Archive for October, 2007

Call for Submissions: First-Kiss Stories

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

1210131559_a0f5558f27_m.jpgMy high school reunion’s coming up, and along with the many emails from the organizers (including one goody-two-shoes type who now sports a address—she’ll be popular after a few drinks) has come a flood of memories. Given that this was high school and I was a teenage boy, most of my memories are around girls (cue Superbad trailer, uncensored version). Sure, we all have our R and NC-17 stuff from back in the day, but for me there’s nothing that beats a decidedly PG-13 first kiss. You only get one first kiss in life.* You also only get one first kiss with a new person, whether it’s first-and-only, first-of-many, or first-and-forever. First kisses, I am here to report, are the best. Have a first-kiss story?

The three years and going strong First Kiss Project wants it, explaining “the aim … is to record as many first kiss stories as possible. To capture those clumsy sweet first attempts to end our innocent and bumbling foolishness.” The site posts stories of debut smootches regularly, and accepts submissions of 350 words or less. If you decide to go down that lane, leave SMITH your first kiss tale here or via email. xoxo.

*You know who you are Jen G. Thank you.

Dog kissing baby from Flickr user crzytx1369.

“He shot out of the womb angry. And then he left that same way”

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

gonzocover.jpgThe above headline is one of my favorite bits from our just-published excerpt of Gonzo: An Oral History of Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson has never been lacking in publicity, but I think even those with a PhD in the good doctor’s life and times will love reading this take on Thompson’s boyhood days in Kentucky. These were the emerging artist’s days of war games and BB guns and sports and pranks and booze. Tossed in jail for a crime he may or may not have committed with two friends, young Hunter was hung out to dry while his better-connected compradors were sprung free. Historian Doug Brinkley recounts what happened:

Hunter wrote his mother these very philosophical letters from behind bars. They exude the desperation of a young man in jail looking for his freedom as well as contemplating how the rich get away with dastardly things and the poor don’t—that the buddies that he was with in the Cherokee Park event were waltzing because they knew the judge, and that he was the poor kid on the other side of the railroad tracks with no dad. The game was fixed.

Like so many young writers, I fell in love with his work, specifically Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas*, and fortunately got my own god-awful gonzo stage out of the way early, in college. Later, after editing a story my friend Cheryl wrote about being Thompson’s assistant, she thanked me by giving me a cigarette holder he’d given to her. I’m not an autograph hound or huge celebrity worshipper (or, for that matter, even a smoker), but I cherish it.

Read more about the beginnings of HST, storytelling legend, here.

* My wife tells the story of how as a twentysomething in San Francisco commuting to a temp job she hated, she would re-read Fear & Loathing, standing up, squashed in the train like an animal. It kept her sane.

Happy Boss’s Day Larry SMITH

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

LS_headshot_SMITHtee.JPGThought I’d send our fearless leader, Mr. Larry Smith of SMITH (our Leonidas, if you will) a quick Happy Boss’s Day note.

Dude, you’re an awesome friend and editor. I always appreciate your help and patience—especially when it comes to the technical stuff. Yuck. Thank you for giving me a shot!

BTW: Thank you Jeffrey Yamaguchi for the incredibly helpful reminder!

Don’t forget to send you happy thoughts (and a beer) to the L-man today!

Weird Job: The Dalai Lama

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

736535619_7aff8b97d1.jpgI went to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama give a public talk at Radio City in NYC on Sunday. (And my blogging pal, John House, had his own brush with the Dalai Lama a while back. )While it was sometimes difficult to understand His Holiness (English is not his first language), the Dalai Lama is totally on the level. I mean, he gets it and didn’t over-complicate any of his points, which included the importance of cultivating inner peace and inner prosperity (just because you’re financially well off, doesn’t mean you lead a very rich life). Some other great and very simple points (FYI, this is in a nutshell): prayer is great, but if you want to change something, YOU have to be the force behind change—prayer won’t always cut it. We are all connected. We are the same: human beings. Compassion rocks, we should all try to be compassionate. Non violence is a good thing.

The Dalai Lama is also an honest man. At the very beginning of his talk, he made it clear to his audience that if you’re looking for a miracle, you’re essentially barking up the wrong tree—His Holiness doesn’t do miracles and he can’t cure you. (more…)

Boss’s Day is Tuesday, Oct. 16

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Have you interofficed your card yet?

Probably not… Because you either didn’t know of the existence of Boss’s Day (yes, it’s a real day), or you simply refuse to have anything to do with it, for legitimate reasons galore, I am sure.

Well, here are some ideas (incentives, maybe?) at in case you are thinking about sending a card.

Be sure to also check out the newly relaunched

Social Conscience and Shameless Self-Promotion

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Last week, I went to a book party forgrip.jpg Frances Moore Lappé, inspirational author and activist, and inspirational mother of Anna Lappé and Anthony Lappé. In addition to writing about the place of the individual in politics and society, she published Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad in a totally individual way. Eschewing traditional publishers, she decided to “walk the walk” and form Small Planet Media to retain full control over the creative aspects and production values of the book. She found a union printer willing to print with soy ink on recycled paper and adopted a Creative Commons copyright to help encourage the dissemination of the book’s message. Buy a copy here, or check out a short webumentary first. I’m just sorry your screening won’t come with awesome vegan hors d’oeuvres.

banr.jpgIn other book news, Not Quite What I Was Planning is coming together quickly. We’ve gotten some early press, and some of the book’s best six-word memoirs are taking a warm-up run in the Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007, available now.

Housing Horrors

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

This week’s question:

On the possible verge of a national housing crisis, we wondered: What was your worst personal housing disaster?

Next week’s question:
What was your best, weirdest, funniest, most controversial, or just-plain favorite Halloween costume ever?

66 Celebrities Who Blog

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

We tend to steer clear of celebrities unless they play well with the rest of us—and mesh with our storytelling mission. In our Brushes With Fame area, for example, readers write about celebrities landing, alien-like, on their turf (at say, the urologist’s office). And one of the many things that we love about gathering six-word memoirs is that we can showcase the short life stories of never-published writers right next to those of chart busting wow-I’m-on-Oprah authors.

It’s in that spirit that I give you a post on Cowboy Gossip that lists 66 celebrities who blog. I’m fairly certain that this list is the only time in history where Rosie O’Donnell and Tommy Lasorda have appeared together, and co-exist as just two crazy kids blogging about their life, be it about gay parenting or the joys of baseball in October (far from mutually exclusive, of course). The beauty of blogging is that it’s a level playing field, one where a Hairstory and the Dude’s story are all just a click away—and only as good as their last post.

Rosie from Flickr user no-frills marilyn; Tommy from Flickr user CJM. Thanks to to SG for the tip.

Goodbye Cruel World

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Is the web the new zine? And are literary magazines dead? A harsh but well-written blog polemic claims the answers are yes and yes. I’m curious to hear what our readers think, but for now I’m feeling my “campaign to save book reviewing” feeling—can’t we all just get along??

UPDATE: The rather terrific nonfiction lit mag The Crier is on financially necessitated hiatus. Hmm.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Six Words on Your Evil Boss

Monday, October 8th, 2007

hatejobbook.jpgHappy Monday. If you don’t have Columbus Day off—and one wonders how it can still be a national holiday except in, say, Arizona—then you’re probably not psyched to be at work and staring at your overpaid, demanding, unappreciative, and possibly even ungroomed boss. We feel you. And so do our friends at True Office Confessions. Taking a page out of our six-word book, TOC is seeking six-word reviews of your boss. Submit your best six here.

Book shot from Flickr user candrews.

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