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, September 13, 2007

My So-Called Fan Base

Okay, I tried. I really WANT to do the funny poems and cartoons that used to pepper this site. (Newbies: want a taste? Check out February through April, and then jump to last December or thereabouts.) But lately I really have been obsessing over this book and I can't stop writing it. Following an obsession is always wise in writing; you never know when it's going to stop.

However, I DO want to start blogging more often now, because between my last two performances on This American Life, I've acquired at least eight fans who have written me! (Assuming my fans include people who have written either here or at my home email, and not counting anyone who quotes windy passages of scripture or promises to pray for me.) So since people seem to be dropping by, and they want to read stuff, here's what I suspect you can expect:

1.) Attempts at the first sample chapter of the book.

I've got a lot of great middle chapters, but if I don't have a good first one, I'm kind of sunk--not only in my proposal, but in my attempts to reach the people I want to reach. Since I've started the book at least six times now, each from a different angle, I expect I'll be posting and fishing for helpful commentary.

2.) Ideas for The Church of the Pleasant Surprise.

I'll be proposing a model for a kind of spiritual life for atheists: a church that can literally do no harm. But although I've got a few fun ideas (we meet in a karaoke bar and everyone has the opportunity to either sing or tell a story, perhaps with a weekly or biweekly theme), I'm still trying to think of ways to make The Church of the Pleasant Surprise effective at grounding meaning. It seems clear that one of the things that makes church different from hanging out with your friends is a sense of being part of something larger than yourself; a kind of tribalism of benevolence. There must be a way of reinscribing that in a secular vein, but I can't think of much besides maybe meeting at the planetarium and holding hands while looking up. Anyway, I'll be floating ideas for that here.

3. Books I Done Stole: Reviews from I-10.

Many of you may recall that two years ago I drove the entire length of I-10 on a sort of spiritual atheistic journey that led me from the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Tallahassee to a burlesque show in Tucson, and all bars in between. The book itself, Travels With Ritalin, remains unpublished for a silly reason: I haven't quite finished it yet.

See, when I was planning the trip but didn't have a justification for it, one of the things I decided I'd do (in the absence of any major motivation) was to go to every major city along I-10, find some restaurant or shop that was using old books as decoration--you know those weird things thing you find on display featuring authors you've never heard of and titles that seem vaguely interesting?--and I'd steal one of these unloved books, read it, and write a review. Well, there's a review section at the end of every chapter, only they're all empty because I've never actually sat down and read them. (At the time, I was too busy driving. Then when I got back I had prelims, and then I defended, then I moved to New York...) So now that I have a longish commute and all these books lying around, I've decided "Why not complete the book?" So I've read a few already--Unforbidden Fruit by Warner Fabian and The Man From San Francisco by Ivan Bunin, and I'm lacerating my eyes with G. S. Street's The Young Matriarch now (if the geneaolgies don't get me the dress descriptions may).

Anyway, those of you who visit this site can thereby function as my first readers on this new hopefully-to-be-published material. I'd appreciate feedback, either on the site or in personal e-mails. So thanks, and keep watching for updates!



Blogger maarmie said...

Actually, I-10 stretches all the way to Los Angeles. Trust me on this one. I've driven it!

9/14/2007 3:02 PM  
Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

Oh, I know. I actually went from St. Augustine to Santa Monica. But I didn't find much religious to do in either city, so they didn't fit into the paragraph I was blogging about. (I also left I-10 near the end to go to the Roswell UFO Festival, which was every bit the freakshow you'd expect.)

By the way, hi! It's been a while. I promise to email shortly so you can tell me about married life.

9/14/2007 3:15 PM  
Blogger Tristram Shandy said...

Actually, regarding the Church of the Pleasant Surprise, have you heard of the Church of Reality? It comes across ever so slightly snarky, but once you dig a little deeper, it actually possesses some real depth (in The Sacred Contemplations, for example). And evidently, the Church has already achieved tax exempt status!

9/30/2007 12:22 PM  

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