Friday, September 30, 2011


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.

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! :-)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


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.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I get email

Hello Susannah!

I am emailing you in response to your article  “How a Freelance Learned to Be a Hustler.” I found it quite informative, though I still have some reservations possibly caused by my own internal confusion. I graduated college in 2009 with a degree in Journalism, but to be brutally honest, I’m not big on politics and digging through trash bins to find the latest scoop. I am very big, however, on taking in the world around me and having things to say about it, of course backing it up with facts, data, etc… Now, I have a blog which I will admit is largely unsuccessful because I don’t have one particular gimmick to grab an audience. I have larger hopes of being a novelist someday, but I do love to write. I do find it hard to find paid work for writing, as it’s insanely competitive and again, my interests can seem varied to some and too niche for others.

As of late, I’ve been trying to compile a list of all my interest and various things I can do with them. A lot of them I’d love to write about, if I had the time, but I have a day job that takes about 12 hours of my day. “I am a creative,” as you said, and I don’t just enjoy writing, I enjoy creating in its entirety. But creating doesn’t pay the bills at this moment, and the stress that the economy has on my wallets has forced me into a position where all my time is spent making money, and my spare time is used to follow my passions. I have to say it’s hard. Most days, I wonder if my passion is something that I have passion for anymore. My friend tells me it’s my “quarter-life crisis” attacking me full throttle. I’ve been trying to network with people, but it becomes a game of kiss-ass and I will not lie to you, I’m not big on brown nosing. I feel my work should stand for itself and not my lips on someone’s tush. Like you said, I do write for free, because it’s what I love, it’s what I’d love to do most of the day every day (with a few hours dedicated to cooking, jewelry making, painting and maybe pottery).

I’ve ventured into the world of freelancing, dipping a toe in it and sending my ideas out to smaller publications hoping they’d cut me a break, but instead they take my ideas and let their paid staff write instead. Obviously, this has put a damper on my confidence.  How did you do it? Was there ever a time when you doubted yourself? Did you put out your stories to big name publications about any and everything? Or did you study those you liked and tried to emulate them? Were you overly persistent or say ‘F*** This!’ to those who acted as though they had no time for your work? I’d love to have that hustler mentality but it probably is passed from generation to generation, as you said. Most places that I've tried to write for want to know that I've had extensive writing credentials, but how can you have something, when no one is willing to give you a break?

Excuse the long essay, I'm just a little lost, and slightly deferred. But I did enjoy reading your article. I got some hope from it.

Would love to hear your thoughts,



Wednesday, September 21, 2011


My latest on Forbes: "How a Freelancer Learned to Be a Hustler."
This is capitalism, not a self-help party. Capitalism is not about holding hands, and sharing your feelings, and hugs. It’s about dogs who eat other dogs, and hustlers who play confidence tricks, and winning big. I’m not saying I live in this mentality all the time, but I have come to feel that the endless reams of advice given to people, women especially, to play nice is seriously misguided.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Novel time

I'm posting my novel online in blog form while I revise it. Currently, the title is PORN HAPPY. It's about a federal agent search for a missing porn star. If you're interested in murder, Los Angeles, and adult movies, you may enjoy it. 
He sits on the edge of the bed in the dark, staring at the screen. They are dishwater blondes with silicone boob jobs and fire-engine redheads with myopic tits, hipster chicks with overgrown seventies pies and Asian girls as hairless as sphinxes, twenty-something speed freaks looking to score and fresh-off-the-bus 18-year-olds, spaced-out Thai girls with fake IDs and Ukrainian housewives with temporary work visas, street-corner hustlers on the way up and runaway street urchins on the way down, call girls looking to make extra money and ingĂ©nues killing time between auditions, Midwestern girls who do gangbangs and Southern dumbbells in their mother's pearls, somebody’s mom totally naked and yesterday’s cheerleader getting bukkaked, Berkeley dropouts dressed like Catholic school girls and tattooed punk rockers praying for a career in gonzo, aging strippers looking to swing and black girls popping their apple-bottoms, they are ready to drop and they are ready to die, they are this country’s homegrown real-life love dolls and this century's fallen angels. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Train station

Train Station, Chicago, Illinois

Friday, September 16, 2011


This Sunday, September 18th, I'll be reading at The Whistler's Orange Alert Reading Series. The literary-and-booze starts at 6 pm. The location is 2421 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, Illinois.


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Parade, Chicago, Illinois.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I get email

Dear Susannah,

I’m a regular visitor to your site and also the editor of the popular energy site [oil-related site].

The reason for my writing and i realise it’s a bit of a long shot is to see if you would consider adding us to your Elsewhere section?

[Oil-related site] has a lot of great contributors and we try to cover all energy sectors from fossil fuels to alternatives and have a great deal of content that focuses on Finance, economics and trading. We publish on average 10 articles a day – six of these are written by our in house analysts and we are working with over 100 contributors. I truly believe us to be one of the most informative energy site online today and we can appeal to all visitors from investors and traders to news enthusiasts looking to get the latest stories.

[Oil-related site] sadly doesn’t have a links section – but to reciprocate we could add your link to the blogroll in our other site: [dipstick-related site] – which is also a PR6.

We also have a unique section of financial tools – that are not available anywhere else online, that focus on energy, climate change, finance and metals which you or your readers may be interested in: [oil-related link] (We can also remove [oil-related site] and any ad reference on them and insert your websites details – so they look like a unique tool offered by your site.)

I realise a link on your site would be based on merit and i hope you can consider us as If you were to add our link i’m certain your visitors would not be disappointed with what they found.

If you have any questions about [oil-related site] please do let me know.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Can you say good?

For Harvard's Nieman Storyboard, I wrote a piece on why Tom Junod's famous Esquire profile of Mister Rogers is so good.
Occasionally, a fragment of the story will resurface in my mind. Mister Rogers, nude in a locker room, "slightly aswing at the fine bobbing nest of himself." Mister Rogers, visiting his family tomb, "'And now if you don’t mind,' he said without a hint of shame or embarrassment, 'I have to find a place to relieve myself,' and then off he went, this ecstatic ascetic, to take a proud piss in his corner of heaven." Mister Rogers, meeting a boy with cerebral palsy, "'I would like you to do something for me. Would you do something for me?' On his computer, the boy answered yes, of course, he would do anything for Mister Rogers, so then Mister Rogers said, 'I would like you to pray for me. Will you pray for me?'"

Monday, September 12, 2011


On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I reached out to a former Wall Street lawyer, a novelist, and a combat medic veteran, among others, for their thoughts on how that day changed their lives.
An hour or so later, I remember talking to a woman in her fifties, covered in soot, who told me in a calm, unemotional voice, like she was telling me what she had for lunch, how she had been leaving the tower with her best friend who had been hit by debris and killed. The woman was wiping at her jacket with napkins and said, "And now I don’t know how I’m ever going to get this jacket clean." She kept wiping and wiping.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Arcade, Chicago, Illinois.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's Don Rickles

If you're not following along as I revise my novel online, you may want to do so. Our hero is Xerxes Xavier, a federal agent searching for a missing adult film star. So far, he's met a whale, had too much to drink, and stuck his head in an oven. (Oh, and I left out the part about the hooker. And the stripper.) 

Today, Xavier dreams of Don Rickles.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011


If you have a 9/11 story to tell, anonymously or not, or you know someone who does, email me.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Broken mannequin

Broken Mannequin, Chicago, Illinois.

Friday, September 2, 2011


I've rented an apartment in Chicago. 

I have no furniture. 

If you're looking to sell or unload any of your furniture and you live in Chicago, email me.