Monday, February 8, 2010

A Case of Nervous Breakdownness

Been awhile since I've blogged. Didya miss me? Really? Why not? Fine. Whatever.

Since I last tippy tapped away on my keyboard, I got myself a fancy pants legit writing gig! At the prodding (and prodding, and prodding...) of my fumetastic friend Anad, I finally submitted an application to "The Nervous Breakdown" ( It's a literary community led by the most talented and humorous author Brad Listi. Anad has been reading him for years, and she got me hooked when he did a blog a day for a year.

Anyhoo, I filled out an application and submitted a bunch of writing samples, and after about three weeks, they told me that TNB was only for people who were serious about their writing (but in a fun way), and that I should send them some writing samples if I wanted them to consider me as a contributor.

Oooooooooooooo k.

After re-sending and not hearing from them for a month, I finally received an email from Brad Listi one day last week at something like 4 a.m. PST. I made the cut! And so after all the "Welcome Aboard" ado, he advised that I would be expected to contribute at least one piece a month, which piece should be a fairly well-edited rumination on anything I wanted, so long as I avoided blogginess. Btw- lots of made-up words in this blog, if you haven't noticed.

So I've spent the last week trying to figure out my first column. It's been freaking HARD. I know, I said "hard."

I started writing one thing, but didn't like it. Then I started writing something else, and got to five pages single spaced before I realized 1) it was too long; and 2) it was super boring.

So yesterday I started chopping it down, and actually found that I liked a few bits and pieces. I cracked me up. But overall, I was still underwhelmed. I knew I had to start over. Fuck.

When I got home from a hectic day today, I knew I needed to figure this out. I found myself concerned that I had taken on something far more stressful than I had anticipated. I wondered if a monthly column was more of a monthly headache. And despite a lifetime of experiences and several lifetimes of opinions, I had nothing to say.

I busted out my new spike mat, plugged in my iPod, and started grooving to old school folk- Gordon Lightfoot, John Prine, and Bob Denver. Listening to Bob Denver crushed me. In a good way. I forgot just how special he was. He slowed me down and turned me around, and when he finished singing, I turned my iPod off and just lay there for another 10 minutes. Then I had it.

I ran downstairs, pulled out the Macbook, and three hours later, I have my first draft done. I'm not much of an editor, but I do know that the best editing is done at least a day after the draft. But I have to say, I'm positively giddy with anticipation. I love the subject I chose, I love the ideas that came to me as I wrote, and I love the feelings I felt writing it. It was an awesome experience.

So tomorrow I hope to have it edited, and if I can exercise a little restraint, I'll wait another day or two to roll it out. I'm a little nervous. In a breaky way.


  1. Hey Joe- quick question- did you edit this blog above here, or did you just type it and publish it without proofreading it?

  2. Joe-

    Thanks for asking and thanks for reading! I actually published it without re-reading it even once. Try not to let any typos or grammatical awkwardness put you off- it's just a blog.



  3. I had no idea that Gilligan was a musician. What's your favorite of his stuff?

  4. 'I'm positively giddy with anticipation'

    That quote made my day! x