From August 16 – 20, Erika Rae, Megan DiLullo, and Slade Ham joined me in Tulsa, Oklahoma to film a documentary about the evolving state of literature and the arts. We also spent a lot of time goofing around like children.

In this short clip, we try to recall TNB authors from memory and struggle to pronounce their names properly. We hope you won’t be too offended if we missed yours. We were very tired. Plus, I was driving, so you can’t blame me.

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RICHARD COX is the author of The Boys of Summer, Thomas World, The God Particle, and Rift. He can be reached on Facebook or at his personal web site, www.richardcox.net.

158 responses to “This is The Nervous Breakdown…Sort of”

  1. Greg Olear says:

    Brilliant! And you got my name right. And you mentioned Steph!

    (Also: Sean’s last name is pronounced BOW-dwin.)

    • Richard Cox says:

      You have to give Erika an “E” for effort. And maybe another “E” for Erika.

      Hey, Erika: What sound does an Erika make?

      • Erika Rae says:

        Actually, is that really right either? He told me “bow-dwen”. Arrrrghghblargahahaha!

        • Joe Daly says:


          On an entirely unrelated note, I just decided that I’m going to call a bunch of people “Sugar Tits” today. I’m feeling all Mel Gibsonny.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          I can’t seem to help myself.

          Regardless of how it’s spelled, when I see it, my brain thinks/sees/reads/hears “Bedouin.” Like, as in the nomadic desert people of the middle east.

          Sean Bedouin. He should just change it to that.

          But I also think/see/read/hear “O’Lear” in my head, too. It doesn’t matter how many times I’m told it’s wrong or how few apostrophes are actually in the name.

          They should change their name as well.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Right, I meant BOW as in violin, not as in boat. BODE-win, like Richard said.

          And Becky, take your apostrophe and shove it up your pa-LAP-uh-luh. ; )

        • Richard Cox says:

          It took me three tries to understand why BOW as violin was pronounced differently than boat. Hahahaha.

          Clearly I have no business debating serious literature with you, Greg.

        • Erika Rae says:

          But he just told me it’s “DWEN” not “DWIN”. We’re all wrong. ha HA!

        • Becky – I so want to change out name. Apparently, it used to have a “j” – as in Olejar and someone in Greg’s lineage dropped the silent “j”. And with a cute little accenty thing that I can’t find on the keyboard over the “j”.

          But Greg won’t do it, because of his fame and stardom as Olear.

        • I can’t tell y’all how gratifying it is to be parsed. But, as I mentioned to Ms. Rae, can you possibly imagine how much shit I had to swallow on the playground for this albatross of a name? A while back a bunch of friends used to call me “Easy”, one of those hilarious opposite nicknames, like calling the drooling galoot “Tiny”. Anyway, back then I thought long and hard about using Easy A. Pye as a permanent pen name.

          Sort of glad now I didn’t.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          If it had the silent j in it, I can guarantee you that I’d pronounce it right.

          The j would provide the linguistic clue I need. My brain works like that. It has an anglophone spelling, so I give it an anglo pronunciation. He shouldn’t be mad at me just because I can READ. *sob*

          Then again, I suspect one one of Greg’s ancestors got sick of being called “Ol’ Jar.”

        • Greg Olear says:

          I worked the drive-thru at McDonald’s when they introduced the chicken fajitas, back in 89 or 90. One man came in and said, “I’d like the chicken fudge-itis, please.” This is what Americans do with romance-language “j”s.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Well, I’m an American, and I wouldn’t do it. It’s placement tells me that it’s not an anglo “j.”

          And it’s not a “Romance Language ‘j’.” The Latin alphabet has no “j,” and it’s the original romance language. Italian has no “j.”

          Spanish does, and French does, but they’re pronounced totally differently, and I’m not sure where it comes from. Whatever it is, it’s freakish.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Oops. Its.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Whatever the linguistic rationale, I’d be Greg Oh-luh-Jar. No thanks.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Not to me, Greg.

          I’m going to call you Shakes O’Malley.

        • Greg Olear says:

          You are determined to, ahem, stack the cards against me.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Ruddy O’Toole.

        • Richard Cox says:

          On an unrelated note, I’m listening to AC/DC right now and I love their crunchy guitars.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          I loathe AC/DC.

          I’m partial to Neil Diamond’s “Crunchy Granola Suite.”

    • Of course we mentioned Steph!

      How could we not.

    • Jeffrey Pillow says:

      I’ve always wondered how his last name was pronounced. I thought maybe it was like bo-dwin. Something frenchy.

  2. Irwin says:

    tragically the sound isn’t working on this computer… I can’t wait to find one that does.

    This better live up to the Star Wars video!

  3. D.R. Haney says:

    I like that I got the Risky Business treatment with Slade’s sunglasses when my name came up.

  4. Becky Palapala says:

    Say my name, Bitch!

  5. Erika Rae says:

    We missed so many awesome people!!! Marni Grossman! Don Mitchell! Angela Tung! Justin Benton! Megan Powers! Jennifer D White! Claire Bidwell Smith! Susan Henderson! Tao Lin! Will Entrekin! James Irwin! Oh, it’s horrible how many others we left out. Robin Antalek! Todd Zuniga! I have to stop.

  6. Erika Rae says:

    Oh, and Sean. I would like to publicly apologize for massacring your name. I am SO embarrassed. Hahaha


    Richrob, you’re so fun!!!

  8. Joe Daly says:

    That was awesome possum!

    Loved Erika’s valiant attempts at Sean’s last name.

    And so stoked that I got called out by the most metal of them all!

    Well done, guys! I can only imagine what kind of legendary shenanigans went on that weekend. Glad so much has been preserved on film.

    Btw- I forward Slade’s Bantha thing to my Star Wars geek buddy. He was awed by the accuracy of the audio.

  9. Brin Friesen says:

    For a community gathered under the banner of “thenervousbreakdown” we seem awfully cheerful. Where did Brad get that handle anyway?

  10. Erika Rae says:

    Richrob – You’re the best for putting this together. SO COOL.

  11. Dana says:

    I think almost all of you are using assumed names anyway.

    Slade Ham?*
    Richard Cox?

    C’mon fellas, you can tell us your real names.

    *One day I was telling a friend how funny you are (we were out at a bar with no technology at hand) and she told me I was gullible and there was no way that was your real name. WTF?

  12. Dana says:

    Also – yayy! I love to hear you guys talk and hear all the laughs!

    • Erika Rae says:

      We seriously couldn’t stop. My ribs hurt when I went home! They are all seriously so amazing and funny and smart and kind. I was so lucky to have hijacked that trip. hahahaha

  13. Zara Potts says:

    I still don’t understand why you drive on the wrong side of the road.
    But you are all so beautiful and lovely, it makes me smile.
    As for name pronunciation – the one that gets me in Ronlyn Domingue. It’s apparently pronounced Do-Mang.
    Cute as all hell.

  14. Autumn Kindlespire may be the best name a real person has ever had.*

    But you forgot IRWIN. Tch.

    “Coxy” always makes me think of these chaps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imOt19j8K4U

    *although I had a flatmate called Rainbow Blue Nelson, and I was at university with Verity Onions

  15. Ben Loory says:

    this is a great video! especially my name! i love the part with my name!!!

    • Richard Cox says:

      I think I said your name. And then Megan said “Hi.”

      Or at least that’s how it turned out after a few hours of editing.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Is it looooory

      or laurie?

      • Ben Loory says:

        oh, you know, whatever. i think i say loory to rhyme with story. but i hear it different from different people and really they all sound the same. the only way i don’t like it is when people say it really slow and separate it into two different words so it sounds like they’re saying LOU REED. which is weird, because i actually kind of like lou reed. the mind is a very strange place.

  16. Simon Smithson says:

    Look at me now, Ma!

  17. Jeffrey Pillow says:

    I made it! I finally made it! Screw you everyone who said I’d never been someone one day!

  18. Jessica Blau says:

    LOVE it! Can’t explain why it was fun to watch (a bunch of people sitting around naming other people, doesn’t seem like it would be interesting) but it was. It was strangely fun to watch.

    Now you need to put it to music the way those people (who are those people?!) did with the Double Rainbow song.

    • Richard Cox says:

      “…a bunch of people sitting around naming other people, doesn’t seem like it would be interesting…”

      Especially when we missed yours! One of the numerous glaring omissions. I blame the passengers in the car (although I read all your posts so I suppose I can’t cop out on this one, much as I would like to.)

      Thank you for taking the time to watch. 🙂

    • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

      How did I miss this unbelievable thread? From Venice Beach, California to Italian can-canning to breast cream? Ya’ll are amazing.

  19. Jessica Blau says:

    Ah, but I’m barely an omission. I see myself as a side-liner here, one of the chorus girls. You, my friend, and most the others you named, are the true stars!

    • Richard Cox says:

      Hardly. You’re one of our biggest selling authors, no? And anyway you’re the No. 7 Breast Cream girl. I should go back and splice in your name and then do some subliminal one-frame shots of breasts and/or cream.

    • Greg Olear says:

      You are so not a chorus girl. You’re not even a supporting player. You’re above-the-title, JAB.

      • Jessica Blau says:

        1. You, Greg, are a better writer than J.F.

        2. I really am a chorus girl. When you cruise through this beautiful site there are all these amazing, voices front and center, doing the Big Show. And then I pop up every now and then, the chorus girl with half my breasts hanging out, desperately doing the can-can as I scan the audience hoping that just one person will look at me, look at me!

        3. If there are TNB plans for Venice, Italy, I will don my can-can skirt and bustier and board the next plane. Who’s planning this trip? Who is the official TNB travel agent?!

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Did someone say Venice? Make it spring of 2012 and I’ll meet you all there, though I’ll ask Jessica to keep her can-canning breasts to herself. My son isn’t quite two and is already shaping up to be a horndog. We’ll have a hard (heh) enough time managing him around all the 2D fresco boobage. At least he won’t be old enough to snicker over the “Palazzo Labia”.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I lived in Venice whenever they were rioting in Trieste.
          My brother was always falling in the canals.
          I never did.
          I’ve always been the smarter one,
          although the opposite was assumed since he was the golden boy
          and I was collateral miscalculation.

          I think I’m asleep now.
          Never mind.

        • Greg Olear says:


          1. Thanks.

          2. Lovely as your metaphor is, I disagree. Your name is on the marquee.

          3. I don’t know, but the can-can skirt and bustier should be mandatory for all participants. (And now I have that old Shop Rite jingle in my head: Can can can can Shop Rite is the very best)

        • Jessica Blau says:

          Okay, it looks like we’ve got a trip planned to Venice!
          Maybe we should turn this into our convention and then we can all deduct it from our taxes. I’m going to look into some blocks of rooms in hotels. Andrew, prepare the 2-yr-old ’cause we are all going to be wearing our can-can suits as we lounge at the Lido!

  20. Jessica Blau says:

    HILARIOUS! Splice away!

  21. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    I think Slade’s rearview mirror angle was a nice touch.
    Let’s bring this party to Venice Beach in summer 2011.
    Zara needs to make another mini-movie.

  22. Gloria says:

    I love it when you say my name, Rich.

  23. Lenore says:

    i wanna be in that car so badly.

  24. Slade Ham says:

    Yeah… I didn’t really contribute much. I just sat in the front seat working the camera and acting like a child 🙂

    What an awesome weekend.

  25. Tremendous! I’m so happy to hear my name Dixied-out!

  26. I got positively geeked-out happy when my name came up.

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