Thursday, December 31, 2009


I thought about writing some year-in-review thing, but I already sort of did that here, so I thought, instead, I would take a look back at pretty much the only thing I've done in the last few years that has any value worth considering, which is a series of online projects.

I think for a variety of reasons I began to sort of "give up" on the way that I had done things previously, the "traditional" way of doing things. I wrote my first freelance story in 1997, so I've been in the game a long time, and it just wasn't really working for me anymore. As you know, the magazine industry is dying, the economy is in the crapper, and the internet is going to save the universe.

From an editorial perspective, I was increasingly frustrated with my ability to get traditional publications -- online or in print -- to "support" what I wanted to do. This is nothing new, but seemed to be increasingly so in recent years. Also, looking back, the things I've done that have been of the most interest to me -- those projects where I had the most control, that, therefore, felt the most "me" -- were those that I did independent of any organization.

Of course, blogging is a big part of that. But blogging is transient, like a train that pulls into the station and then leaves. It lacks stickiness, sometimes depth, and since small children have them, they are not always taken very seriously. Such is the nature of when things go mainstream.

So, I wanted something "more." In 2008, I launched Letters from Johns because I had a random thought one day that if I put a query on my blog asking readers why they had paid for sex, I would probably get some interesting responses. Not long after, I launched Letters from Working Girls, featuring working girl stories. Both projects ran for a year, and while the former was definitely more successful than the latter -- there were about 50 john stories and around 18 working girl stories -- I felt like they were both successful. They were also cheap. I set up the sites on Blogger for free, and it "cost" me nothing to solicit and repost the letters. It was an important step because it enabled me to do something autonomous, something more than "just blogging," and it taught me that I could create and sustain a year-long project on a subject that was of interest to me. That the project happened to coincide with a year that saw the Spitzer scandal didn't hurt matters either, and I wrote about it for Newsweek, Time mentioned it, and my hero Susie Bright liked it. So, mission accomplished.

This year, I did one online project, and sort of by accident, but I think it had a greater impact on how I view this type of work, that, perhaps, this is the kind of work that I want to do: autonomous, self-propelled, outside of the box. That was: "They Shoot Porn Stars, Don't They?"

Early in the year, I pitched doing this story, which was on the adult movie industry and the recession, to a publication for which I was writing. It was to be a long-form traditional piece of investigative journalism. Or something like that. In April, I flew to Los Angeles, where I spent a week interviewing people who work in the adult industry. I stayed at the Hollywood Roosevelt, slammed around town in a rented Grand Marquis, and had a super-fabulous time. I took photographs on a set on my birthday, saw things I didn't expect to see, and spent time in what amounted to a suburban whorehouse. I came back, and, after some flailing around, wrote a 10,000-word story on what I had seen, heard, and experienced out there.

But, when I went to file the piece, as they say, things got complicated. Various factors were involved, it was no cut-and-dry situation, and, honestly, what happened wasn't really anyone's "fault." Ultimately, for several reasons, including the fact that revisions were being requested that I did not want to make, I pulled the piece. Then, I got depressed. For months, I "sat" on the piece. I tried to get it published elsewhere, to no avail. Finally, I believe it was some six months later, I decided that it was either let the piece die, ie stick it in a drawer, or self-publish it. So, I chose the latter.

Luckily, I already work with a super-awesome designer named Chris Bishop, who I hired to design and build the site for the piece. That's here. This was a bit more of a one-off than, say, the Letters Project, so I paid more attention to the numbers this time around. So far, the story has gotten close to one million page views. The feedback was really positive. Boing Boing said it was "bold and ambitious," Warren Ellis said it was "brilliant," and Metafilter said "Ms. Breslin has changed the way I think about the business of making pornography." And I learned I didn't really need an editor. I paid a friend, the lovely Joanne Hinkel, to copyedit the story before it went up, and the essay was accompanied by photographs that I took on location. I suppose one could say I "lost" money on this project, but not having to kowtow to somebody else's idea of what my work was supposed to be? Priceless.

At this point in my, er, career, I've published over 100 articles, been on TV over 100 times, and I don't want to know how many blog posts I've written. But it's the online projects that have felt like they mean something -- and that's what I want more of. I want steak, not loose meat. I want substance, not transience. I want control, not subjugation. So, I want to do more of this.

In the last few days, I decided on an online project I'll be doing in 2010. Once again, I'll be working with Chris, which is always great, because he always thinks of better design stuff than I ever could. The estimated launch date is January 15, 2010. Once again, it's a year-long project, it will be online, and it will be autonomous. This project will push me in some new directions. There were be a greater emphasis on photography, I will be exploring new territory subject-wise, and it's probably the most "serious" project I've ever done.

It's always a little nerve-wracking to embark on these projects, because you never know what will happen. You only have yourself to answer to, yourself to motivate, yourself to step up to the plate. You either man up -- or you're a pussy. Failure is omnipresent, but the alternative is death. So, here we go again, off to the races.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Occasionally, I get random weird emails. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Including me.
Hi Susannah,

I've got a bit of an unusual request and you were the only one I could think of that might be able to help me. I recently had sex with a prostitute for the first time and felt so upset about it that two days after the act I called and apologized to her. Coincidentally, I cheated on my wife by doing so but I felt more concerned for the prostitute. I didn't beat her or anything weird like that. I paid $50 for 15 minutes; the sex was awful and awkward and I felt like the whole experience was so demeaning to her that I felt extremely guilty about it. I tried to tell myself to just forget about it, that she had probably been subjected to a lot worse in her time, but she seemed like a sweet girl and I felt like she deserved better and so I called her two days later and apologized for the whole thing. She didn't remember me at all and probably thought I was crazy. I still felt somewhat better about myself for at least trying to apologize.

Anyways, I thought the whole thing might make a funny/interesting short story. It doesn't look like you do The Reverse Cowgirl blog anymore, but you were the only person I thought of who would be interested in publishing the story. Maybe you still might be or maybe you could suggest a blog that might be interested. I still feel a little guilty and I'm trying to use writing as a bit of therapy.


John Smith

PS: Yes, I did feel guilty about cheating on my wife and I will never do it again.
Dear, Um, John:

I see. Thanks for writing. You know how I knew you were really and truly sorry for having underpaid, "awful," and "awkward" sex with a prostitute that you -- and I can hardly believe this part -- called up to apologize to afterward because, well, for reasons that I suppose are obvious? It's when you referred to this entire incident for which you are supposedly conflicted as "funny/interesting." That's when I knew. And I was moved.

I suppose you, John, wrote me because I used to do this project called "Letters from Johns." I suppose one could argue that I "asked for it." Of course, you may note on that project's website that it states: "THIS PROJECT IS NOW CLOSED." That is secret code for: "DON'T SEND ME ANYMORE LETTERS ABOUT SEX YOU HAD WITH PROSTITUTES KTHXBAI."

John, I must reassure you that my intention is not to demean my project -- something I think was pretty cool and of which I am oddly proud -- but to demean you. If you are so torn up over getting crappy sex for what wouldn't even buy the girl a new pair of shoes, why are you writing to me about it? For "therapeutic" purposes? Give me a break. You are trying to brag. Or just weird. Or socially retarded. I don't know. Ask your wife. Maybe she knows? Probably.

I don't know where else you can send your hilarious "short story" about having awkward sex with a prostitute for whom I now feel bad. Nerve? One of those godforsaken erotica anthologies? Some jerk-off site with a message board for johns? Try Googling, "Yes, I did feel guilty about cheating on my wife and I will never do it again," and see what turns up. The internet is a wonderful resource for finding the things that one truly needs in life.



PS Thanks for spelling my name right.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Over at The Frisky, we were asked to compile our best blog posts of 2009. So, in no particular order ...

How to Date a Tall Chick. This is basically a rewrite of a story I did for Details about a million years ago. Read it and weep.

10 Ways The Adult Movie Industry Can Save Itself From Premature Extinction. Funny title, no? I didn't think of it. This is sort of a tongue-in-cheek piece. The answer: ROBOTS.

Has Feminism Gone Too Far? Someone on some other blog wrote that I write a post like this a couple times a year. True! This is my favorite comment: "Ugh Susana Breslin drives me up the wall. Every time I read one her posts I want to throw something. I want to take her to the School of Logical Thinking Where Not Everything Is Totally About Susana Breslin." Do I get a scholarship if I agree to go?

The Top 20 Worst Pick-Up Lines Ever. This post is actually pretty funny and only exists because it was ripped off the comments for a post that Wendy did. My favorite: "Can I push your stool in?" Heh.

Think Porn Is Empowering? Think Again. It’s Not That Simple. More pr0n, but pr0n and women. Way to diversify, Susannah.

10 Things Guys Should Do on a First Date. Is there anyone less qualified to write this post? Hm? Wot? No? I didn't think so.

Meet The Frisky Crew At Work! I wandered around and took pics of the broads I work with. Enjoy.

Frisky Q&A: An Interview With Tattooed Lady, Lawyer, Author And Blogger Marisa Kakoulas. I interviewed the divine Miss Marisa, queen of Needles and Sins. The other day, we had dinner. She is tiny, but, man, she will bend you to her will. I was but a sapling to her hurricane-force winds.

Frisky Q&A: Tucker Max Talks “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell,” Feminism, Sex, And Why He Loves Women. Don't be jealous.

When Celebrities and Porn Stars Do It. I got one word for you kids: linkbait.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Me and Katie full of Vietnamese in Chinatown, NYC, Christmas Day, 2009, by Clayton Cubitt.

(Click picture for bigger.)

After that, we trekked uptown and watched "Avatar" in 3D with our super-cool shades.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Happy holidays!



Thursday, December 24, 2009


Yesterday, I came across "Lehrer's Rules" via Chris Bishop's Twitter:
"I promise you, one thing is never going to change. And that's our mission. People often ask me if there are guidelines in our practice of what I like to call MacNeil/Lehrer journalism. Well, yes, there are. And here they are:"
Reading over Lehrer's rules, I realized I had failed at all of them.

Do nothing I cannot defend. I think pretty much everything I've done, professionally and personally, is indefensible. From writing about pr0n to nodding vacantly at the woman who asked if I minded if she went and smoked crack in the bathroom to the fact that journalism is inherently traitorous, it's hard to think of anything I've ever done that I could defend. Which probably makes for less work. Defending things, that is.

Cover, write and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me. Ha-ha. Eh, no. God forbid anyone ever writes a story about me. One of my favorites, and by favorites I mean "favorites," was a story someone wrote about me entitled: "Who the Fuck Is Susannah Breslin?" While I try and write the "truth," I would hope stories written about me would be a heady cocktail of flattering lies.

Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story. As Candice Bergen once said to me: "Well, duh." Of course, this is the problem of every story. The convenience is believing your story is the truerest one.

Assume the viewer is as smart and as caring and as good a person as I am. Wow. Not sure how to touch this one with a 20-foot pole. Am I "caring" and "good"? The negation of that sort of destroys the premise upon which this, um, theory is based. Next?

Assume the same about all people on whom I report. But what about all the idiots?

Assume personal lives are a private matter, until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise. How very Rockwellian. How 1952. Welcome to 2009, buddy. "Assume personal lives are a public matter, until someone sues you." One exception to the rule: kids. I met a lot of pr0n star's kids, and don't think I ever wrote about them. They are collateral damage. Why add to the disaster?

Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories, and clearly label everything. Maybe if I had one of those old school labeling guns, I could work on this. Also, "straight news stories" are super boring. Opinion is like gun powder. Watch it go bang.

Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes, except on rare and monumental occasions. Well, that's no fun.

No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously. Then why do I keep getting all these hate-emails?

And, finally, I am not in the entertainment business. Ah, yes. Well, I am. Or, perhaps we both are, Jim, and I'm the only one who will admit it.

In any case, I fail. I'll try harder in 2010. Or maybe not.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I was watching that movie "Choke," and I was watching the guy stagger around while pretending to choke, after I had watched another TV show about a guy who ran Ponzi schemes on people who like to gamble, and for some reason I thought about this guy who got into a car accident in front of an apartment in which I lived years ago.

I don't know. Maybe the trigger was all the noise from outside. New York City really is the city that never sleeps. You can tell because it never stops talking to you. So, that was in the back of my head, too, when I thought about this kid. I lived in the back of the building of this place on Los Feliz Boulevard. That's on the east side of LA. The road there is big, and busy, and, sure enough, about once a week there was a pretty bad accident somewhere along the road. You could hear it.

But this one was particularly bad, as I recall. Big enough a smash to send me running out the door, for some reason, and down a couple flights of stairs, and out the front of the building, where there was this kid sitting in this car that was all smashed and spun around so it was facing the wrong way, and all the traffic stopped. I went up to him. He was dazed, and bloody, and he kept saying over and over again something to the effect of, "I don't know what happened." I took off my hoodie, I think, or another shirt that I was wearing over a wifebeater or something like that, and I gave it to him, and I think we wrapped his arm in it. I don't know what happened to him after that.

Traffic brought strange things in LA. There was another time at the big intersection where there's a Blockbuster on -- I don't remember, Sunset or something. And I walked out, and everything was stopped, all the traffic all ways, and a car in the middle on the other side, and nobody doing anything. For some reason, I trotted over to the car, and I went over to the passenger seat, where the driver, who had gotten out of the car, was standing in front of the guy who was still in the passenger seat. I guess there was a drive-by shooting right before that, because the Hispanic kid in the passenger seat was dead, from being shot, and the driver was screaming, in Spanish, so I didn't know what he was saying. The front of the passenger kid's white shirt had two big bloody handprints on it that were from where his friend, the driver, had put his hands on him, except he was already dead.

I don't know why I thought about all this stuff, watching some stupid movie on the couch, listening to this truck that has been running outside for what seems like forever. I mean, is there even enough gas in it to have run this far? I guess I am trying to sort things out in my head. Like, LA was crazy, and where I went after that was something else altogether, and I thought maybe, I thought this exactly, actually, in New York City: This is where my future lives. And the movie kept playing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I'm staying in Hell's Kitchen. Or Midtown West? I am sure you can figure out which description I like better. Surely, there are wonderful things to be said about various other parts of New York City, from the Village to Brooklyn to whatever the hell is Alphabet City. But I love this part of town, because, in this weird way, it reminds me of LA. Not LA, per se, but like the seedy underbelly-ness of the east-end of Sunset. Yes, yes, I know it used to be much filthier here, I wandered through it then, but it has retained some of its stickiness. The random strip clubs linger, offering totally dated photographs of girls who have long since disappeared, and who knows what they're doing in the back rooms, except for sure it's illegal.

Every few years, every few months, I say, oh, I am tired of writing about X! Whatever X happens to be. Usually something filthy. Then, a month will pass, maybe more, maybe a few years. Then, there I am, right back at it again. When I was stuck waiting for a flight in DC, at one point, I took out my laptop and fiddled some with my novel. Sitting in the middle of all those people made me realize how filthy it is. I suppose I usually then wonder: What's wrong with me? But, hey, maybe it's in my DNA. Or something, somewhere deeper.

In a way, that's what I like best about NYC, what I wasn't sure I liked about it at all in the first place: it's freakin' filthy. I grew up in California, where "new" is mid-century modern, and the sky is made of gold, and we all drive fuel-efficient unicorns. By comparison, Jesus Christ, New York is a fucking dump. The stench of urine, and sidewalks no power washer could ever clean, and even the snow is a mess of dirt, and grime, and slip. But I like that. That feels about right.

In any case, I suppose this is a dress rehearsal for moving here soon. That is what I want for 2010. Won't I be happy then? We would like to think.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I got stuck in DC on the way to NYC, on account of the storm, that left all the snow, and the endless stampeding herd that is humanity. Life could be worse.

I get nervous flying, sometimes. During the ascent, the man in the seat next to me told me: "The day He pulled you from your mother's womb, He gave you a set number of days." That was supposed to console me. "But how many!" I wailed. He had no answer for me.

Tomorrow, I'll be in another place.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Lately, I've been dating. Dating, dating, dating. So ... strange. For a long time, a really long time, I didn't date anybody. Broken heart and all that. But, hey, I'm a "Soldier of Love," and it's the Wild, Wild West, right? ("I'm still alive ...")

It's been sort of strange. Because I'm not a kid anymore. And the men aren't boys anymore. So the game is different. And it's not entirely clear how to play it. If it weren't for Wendy and Lydia, I'd probably never do it, but they regularly deliver swift kicks to my ass, and so it goes.

Mostly, in this illustrious career of mine, I have long avoided writing about my personal life. In part, that's because I was spending my professional time around pornographers, pimps, and sometimes rapists, and you kind of want to desexualize when you're in that situation. You don't want to be the target. You want to blend into the wallpaper. Disappear.

Dating, though, is nerve-wracking. As I informed one poor soul who had the misfortune of taking me out, I feel way more comfortable in a random apartment with a pimp who's showing me his AK-47 than I do on a date. Oh, the vulnerability! The wretched misreadability. It's all so unfuckingclear. I don't know if I speak the language.

One thing I know for sure: I love men. Women are my BFFs, and I love them, too, but I would rather chop off my head than date one. Way too fucking complicated. I love men. Everything about them. Their enigmatic-ness, and their strangeness, and their foreign-ness.

For a long time, after some shit happened, and everything got kind of wiped out, I felt sort of dead. Mostly, men make me feel more alive. So, I'm a soldier of love, right?

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Hey, want to read the first five sentences of my novel?
He was standing in the house on the hill, and he was watching the girl having sex with the machine, and he was thinking: Is this all there is? Is this it? Has my life come to this? He sat down on the purple velvet fainting couch behind him. That looks great, honey, he said to the girl. He didn’t want anyone else to know what he was thinking, sitting here, on this purple couch that wasn’t his, wondering what the hell he was doing, what he had done to take him to this place, to this house, to this hill, on this day. Whirrrrr, the machine said, like it was doing something really important, and the engine continued driving the metal bar with the dildo attached to the end of it in and out of the girl.
You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


A possible sublet in the West Village looms upon the horizon. It's all still up in the air, but moving to NYC seems closer daily. This would enable me to get up there, then find a place there, rather than try and find a place there from here, which isn't easy.

I can't say "I've wanted to move to New York since ..." because I don't remember a time when I didn't want to live there. My father grew up in Flatbush, in Brooklyn, so I've lionized it since, well, forever.

To live there would be like a dream that you couldn't quite let yourself dream, and then you dreamed it, and then it turned out it wasn't a dream at all -- it was real.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I'm looking for an apartment in NYC. In the Village or Brooklyn, ideally. Got a lead? Email me! susannahbreslin [at] earthlink [dot] net.

Monday, December 14, 2009


A friend emailed me today to tell me that Larry Sultan died. Sultan was an amazing photographer, and a hero of mine. He was only 63. This is sadness.

While the SFGate obit fairly buried it, Sultan was, IMO, perhaps best known for the series that he shot in The Valley, the San Fernando Valley, the adult movie industry to be exact. See?

He really captured the tragic beauty of that world. And maybe some of its majesty. I am sad that someone who saw something rare is no longer here to show us more of it.

Friday, December 11, 2009


This week:

1. I got the flu.
2. My car broke down.
3. I rode in a tow truck.
4. I almost threw up on the floor at the supermarket.
5. I wrote somebody an email that said: "Fuck Dave Eggers and his ilk."
6. I hyperventilated.
7. I got derailed.
8. I had a revelation.
9. I shifted from being psyched about going to NYC to being super-psyched about going to NYC.
10. I admired some women dressed in meat.

Have a great weekend because I told you to.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Today, my car died. I don't know what's wrong with it, but by the time it breathed its last breath in the middle of the street, it was making the kind of noises that you never, ever want a car to make. It may well be that this story does not have a happy ending. I thought I was in the clear, it being nearly the end of the year. Apparently not.

I like this car. I wonder if the world turns animated when you drive it? Anything is possible with Queens of the Stone Age, really. Sadly, Josh Homme not included.

Purely out of coincidence -- or, perhaps, prescience? -- I was reading about the Maybach Zeppelin yesterday. I could probably do without that aroma-humidifier thing, though. Maybe Santa will spring for the $500K? Maybe not.

Check out Joan Didion and her little yellow Corvette. Driving around LA. Cruising towards Babylon. She's. So. Cool.

The main character in my novel drives a black 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. The first front-wheel drive made for the common man, people! It's a hell of a car. 5,000 pounds of grade-A American steel. "Toronado really handles great!" says Bobby Unser. Those retractable headlights are nothin' but sexy. I used to own a 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. That was a hell of a car.

Probably my all-time favorite car is the Lamborghini Reventón Roadster. It's just so fly. Am I the chosen one? I suppose that remains to be seen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


"That looks great, honey, he said to the girl."
-- the third line from the new version of my novel, HAPPY

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


"He sat down on the purple velvet fainting couch behind him."
-- the second line from the new version of my novel, HAPPY

Monday, December 7, 2009


"He was standing in the house on the hill, and he was watching the girl having sex with the machine, and he was thinking: Is this all there is? Is this it? Has my life come to this?"
-- the first line from the new version of my novel, HAPPY

Friday, December 4, 2009


My current plan is to self-publish my novel-in-progress. Over the last four years, I've had about as many agents, I've had contact with dozens more, and I've probably dealt indirectly or directly with about 50 editors. I'm pretty much over it. The traditional publishing world -- or, I should say, business -- is not really a match for me. My work is too weird, or too provocative, or too not what they want to work within the scope of what their machinery is equipped to handle. The problem was that I was unable to recognize, then accept that fact; instead, I kept trying to fit my round head into their square hole. It will never happen. So, self-publish.

Thankfully, the time has come for such things. Certainly, self-publishing is nothing new. From Areopagitica: "For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them." Why give your life force away? Every week, I get another shitty review copy of a book that I didn't request from a dying publishing house that, for some reason, has elected to spend I-don't-know-how-much to overnight it to me. I throw them in the garbage. If I wait to be published by them, I will die waiting.

As I've already mentioned, I "micropublished" my short story collection, You're a Bad Man, Aren't You?, with Future Tense Books, thanks to the kind Kevin Sampsell. I think we printed ... 600 copies? Maybe 700? And it sold out. I don't remember when, but quite some time ago. Now, for reasons that remain elusive to me, used copies are for sale on Amazon for $50 to $150. Which is absurd.

This was the clincher: "More on the Reality of a Times Bestseller" (via Boing Boing). "If I published only one book a year, and it did as well as this one, my net would be only around $2500.00 over the income level considered to be the US poverty threshhold." Juxtapose these two sentences: "After paying taxes, commission to my agent and covering my expenses, my net profit on the book currently stands at $24,517.36, which is actually pretty good since on average I generally net about 30-40% of my advance." And then later, this: "Speaking of comparisons, the publisher’s portion of sales on this book has grossed them around $453,839.68." The part I don't get is: Why does she keep on doing it? Does it feel that good to get fucked in the ass by Penguin?

Besides, I'm a control freak, and there's nothing a control freak likes better than complete creative control. But, who knows. I've got pages and pages to go before I finish this novel, or novella, I should say, and I seem to have lost the ability to sleep already. Every night, I dream of floods, and drowning, and I wake up in fits, and I can't go back to sleep. In my dreams, I've lost my way, and I've misplaced all my belongings, and I cannot locate my luggage to save my life. Such is the nature of going deep, I suppose: You run the risk drowning. So be it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Did you know I work for The Frisky? Well, it's true. I do. That's my day job. I write posts daily and do various other things. It's not a bad gig. In fact, it's a pretty good gig. In truth, I have no idea what I would do without it.

Recently, I wrote a post on women and porn. Usually, I stay away from this topic, because if you say anything negative you end up sounding like a nervous Nellie, and yet the reality is that it is not all cupcakes and daises. I kind of like the way this essay is constructed: as a slide show with words and images. Oprah did a show not long ago that prompted its writing. The show made me want to throw up. A bunch of broads spinning a bunch of lies about porn. Thanks, dumb asses.

Then, I wrote a post on what guys should do on a first date. This is pretty much a joke, because, in a weird way, I don't have that much dating experience, and I'm also pretty sure I'm a pretty horrible first date, with crimes including "frowning," "making jokes at my date's expense," and "refusing to pay." But my boss lady made me do it. Apparently, the guys at Manhood 101 didn't care for it, because they called me a "dumb cunt," a "dumb bitch," "fucking stupid," a "stupidfuck," a "gold digging cunt," a "hooker," and a "mindless cunt." Touché!

I also wrote about snail poop, men in prison, and H1N1 style.

So, if you've been sitting around wondering, What does Susannah spend her days doing?, that, my friend, is your answer.

Also, I wrote another 1,000 words of my novel, which I think is going to be a novella.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Yesterday, I decided to throw out my novel and start all over again. Yes, I am clinically insane. I believe I started writing that version of it in early 2008, and I've been working on it ever since. At one point, I had an agent for it, then I stopped working with that agent, and then I kept working on it. Over the last six months, I've been revising it, but I could not shake the growing feeling that it simply wasn't working. I wrote it at a certain time in my life, when my head was in a certain place, and I changed, and I couldn't make my head fit into that box anymore, and it got to the point where I simply couldn't stand it. I did this once before, with another version of the novel, in early 2005, so this is not entirely new. It was the right thing then, and it's the right thing now. I suppose, in theory, it's daunting and/or difficult, but nothing is worse than spending day after day working on a novel that simply doesn't work. So, I gave up.

Recently, I looked over some of the short stories that I wrote over the years. Someone asked me about this, so I picked it up and looked at it, and I read some of the stories in it. I looked at some other stories, too, including this one, which I didn't have a digital copy of, so I had to transcribe it, which helped, because it got me back into the language, and the cadences, and the way I used to write.

A series of things happened to me during 2005, which was my life's annus horribilis, and by the time that year was over, my head was different, the way it worked, and that eventually changed who I would become, although that person didn't really re/surface for a few years. For a long period of time after the hurricane (I was living in New Orleans at the time), I couldn't write. It's hard to explain, but there was a long time during which I sort of lost who I was. Maybe I hoped that person would come back, but that experience, and ones that preceded it and followed it, really changed the topography of my brain, and there was no going back. It was either move forward, or become Lot's wife.

The whole idea of this novel was that it was supposed to be the novel version of a short story I once wrote, the title story of my short story collection, "You're a Bad Man, Aren't You?" That story is told from the point of view of a pornographer. A "bad man," if you will. And the story was very easy for me to write. He was based on someone I met in the Valley. But every time I would go to write this novel in the seven or eight years since I wrote that story, I would shy away from that character. I guess it entails inhabiting the mind of a monster -- but he isn't really a monster, is he?

In any case, poring over those stories, and remembering what I used to write like before everything changed, and not being able to stand another day working on the last version of the novel led me to start writing the novel all over again, this time from the point of view of that pornographer, a man who may be a bad man, but one I love regardless. I started writing it last night, and it was easy, and it was fast, and it made me laugh. For the first time in what seems like forever, I wrote something that sounded like me, like someone I used to be, and someone I've become.

So, we'll see. Novels are slippery. The title is still HAPPY. (Oh, the irony!) The epigraph is here. I'm 1,000 words in.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I received this email yesterday from a young journalism student. So, it has come to this? It's all so very tragic.
Dear Ms. Breslin,
I am a student TV reporter from [redacted] College doing a story about online dating. My friend [redacted] told me you would be a great source. While I am failing at finding a good angle, my teacher demands that it be sensationalist. I need some sort of dark experience story or something quirky. I was thinking about dating sights for amputees/ injured soldiers coming back from war looking for love. I will take anything that I can film in Boston with. Would you know anybody who would be willing to talk on camera before Friday? That is my deadline for a mini-story. I really appreciate any kind of help and thank you for your time.
Very truly yours,
I'm sorry, A, I cannot help you in your quest for a sensationalist, amputee-addled love story.