Ever since I’ve been allowed to hurl my musings at TNB, expanding my readership beyond my usual four, now that I have the potential for an audience of at least five, my brain has been taking it out on me.

I am not in my comfort zone. I have been skillfully and assiduously avoiding a public face on the internet since, oh, forever. I’ve written online extensively, but my name has not been attached. I have kept the innocent and the guilty alike hidden in my dedication to anonymity. I’m comfortable with that.

Perhaps it’s my name. If I didn’t have such a whacked-out name, I wouldn’t think about it so much. Search for “Angela Smith” on the intarwebs, you potentially face a long slog finding the “Angela” you’re interested in. But “Quenby Moone?” Yeah. There’s only one of those.

Megan DiLullo and I were discussing my future here on TNB, and she told me I should get on Facebook. It was a good way for people to contact me, make a face for myself. Really? Why in God’s name would I want to do that? So my psychotic ex-boyfriend can find me and ask me how my kid is?

But Megan is nothing if not clever, so I entertained that she might have a point. I’ve been pretty well-insulated until now, but if I had any hope of having a readership beyond my father, who has a genetic investment in my successes and failures, and my other three (possibly paid) devotees to my written brain queefs, I would probably have to go on Facebook and mingle.

I summoned no small part of bravery and signed up for an account. And I totally punked out, since I went by my white trash handle, Tawny Bouté. I poked Megan to show that I had the guts to be there, and then I poked my husband. I had two Facebook friends.

Not bad, really.

I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know how someone I haven’t spoken to in 22 years found me on there, buried under my white trash nom de plume, but there it was: a friend request from someone I hardly remember. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to have him as my friend, I just didn’t know why he wanted to be mine. I panicked. I worried about it. I thought about “friending” him (a gerund which drives me nuts), and realized that it was the first step down a long road of friends I barely know all friending each other. It’s so weird, and nosey, and slightly voyeuristic.

But I know that it’s great, too. I know that people have discovered each other and re-kindled long dormant relationships to the benefit of all parties. And why am I so vain as to believe anyone would even care about finding me again? What makes me so special? Who, exactly, do I think I am? Miley Fucking Cyrus?

Then the self-flagellation set in.

So what if this was it? What if I had my two friends and died tomorrow, the pathetic woman with only her husband and her fellow TNB’er there to witness I was ever on Facebook at all? “I’d better go get some more friends,” I thought.

I found one hidden under a pseudonym and gave him a webby shout. Now I had three.

As a percentage, it was a marked improvement.

But what if one of my real-world friends discovered that I wasn’t their Facebook friend? Maybe they wouldn’t realize that I only had three Facebook friends, and would think I was actively shunning them. Would they de-friend me in real life? Maybe I should go and find everyone I ever knew and make them my friend. But what if they don’t want me as their friend? What if I discover I’m an undesirable on Facebook? What if I am actually a member of the lowest rung of the Facebook caste system: The Untouchable?

I couldn’t believe this was the inner monologue of someone who turned forty this year. Tawny deleted her account five days after she created it.

But the fact remains: Quenby Moone has never put a name upon her writing, and now she’s been graciously accepted into the cabal of “The Nervous Breakdown.” And my personal masochism is no longer about Facebook, but about what to publish here. “I’ll publish one about my boobs,” I’ll think. “Boobs are always a popular subject.” But then I’ll realize someone recently published one about her boobs, and it was probably ten times funnier than the one about my boobs.

“I’ll mix it up; I’ll send the one about the chickens.” But maybe I’m the only person who thinks a quixotic relationship with barnyard fowl is funny. “Maybe the one about my nervous breakdown? That would at least be name-appropriate. But maybe cliché. Maybe too cute and affected: ‘See what I did there? Huh? I wrote about a nervous breakdown on a site called “The Nervous Breakdown?” Clever, huh?'”

On and on it goes. So here we are. At the end of a piece about neither boobs nor chickens nor nervous breakdowns, but about my inability to decide what to publish on “The Nervous Breakdown.”

Think of it as an exercise in post-post-modernism.

TAGS: , , , ,

QUENBY MOONE used to be a graphic designer who wrote once in a while. After her father came down with a touch of Stage IV prostate cancer, she became a writer who did graphic design once in a while.

She's written a book called Living in Twilight (no relation to vampires - unless dying of cancer is a part of Edward's story) in which her design skills came in handy, and includes some of her stories featured on The Nervous Breakdown.

76 responses to “This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain on TNB. Any Questions?”

  1. Hi Q!

    I was very sad to see Tawny leave Facebook, everyone needs a white trash secret identity. Yours will just remain more secret than others, for now.

    I totally relate to your posting anxiety, I have a many a piece on my computer that should go up but have been sitting there, in hard drive oblivion, taunting me for months.

    And chickens are the shit. As are goats.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Sweet Fancy Brown, how do you deal with the PRESSURE????

      If I could run the furnace on the energy that was produced by my neuroses, we wouldn’t have any more bills. I think I might be able to run all the houses on my block on the crazy-juice.

      But lemme tell you, I wanna see what’s living so quietly there, lurking on your hard drive. I’m sure it’s a festering petri dish of verbal awesome!

      Chickens are the shit. I love chickens. I just don’t know if anyone else knows they’re the shit. I mean, I did write 10,000 words about chickens, which either makes me pathological or dedicated. Maybe both.

      • How do I deal with the pressure? I don’t, I barely ever post, because I’m a retard. And I manage to distract myself (and others?) by making up ideas and producing podcasts.

        “Look over there, shiny!”

        I will go to great lengths to avoid things by making more work to relieve my guilt and insecurity.


      • Jude says:

        Have you ever tried this trick with chickens…? With chalk, draw a circle and put the chickens inside the circle. They won’t cross over the chalk line.

        Another one to try, is draw a chalk line, lie the chicken down with the chicken’s beak on the line… and it will just stay there.


        • Jude, is this some sort of weird New Zealand joke that you play on unwitting Americans with a little bit of extra time and a few chickens on theirs hands?

          Because if it is, you’re awesome! if it isn’t, I’m going to assume that you have chickens and a bit of extra time on your hands, which is also awesome!

        • Quenby Moone says:

          I wonder too, because damn if I don’t have a bunch of chickens, a bunch of chalk, and a burning curiosity. If my husband decides I’m completely insane as he stumbles upon me drawing a circle around the birds, I’m looking at you, Jude!

        • Jude says:

          I have been known to play weird jokes on visitors from foreign lands… one of the best was handing a jar of Vegemite and a teaspoon to a young fella from Japan, and telling him it was a Kiwi tradition to take a teaspoonful of Vegemite after the evening meal. Not wanting to offend, he was about to pop the teaspoonful of the horrid Vegemite (nice in small doses but a teaspoonful is enough to bring on the dry retches) into his mouth, when I rescued him from his politeness and told him it was a joke. I don’t think he really understood my sense of humour…(many don’t).

          No, seriously the above chicken tricks are for real. My father who was once an avid poultry farmer told me, and having a few chickens in my backyard pen, I tried it. Sure enough, it worked. Beats me why though.

        • Jude says:

          Go for it Quenby. Of course I forgot to mention you need to draw the chalk on concrete…but I guess you’re smart enough to have figured that anyway.

          I’m happy to take the rap for your moment of insanity!

  2. Greg Olear says:

    I searched for you on Facebook yesterday or the day before, QB, after the Ginsberg exchange, but you weren’t there. As you know. But if you had been, you would have had one more friend. Two, actually, because Stephanie would have friended you, too.

    (This business of me searching for you on FB and then you posting about not being on FB is what’s known in these parts as SSE, the Simon Smithson Effect. Long story).

    Also: you need a new nom de plume anyway, because we’d get you confused with Tawni. Whom we’re now getting confused with Debbie Harry.

    The key thing about FB is that you can’t overthink it. Well, you CAN overthink it. You just shouldn’t.

    Also: I don’t know from Angela Smith, but I do know from Amelia X. Smith, and she’s tops.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I feel like I’m swimming in uncharted meta-waters. I have this life here [taps the chair she’s sitting in], which consists of me, a son, two cats, five chickens and a very tolerant husband. Then there’s THERE, which consists of my past, my future and my present all rolled into one messy ball of Facebook friends.

      Some of it works, but some of it is downright weird. The first couple of weeks after I put my name on anything I had written, though it had been literally nine years of a pretty consistent online presence, an old playmate from preschool contacted me. And it was WEIRD! Nice, but WEIRD!

      I’m perhaps built of stuff that doesn’t appreciate too much jostling, just like old grumpy cats in their dotage.

      As for Amelia X. Smith (X. being an excellent middle initial; I should know since it’s my sons), tell me more! She here on the TNB?

      • Greg Olear says:

        I get what you’re saying, but I think you’re overthinking it. FB is not like running around a room with no clothes on– or rather, it is, but everyone’s got no clothes on, so it’s no deal big. After the shock of being friended by your nursery school sweetheart dissipates, you find that she’s good for a comment on a status update every once in awhile. It’s fun. Plus you’re funny, so you’d have good updates and comments, and you could hit the LIKE button when the TNB stuff makes the rounds.

        Speaking of which: AXS’s FB updates are the stuff of legend. But I’ll defer to Megan on the question of her identity…

        • Quenby Moone says:

          I believe there are relatively few pictures left of me running around with no clothes on that would make it onto FB. You never know, though!

          Seriously, I know I’m completely crackers. I know that I’m neither so ridiculously special nor so ridiculously lame that I would break FB into a thousand pieces of Quenby Moone-shame. And because I’m just barely self-aware enough to know that, this is sort of my ways of exorcising (or exercising-they’re getting a little flabby) my stupid demons about identity.

          Perhaps, in the hope….of just publishing here without thinking about it? That might be a bit much, but a girl’s gotta dream!

  3. D.R. Haney says:

    Hey, the internets make adolescents of us all.

    I opened a FB account because I had to; because MySpace was clearly dying, and there was no longer much reason to be on MySpace, as there was on FB. But I never adjusted to FB, and avoid it as much as possible. I hate the damned site.

    Also, I didn’t add anyone from TNB forever, because I didn’t want them to know about my secret (at the time) film history. Then I befriend one person at TNB, and I knew that would lead to other adds from friends at TNB, but, still wanting to hide my movie past, I changed my name on the account, using my nickname (Duke) instead of my given name.

    See what I mean? ‘Tis ridiculous.

    As for fretting over what to post at TNB, I’ve done that, too. Last summer I had three pieces, back to back, prove far more popular than I would ever have anticipated, and afterward I sat out for a while, thinking I now had something to maintain.

    But you know what? Some pieces do better than others, plain and simple, and I think this is a place to take chances. With rare exception, the people here are as friendly as you’ll ever meet, even if you’ve yet to meet (most of) them in the flesh.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Good lord, living in such a small place like a cranium can make one dotty as hell, just like cabin fever.

      And I know, because I actually use my brain once in a while, that I’m being juvenile and entertaining my protracted adolescence, but it’s tough to defeat the nattering nay-bob’s and naysayer’s that live there.

      Anyway, Duke, D.R., Mr. Haney, thanks. I’m completed challenged in certain ways, but appreciate words of wisdom and grace when I read them.

    • Greg Olear says:

      The moral of the story here is, Don’t worry.

  4. Zara Potts says:

    I love your name, Quenby Moone. Love it silly.
    Glad you’re here.

  5. You’re so cool. Do you drink your coffee black – because then I may just explode
    with wanting to be you-ness. And I’ve been talking about getting chickens for years – so want them – but greg keeps making me think we’re going to move and what would happen to the chickens –
    what about the chickens??

    I freaked out when I joined facebook – I was totally against it – at first.
    It overwhelmed me – all of the ex boyfriends, girlfriends, people who were mean
    to me in high school STILL being mean to me on facebook (seriously) and I also
    just turned 40, so crimoney – it wreaked havoc on my ability to shut the past behind me.

    But I guess all in all, I guess I’m glad I’m on there – there are people I’m glad I’ve gotten to
    poke and hooray for that. But, I wish I could leave – like I wish I could drink my coffee black

    I get nervous about commenting – so I can only imagine the nervousness about posting a whole
    real entire essay piece. But you’re great and funny and wuhoo – we love you – so keep posting lady!

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Shit howdy! I do not drink my coffee black–my brother does; I’m ten times the wuss he is–but I have the chickens. I don’t know if that makes me cool, but it does bring me a lot of stupid stories about my utter cluelessness around having anything resembling “livestock.”

      It’s one of the most expensive “hobbies” I ever picked up, just so you know. You will pay for those eggs a very steep price, which is not written into the $2.00 tag at the feed store when you pick out the peepers.

      Facebook. My husband was looking at his just now, having such a gut-busting laugh that it made me jealous, and then he said, “Damn. It doesn’t say I’m married to ‘Tawny Bouté’ anymore. That sucks!” It’s like I’m the prig in high school who refuses to go to the dance just because, but secretly harbors fantasies of going and having a look. You know, just to see what’s going on. Maybe sneaking in the side door to catch a peek at all the jerks who are popular now but going to grow up to be shoe salesmen.

      Whoa. That was a pretty well-developed fantasy for being off the cuff…

      Anyhoo. The past coming to get me and all that…not a fan. It’s one step into the fray at a time, and this little essay/expulsion/dribble is me trying to become ONE with my complete lack of easiness with the intarwebs. I’ll get over it or perish, I suppose!

      I look forward to drinking on your porch, virtually if not in NY. Thanks for such a warm welcome…makes this thing easier.

  6. I’ve often pondering writing about my moobs on TNB. But I haven’t got the balls up yet.

    P.S. Read your bio at the bottom. I started writing for a similar reason. I was 21. Best friend was diagnosed with brain cancer. Writing overtook me for the first time in my life. It’s helped me tremendously. Some may think I live/write in the past too much but I love the past. The past is where all my best friends are. My dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer ten years ago this past October. Beat the odds. Lived. Was diagnosed with leukemia this past March. Died in less than two months. My writing takes on my friend Jeremiah’s personalities in a lot of ways and my dad’s. It’s how I remember them. Just wanted to share that with you since reading your bio made me smile.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your pop; it’s a strange thing being left by a parent. Not that I would know yet. Fingers crossed and all that.

      But I’m sure that cancer springs many a muse, which is both reassuring and slightly strange. However, for all that my father’s illness has provided in terms of grist, I promised him I would never go so far as to thank his cancer for it. Heh.

      I’ve written on and off my whole life; it might be the only constant. But I never thought of it as a vocation, as something anyone else would want to be a party to. I wrote because it was the only way I knew how to get all the weird absurdities running around my head out so they would leave me alone. Most people never read what I wrote and I never thought about having it out there.

      I stopped writing for a while once I began to do graphics work, which took on the elements of absurdity in which I apparently live, but I didn’t know how to translate “cancer” into “graphics” so I fell back on ol’ reliable. And here I am.

      Thanks for telling me about your past. It’s nice to read about others who are familiar with it. Although tragedy seems to be a part of the human condition, so really I guess we’re all familiar with it. Anyway, thanks.

      • I’m with you. I guess I should clarify and say that I had written before then (age 21). I started as I think a lot of writers do: really crappy love poetry. Then I moved on to writing lyrics. Punk band. High-school. I think someone mentioned the “poet phase > rock star phase > novelist phase.” Completely know where that person was coming from.

        Just never really wrote prose until my friend was diagnosed. It became a coping mechanism. A diary. A journal. An escape. A way to capture memories and retell them. Mostly funny stories. From the time Jeremiah was diagnosed in the summer of 2003 until he passed in January 2007, I wrote off and on. In August, a few months before he died I let him read it all and he wrote me a letter which I still have and look to every now and again.

        When my dad got sick this last time, that whole process started all over for me.

        Best wishes to your dad’s continued health.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Also, please write about your moobs. I want to read that piece.

  7. * often pondered * damn it!

    • D.R. Haney says:

      I’m sorry to hear all that about your dad and best friend, Jeffrey. And the “past is where all [your] best friends are” — what a beautiful, but (of course) sad, line.

      • Thanks Duke. Writing has really calmed my anger and sadness. It’s so therapeutic. More therapeutic than any doctor could ever be, at least for me. Reading as well. Time helps matters too. I watched my dad die down at Duke University. He passed about ten minutes after I got there. I heard the machines beep. I saw his chest rising and falling a hundred miles an hour. His eyes yellow. His skin flaking and burnt from the treatment. Being able to get those emotions out on paper has been my saving grace.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          I’m going to resist saying something along the lines of “at least you were there” — though maybe, unwittingly, I just said exactly that. There’s always that desire to soften the blow, as if it ever could be done.

          Meantime, I’m not sure what it is about writing that provides catharsis, at least of a kind, but I know it’s done so for me. I think this is why the impulse to write so often begins during adolescence, when so many kids are grappling with identity formation and its accompanying angst, and also why, as adults, they think of writing as an ideal occupation: because they fondly recall the journals they maintained as teenagers (or the poetry they wrote, or what have you). But it’s obviously important, as any therapist will verify, to verbalize feelings, and I suppose writing makes those feelings that much more concrete, as well as “objective” in a way–that is, they’re not wasted on the air, having a kind of independent, physical reality. The trick for any “serious” writer, I think, is to balance the demands of appealing to an abstract reader–someone other than himself, I mean–with his sense of what writing originally meant to him. I can’t see losing that altogether and having a desire to continue, and rejection letters and all the other occupational hazards can pose a formidable threat — and all too often do.

          I hope I’m making sense. It’s been a long day.

  8. Matt says:

    My most popular post have all been the ones where my inner critic has loudly proclaimed “Oh, this is shit, no one is going to read it, I’m going to get a phone call from Brad calling me a talentless hack and I’ll never be allowed to write for the site again.” Just goes to show (as the others have said), don’t think about it too much. This is a pretty friendly site.

    I set up a Facebook account, and then I turned all of my settings to private, so with maybe one or two exceptions, no one from my distant past has returned to haunt me.

    And I’ve honestly found Twitter much more effective for getting the word out when I post something new here. I get a fair amount of messages from people who follow me on Twitter who can’t be bothered to leave a comment here–much as I might try and talk them into doing so.

    Lastly, you and anyone who wants to write about your boobs should feel completely free to do so.

    • Quenby Moone says:


      What is this “Twizzer” of which you speak? I mean, yes. I’ve heard of this creature called twitter but I’m apparently the lamest of lame luddites and even though I’m tech savvy, cannot actually embrace the tech. What a buffoon.

      My boobs have been the subject of many a tale, none of them titillating (you see how I worked that in? Did you see that???) in the least. I wrote about them so often I actually thought of collecting them all together for a “web-only” special on my tiny little blog called “The Dangly Bits Issue.” I think we could make it work here on TNB. We could all submit completely non-titillating stories about our most titillating parts! It would make for one helluva front page! Penises getting trapped in toilets, boobs falling down to crotch-level, it would make for an amazing, if slightly punishing, read.

      Where were we? Oh. Facebook. I’ll get back to you on that one. Still freaks me the freak out.
      And I’m trying to tell my inner whack-job to lighten up about what to post; thanks for encouraging me to do just that. It makes it easier.

  9. josie renwah says:

    I will be your Facebook friend, QM. As TNB’s oldest (and biggest) groupie I am obligated to do so – and consider it an honor ;^) Since my writer’s block brock I’m semi-retired as TNB groupie but curiosity will bring me in to see what you dare to post in the future.

    We had a whole series on raising urban chickens. It was good. The Breakdown loves chickens and eggs… and boobs… and sex… and anything gross and disturbing for the most part…

    … Bunch o’whack-jobs in here.
    It’s kinda like having box seats at the state hospital.
    And who wouldn’t turn that down?!

    Question is…

    Are you crazy enough to fit in… ?


    • josie says:

      And if anyone should ever recommend my editing services to you – don’t judge me on my comments. The comment thread is for conversation and I don’t edit when I talk. heheh

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Are they crazy enough for me?

      I’m so sorry that I missed the urban chicken series. I never thought so many words could ever be written about barnyard fowl until I wrote as many as I did.

      And as I wrote to Matt _______∆ up there, I thought long and hard (no, really, no pun intended!) about putting together all my boob articles and calling it “The Dangly Bits Issue.” But I think it would be more fun for everyone to write about dangly bits, and not just me. Mostly so we could all share the shame equally.

      If I make onto Facebook, I would be honored to have you as my friend. You can be my fourth!

  10. Marni Grossman says:

    I concur: don’t be nervous. People are very nice.

    That said, I completely understand. I recently sold two articles. Bought the magazines this week, reread the pieces, hated everything about them. The nature of being a writer? Maybe?

  11. Ha ha ha ha… Boute.

    Wait, wait. It doesn’t look quite so good without the accent.

    Anonymity is over-rated. I personally only feel like a valid human being when someone else asks to be my friend on Facebook. Sometimes they send me messages with it saying ‘Please be my friend.’

    That, amigo, is what I like to call a jackpot day.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Ah, the “Please be my friend” note. It’s like wielding the mighty sword of coolness over the heads of the heathen unwashed. And when you deign to become their friend, they will always be a little bit in your debt!

      I like it. I need to rethink this whole FB thing.

  12. Alison Aucoin says:

    Yes, I totally get the lack of anonymity with an unusual name (all though I count three Alison Aucoins out here on the interweb).

    My first TNB post involved several extensive long distance phone calls with Ronlyn Domingue (speaking of unusual names), hyperventilation, and a huge swig of Rescue Remedy. The last three have come so easily. I thought I was on a roll. Now this one…

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Ah, crap. So it comes in waves? The confidence, I mean?

      Yes, those of us blessed/cursed with the weird names…I love my name but it’s been a cross to bear too. Can you imagine elementary school with my name? By the time I got married, I’d taken so many blows for my name that I literally could not give it up. I fought for it, dammit. I’m gonna wear it with pride!

      But still. The internet makes nutty names a little more tenuous.

    • Ronlyn Domingue says:

      Next life, I do not want a name that requires me to SPELL IT after I say it. And it’s only marginally cute that my last one rhymes with the word “meringue.”

      Quenby, my favorite quote about writing is from Brenda Ueland who said, “Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” There’s a wonderful purity about that because it encourages a writer’s own voice and perspective. No matter what, you get to control what you say and how you say it. How people react…well, that’s their business. Keep doing what you love. And as you’ve seen, there ARE others who love it, too.

      • Quenby Moone says:

        Did you talk to my father before posting? Because that’s one of those super-supportive, great things he always says to me. Do what you love, fuck the rest of it. More or less.

        Maybe I’m paraphrasing, or taking liberties…

        And your name must have been a similar sort of torture growing up: “Q-U-E…no, not M, NNNNNN. Nancy. Nitwit. Numbskull. B-Y. Not ‘Queen Bee,’ no. Not ‘Corned Beef.’

        Ah, fuck it. I’m not even going to give you my last name…”

        • Ronlyn Domingue says:

          Nah, I didn’t talk to your dad but have parents like him. Encouragement is a balm to the meanness of this world. You keep writing.

          A thought. I wonder if folks would get a kick out of reading TNB essays on “How I Got My Name.” Open to all, common names or not. There’s sure to be plenty o’ humor and pathos.

  13. I, like you, was a TNB virgin not too long ago… as well as a FB virgin and a Blogging virgin and a … well… you get it. The only Virgin I wasn’t getting back was the one I left in High School. In a farmer’s field in Florida. ( Why wasn’t it the beach? Wouldn’t that have been more romantic?) But that may be a TNB post.
    Anyhow… when I was getting ready to publish my first book and my agent and publisher were ever so gently nudging me to the edge of an “internet presence” I resisted until the TNB opportunity presented itself. This, I figured, I could do and retain relative obscurity. Little did I realize how freaking amazing the entire TNB world is… it was easy to be drawn in and enter conversations and comments and before I knew it I was on FaceBook ( even tho we still have an uneasy relationship… I have yet to master the *quip* as so many others have and it does take some energy to be on…)

    TNB likes you Quenby Moone… one toe in at a time… you’re doing fabulously!

    • Quenby Moone says:

      “It likes me! It really, really likes me!” I’ve always wanted to say that.

      Hello, fellow virgin! (I’ve never had a chance to say that, ever!) I’m glad to see a newbie who’s as mixed about the web as me. I mean, I’VE HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT FOR NINE YEARS! That’s a long time of obscurity to give up. It’s definitely a little “ouch.”

      I’ll let you know when I choose to go on FB and we can feel conflicted about it together.

  14. Anon says:

    If I can find a way to, with a straight face, work the phrase “brain queef” into a meeting today, I will consider my life a success. And I can understand some of your reticence – I was actually semi-cyber-stalked via LinkedIn. LinkedIn!! That’s an IBM cafeteria to FB’s trendy downtown coffeehouse! What the hell, man?!?

    • Greg Olear says:

      Yes, yes…forgot to laud the “brain queef” line…and LinkedIn is ridiculous. The one corner of cyberspace where my dad has a larger footprint than I do.

      • Quenby Moone says:

        I don’t even know what LinkedIn is for–once social networks began popping up everywhere I sort of put blinders on and plugged my ears while humming.

        But brain queefing. If you can work that into your meeting, Anon, you are nigh-on close to heroic. I would be honored!

        • Anon says:

          Sadly, I couldn’t make it happen today but I’m not particularly good at giving up and there’s no shortage of absurd meetings in my life so I shall keep trying. Plus, they’re a little more “on to me” since I delivered my status report a few weeks ago in an affected Russian accent (I’m American, of Mediterranean descent). Don’t know what was more absurd – my doing so or the fact that no one, though they’ve worked with me for almost two years and have never heard me speak Russian, asked just WTF was wrong with me.

        • Quenby Moone says:

          I have a feeling that you and I would totally hit it off. I remember climbing in an elevator with another couple who asked me where the hotel restaurant was. I answered them in a fake German accent. Why? I thought it was funny.

          And then I realized that they were actually German tourists. Oops.

          I have faith in you, though. I believe you’re going to pull it off.

        • Anon says:

          Ha! The Camelbak awaits! We can get discretely schnockered in a corner and try to convince people we’re former Stasi.

  15. Ducky Wilson says:

    I was with you every step. I have facebook, but I can’t help but feel it’s rather vain. Does anyone really care what’s happening in my life? And if they really do, why don’t they just call me? Or take me to dinner? Aren’t we just mining superficial relationships?

    Or else I feel like I’m begging people to watch my movie or read my story or listen to my song. And then I feel all self absorbed and it disgusts me.

    So where does that leave me?

    But then I remembered how scattered all my friends are. Some in LA, some in NY, some in Europe, Asia, even one in Antarctica. (He sure can’t take me to dinner. And there are no phone lines where he is.) FB has helped me stay in touch with these people. As for people from my past, I rarely use my real name. Even in real life. What is a name?

    A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Ironically, Ducky, by remaining anonymous — or pseudonymous, as it were — you only serve to heighten interest. Who is Ducky Wilson? What is her real name? Why does she call herself that? Where can we watch her movies? And what’s with this Vonnegut stuff? Call it the JD Salinger Effect. (But we can use his nickname, Sonny, so it can be yet another form of SSE). Intentionally or not, you’ve created a mystique.

      If you’re going to be in the public eye in any way — as novelist, filmmaker, musician, or what have you — it’s not vain to be on FB, nor is it necessarily superficial. It’s another way to connect with people, which is, at the end of the day, the purpose of art.

      • Ducky Wilson says:

        Kudos to you Greg for catching my Vonnegut reference. It’s meaningless, I assure you. As is my name.

        I started out in the music biz, and invariably, I heard this all the time: “She’s really good, for a girl.”

        Always that goddamned caveat.

        So when I moved to NY and turned fulltime to film, I decided to shed my gender, like Elizabeth, so as not to be judged by it. Suddenly, more doors opened when people thought I was a man.

        Sexism is alive and well, I assure you. I have simply learned how to navigate around it.

        As for my movie, if you’re seriously interested, email me offline and I’ll tell you where you can watch it.

        • Yeah, I always assumed you were a dood with a name like Ducky.
          I hate the whole “for a girl” thing too. When I was in the music scene,
          I resented all of the grrrl fests that had only girl musicians, like we were the
          in the special olympics or something.

          I like this whole using a fake name phenomenon. I’m probably going to have to
          do so when I become a licensed therapist one day (if I ever finish my masters and that would require me to get off this goddamn site).

        • Ducky Wilson says:

          I was pretty bummed when I was told I had to use an actual photo of myself and write a real bio (Thanks a lot, Brad.) I prefer staying in the vapors of mystery. We know too much about people these days. Too, too much.

      • Greg Olear says:

        My introducing the Sonny Salinger Effect on the day that Salinger died — without realizing he was dead! — is an example of the Simon Smithson Effect.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Yeah, Greg. That’s perfect. I call it “The Guy,” but it’s the same as what everyone here calls the SSE. The idea is that there is a guy somewhere playing a video game that is our world, he’s our god, basically, and he’s a smartass. Hence these coincidences that aren’t really coincidences.

          When something good happens like this I call him The Good Guy. Like if you win the lottery. But most of the time it’s the just the regular Guy. When he really gives you shit, I say “The Guy is all over me today!”

          I don’t know why I’m telling you this.

        • Greg Olear says:

          I’m glad you told me. The Guy. I love it.

        • Quenby Moone says:

          The Guy, huh? Because I’m always looking around at the great buffoons of the world and saying to myself, “Oh, he’s that guy. But what I really should be saying is, “Oh, it’s That Guy.”

          I’m glad we’re clarified things.

          re: SSE:
          I was thinking there was a lot of synchronicity with my own life when Salinger died, not the least of which was me crawling out of my privacy shell here on TNB. It’s like Salinger was mocking me; he got to keep his privacy to the bitter end. I, on the other hand, have just outed myself.

          Not that it’s a bad thing, but I’m a little envious. So Simon Smithson Effect, Sonny Salinger Effect, whatever it is, I like it. Makes life infinitely more interesting.

    • Richard Cox says:

      I totally understand the sleazy feeling of hawking your wares. I hate it. At my own book signings I look around at the people who took the time to show up and part of me wonders, Didn’t you all have anything better to do? Honestly? But the alternative for unknown artists is to never reach an audience. There are ways to acceptably promote online, this site being one of them, as well as Facebook and (gag) Twitter, etc.

      As an aside, I really dislike Twitter. At least on Facebook I email people and have reconnected with school friends I would never have spoken to again otherwise. To me Twitter seems like the worst form of conceit, as if anyone would care to read short blurbs about what you’re doing or what you care about. Then I think, why should anyone care about far longer opinion pieces I write and post here? Or a 100,000-word novel that is basically a fictional account of my personal world view?

      I suppose the very act of expecting anyone to read or listen to or watch anything you create will always contain an element of conceit. At the same time, if there were no art, our culture would hardly exist. So I guess you do what feels comfortable to you and take pleasure when someone happens to enjoy it.

      • Quenby Moone says:

        I think you pretty much summed up my conflicted feelings about being a “writer” (painter, actor, dancer) with a name attached to it. I am brutally aware of feeling pride in my product, which makes me ashamed of having the pride.

        It’s a double-edged sword; I want to be a part of the authors cabal, but I’m uneasy with even calling myself a writer, much less shilling my wares. How can all these polarities exist within one tiny brain? It hurts me in a deep, soul-searching way.

        So, Richard Cox, it is lovely to have met you, since you have summed up all of my concerns and issues so concisely.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      This all makes perfect sense to me. My friends are all scattered to the four winds, and many of them are probably still really my friends, though I haven’t spoken to them in 15 years. I’m a crap correspondent. But the wealth of bizarro that seems to crawl from the slime…is it worth the risk? Is the benefit equal to the amount of stress that I will experience when I’m “friended” by my icky past?

      Which is to say, I’m still firmly on the fence on this one.

      And my husband pointed out, “I hate it when people are always trying to get me to read this, watch that, come to my show, be my “Fan.”‘ Self-promotion has never been my strong suit–obviously, if it’s 2010 and I’m only surfacing on the intarwebs now–so I really don’t know how best to deal with this whole thing.

      Thanks for being my soul-duckling to my Chickensian inner turmoil.

  16. Irene Zion says:


    (I do really love your name, by the way.)

    I had to face facebook too. It was sort of icky. I was afraid of who I would hear from. It’s okay, though. I hardly ever go on, although more often than Twitter. Twitter is WAY icky. But I think I’m in the minority here.

    I like how you write and I think you should always put your name on it and put it here!

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Thanks. And thanks. My name is a badge of honor, much like my slightly flabby tummy from being pregnant and the wrinkles that have settled in around my eyes. If I think about it the other way, I just go crazy.

      I like the way you write too, mother of a kook.

      • Irene Zion says:

        So, Quenby,
        Are you still a Stewardess?

        • Quenby Moone says:

          Was I ever? I don’t remember being one, but maybe I was in an alternate universe where you heard about it.

          I remember some crazy guy told me he wished I was a stewardess, and which airline would I work for? I told him I thought United was okay, and he told me, quite vehemently, that I should only work for Qantas Airlines. It was a very Rain Man conversation, since I was no-where near an airplane, nor even an airport, and he was just some random dude who started talking to me.

        • Irene Zion says:

          He was undercover, Quenby,

          You can be FORCED to be a stewardess, you know.

  17. Lenore says:

    i hear ya. my name doesn’t come around too often, either. i think i’m the only one with this title. maybe we should form a club of people who are totally screwed if prospective employers google us.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Hopefully they’ll only find your predilection for cheesy poofs and watermelon, and nothing, say, a little more scandalous! I’m just lucky that the intarwebs was in its infancy when I was often on my worst behavior. I’m sure there would be much more photographic evidence of being a miscreant if it were later.

      I truly dodged a bullet on that one.

      I like our club. I think we should have meetings with frilly drinks.

  18. sheree says:

    I’m rather fond of chicken stories. Great post!

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