Friday, December 30, 2011

NYE


res·o·lu·tion  noun   \re-zə-ˈlü-shən\

Definition of RESOLUTION

1  : the act or process of resolving: as
    a : the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones
    b : the act of answering : solving
    c : the act of determining
    d : the passing of a voice part from a dissonant to a consonant tone or the progression of a chord from dissonance to consonance
    e : the separating of a chemical compound or mixture into its constituents
    f (1) : the division of a prosodic element into its component parts (2) : the substitution in Greek or Latin prosody of two short syllables for a long syllable
    g : the analysis of a vector into two or more vectors of which it is the sum

2  : the subsidence of a pathological state (as inflammation)

3  a : something that is resolved  
    b : firmness of resolve 

[IMAGE]

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Da Bomb


This was a Christmas gift. It smells like if someone threw a hand grenade at you, but the grenade was filled with flowers. It is awesome.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Things They Carried in Their Bras

"Throat cancer," he said, tracing the scar that ran from his ear to his windpipe.

It was sort of breathtaking, sitting in an office with a view of the lake in winter, talking to a man in a suit who was making a motion like he was slitting his own throat.
[READ, IMAGE]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lowballer


Why do women lowball other women? Let's find out.
1. There is no sisterhood.

Read any site devoted to women and business, and you’ll stumble across various essays, articles, and posts in which it’s underscored how women must stick up for other women in the workplace. The reality is that it doesn’t happen. Rather than cry for a sisterhood that doesn’t exist in reality, women would be better off accepting that the dog-eat-dog mentality of business is as pervasive among women as it is among men.
[READ]

Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa


Christmas, Chicago, Illinois

Friday, December 23, 2011

Team Hell Yeah



I work for Team Coco.

How awesome is working for Team Coco?

This awesome.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Melancholia


I finally saw "Melancholia," which I thought was terrific. It's very beautiful, and powerful, and complex. Oddly, I found the ending somewhat anticlimactic. In any case, see it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I get email


Hi Susannah,

Forgive me if this comes off as crass, but you make breast cancer sexy, what a wonderful picture. Best wishes for your recovery.

Warm regards,
[Redacted]

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Biopsy


Biopsy, Chicago, Illinois

Monday, December 19, 2011

Age


How old am I?

Let's find the fuck out today on Forbes!
If you live your life in a box, maybe you end up looking perfect on the outside. If you live your life outside the box, you end up with a face like a map, the tributaries revealing all the things you’ve done, and you wear your battle scars for all to see.
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Strip


Letters from Men Who Go to Strip Clubs has 22 letters so far. If it continues at this pace, it will be the most popular letters project I've done.

Salon wrote about the project, it will be mentioned in an upcoming issue of Playboy magazine, and a UK publication will be profiling me in the new year.

You can submit your letter HERE.

[READ, IMAGE]

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winter


Snow Boots, Chicago, Illinois

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

TV


If you want to be like me, you should probably read this.
If you can’t condense your message into a 10-word soundbite, you don’t belong on TV. If you don’t get that part of doing well on TV means cultivating a look, you don’t belong on TV. If you think being on TV is where everyone will understand you, you don’t belong on TV.

TV is like gladiators fighting in a stadium. You have to be fast, you have to be telegenic, and you have to be able to dumb it down without sounding like an idiot. TV doesn’t play your game; it plays its own game.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Exam


Exam Room, Chicago, Illinois

Monday, December 12, 2011

I get email



Susannah:

What if your next few Forbes postings had nothing at all to do with your current breast cancer battle?

What if your next article was entitled "What Strippers Can Teach Trophy Wives and Junior League Members"? (Juvederm and wrinkle fillers injected into the foot pads so the Louboutins don't hurt).

The next article could be "How Tampa, Fl Strippers are Gearing up for the GOP Convention". Somebody is going to write that article - why not you? Republicans; naked women; money...

Your readers are set up for the medical drama/heroic female victim/struggle in an unfair world storyline. But this isn't the Lifetime Television Network.

What if you gave them Susannah Breslin instead and made them wait?

[Redacted]

Friday, December 9, 2011

MRI


MRI, Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shoot


I wrote a post on Forbes about my most recent trip to the doctor after my breast cancer diagnosis. Mostly, the piece is about facing questions like: Should I get both my boobs chopped off? These are questions one would prefer not to consider, but then there they are.

As I write in the post, I took my camera with me, mostly as a way to deal with the environment, and also as a way of manifesting a fantasy of control. The camera helped. It made me feel like I could compartmentalize everything into a box: the framed picture.
I brought my camera along. I took a photo of the building from the outside. I took a photo walking down the hall to the place where I would be the youngest person in the room. I took a photo of myself in a smock in an examination room. The camera was like a weapon, heavy in my hand, the thing between me and where I didn’t want to be.
[READ]

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I get email

Dear Susannah,

I was wandering if you would be so inclined to attend an office holiday party with me, as my date. With you, I can guarantee a beautiful, yet intelligent type, proven by watching some of your work. You would of course be paid. Could we work this out?

best regards,

[Redacted]


How much?

Well, I see that you have not really turned the camera on yourself much since you have taken up photography (that I can find) so I probably could use an updated photo. But unless you have a going rate, and since you have a fetish angle that I am rather fond of, how about ticket (plane), hotel expense included plus $7,500 for basically a 24-hour period. You can also forego the hotel if you wanted to hang out the rest of that weekend (Dec 16-Dec 18), as I have a place to crash. If you are not interested, no worries, as I have others in mind as well, I just wanted to run this by you first, as I do like you.

[Redacted]

[IMAGE]

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Waiting


Waiting, Chicago, Illinois

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tough


The lovely Molly Crabapple created this awesome artwork in homage to my breast cancer diagnosis. Thank you, Molly! I will be tough like brass knuckles for you. She'll be auctioning it off and donating the funds to a breast cancer organization in the future.

[MOLLY'S HOUSE]

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Award


Xeni made this for me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Flowers


Flowers, Chicago, Illinois

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I get email


At least you have breast cancer. Imagine having to deal with everyone who knows you, knowing that they know you have cancer of the asshole!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Diagnosis


I found out I have breast cancer. The good news is that it appears to be early stage and the most treatable kind. I guess this is what they call a best-case-worst-case scenario.

"The Business About My Breasts":
I’m at Costco when the call comes the next day. The call was supposed to come between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., but the call comes at 2 p.m., so as soon as I look at the phone, I know something’s wrong. The radiologist asks if this is a good time to talk. I look around. I’m in a Costco. What am I supposed to say? No, let’s talk when I’m at McDonald’s. Or, How about you call me back in a week? Or, If it’s possible to not have this call at all, that will be preferable. Instead, I tell her, Yes, now is a good time to talk.

Are you sitting down? the radiologist asks.
[READ, IMAGE]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Letters


Letters from Men Who Go to Strip Clubs is proving to be the most popular letters project thus far. I've posted several new letters. There are a total of 17 letters at this time.

A literary agent approached me about turning the project into a book, but I am dubious regarding an editor buying it. Editors don't seem to get the value of these sorts of projects. They come from another world.
She’s only been dancing for 2 weeks and confesses she’s still nervous. She won’t do all nude and says 'I don’t know if I’ll ever be that kind of girl.' I get a private dance with her and though I can’t touch her (others will let you) having her lissome body pressed against mine feels great. It’s the only touch I’ve had with a woman in a long time. And yes, the fact that I’m having to pay for it does come into play. It makes it feel less substantial, like I’m trying to embrace her form in front of me but keep closing my arms around empty air. It’s not backed up by the meaningfulness of intimacy with someone you love (or at least really like). Still, it starts to fill me up even as it awakens more unmet desires.
[READ, IMAGE]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Salon


Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory interviewed me about Letters from Men Who Go to Strip Clubs.

"Men's Strip Club Confessions": 
Getting back to the latest “Letters” project, what have you learned from it so far?

The “Letters” projects have been of varying success, but I love it as a genre because I find the letters very endearing. I’m always kind of surprised by how enamored men are by women. What I see as a sub-context in the latest project is how much power the stripper has. She’s the focus. It’s not about a guy manipulating some woman to get what he wants, it’s about, “I have to pay to get this girl to even pay attention to me and when she does, she gives me the thing that I want that I can’t get at work and I can’t get from my wife and can’t get by myself,” and I think they’re sort of awed by that.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Vegas, baby




The Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada

Friday, November 18, 2011

Porn and misogyny


O, HAI, it's my good old friend porn.

A Slate blogger wrote an almost willfully stupid assessment of porn, which I saw fit to write about on my Forbes blog.

She said porn is misogynist. I say you are not the male sexual fantasy police, feminism.

"Why the Porn Business Isn't Misogynist":
Here’s the truth about porn: It’s an expression of male desire. Watch a porn movie, and you’re seeing male fantasies projected onto a screen, a facsimile or simulacrum of real fantasies that exist in real minds in real men. Unfortunately for Marcotte, she cannot control those desires and those desires are not always politically correct. What men want — in their dreams, in their masturbatory reveries, in their sex lives — doesn’t adhere to what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s sexist and what isn’t, what’s OK with Marcotte and her feminist sisterhood and what the truth is that a man thinks about when it comes to sex.
[READ]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I get comments


Okay. Just had to weigh in on this.

Anybody. ANYBODY who compares you to Andrea Dworkin is a psychopathic F**knuggit who should die screaming their last syllable as they burn in the storm of a thousand suns.

Yeah. I'm a big fan, but the whole Drowkin comparison is so wildly off-base.

It's like comparing you to Robert DeNiro or Agustus Flavius.

WTF??!! Seriously.

In what universe is there a molecule of comparison between Susanna Breslin and that bad-sh*t crazy old fat-basket?

Is this the adults' table, or are we eating ice cream and wearing a paper hat at Timmy's birthday party?
[READ]

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet Frances Bridges


My latest Forbes post is a profile of sorts, and it's a how-to. If you're a twenty-something woman looking for a job, you may be interested in reading about Frances Bridges.

"How to Get a Job If You're a Twentysomething Woman":
But Frances Bridges the person has something else going for her that is very important. She is very pretty. That’s one of the first things I noticed about her. Because I wanted to know who had written to me asking for help, and part of that was wondering what she looked like, so I googled her. Frances is very tall, and she has long, shiny brown hair, and she has big, soulful eyes. There is something about her that probably drives young men her age insane with wanting to get at whatever lies at the bottom of Frances Bridges.
I really like Frances. I think she is very dear.

Some people responded negatively to the post, and some people responded positively, but I think that is beside the point. I think the most important part of the post is the part where Frances gets what she wants.

[READ]

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stripclubland


Not long ago, I created Letters from Men Who Go to Strip Clubs. The first letters blog I created was Letters from Johns. The strip club one was born out of a series I'm doing on my Forbes blog.

So far, I've gotten 12 letters.

Email me HERE if you want to add your anonymous letter to this project.
Now we live in a suburb up the street from one. She is very serious when she says she would have been a stripper if she’d had the body for it. I have to be honest and admit the same. Even if that honesty is mostly me trying to be interesting. I also have to admit that I will probably visit the one down the street eventually. I’ll take the excuse as soon as it presents itself to tell myself that it’s research. I actually DO want to legalize brothels and popularize burlesque houses as a way to make strip clubs less a depressing lie for everyone. Even if I never go inside another one I’ll always be pretending I’m some kind of enlightened porn-cocoon butterfly rather than just another porn fly. That truth seems less depressing than a lie, and maybe a little more erotic.
[READ, IMAGE]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NYC


Hotel, New York City, New York

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm a train


If you're in Chicago, you can see me read tonight as part of The Encyclopedia Show. Tonight's theme is Railroad. I'll be reading a story about a Chinese man.

Here's the show info:
Date of Event: November 9, 2011

Time: 7:30PM

Location of Event: Vittum Theater. 1012 N Noble Street, Chicago

Tickets: $8 general admission. $5 students
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Doc


The only thing more horrifying than going to the doctor and getting bad news is going to the doctor and finding out you have to go back in a week to find out if you get good news or bad news.

[IMAGE]

Monday, November 7, 2011

Take my advice


Here's something new I wrote on my Forbes blog: "The Best and Worst Advice I've Ever Gotten."
1. Sometimes when you try to do something faster, it takes longer.

I learned this one from my father. It’s the only advice he gave me that I remember. Now he’s dead, so it’s all I got. Interestingly, I continue to make this mistake. I fail at this on a regular basis. So, maybe my father’s advice was really about being mindful, and how sometimes when you slow down, everything hurries up around you.
For the past couple months, I've been struggling with something at Forbes. Basically, when I signed the contract, without realizing what I was doing, I gave them permission to syndicate the content of my Forbes blog, Pink Slipped, and now my Forbes blog posts are republished on Yahoo.

There's been this whole back and forth thing over this for some time, about how it was a glitch, and supposedly it's ending soon, and it goes on and on, but mostly it's really frustrating. Depressing, actually. Because I am paid for how much traffic I get at my Forbes blog, and when your content is republished by another site -- in August, Yahoo Sites had over 177 million unique visitors -- you are fucked.

Here's an example.

A week ago, I published a post on Forbes: "How Not to Get a Job at Yahoo." Ironic, right? I'd been holding off on saying anything about any of this because I was up for this blogging job at Yahoo, but I didn't get it, and then I wrote a post about that, not getting the Yahoo job, a post in which I referred to Yahoo as a "dead, 12-armed octopus sprawled in the sand at your feet and trying to figure out which tentacled limb it fed itself with." And Yahoo republished it.

Look at how terrible the republished post looks here: Ugh. For a time, Yahoo appeared to be stripping out the links back to my Forbes blog that I put in at the end. Sigh.

One reason I find this so difficult is that Lewis DVorkin, who is the Chief Product Officer at Forbes Media, is very open and transparent about how blogging works at Forbes.com, and has written really interesting stuff about the new digital newsroom, and seems very pro-journalist. He has been supportive of my work, but how is republishing of the sort that I outlined above pro-journalist?

To be clear, as someone who likes to take responsibility for things, I signed the contract. I think everything they're doing is kosher. But is it smart?

[READ, IMAGE]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hold that note


Probably the favorite moment of my trip to New York City is when I was standing in the back of the Beacon Theater filled with several thousand people, and before the show itself started, the band was playing, and Mark Pender, Conan's trumpet player, was doing this thing where he plays a note on the trumpet, non-stop, for this terrifically long time, like so long you can't believe it's real, and everyone shouts, over and over again, "Hold that note!" while he goes up and down the aisles and across the stage of this beautiful, packed gold theater, and he's still playing this note. It was really spectacular. To see something live that was so incomprehensible you almost couldn't believe it, but it was real, and it wasn't YouTube, and it wasn't Photoshopped. It seemed like a metaphor to me. For how to do things right. You just find your note, and you keep playing it, for as long as you can, and maybe there's an audience.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Where the boys aren't

"It's really not fit for women," the media-affairs guy had said. "There's nowhere for you to sleep."

"Then we'll go," we'd said.

"That's where we wanted to be: the place not fit for women."
[LINK, IMAGE]

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Team Coco in NYC


I went to NYC to hang out with the Team Coco crew and see Conan tape his show live at the Beacon Theater. (I work with Team Coco.) It was a super great time. The best time I've had in a while. I loved being backstage, and being in the war room, and meeting Conan, and watching the writers perform at a comedy club, and meeting people I work with and hadn't met before. Great trip!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Letters from men who go to strip clubs


Letters from Men Who Go to Strip Clubs. It's not the prettiest name, but it'll do.

For those of you who have been following for years, you'll remember in 2008, I created Letters from Johns, a year-long online project featuring email letters I received from men about why they paid for sex. That project became quite popular a few months after it was launched when Eliot Spitzer was busted for hiring call girls. Here's the piece I wrote about it in Newsweek.

Subsequently, I created Letters from Working Girls, which never really took off, I theorized because the women were too busy out there living the life. I also created Letters from Men Who Watch Pornography, which was a dud, probably because to think about porn analytically kills the desire one experiences in relationship to it.

Last week, I posted five more installments of my How Your Journalism Sausage Gets Made series on my Forbes blog, which focuses on the strip club economy, including one post where I asked readers why they go to strip clubs. The next day, I published three of the letters I received. A few days later, I'd received a half-dozen letters, so I created Letters from Men Who Go to Strip Clubs.

I like doing The Letters Project for several reasons. Because it's self-directed. Because it gives me and others a window into a mindset that may not otherwise be revealed. Because I think confessions are a sort of fascinating, dynamic genre. Because with every year that passes for me as a journalist, I believe more and more that the only way someone can understand something is by listening to a cacophony of voices. This is that cacophony.

Why didn't I include why women go to strip clubs? Why women go to strip clubs isn't of particular interest to me. Most of the people that go to strip clubs are men. Why Men and Women Go to Strip Clubs was even more awkward than the title I already had. (And, no, I will not create another site called Why Women Go to Strip Clubs because a), as I mentioned before, I'm not really that interested, and b) there won't be very many letters.)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, probably to remind myself more than anything else: I've covered a lot of things as a journalist: movies, celebrities, technology, sex, fashion, war, and more, but I think the common thread that interests me is men. Why? I don't know. If I figured that out, I probably wouldn't be interested anymore.

Send me your letters about why you go to strip clubs: EMAIL. Or share the link with a friend who may be interested. All letters are anonymous.

[READ, IMAGE]

Monday, October 31, 2011

Yahoo, she cried


I've got a new post up on my Forbes blog about how I went through three interviews and didn't get a job at Yahoo. It was a full-time blogging job. It would've been cool to get it. I was sad I didn't.

"How Not to Get a Job at Yahoo":
I rocketed out the front door in search of better reception. I think I was wearing a T-shirt from the day before and a pair of sweat pants that were falling down, so I had to hold them up while I was speeding down the courtyard walkway, veering around the corner, and attempting to answer his questions at the same time. I took a seat on the curb. A cat approached, meowing loudly. I waved it away frantically.
This month has been one of those months. Where everything is in transition. Where things you think are going to turn out one day don't, and the things that you think aren't going to happen do but only at the last minute when you think all is lost. So, it's different.

I neglected this blog for a while, something I wrote about last week. But I like doing it again. So much of my life is spent doing what other people tell me or what other people want me to do, and this is one of the few places where I can do what I want, and say what I want, and not have to think so much but just do.

Sometimes I get emails or comments from people who are like, Wow, you have a great drive, and I'm like, Ha-ha, you missed the part where I impersonated someone in a coma for several days. The other day, someone was like, You should write something about people who aren't as driven as you, and then I was like, Oh, but I do, but then I thought maybe I didn't. Maybe I write more about people I want to be like, or people I admire for some reason or the other, or people who have a lot of tenacity, or grit, or whatever you want to call it.

I don't necessarily write about the depression, or the anxiety, or the doubt, or the failures, or the confusion. Mostly, people don't want to hear about that. They want the American Dream, and Conflict Resolution, and Overcoming Obstacles, and I Did It So You Can Too, and Happy Endings. But my depression and anxiety and various other pathologies -- maybe they are a part of the success. Can you hold these two seemingly contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time -- that one's failure can be the same as one's success?

[READ, IMAGE]

Friday, October 28, 2011

How to do this


This week was a bear. A lot of work. A lot of stuff.

This was the highlight. My favorite panel is the biking-to-the-store one. Her tiny, thin legs. The determined face.

Today, I wrote about how to be a journalist:
I’m standing in the dressing room of a strip club in Texas interviewing a stripper herpetologist. There are two giggling girls crammed into a toilet stall that isn’t a toilet stall, really; it’s a gold curtain hanging in front of a toilet and that’s it. A girl with long brown hair wanders around, looking for something; she’s wearing glasses and jeans but she’s topless. A girl in a pink and black polka-dot bikini preens at the mirror. Nearby, a girl pulls up her black lace top to put on deodorant. A makeup artist applies makeup to a dancer’s upturned face; “Full face with lashes $30, no lashes $25,” the sign reads. It smells like perfume and strawberry lotion and a lifetime’s worth of Aqua Net hairspray. On the other side of the wall, the music is thumping for the girl on stage.
That made me realize I need to do some real journalism soon, or my head is going to explode.

In other news that is great, I'm doing another interview for The War Project next week.

I am ready.

[READ]

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Strip the sausage


I've got another installment of my journalism sausage series online. The series focuses on the strip club economy.

In an email, a strip club patron offered a poignant peek at why he goes.
"The primary reason that I go to strip clubs is #7 on your list: loneliness. In the dead of night, alone at home, the loneliness sometimes becomes unbearable. There aren’t many places to go in the middle of the night, and most of those choices don’t necessarily ensure any kind of reasonable human interaction."
I really love that email. Incidentally, the man who wrote that email also wrote a letter I published on Letters from Johns.

To be perfectly honest, this series has interested me more than anything I've done in a while. Sometimes, I write these in my opinion somewhat cheesy posts on my Forbes blog about, golly gee, making it through the hard times, and, oh, no, I had a really hard interview but this is what I learned, or some crap about some other tripe I don't care about.

I suppose unsurprisingly, those types of vapid posts are rather popular. To be frank, I find most of them rather stupid. They feel weak, and now that I look back on it, fake. Like some kind of person holding your hand across a busy street, when secretly they're more interested in what would happen to your body if they shoved you in front of a car.

If you want to get at the meat of something, you have to get out a cleaver, and writing tripe on how to perform better in a job interview is only going to get you a surface layer of fat, and who wants that?

This email I got from Mr. Loneliness -- that's like the first soul-baring email I've gotten in a long time.

Everything else is bullshit.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why do you go to strip clubs?


I'm working on a series on the strip club economy on my Forbes blog. Now, I'm asking my readers to tell me why they go to strip clubs.

Some men go to strip clubs because they’re lonely, and they want someone to talk to who will be judgement-free. Some men are single or not having sex or the sex they want with their partners, and strip clubs are a way for them to explore their fantasies. Some men go to strip clubs to conduct business meetings, or because it’s easier to find a woman to spend time with when you’re paying her than when you’re with your friends at a nightclub, or as an escape from the grind of work, of monogamy, of being whatever a man is supposed to be in the 21st century.
At the end of the post, I ask readers to tell me why they go to strip clubs. Email me your thoughts. I may include them in an upcoming post. They will remain anonymous. 

I also mention in the post Letters from Johns, a very popular series I did in 2008 wherein I asked men why they paid for sex.

The project generated quite a bit of buzz when, a few months after I launched it, Eliot Spitzer was caught up in a prostitution scandal. I wrote about the letters in Newsweek, it was mentioned on TIME.com, and Susie Bright called it "riveting reading."

Here are some of the most interesting letters from that project:

One can try to hang a sign on us, the collective john, as perpetuating the global conspiracy of sex/slave traffic, and I'll grant that my Thailand trip may have/probably did contribute to some sort of thuggery. But in the end, I am ashamed of nothing I have done. 
I keep a coded diary, in case it's discovered. 1 dot is oral, 2 dots is vaginal sex, and 2 connected dots is anal sex. In the event that someone questions the dots, they are associated with good/bad days: no dots are normal days, 1 dot is a good day, 2 dots is a great day, and 2 connected dots is the best day for that week.
I am now a regular customer, although not as regular as I’d like to be. This is mostly because my brother has moved overseas, and it is hard to find people who will willingly accompany me. However, each time I go, I no longer feel like a cripple. I feel whole.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grace under disaster


A while back, by which I mean, like, this spring, I started doing this series on my Forbes blog about the stripper economy. Then I got bored with it. But then time went by, and I got interested in it again.

More recently, some things have happened on Forbes that have made the traffic to my blog there slump. I mean, slump. It really blows. If I don't have a huge influx of traffic before the end of this month, I'll be out a quarter of what I usually make there monthly.

I don't totally understand why this is the case, because it's not just me, but it's been frustrating. But here is the good part of the frustrating. I kept trying to make the situation better, and it wasn't happening. And then, I just, like, gave up. Like, fuck this shit.

That was freeing. Because then it was like, I'll just post whatever the fuck I want. I'm sure there are some people who think I'm tarnishing the Forbes brand by writing about strippers, but whatever. I'm interested in this series, and these days there are days when it takes a lot to interest me, so I am glad to be interested in anything, anything at all.

In January, she worked eleven days and made $3,952; in February, she worked nine days and made $4,402.

"I literally picked up dollar after dollar off of my stage, did some sort of boobies-in-the-face magic or waved my [redacted] at someone, and put those dollars on my garter. Those dollars are tangible. They aren’t numbers. They’re actual singular pieces of paper, and I think that makes a huge difference. What I was worth as a dancer was tipped to me, and I held the paper for it."

Monday, October 24, 2011

The stripper


I've got a very cool new interview up on my Forbes blog: "How Your Journalism Sausage Gets Made, Part Eight: The Stripper Herpetologist."
What’s it like working with the other girls? Is it competitive?

Everyone’s always your competition, you know? But we feel for each other, ‘cause we’re all doing the same thing. So it’s like, we’re all out there in big high heels, and we’re all working, we all have the same goal in mind, so it’s like we feel for each other. It’s like, “Oh, is it bad out there?” Girls, usually, at this club are like, “Keep your head up. One o’clock’s gonna come around. It’s gonna be good.” People try and stay in positive spirits, ‘cause with your thoughts, you create your world.
The journalism sausage series is one I started some time ago. It takes a look at the stripper economy. I visited some strip clubs and did some interviews in Austin, Texas. Next, I'll be visiting some strip clubs and doing some interviews in Chicago, Illinois.

I like doing this series because it's self-propelled. When I need to focus on other things, I focus on those things. When I'm ready to return to this, I return to it.

I got a very nice compliment today from Adam Penenberg on Twitter. He called me a "modern-age Studs Terkel." Penenberg is the journalist who exposed Stephen Glass. Terkel won the Pulitzer for collecting World War II oral histories.

Speaking of which, I've finally gotten back to The War Project. Which is what I would like to work on. All the time. 

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Things



I used to update this blog more often -- well, that's not really the issue. The issue is what I update it with these days. Which, more often than not, is links to other stuff I'm doing elsewhere.

Mostly, this is because this has been something of a challenging year. And not necessarily in the sense of challenging as a metaphor for bad. It really has challenged me.

After I got downsized in January from my full-time job I a) freaked out b) figured out how to be full-time self-employed and c) moved. All those things were good things. Except for maybe the freaking out part. I could've done without the shingles.

One reason I find it challenging to blog here more personally more often is that most of my other work I do for money is content generation of one sort or the other. That means this becomes one more place that demands I generate content. And I'm sort of overwhelmed with content generation demands. Not overwhelmed, really. But my plate is full. Although, don't get me wrong, I have room for dessert.

And then when I'm not working on all that stuff, or obeying my therapist's demands that I cultivate a life outside of work (he is so demanding), I am working on my novel.

These are white people problems.

But I miss it. What I miss most about when I started blogging in 2002 was the sensation that I could do whatever I wanted. That's what I loved about it, probably more than anything else. And then blogging became something you could do for money, and thank God for that, but then it became more challenging, too, because it meant blogging was no longer synonymous with do whatever you want.

I love my Forbes blog, but it's hard, too. Because while I have a huge (obscene, really) amount of freedom there, I don't feel like I can do whatever I want. Although, in many ways I can. I can't quite figure out if it's all in my head or what.

I don't know what the point of this post is, but my guess is that it's not everything you do has to have a point. Not every story has to have a story. Not everything has to have a proper ending.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Call girl blues


Here's the latest from my novel, which I'm revising online.
She gets up and walks to the window. She presses her palms against the glass to open it, but it doesn't open. She puts her head against it. She can see all the way down. Twenty-three floors. The window doesn't open because they don't want you to fall out, or jump, or get so caught up in doing pirouettes you crash through it and fall to the ground in a rain shower of crystals reflecting the light, the wind in your hair, twisting so your soft parts hit first like maybe that will save you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fail


My latest on Forbes? The fine art of FAIL.
I fail constantly. I did a reading with a group of other writers last week, and the crowd was not really — for lack of a better way of putting it — my demographic, and it was totally awkward, and relatively embarrassing, and after it was done I got out of there like my pants were on fire. After I got downsized, I failed to get another full-time job, and currently I am juggling about five part-time jobs. (For this, I know, I am blessed.) I dropped out of high school. I have never had a job for more than a couple of years. People tell me I am stupid on a regular basis, and if you asked me where I want to be in five years, I would probably stammer for a bit. I am not very good at relationships. I do not like to clean the stove top. I need to get my hair done, and I haven’t done it yet.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I get email

You give me a lot of words so I thought I would offer a few in return.

I read your Forbes blog religiously even when I was employed, because I enjoy your writing style immensely. Then I became unemployed, and it occurred to me that it was humorous how your posts had suddenly and unexpectedly gained a new dimension of personal relevance. Then, mostly due to an amazing heap of good luck, but also in no small part due to a mindset I learned from your blog, I became employed again, at a better place, that pays more and makes me much happier, within five days of being fired. Two of which were a weekend.

My life is not very hard compared to a lot of the people who are seeking employment right now. I am an Ivy-league educated computer programmer. So I was probably going to get a job anyway, and make more money than most people anyway, and be comfortable even if I was unemployed for a few months instead of a few days. But your work has touched and helped me anyway, as it has no doubt touched and helped many who have not felt moved to tell you about (or even realized that telling you about it is an option).

We're out here. We hear you. You matter. And we are hungry for words, keep them coming! Om nom nom.

Jake
Jake Eakle wants to use his brief moment in the spotlight to point out kiva.org, an effective, sustainable charity that makes you your money back.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Maus


MetaMaus, Chicago, Illinois

Friday, October 14, 2011

You're an idiot

 
They love you, they hate you, but at least they read you. My latest on Forbes is a pondering of how to deal with getting sideswiped in words online. 
“Breslin annoys me,” the comment read. “Not sure why. The phrase ‘talentless hack’ comes to mind.”
I laughed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why occupy


I visited Occupy Chicago to find out why the protestors were there. 

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm reading tonight


If you're in the Chicago area, I'm reading tonight at the Hopleaf at 5148 N. Clark. They have exotic beers and mind-blowing French fries. I'll be reading upstairs along with three other performers. The show starts at 7:30 PM, although apparently it's SRO by 7:00 PM. The reading series is This Much Is True, and I'll be reading a true story.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

I get comments (elsewhere)


I have exactly two URLs blocked from my browser:

The New York Times
Susannah Breslin’s blog

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Crazy


Why do crazy people make better bloggers?
Crazy people are constantly in conflict: with themselves, with the world, with the voices in their heads. Want to know why no one reads your blog? You’re boring. You’re not in conflict, or you have no ability to articulate your conflict, or, more likely, you’re unwilling to share your conflict. That makes you boring and cowardly. A blog isn’t something you write when you feel like it. It’s the digital representation of who you really are. No one wants to read a blog by a boring coward. Because no one wants to be a boring coward. 
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall


Fall, Chicago, Illinois

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pink slipping


Moving forward, I'm posting more frequently on my Forbes blog, PINK SLIPPED. On today's menu: blaxploitation career advice, the self-made panopticon, and failure as #winning. 
Policing one’s social media presence to extraordinary lengths is a sign of a disturbing trend, and fundamentally goes against what the internet and social media were supposed to be about: self-expression. Censoring what you have to say for fear of who may be watching turns the digital frontier into a panopticon, a digital prison built on paranoia and the mind turns police state.

Monday, October 3, 2011

This is true


Next Tuesday, October 11, I'll be reading at This Much Is True. It takes place upstairs at Hopleaf, which is awesome and located at 5148 N. Clark, Chicago, Illinois. Doors open at 6:45, and apparently it is often standing room only by 7:00. The show starts at 7:30.
You’ve been warned and yeah sure, this headline could be hyperbole or it could actually happen. We suggest you secure your socks tightly to your feet just to be sure. Tuesday, October 11th This Much is True is packing the room with so much talent you will wake up furious on the 12th if you miss it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cruising


Are you following along as I revise my novel online?
At the diner, he unfolds the day's newspaper. This time, the girl with the dog bowl on her head is staring back at him from below the fold. She isn't wearing the dog bowl on her head -- she's smiling vacantly at some point in the distance and her hair is a different color -- but it's still her.
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

I get email


Dear Susannah:

I am not sure there is such a dichotomy as you imply between "being nice" and "being an a**hole".

In the circles I used to move in (negotiating major weapons contracts for the U.S. Navy), the contracts ran to hundreds of pages--and that's incorporating most of the clauses by reference, and similarly with the specifications and such of the items to be delivered. But the reality was, your word was your bond: if you couldn't be counted on to make good, the whole system would grind to a halt as the lawyers took over (this is what happened back in the 1990s with the Navy stealth fighter/bomber, the A-12): lots of money would get wasted and we still wouldn't get a proper product.

So my sense is, you need to establish two things: first, that you're a standup guy (or gal, in your case), and that you will do whatever it takes to fulfill your commitments (this would be the "nice" part), and second, that if the other fella screws you, you will take him down by whatever means necessary (that would be the "a**hole" part).

I don't really take being a standup guy as "nice" incidentally: for me, it's all about honor, and personal and professional integrity. Dunno if that works for you.

Anyhow, always enjoy your blog! :-)

Cheers,
[Redacted]

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blooper


Pardon My Blooper, Chicago, Illinois

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm talking to you



No one reads your blog? Here's why.
Sure, you can think of women who are controversialists, but I suspect it’s easier to be a controversialist if you are a man than if you are a woman. To be a controversialist on the internet, you have to deal with writing things that other people don’t want you to say, and you have to deal with all the criticism that gets launched at you, and, after all that, you have to do it again, and again, and again. It’s like pissing in the wind, and there’s a hurricane.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Smart like a dominatrix


I interviewed a dominatrix named Bettie about the dumbest things about being a dominatrix. 
What’s the dumbest thing about being a dominatrix?

That I can go to jail for giving a spanking. If someone gets naked, and my client gets aroused while I’m spanking them, that’s technically prostitution. I could not know that he's turned on, I could not even be touching him, and I could go to jail. They can penalize anybody who violates the social code of having all your sexual encounters be free. Most of us don’t touch penises at all, unless we’re hurting them.
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