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!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Soccergirl and Ryan P., or Why College Towns are Great

(Above: some guy I don't know, Soccergirl, and Ryan P., at a podcasting/new media con in 2006.)

I've been doing a surprising amount of my writing at The Black Swan in Tivoli. I'm not sure why it works, but I've been able to write up to 1,000 words an hour in the deafening clamor there after spending an unproductive day all by myself in the peaceful and distractionless environment of a country cabin. But sometimes I get to Tivoli a little early, so the other day I found myself at a restaurant called Santa Fe, and I started chatting up the bartender/server.

I mentioned that I was a writer, and she said, "I'm a writer too." Turns out she's famous! Not as a writer (yet) but as a podcaster. She's "Soccergirl" of Soccergirl Incorporated and--does it get sexier than this?--she's a pioneering figure; one of the first women to actually make a living by podcasting a solo show. (Sure enough, if you download some of her podcasts, you see actual advertisements for BBC America. Hott!) We just wound up talking and talking, and--long story short--I had dinner a few nights ago with her and Ryan P., her partner of six years. And it turns out Ryan is ALSO funny and brilliant and great company.

Just when I'd written off this part of the country as tedious and backwoodsy, and was just marking my time until my escape, along comes this pair of great people, and all of a sudden I have someone to celebrate reaching 100,000 words with. I expressed wonder at this, and Soccergirl pointed out, "Well we are right near Bard College. So actually, there are lots of smart fun people here." I keep underestimating the Hinterlands. College towns are great.

Oh, and you know what else? Because it's a college town, The Black Swan is open until FOUR. They don't even do that in Chicago. And it's very useful for folks like me if I've had, say, a slow start and haven't begun writing until 8 or 9. I still get many hours in and, therefore, a happy ending just in time for bed.

Anyway, I just had to share the following fact. Ryan P. told me that his favorite word, which he came across in the OED, is "quomodocumquise" (or, presumably, quomodocumquize in America), which means "to make money any way one can." Unfortunately I haven't been able to confirm this word myself (I'm away from all my references), but if he's represented it properly, I am totally writing a vocabulary poem on it, even though it violates my general "New International Second Edition only" principle.

No, I don't know why they're not National Puzzlers League members. Ryan is even a library sciences grad student, which is practically a prerequisite. I'm working on it.

AFTERNOTE: This reminds me of a story. One day during grad school while I was feeling really stuck and alone in Tallahassee, and in an arrogant mood, I said to a friend of mine, "I just feel like I should be in a big city or something. I mean, what are the odds I'll meet my match in a little town like Tallahassee?" And she said, "Well, you're here..." Touche. I should stop being judgy.

(P.S. I've got a storytelling gig today that'll take a lot of driving, so I can't get much writing done anyway. This has been a planned one-day hiatus, and with any luck I'll post an actual cartoon or poem or something.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's actually "quomodocunquize," Dave, and the single OED citation (Sir Thomas Urquhart in 1652) makes it even better:
"Those quomodocunquizing clusterfists and rapacious varlets."(!)

It was great meeting you, and I was delighted to see us show up on your terrific blog. I can't wait to do it again.
Ryan P.

6/14/2008 2:07 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

Bard is a really interesting school, and I hear the campus is gorgeous.

6/15/2008 2:27 AM  

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