Last year, I got an email from Erica Jong. Yes, that Erica Jong, noted author of the classic novel Fear of Flying. She was inviting me to submit an essay to an anthology she was editing about sex. “I am asking for your contribution, of course, because I so admire your writing.” My immediate thought was, “I’ve made it,” because this anthology was also going to house the writings of some very prominent female writers. It felt like the last ten years of sex writing, which I stumbled into while in law school with very little thought about its consequences, had culminated in this opportunity. The book was being published by a major publisher, and would pay $1,000.

For some of you that may be small potatoes, but in my world, that’s major money, both in terms of my usual rates, and in terms of what it could pay for: two-thirds of my monthly rent, almost seven therapy sessions, a few trips and hotel stays. I was so excited that I forgot about the hard part: the actual work.

I agonized over my essay. Well, before I agonized, I blabbed. I’ve since come to the conclusion that talking about my writing while it’s in progress, before there’s a contract for it. is the kiss of death. But at the time I was so honored I thought it would be a good idea to tell my boyfriend. I hadn’t quite thought through the process, though, of assuring him that no, I wasn’t writing about him…for an anthology centered around “the best sex I ever had.”

I was honestly stumped at first. What was the best sex I’d ever had? How could I rate that? Is there such an objective way to measure it? I had been chosen, presumably, for my years of writing a sex column for The Village Voice, for my ability to write about my personal life with no qualms about what others might think. Yet the more I tried to focus, the more elusive the topic seemed to be. It seemed audacious to suggest that some of the kinky sex I was having with my boyfriend might be the best; I know I’d scoff at someone who made it sound like her life was so glamorous and perfect.

Finally, I settled on a particular one-night stand that, as I titled my essay, “saved my life.” It was an over-the-top claim, and I flip-flopped while trying to describe—and disguise—my subject, changing his profession and appearance, while still maintaining heart of the story. Jong mailed me back extensive revisions, and while I stood outside the Au Bon Pain on Broad Street during a lunch break, took the time to go over those revisions by phone.

I should have been extremely honored that such a literary luminary wasn’t dismissing my words out of hand, but trying to teach me how to share something personal and powerful, something that would resonate with readers and reveal something I’d never revealed before. Instead, as I so often do, especially when any amount of money more than a pittance is offered to me, I got in my own way. I procrastinated. I thought about retackling my essay, and I wrote it on my to-do list for months. I woke up each morning determined that today would be the day…or tomorrow. Or the next day. Or, in reality, never, because I never did tackle the revision. Maybe I was so afraid that I would try again, and be rejected, that instead I rejected myself. Maybe I convinced myself that nothing I could possibly write would be worthwhile. I know that not trying will be something I regret for the rest of my life.

The bottom line is, when the book now titled, according to Amazon, Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write About Real Sex, comes out in June, my words won’t be in it. This, much more than the missed financial opportunity, serves as a daily reminder of my lack of follow-through, my lack of belief in myself. In the meantime, I’ve since submitted dozens of short stories, ones that usually pay around $50 each. I value writing erotica, and editing it, but I’m extremely ashamed that, through no one’s fault but my own, my words will not be nestled alongside those of Susie Bright, Fay Weldon, Gail Collins, Honor Moore and others.

This is not the first time I’ve flaked on an anthology assignment. There are several, but the ones I think about when I see them on my bookshelves are the ones where I let my fear get in the way. I assumed that, seen alongside real music writers in a book of musical rivalries, my idea to explore the rivalry between Madonna and Cyndi Lauper in the 1980’s would be seen as puny. My Bush twins erotica story for a collection on sex and politics? I let it wither after a few paragraphs on my computer screen out of what I told myself was some fear of White House reprisal.

While I did struggle with the topic, as the best editors do, Jong gave me guidance, told me how I could fix my meandering words into a proper story, one with not just a beginning, middle and end, but a point, a statement, a unique opinion. Instead of grappling with the red marks on those pages, I did the worst thing I could possibly do: I ignored them. I reverted to my childish habit, one that has lingered into adulthood, of abandoning any task that didn’t come easily to me (chess, law school, etc.).

I fear that perhaps my mother’s disapproval of almost everything I write, her belief that sex is a solely private topic, has somehow affected me, even though I clearly have staked my career on the idea that sex is both public and private, and fully worthy of discussion and exploration, in conversation and on the page. Jong gave a talk on a cruise my mother was on, and she related this dismissively; “I didn’t go to that.” I don’t think it’s just my poor relationship with my mother, though, because I write about sex all the time, revealing details and nuances about my erotic behavior. Yet when the stakes are high, I flee.

It hit me last night that perhaps the reason I couldn’t bring myself to face the topic head-on wasn’t just that I didn’t think I had anything original to say, but in that all too classic female way, I didn’t want to hurt anyone by what I might write. If I were to call X, even anonymously, the person who I’d had the “best,” most transformative sex with, would that put all my other lovers to shame?

Even now, I can’t simply produce off the top of my head a single night of passion or a person who seems entitled to wear this crown. But that is not an excuse, because the job of the writer is not to simply allow their mind’s first (or second or third) thought on a topic to prevail. My job, as I perceive it, is to push past those often incorrect first instincts and delve deeper, look farther, unearth things about myself I might not have realized. Maybe instead of a single “best,” I could’ve found patterns or connections, could’ve crafted not just a point A leading to point B lightbulb of an a-ha, but something thoughtful, something that took more than a few hours to produce. In hindsight (ha ha), I’m sure I could have pushed myself intellectually in a way that, whether the final product was published or not, I could have been proud of. Instead, I succumbed to my biggest fears, my inner bully who tells me more often than I’d like what a loser I am. I know that plenty of other people, maybe all of us, have at least a whisper of that voice in their heads, but the successful people, the ones I look up to, are the ones who’ve found ways of vanquishing that voice, at least for as long as they need to in order to create their art.

I write this not to beat a dead horse, because, believe me, I’ve thought about this many, many a time, wondered why I, who often struggle to pay my rent and other expenses, would so easily let go of a lucrative, exciting chance to truly be seen, in a book about sex that even those who probably would never touch—or hear about—the average sex book just may pick up when they see it front and center in their local bookstore or read about it in major newspapers.

I don’t have a precise answer as to why I’m my own worst writing enemy. I share this story for the same reason I write most of what I do: because I want to release some of the haunting thoughts that circle in my head around this topic of self-sabotage, because while I wouldn’t wish that same shame onto anyone else, I think it’s likely other writers have gotten in their own way too. Because I want to apologize to myself and forgive myself and move on. Because I want a public reminder that the next time I say yes to a writing project, no matter how big or small (and I fervently hope there’ll be another big one someday), I want to see it through.

I’ve been reading journalist Courtney E. Martin’s new book looking for inspiration in the lives of others. In it, she profiles eight activists who have forged new paths toward creating a world they’d like to see, and haven’t let their doubts stop them. Often, I hold onto a book’s title in my head even more than I do the words inside, and repeat it like a silent mantra. Sometimes, when I’m sick of my worst habits, it’s Dylan Landis’s Normal People Don’t Live Like This. Now, Martin’s title one of those phrases, so simple yet so often easy to ignore, that in three words sums up the advice I wish I could give myself, after taking over a thousand to to explain my failure: Do It Anyway. Next time I hope I will.

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RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL (rachelkramerbussel.com) is a New York-based writer, editor, and blogger. She is a columnist for SexIs Magazine. She has edited over 40 anthologies, including Women in Lust, Obsessed, Passion, Orgasmic, Fast Girls, Bottoms Up, The Mile High Club, Do Not Disturb and is Best Sex Writing series editor and has won 6 IPPY (Independent Publisher) Awards. She hosted In The Flesh Reading Series for five years. Her writing has been published in over 100 anthologies, including Susie Bright’s X: The Erotic Treasury and Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006. She has written for The Daily Beast, The Frisky, The Gloss, Lemondrop, Mediabistro, Newsday, Penthouse, The Root, Salon, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, xoJane, Zink and other publications, and teaches erotic writing workshops nationwide. She is a founding editor of the popular blog Cupcakes Take the Cake.

37 responses to “No Sugar in My Bowl, No $1,000 in My Pocket: The Art of Self-Sabotage”

  1. jessica Anya Blau says:

    This is great, although a bit painful to read (I want to go back in time and see you turn in that piece to Erica Jong!). I love the new mantra and will adopt it, too. “DO IT ANYWAY.” Brilliant.

    • Thanks, Jessica! You know, I just may poke around with the essay and see if I can do something with it. I think for me the biggest lesson is that giving up on myself is the surest way to not make progress. I do it so often that it’s, in some ways, become second nature. The fact that I’m still thinking about this over a year later will, and writing about it here, will hopefully get me going the next time I’m tempted to flake.

  2. Sue Katz says:

    I’ve read every word – twice. Your honesty and your search to understand are pretty amazing. Then at the end you have that stunning professional bio that is nearly a total contrast to the content of the essay. All you’ve done/achieved – wow. Do you think there is a heavily gendered aspect to self-sabotage, Rachel?

  3. Diana says:

    Well said, Rachel! I can relate.

  4. Danielle says:

    that is a really beautiful piece…i totally can relate to all of it…the feeling of fear…the low…

    its not only beautiful but also very brave…

    thank you for sharing it…

    • Thanks Danielle (and Diana). I’m in some ways glad others can relate, but obviously I wouldn’t wish that on anyone else. There’s a part of me, the part that is stuck in all or nothing thinking, that presumes that the opposite of thinking I can’t do things is assuming I can do everything. Of course neither are true. I think there is also a huge amount of value in the process, in trying, and in some realms of my life, I am very sure of myself, but this wall is one I keep hitting time and again. It’s funny in a way because when I was 19, 20, 21 (I’m 35 now), I was pretty fearless about submitting writing, and now that I’m more of a professional writer, something kicks in and I freak out and let my doubts take over.

      I think there are ways to house the doubts in your mind, even consider them, but talk back to them. Haven’t quite figured those ways out yet, but I know they’re there.

  5. Nicole Johns says:

    Thank you for writing this, Rachel. I can definitely relate to the self-sabotage and self-doubt. What struck me was your line about how your mother’s disapproval affects your writing. That is something I struggle with, too. I commend you for your honesty, and thank you for sharing this. –Nicole

  6. Ginger Baker says:

    There’s an excellent book by Steven Pressfield, The War of Art, that I highly recommend you pick up. It’s the only book I’ve ever wanted to buy multiple copies of just to give away to people! He talks a lot about the ways that Resistance keeps us from doing things that deep down we want to do. One of the ways Resistance manifests is through fear: fear of failure and fear of success both, I think.

    I don’t have answers to any of your particular fears (hell, I struggle enough just with mine!), but I am deeply happy that you opened up and wrote this post – because for many people, you hold that exalted status of “real writer” that WE look up to…just the same as you admire the authors included in Sugar in My Bowl.

    This also hit home with me in a very personal way, as this past year I completely screwed up one opportunity for the same reasons, and ALMOST did the same for a second (that, salvaged only by Raven Snook giving me a FIRM kick-in-the-ass as I was about to cancel a performance with her!). As I look to 2011, I’m aiming to stop sabotaging myself…and possibly call Raven when I need a good boot in the rear!

    • Ginger Baker says:

      Oh, and wanted to add…I completely relate on the dilemma of how to choose “the best” sex of your life. How do you even define that?? Hell, I have a hard time even figuring out the “kinkiest”. (Mind you, I’m quite sure you could have come up with something amazing anyway!)

    • Thanks, Ginger. I have read The War of Art, but I could probably do with another re-reading. As both an editor and a writer, I’m in a position where I often have to send out rejection letters and let me tell you, that sucks. I hate it, because I don’t think anyone relishes that task. But I feel a little less badly about it because I know I have more anthologies in the future and there are more opportunities or those writers to keep submitting.

      I don’t know if this one just “wasn’t mean to be” or if I just froze up, but either way, I wish I had at least pushed past that initial toughness. Sometimes (okay, often), I think I spend so much time fearing the worst case scenario and procrastinating that I build assignments like this up into much mightier feats than they really are. Or even in the case of the ones that are mighty feats, there are always ways to tackle them, and break them down into smaller tasks, and/or ask for help. On that, though, do as I say not as I do.

  7. C Clifford says:

    I think we can all relate to this. “Because I want to apologize to myself and forgive myself and move on.” Thank you.

  8. dwoz says:

    “letting the clock run out” is a time-honored way of reneging, whether in the playing field, the bedroom, or anywhere.

    Deadlines imply choice.

    On the question of deciding on “the best”…that’s two worries for me. First, is how to keep that from being a standard that present/future partners have to live up to? Second, is whether over the course of a lifetime, where the sample size “n” is large, is it likely that the distribution will be a bell curve, with a large middle, and a couple of extreme outliers in the fantastic range and also in the horrible range…?

    Then can we discuss the “standard deviation” of sexual partners, and isn’t that an oxymoron?

  9. Greg Olear says:

    Great piece, Rachel.

    I can understand your reaction, totally. Not only are you asked to rank something unrankable — best sex is like best Beatles song; some are better than others, but there are very few bad ones — but you’re dealing with, as you put it, a literary luminary. No matter how helpful, big names can be intimidating to us mortals. Call it fear of fear of flying…

    • Gloria says:

      I absolutely abhor “Revolution 9.” But yes, everything else is gold.

    • I think mine is “All My Lovin.'” But I think the idea that our favorite or idea of the “best” can change is applicable to both. And yes, I let my intimidation…intimidate me. I think it’s very easy to fall into the kind of thinking that says I don’t “deserve” something like this, that it’s a mistake, etc. Ultimately, we all start out with a blank page though.

      Speaking of The Beatles, I’m actually working on a short story called “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” More on that if/when I finish it. It’s an erotica story about…holding hands.

      • Greg Olear says:

        Not sure I can pick a favorite, but my daughter’s name is Prudence, so I almost have to go with that.

        “I Want to Hold Your Hand”…love it. Other Beatles song titles that would make good erotica stories: “Within You, Without You,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” “With a Little Help From My Friends,” and, of course, “Norwegian Wood.”

        In one of my Beatles books, the author insists that “Please Please Me” is the first song about oral sex that got big radio play.

  10. zoe zolbrod says:

    Reading your lede, I immediately started trying to pinpoint the best sex of my life and panicking because I couldn’t. One second later, I bumped into the obvious tension between the subject and my current relationship status. And I wasn’t even on the assignment! Thank you for the honest look at a syndrome familiar to many writers. I’m forwarding this to friends.

  11. Just wanted to clarify that I wasn’t quibbling with the topic; I think it’s an interesting one and even though it was a challenge, it wasn’t impossible, and didn’t necessarily have to mean “the best ever, by some objective standard,” but a personal best of some kind. I’m sure if I had truly devoted myself to it, I could’ve found several bests, or at least, an alternative way of approaching it, and even incorporated my confusion as to what to include into the piece. Ah, hindsight. I think sometimes, though, the most challenging topics are the ones that bring the greatest rewards once we unpack them.

  12. John D. De Paolo says:

    Congratulations, that took some real huevos, even to write it, much less publish it. Good for you. My take on the issue would be titled Fear of Success (pardon me) and would begin where it all does – at home.

    First – you get undermined and taught to believe you’re not a deserving good person.
    Second – you learn that self validating behavior is for good deserving people
    Third – you avoid self validation and the contradictions by remaining undermined
    Fourth – you cruise at 70% of living large and kick your own ass for the rest of your life
    Fifth – you become an expert on emotional catharsis but never get around to starting

    After so many years it all becomes the rote of daily living

  13. Matt says:

    Oh, man. Been there, done that.

    And I’m not even sure why. In college, I would pump out words furiously and without shame. Writer’s block was a foreign, abstract concept. I always had something to turn in the day an assignment was due, regardless of whether or not it was any good (yet).

    Somewhere along the lines, though, that little bully found himself a perch on my shoulder (frequently, he speaks in the same voice as my ex-girlfriend). Not sure where he came from, but he was really hurting my productivity, I’m still having trouble shaking him off. Setting myself to write under deadlines has helped immensely, but not totally. One day, one story, one word at a time, I suppose.

  14. Matt, I think it’s interesting that both you and I (and others) were much bolder in terms of writing when we were younger. I used to fax (faxing – ha!) op-eds to the New York Times. I got an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle when I was 19 (an essay about parenting and divorce) by being gutsy enough to send it in. I’m not sure how the older I get and the more writing I get published, the more those fears grow, but…they do. I obviously don’t have a perfect answer, except trying to channel that younger spirit, and maybe engage with the bully, not let him bully you/us.

  15. Kerry Cohen says:

    Great, great piece, Rachel. Thanks so much for posting.

  16. sheree says:

    I’ve never read any erotic stories or romance novels. I can’t imagine the pressure of having to write about sex. I wouldn’t know where to begin, or end for that matter.

    It is on the other hand easy for me to remember the best sex i ever had, because it almost killed me. I accidentally sucked down a thick strand of my own long hair down my windpipe. I was nearly blue in the face before i realized what was causing me to choke. My partner had no idea what the hell was going on because he was busy thrusting beneath me like a friggen mad man.

    Life is so damn silly sometimes, I wonder how I have survived it thus far.

    I was wondering if maybe you could give me a list of erotic stories to read. I have no clue where to begin or what authors to invest in.
    Thanks.

    • sheree says:

      Doh! Never mind. I see a list of books at the bottom of your post. I’ll give one of those a shot. Happy New Year. This really is a great post.

  17. John D. De Paolo says:

    The essay is about the pains of self awareness right ?

    The whole “best sex thing” is a straw-man, only the vehicle for storytelling and it almost becomes a tool to avoid the personally painful writing. Most of the sex meanderings were procrastination, another article maybe? Within in your own piece we can see your psyche at work, trying to undermine your own cathartic efforts.

    I’m trying to make constructive comment vs. viscous fruit concentrate

    And I do think it is a piece of remarkable “work”

  18. John D. De Paolo says:

    My considered response to RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL’s article

     Comment by John D. De Paolo
    2010-12-30 15:49:50
    Congratulations, that took some real huevos, even to write it, much less publish it. Good for you. My take on the issue would be titled Fear of Success (pardon me) and would begin where it all does – at home.
    First – you get undermined and taught to believe you’re not a deserving good person.
    Second – you learn that self validating behavior is for good deserving people
    Third – you avoid self validation and the contradictions by remaining undermined
    Fourth – you cruise at 70% of living large and kick your own ass for the rest of your life
    Fifth – you become an expert on emotional catharsis but never get around to starting
    After so many years it all becomes the rote of daily living

    Her response to my note –Nada—The best one on the board and the gutless little wonder ignores me—too in your face. In your soul bitch

    I’ll try again, Be more literary – let’s see if she hates me. I sent it(below) 20 mins ago and nothing. I wonder what she would do if she knew she was only a literary crack whore to play in my Literary Social Experiment Theater. The internet, you never have to look up again and still have a productive existence. Let’s check. Nothing yet. No thank you, no nothing and I read her damn article twice so I could be incisive. The slut writes erotica, sex columns etc She’s juvenile at 35 yrs old. Still nothing and it has been…………31 minutes. Witches, their all burning witches. I will check @ the one hour mark. 40 minutes and still nothin. 12 minutes to go. I refuse to check until the hour. 10 minutes. I sure hope…..she at least thanks me right? That’s only courteous. 8 minutes. She could be on her way home though, all that snow, may not get an answer, But, she has to work at home right? 6 more minutes. We’ll see. I mean , I reread my second mail about 10 times and it is down at all four corners. More insightful than her convoluted article. 3 more minutes to go. 2 minutes. 1 minute.

     Comment by John D. De Paolo
    2010-12-30 18:12:25
    The essay is about the pains of self awareness right ?
    The whole “best sex thing” is a straw-man, only the vehicle for storytelling and it almost becomes a tool to avoid the personally painful writing. Most of the sex meanderings were procrastination, another article maybe? Within in your own piece we can see your psyche at work, trying to undermine your own cathartic efforts.
    I’m trying to make constructive comment vs. viscous fruit concentrate
    And I do think it is a piece of remarkable “work”

    Nothin. You Elitist Snow Bound New York Bitch. How can you do this to me? Where’s my validation for doing something I didn’t want to? Yea, I didn’t want to help you, but you need help. What am I saying? Erica Jong couldn’t help you.

    That sure takes the flesh off the bone doesn’t it? Now is this all authentic or are you just my muse for this writing exercise, a non participatory character in my own work? A victim as you portray yourself, spread eagle on the page, fated to be ravaged pillaged and torn asunder.

  19. sheree says:

    A wop bop a loo bop A lop bam boom.

  20. This essay really hits home with me. Well written, painfully honest and insightful, and something that most people have experienced at some point in their lives whether they want to admit it or not.

    There have been numerous times in my life where I preferred to let the time on the clock run out and say, “Oh well, too late to do X now” rather than actually face the fear of something big and scary and new. And X could be a submission for an anthology, having babies, applying for a PhD program, or anything else that I might *really, really* want but desperately fear. For me, it’s not necessarily the fear of rejection or failure, but the fear of acceptance and success that holds me back. Once I’ve achieved X goal, then the bar is set that much higher, my life is changed forever, I have to reevaluate my life and my goals and keep pushing myself. Whew… exhausting!

    I think knowing you’re your own worst enemy is the first step in conquering it. I had a friend say to me several years ago when I was making excuses for not doing something new and scary, “You used to be fearless!” The comment stung, but also made me blink in surprise: had I ever truly been fearless? Or did I just put up a good front and forge full-steam ahead? I try to remember that comment any time I’m frozen with fear for whatever reason. I want to be fearless. I want to do it anyway.

    Thanks for sharing this, Rachel. It’s a wonderful end-of-the year reminder to be the best person I can be in 2011. Happy New Year to you!

  21. Gloria says:

    I’ve since come to the conclusion that talking about my writing while it’s in progress, before there’s a contract for it is the kiss of death. – – Rachel, I did this exact thing. I talked about my manuscript with so many people and for so long, that it barely got off the ground before I quit it. My creativity was exhausted. Now, when people ask me how it’s going, I avert my eyes and mumble. But! Just in the last two days I’ve re-upped my ambition and there’s fresh wind in my sails and I’m going in a new direction – one that I’m not going to tell anyone about and won’t even mention again after this comment. What a weird, private thing writing is. I get the “writer mystique” now. If you talk about it, you ruin it. (Also, I had a prominent agent interested in my manuscript. I haven’t emailed him in months. This essay has given me pit-sweat about that. Needing to reply to him, too, is another reason why I’ve not looked at my digital file since September. Why email if I have nothing to show?) I succumbed to my biggest fears, my inner bully who tells me more often than I’d like what a loser I am. – – – For real? I mean, yes, me too! But this is insanity! Where the hell does this craziness come from? 95% of the time, I walk around feeling pretty okay about myself – but the other 5% is torture and writing something risky (or even thinking about it) can bring it out quicker than anything.

    …because while I wouldn’t wish that same shame onto anyone else, I think it’s likely other writers have gotten in their own way too. – – – Clearly you’re correct. Look at all of these comments! All of this commiseration! I think you’ve hit on something universal here, Rachel. I really appreciate you sharing this. It’s kind of inspiring/kind of anxiety inducing. I appreciate it for both.

  22. Jo says:

    Rachel, this is a great piece to have published, and one that’s good for me to read! It’s … ach, it’s so familiar, as is a lot of the stuff you’ve been blogging about recently. I’m just hiding from all of my own issues, but hating myself for them at the same time. I keep reading your bravery in looking them in the face and I’m so impressed.

    Good luck for the upcoming year, I hope it starts to come together.

    x

    Jo

  23. Shanna says:

    You know you haven’t really made it on The Rumpus until Stephen Elliott’s dad shows up under a nom de plume and spews some venom.

  24. John D. De Paolo says:

    Got kind of a bondage S&M flavor at the end there. Perfect….. literary submission
    The time is 7:19pm I have spent a number of hours on this today. Eviscerating this woman for creative fun. I have never written anything so incisive cruel exciting all at once
    And I fuckin sent it to her. Well it is great in a very harmful and perverse way.
    It was a writing experiment in the truest since —- I let myself lose on the public . So hardcore. Did I do it just to use here, or I let myself of the leash? And yes it made me mad that she went around me on the responses and yes my comment was so spot on as to illuminate. And she went around me twice , as she wrote, she put things -me off. The irony. Do I get to be the instrument of irony as I came back to her with a psyche sledge hammer. Was it right? No was it art? Probably. Maybe It was a relatively unrestrained effusion of expression. For sure, Was it artistic in execution? I think the emotion it evokes is very powerful no doubt. Is it the emotional equivalent of having your intestines spilt on your feet.? That’s a little much, as usual , but the blade is sharp.
    Repeat: Was it artistic in execution? Yes the reaction is all from the head. I mean Psycho Drama elicited in Spades

  25. Lana Fox says:

    Rachel, thank you for this beautiful essay. By writing so honestly about your experience, you have touched many of us. I believe the greatest writers are the ones who create out of regrets and struggles. You have done so brilliantly. I’m a big fan of your work!

  26. ηλεκτρονικο τσιγαρο…

    […]Rachel Kramer Bussel | No Sugar in My Bowl, No $1,000 in My Pocket: The Art of Self-Sabotage | The Nervous Breakdown[…]…

  27. jddepaolo says:

    Ms. Bussel

    I want to apologize for my Dec. 2010 comments to your article published in the online magazine “Nervous Breakdown.” I can only tell you that at the time I was in the throes of a break with reality myself, ergo the means by which I came to the site and your article. Even today, over 2 years later, I cannot bring myself to fully read my comments to you. They are unforgivable and as such I can only offer my deepest apologies and hope that the fact that I was ill at the time, ameliorates the hateful nature of my comments.

    Best Regards,

    John D. De Paolo

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