. Fortunately for the modern reader, his most common target is not African-Americans but the Scottish. But he deserves some sort of fine for abuse of the apostrophe.)

So, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, I hereby suggest that if you're genuinely interested, please read the article once it's finished and (I hope) published by The Believer, and then you can weigh in on the fairness of what I've done. But be aware that it may contain standard capitalization.

I hear the buses rumbling outside. Wish me luck! I haven't held a nine-to-five job in six years. Do they still have water coolers?

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do they still have water coolers?

Yes, but they're all caffeinated now. If that bothers you, just help yourself to one of the Red Bulls by the coffeemaker in the break room.

Break a leg! Or is it a pencil?

5/15/2006 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Toonhead! said...

(er that was me BTW)

5/15/2006 12:22 PM  

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