I wrote about becoming a coder after a decade of scraping by off the proceeds of writing, even after essays gone viral, publishing a book, landing a creative writing "Professor" gig, & well-compensated and prestigious grants. Ironically, this letter, the 10th in my memoir-y newsletter, has been unusually well-received. I got a lot of "this struck a chord" from other artists and writers who've been trying to make it work. Maybe it will resonate if you're an artist/writer, or for non-artists, it might be of interest to see how the sausage is made--I discuss exact $ amounts of what my books, grants, jobs, contracts paid me. [more inside]
Two years ago, after enduring my numerous (NUMEROUS) social media posts and IRL chatter about her, a good friend of mine pointedly asked me WHAT IS YOUR DEAL WITH CARLY RAE JEPSEN? So this few thousand words here is my explanation of the nature of my deal with Carly Rae Jepsen.
My newest comic is something a little different for me. It’s certainly my most literary effort. It's called A Life Half-forgotten, and it’s what I like to call a graphic memoir, dealing with growing up in Central Ohio suburbia during the 60s and 70s, as well as the vagaries of memory. [more inside]
On Monday, November 28, 2016, at 9:45 PM, I lost my best friend and lifelong companion, Ryko, to complications from alimentary feline lymphoma. She was 18 and a half years old. In order to keep myself somewhat sane as I learn to process the loss of my girl, I’m writing her biography in serial form, from her manic kittenhood in Boston, MA, to her final peaceful days on the Westside of L.A.
The story behind a very very good, very very bad, day that began with AskeMe. [more inside]
The story of my young family's trip around the world told against the backdrop of my recovery from depression. [more inside]
This "cautionary tale about self-improvement" tells the story of what happens when your whole life is dominated by the world of self-help. It comprises 82 letters written over 16 years describing every self-help book, pop psych article, and personal invention I used—or abused—to change who I am. [more inside]
There are 10,513 MP3s on my hard disk. According to iTunes, that’s nearly 30 days worth of music. It has taken half my life – 15 years – to build this collection but I decided to listen to them all in one go. One continuous concert, playing songs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I wanted to revist all the songs I'd once loved, and the memories and places they called up. The only choice I made was the first track. After that, the computer randomly decided what was going to play. No stopping. No skipping. No changing the volume. Music, all the time, for a whole month. The Month In Music blog charts the progress of the playback project, updated once a day with original writing and photography. So far, it's a couple of days in...
In 1967, legendary - and doomed - singer-songwriter Nick Drake went travelling in Morocco, Spain and France with friends. Now one of his busking companions has written a book and a play about what happened. And it's only available on Kindle and ePub. [more inside]
My book Crossing the Heart of Africa just came out today. It's about retracing the 1898-1900 route of the British explorer Ewart Grogan from South Africa to Sudan. He did it to prove to his girlfriend's stepfather that he was worthy of marriage; I did it in part to dispel my own pre-wedding jitters. So it's an adventure-travel-history-romance-memoir. There's a photo gallery, animated map and excerpt. (For anyone who noticed a strange theme to my AskMe questions over the years - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 - this is why. And thanks!)
In the late 1960's, my mom, young and naive, was arrested entering the US with a little bit of pot. She was thrown into a Texas jail, and threatened with years behind bars. This experience ended up being the basis of an experimental / poetic novel she wrote during the '70s, which was meant to be published in the '80s, but things fell apart and it never actually made it to press. Shortly after that, my parents divorced, and then a few years later, my mother was diagnosed with MS. The novel has been sitting on the back burner for a long time, but is finally available. (It's like time travel.) [more inside]
In the immediate aftermath of the bloody Balkan wars of the 90s, a penniless science-fiction author was hired to write the official biography of Croatia's President, Franjo Tudjman. [more inside]