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, August 17, 2006

An Apology to the Entire South

A few months back I made some snarky comments about the South and Southern culture. My Southern friends got their backs up, I apologized poorly, and we sort of tacitly agreed to disagree.

But just before the last Moth Storytelling Slam at the Nuyorican Cafe, I arrived early and had an hour to kill. So I wandered in the neighborhood and found a restaurant called Mama's Cafe. And without even thinking it consciously, I felt---as if in my soul---"I hope they have Southern cooking." And along with that thought came an anticipation of comfort and warmth that I rarely actually associate with food. (I grew up with a mom who didn't always cook so well, bless her heart.) And they DID! Fried chicken. Mashed potatoes. Collard greens. All the staples! It struck me then---and maybe I mentioned this earlier---that Southern cooking is better even than Mexican food in terms of good taste at low prices. (At least for me; I have low spice tolerance.)

Then just two days ago I found myself standing in a crowded subway train next to a lovely woman named Pamela who had just come from her first day of her new job in New York. She was from a small town in northern Alabama (and it's hard to tell who gets slammed more in comedy sketches---Alabama or Arkansas---but this definitely makes her ground zero for most southern jokes) and she was chatting volubly and unselfconsciously with everyone around her. "My goodness," she said. "Everyone's been so nice! And fortunately I live up in Harlem so I've already found a restaurant that has the best cornbread!" Everyone around her was smiling, which is the first time I've seen anything like that in New York when there wasn't a nearby performance or embarrassing injury. It struck me then that as much as I love New Yorkers, there really is a kind of courageous naivete and goodwill that---while it is, of course, sprinkled throughout the human population everywhere---I really haven't found in large amounts in anyplace except the South.

So let me hereby apologize for the mean things I said about the South before. Evidently I hadn't had enough time to miss it then. Now, occasionally, I do.

(Important clarification: to me "The South" is Tallahassee and parts of Atlanta. Once when I marveled aloud in class about how nice everyone was in Tallahassee, every one of my students agreed---and a quarter of them were from small southern towns that---judging from their essays---were apparently quite unfriendly.)


Blogger Angieb303 said...

Now that's what I'm talkin' bout!!! I knew you really loved the south.

8/17/2006 6:10 PM  

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