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!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

What's That Thing In Dave's Head?: A Quiz For The Apocalypse

First things first: Yesterday at lunch, I was listening to the Comedy Radio station on iTunes, and ... Nick Di Paolo came on. "Hey!" I thought. "I recognize that name!" So I listened, and damned if it wasn't the same recording ("Born This Way") that resulted in my previous review, and which brought me so much interesting mail. In the interest of fairness, I decided to take more careful notes this time and I am sad to say that, when I was actually writing things down, blow by blow, it wasn't quite as bad as I remembered, and I'm going to have to alter my assessment. Not by much, but I *do* feel I was unduly harsh in my initial reaction. More on this later.

But, to my brain. Two things. First, I've always had problems with Freud's model of dream interpretation, where the unconscious mind is sending messages to our conscious one. While I suppose you might get extremely valuable information at times ("Wow. I must be stressed. There's blood all over this Ferris wheel."), for the most part there are generally much more sublunar explanations. I have a recurring dream where my tongue pushes all my teeth out of my mouth, and I finally figured out that it's because my tongue moves that way, feels my teeth while I sleep, and then my brain misinterprets what's going on. Only last week I dreamed I was on some sort of very loud and windy train...and woke up with my new fan staring me in the face. That's what can happen when your brain is literally operating blind.

But I am happy to report that just last night, I defeated one of the frustrations that has always presented me in Slumberland: I can't read anything. I can think of at least three times in my life where I've actually dreamed that I found the Best Book Ever, opened it, and felt this staggering elation ... but couldn't even recall a single word upon waking. I've tried to read things in my dreams ever since the first time, and met with no success. (Generally, the first page is blank, and as soon as I turn to the next page the light causes a huge glare, or the camera shifts to a down-up view where I can only see the cover.

Anyway, this is gonna be a little anticlimactic, but I did finally read an actual book in last night's dream: not a sentence, but I did get the title of a book and I actually remembered it. I am proud to report that last night I read How To Building House Wine For The Apocalypse. I don't remember anything else about it, like why I saw the book or where I was when it happened, and there was absolutely no plot going on at the time. But now I think I know why these dream-books are so hard to read.

Second: Every so often, in the course of my day, an odd thought will strike me---usually a word question or a trivia fact---and I'll write it down to look up later. Yesterday I had three such ideas backlog on me in a single day, and I decided to turn them into a quiz. The questions are the questions that struck me. Can you choose the correct answers?

1. STRAY THOUGHT: "I know that 'go-devil' is a word---and it's nice for wordplay purposes because it's GOD + EVIL. But what the hell is a 'go-devil?'

a. a handcar used on a railroad
b. a weight dropped in a hole to set off an explosion
c. a wooden device, dragged behind an ox or horse, used for loosening the soil
d. a child's sled
e. all of the above

2. STRAY THOUGHT: "If I had the word IDOLATERS on my rack in a weird game of Scrabble where I overdrew and I knew no one would challenge me, I know I could make ESTRADIOL with the same letters, but are there any other Scrabble-legal nine-letter words in that rack?"

d. all of the above
e. none of the above

3. STRAY THOUGHT: "I know director D. W. Griffith's first name was David, but what did the W. stand for?"

a. Wilhelm
b. Wallace
c. Wark
d. Wanamaker
e. all of the above.

I looked them all up and now I know. Answers later.


Anonymous Trip said...

That book title would rock if it had "... for Dummies" at the end of it.

6/22/2006 9:53 AM  
Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

I wrote a cartoon with that theme. It just showed four books side by side with the following titles: Ventriloquism for Dummies; The Idiot's Guide to Villages; Luck For Beginners; and Walking And Breathing For Complete Fucking Morons. Never submitted it anywhere because the only places that take single-panel cartoons are generally family-friendly. Maybe if I changed the last one to SEX for Complete Fucking Morons I could sell it to Playboy...

6/27/2006 6:37 AM  

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