The Big Four-OhBy Greg Olear
December 22, 2009
December 25 marks a milestone at The Nervous Breakdown: the fortieth day of the existence of TNB 3.0. If the revamped site were the Ark, the dove would fly back with an olive leaf in its mouth. Or a sample from the bag of Jessica Blau’s “lemons.” Or a beanie Zoë Brock found on the side of the road in Frisco. Or…but you get the idea.
I feel like this momentous occasion should be commemorated by something other than the exchange of presents and spiked eggnog. Perhaps Megan DiLullo can organize a podcast? Or, better yet, a photo montage of TNBers dressed like Bond girls? (An editorial suggestion for Megan and Erika: next time, get the girls to wear the bikinis).
It’s been a month in which our contributors have displayed feats of tremendous bravery: David Wills swam with sharks. Matt Baldwin hiked with bear. Simon Smithson jumped off a tall building. Ben Loory stole money from Demi Moore. Don Mitchell wore tighty-whities.
J.E. Fishman is serializing his novel, Cadaver Blues. Between Cadaver and Cactus City, there’s a lot of blues going on at TNB. I hope 2010 is a happier year for everyone.
Richard Cox wrote a cool piece about the hoopla surrounded the Tiger Woods imbroglio, which—because we are above it here on this blog—somehow descended into a debate about the literary merits of Jonathan Franzen. The Corrections, it appears, refers to what Woods did to his swing a few years back.
Our Fearless Leader returned from blog post exile, and I think I speak for all of us when I say, Welcome back, Brad Listi. His piece, “You Lost Me At Hello,” was treated like the release of Chinese Democracy—top of the charts, top of the comment numbers—the only difference being that Brad’s post is good.
Someone named Darian Arky started writing for us from his redoubt in Prague. According to his dossier, he works for the State Department. How naïve do you think we are, man? I’ve read enough James Ellroy books to know that if a dude claims to work for the State Department, he’s really out there gathering intelligence, handling sources, and slipping Cold Ethyl into the Chivas of enemies of the state. I’m not sure what Arky is up to—other than contributing great pieces and leaving lots of comments on everyone else’s—but I find it curious that as soon as he shows up, Justin Benton vanishes.
Whether or not Darian Arky is an actual person, Darian Arky is a cool name. That seems to be a criterion for letting new writers on the site. Check out these new peeps: Gwenda Bond, Doreen Orion, Nathaniel Missildine, and Jeffrey Pillow all join Autumn Kindelspire, Slade Ham, and Will Entrekin in the Cool Name Hall of Fame.
(Alison Aucoin is a cool name, too, except that I have no idea how to pronounce it. Oh-KWAN? OH-cun? Oh-CYOON? Alison, please enlighten us).
The forty days have included lots of great stuff—if I neglected to mention you specifically, it’s not because I don’t like you, but because my daughter is yelling at me from downstairs to give her gum, so my attentions are diverted—but I’ve especially enjoyed the content from LitPark and 3G1B and WordHustler, as well as the fact that my kids routinely appear on View From Your Phone.
My favorite piece of the first forty days, however—other than my own self-interview, of course—is the trilogy submitted by Gina Frangello about her father. A must-read, it says here.
Happy holidays, folks. May 2010 be the year in which all your dreams come true…and the year in which we drop the idiotic “two-thousand” business and start saying “twenty-ten.”
I feel so plainly named. It’s time I follow my dream and change my middle name to Beauregard.
I would never dissuade someone from taking on such a cool middle name, but I think your name works just fine. At least no one pronounces it wrong, like they do with mine…
middle initials are good. I use mine both because Hunter Thompson did, and also to make my name a bit longer…
Also, weird seeing (what I presume to be) a reference to my still unfinished novel… must get around to finishing that…
I use my middle initial to separate me from the other David Willses of history – ie the guy who owned the house where Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address, and the Derrida expert.
But when my non-writing friends – who call me Dave – saw my writing name, they laughed and called me a pretentious twat. Which is fair enough.
There is a very famous James B. Irwin, who was an astronaut, so I kind of have a legitimate excuse… probably…
It might be a little pretentious, but isn’t that what being a writer is all about? I put in middle initials and drink at lunch and use ‘I’m a writer’ like some sort of trump card for anyone who disagrees with my lifestyle!
I don’t know about cold ethyl, but I downed most of a bottle of Metaxa last night and feel like reheated shit today.
Cold Ethyl is a snarky reference to my own book. Lame, I know.
Happy holidays, man.
I find myself happy to be included in the Cool Name Hall of Fame, though I admittedly had no say so in choosing it. I will happily put the award on my mother’s mantle however. Cheers, to making it to 50 days.
You could have been Jon instead of Slade. Which, while less cool, would have made it easiter to get a good table at hip restaurants…
As Slade noted, thanks for the shoutout in the Cool Name Hall of Fame. Big ups to my moms and pops and my preceding generations of ancestors.
With that said, I was almost named Albert Floyd Pillow. Albert Floyd as first and middle names totally would have cancelled Pillow out for cool points. My dad put his foot down on that name thank God. Otherwise, I probably would have killed myself by now and wouldn’t be a writer and you wouldn’t be reading this.
Al, Bert, Floyd, Flo… all possible nicknames. Easily I would be a suicide statistic.
Floyd would have been OK, because it has the dual connotation of the Brad Pitt pothead in True Romance and, of course, Pink Floyd. But props to your dad for putting down that foot. It’s cool that you’re rocking the double F and the double L — looks cool in print.
I tried pod-casting it, Greg. I did. But the Rockettes didn’t translate well into audio. I had to let them go.
Here’s to another 40 days of great reads.
Curses! Foiled again!
Thanks so much for your kind words about my “Dad Trilogy,” Greg–I just saw this and am blushingly honored.
You’re quite welcome. The whole reason I wrote this blog, in fact, was to highlight your pieces, which I feel deserve to be placed in some Must-Read pantheon.
Alas, this went up Xmas week, and I don’t think anyone saw it…but I think the pieces are fantastic. And I’m still jealous of your Mexico trip.