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 05, 2008


Just a quick note to say that I'm not dead. Although, as this post's title implies, I'm closer to feeling like a desperately stranded person who's one step away from cannibalism than I like. It's nine miles to the nearest town, and twelve to the nearest really healthy supermarket. I get almost no phone reception (and what I do seems to come with roaming charges), and I can't really afford to be distracted by the internet, so I keep the connection upstairs and only check it twice a day. There are more insects out here than I've ever been comfortable hanging around with. And the place is really cold--which makes sense, of course, since it would be insane to burn a lot of oil for one guy in a whole house, especially at today's prices.

You might think this would make for a serene writing experience, but I've been a little surprised there, too. I'm staying at a house that is frequently visited (next drop-in is on Wednesday) and occasionally actually rented out (on Saturday I have to make myself scarce), and I'm learning that having people around unpredictably (as opposed to, say, when I write in a bar or cafe) really throws off my concentration. I also have to keep the place much tidier than I would normally, which sort of limits the extent to which I can enter into the fugue state I usually require. (Just today I was pacing and pacing in tight little circles in the living room--a habit from years back--and I realized, "Oh, damn; I have to take my shoes off in the house!" Stop; remove; start over again from scratch.)

In short, it turns out my muse is kind of a diva. Who knew? And what a pain.

But today is the first full day I've managed it; 1,000 words last night, 2,500 already today and I haven't even cracked a sweat. I hope to finish the day around 6,000. I predict the same for tomorrow, and for any day I can manage to spend alone. And I think I've got enough socked away that I can retreat to a nearby hotel if need be for a day here and there and keep the cycle going. (There's a hotel right at the nearby town, and I have--thank god--access to a car.) Also, after the seventh they'll have cleaned out and spruced up a whole outbuilding that might turn out to be the only room I actually need to write in. So this is just a preliminary review. Things could become perfect very easily.

The transition, however, has been surprisingly difficult, albeit quite educational. Hence the recent blog silence. The fact that I'm writing now is a good sign: it means I've started to figure out how to get lots of writing done and STILL have energy left over to write completely non-book-related things. What's next? More cartoons and poems, maybe? We can hope.



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