.
 

These interviews were conducted for the feature documentary, An Escort’s Journal, by Jeff Ragsdale.

An interview from An Escort’s Journal, a documentary film, produced and directed by Jeff Ragsdale.

You spoke to thousands of people from all over the world for your book.  Do you have any favorite conversations that didn’t make it in?

 

I have many, but here are two that stand out. These calls came after my book went to press.

 

1)   I met an attractive, intelligent Canadian prostitute. Sera saw my “Lonely Jeff” flyer online. She was working at her brothel and called the number on my flyer to see if it really worked. We had a great first conversation. We’ve talked regularly since. Our conversations are candid and go everywhere.

Sera’s not the stereotypical prostitute. She doesn’t drink. Rarely uses drugs (mushrooms every few months at a heavy metal concert). She’s well-read (loves Poe and Dostoyevsky), educated, comes from a close-knit family. As a child, each Saturday, Sera would go to garage sales with her mother and “auntie”. Sera would drive them crazy by buying irrational items such as dried-up soap, socks with holes, skateboards with three wheels.

I. Posting a Flyer

If anyone wants to talk about anything, call me (347) 469-3173.

—Jeff, one lonely guy

570-231-XXXX

So how did everyone get your number in the first place?

 

516-859-XXXX

Wow, I just saw your sign on a pole a couple days ago.

 

478-213-XXXX

Flyer guy?

 

347-441-XXXX

Jeff, can I call you?

If remix culture—predicated on both intensified user interaction and a crowdsourcing ethic—offers any clues to the future of publishing Jeff, One Lonely Guy may just be the Starchild of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Put simply, this is a sui generis exploration of loneliness, alienation, and depression packaged and bound—a book that is neither novel nor memoir, neither familiar nor completely strange.

Cultural links of interest from around the web:

Author (and frequent TNB contributor) Steve Almond reflects on the wane of talk therapy and the rise of the writing workshop in the New York Times.

It is at this point that I can hear the phantom convulsions of my literary comrades. “Damn it, Almond,” they’re saying. “You really are making workshops sound like therapy.” Fair enough. The official job of a workshop is to help a writer improve her prose, not her psyche. But this task almost always involves a direct engagement with her inner life, as well as a demand for greater empathy and disclosure. These goals are fundamentally therapeutic.