Friday, June 7, 2013
Monday, January 7, 2013
Thanks again Renee for the opportunity!
I’m going to start this entry off by breaking one of my golden rules of blogging:
Don’t make your posts too long. No one wants to read War & Peace when their Google Reader is bulging with other blogs to peep.
I have a feeling I’ll be going on for a while. So, sorry about that.
There I go again, breaking another one of my cardinal rules of blogging:
There’s nothing more annoying than seeing a blogger apologize before they launch into a post. “Sorry I haven’t been around”, “Sorry I am going to rant”, “Sorry it’s been so long since I last updated”, etc. etc.
Never apologize. Just write.
That being said, I suppose I should take a bit of my own advice, eh?
When I was first inducted into 20SB, I knew that I would eventually have to write a “final” entry. My thirtieth birthday is in February (what happened?) and everyone knows that when you turn thirty, you instantly become NOT a twenty-something-blogger. It’s like being slowly led to the blogging gallows.
For those that aren’t familiar with how the blogging stork dropped me into the digital cabbage patch, let me give you a little background of how I came into our beloved online-social-diary world and how my blog Starting Over at 24 came to be. Back in 2007, I was a pathetic twenty-four year old who had just been unceremoniously dumped by my high school sweetheart of 6+ years. I’d spill my guts to anyone who would listen to my questions (WHY? WHY?); my tale of woe. But even my most loyal friends were tired of lending an ear while I tried to solve the romantic Rubik’s cube. So I did what any sane person would do: I turned to the internet. I chugged cheap beer and scoured Google looking for any evidence of a guy who suffered under a similar circumstance. There had to be SOME guy out there who got dumped and came out clean on the other side.
But there wasn’t. There was a ton of literature available to women about how to cope with a breakup, but nothing from a male’s point of view. Specifically, a young male in his twenties. Well, if it didn’t exist, then I was going to have to make my own. Maybe my own story would give someone else the insight they needed to wade through this awful bog of dumpness. Besides, it might actually be funny to write about learning how to date in Los Angeles. After all, I didn’t know how to date or to make-out or to do any of the other things most people learn about in high school and college. I was on my own.
Fortunately, I wouldn’t be “alone” for long.
I started off like all other bloggers do. Like a chubby, awkward baby taking its first wobbly steps, I wrote an entry and then another and then another. Some were, admittedly, super fucking emo and some were much lighter and self-deprecating. My first few months, my blog had zero hits. But then something curious started happening. I started getting a few comments. Strangers were finding my blog (presumably through word-of-mouth) and were directly responding to what I was saying! I was completely blown away. I was popping up in Blog Feeds. I was getting emails from readers saying how much they sympathized with my situation. A few even asked ME for advice with their love life problems.
It was around this time I even picked up a few 20SB awards (Best Blog about Relationships/Sex 2009 & Blog You Are Least Likely to Click “Mark as Read” in your RSS Reader). And if these were actual, physical awards, they’d be on my manly mantle next to my non-existent animal heads and I’d be polishing those bad boys right now.
There was a point where I couldn’t keep up with the emails that came in (granted, a fair share were down-on-their-luck Nigerian princes, I’ll admit). Soon I was getting inquires about advertising and Match.com offered to give me a free trial if I would mention them on my blog. I eventually took Match up on their offer (mostly out of sheer desperation for a date, although I ended up royally botching my only Match date), but I never did sponsored posts or giveaways, like what is common now. It’s difficult to describe, but it never really appealed to me to try to make money off the ol’ blog… maybe because I felt that at that time that I needed the blog more than the blog needed me.
I had a good run, but once I found my current girlfriend…
…through my blog…
… and the story of my blog ended.
My inkwell had dried up. My atrocious dating anecdotes were no more (another rule: don’t write unless you have something to say). I didn’t have anything else to say about “starting over” or dating. I would occasionally write back and check in (a curious, yet powerful obligation to give your readers an update), but I knew it would never be the same again. When you make that decision to unplug yourself from The Matrix… people seem to forget about you.
Once I stopped writing, I stopped reading. I’m not sure why that happened, but I think it’s kind of like when you’re a little kid and your best friend in the neighborhood says they have to move across town. You make a promise by spitting into your palms that you will always stay in touch but it never happens.
“Hey whatever happened to _____? That guy was hilarious!“
“Oh, he’s married now I think. He stopped blogging about a year ago.”
“Damn. I hope he’s doing alright. Is he alright?”
“I don’t know.”
It’s like this bizarre high school reunion. Except instead of terrible comb-overs and watered down punch, we have the comfort of swapping war stories of the “good ol’ days” from the same dusty computer chairs we sat in way-back-when.
I truly thought the dirt was being thrown on the casket until one evening when my fiancée Beth (the blogger I met off the blog) and I were throwing back beers on the couch and discussing the “glory days” of blogging.
As I reached for another beer, she turned to me and said, “Dude, you should make it a book.”
“I never really thought about it. Man, I don’t know. You really think I could have a shot?”
“Abso-fuckin-lutely! Look how far you’ve come!”
I was skeptical. Taking a blog and making it into a memoir was going to be fucking tough. It had been so long since I reached out to the community — maybe I missed my chance when the iron was hot? But through her encouragement and those of the readers who continued to email me, I got to work. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. I spent countless hours sipping whisky and pouring through entries: giving the axe to the terrible ones, rewriting the ones that were in desperate need of a rewrite, polishing up the decent ones and adding extra entries where I had left out juicy details.
To the bloggers out there who are contemplating taking the plunge into the literary world, let me prepare you for this: searching for an agent will obliterate your soul. It erodes. It’s tough to explain to those unfamiliar with blogs how powerful blogs can be. Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize that if you’re not in the blogging community, it’s near impossible to explain the influence to outsiders. A lot of agents I queried just didn’t get it. “Over 100 comments per entry? I don’t know what that means.”
Then the rejection emails came rolling in. I got a lot of the blanketed “I’m sorry this isn’t what we’re looking for right now”, but a good portion of them asked for full manuscripts (which in itself is a bit of a victory). After a long search, I eventually landed an agent who thought he could sell the beast.
This is where I’m at now. The fight is far from over. While I have an agent, it’s his job to actually go out and sell the manuscript. He now has the daunting task of finding a publisher out there who is willing to take a chance on it. As I feared, it’s tough to sell a memoir when you’re not a celebrity or you haven’t traveled the world with a leg missing. Here are some of the “rejection letters” it’s received so far:
Brandon’s writing is both self-deprecating and funny at times, and I can see how his blog has received the kind of attention it has. The Hollywood parts of this story gave this story an extra zest that other young memoirs don’t necessarily have, and I did like the hopeful, happy ending.
But ultimately, I think the guidance offered about getting over your first adult relationship is something that works better in blog format rather than a book. And the blog-to-book transition is so much harder these days than it used to be, alas.
And here’s another:
There is much to admire here – Brandon is an honest, straightforward and immensely readable writer. And there is a lot here that would appeal to many guys his age, or slightly older. However I do think that while a very universal experience, I didn’t find the tent poles of the story to be oh-so-compelling that would make a splash in the book marketplace these days, which is oversaturated with memoirs. Even the really great ones struggle to find their audience.
While the feedback is pretty good, it still stings like when the cute girl at the ice cream social denies you a dance — you know if she gave you a shot, you could Patrick Swayze her ass, but she’s not even letting you get to the dance floor.
I’m still holding out for hope that someone out there will love it and see its potential. Although, anyone who starts down this path has to be honest with themselves and face the reality that maybe he/she will never actually sell their manuscript. But as for me, at least I can say that I made some damn good friends off the blog.
I’ve made friends with people I never would have met if it wasn’t for my blog. People in Los Angeles, Dublin, Edinburgh, Chicago, Cleveland, Portland, New York, San Francisco, DC, Seattle. Some I’ve never met in person (oh, I will someday) but have still had the pleasure of sharing some of the most honest and laugh-out-loud email exchanges with. There are some I will hop on the phone to catch up with or gchat or text whenever the urge snipes me. There are even readers of the blog with whom have I become so close with that they will have a seat at my wedding come this April.
Blogging is fucking powerful.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m humbled at the feedback and encouragement to keep at making this blog-to-book dream happen. Thank you for your support and if that day ever comes, I hope you’ll pick up a copy and send me an email letting me know what you think about it.
Keep sending positive mind bullets my way. If this memoir gets published, I hope that it will be considered a victory for bloggers everywhere.
PS. Oh one last piece of advice that I wasn’t able to find a way to cleverly sneak in: always save your good posts for a Monday (you’ll get the most hits) and never use up one of your gems for a Friday. People hate reading on a Friday.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
How do I get this to Paul Simon and Chevy Chase? No. Seriously.
You can read posts from both Beth and me on the whole nutty process here.
Also? Check these sweet babies out!
Monday, December 19, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
3rd or 4th grade? I can't really remember, but what's the difference anyway? The gossip was thick within the walls of Salmon Creek Elementary school. Morgan Baker was having a birthday party. And I was invited.
Now this was Morgan-fucking-Baker. This was a big deal. The cutest girl in school. A combination of big brown eyes and a spatter of freckles on her nose that would put Wonder Years' Winnie Cooper to shame.
And she liked me. And I liked her. And everyone in the school knew it. Of course, I couldn't tell her that. And she couldn't didn't dare tell me. But that's how shit rolls when you're in love at a time when long division is the most stressful component of your life.
Morgan was having her birthday at the go-to spot of the times; a classic skate rink where the carpet was shaggy, cherry pop was the most popular drink on the menu, and if you leaned up against the wall for too long, you'd get stuck to it. This was Golden Skate.
It was the day of the party and I completely forget to get a gift, which I'm going to blame on the nerves. How could I think strategically about getting the love of my life the perfect birthday gift when I had really needed to focus on how I was going to keep my fries down when I asked her to couple skate?
So when the old man drops me off at the rink, I beg him to make a run to Vancouver Mall to pick something up for her. There's no way I could go into the ball empty handed! I'm already fucking up the most important day of my life.
Dad: What do you want me to get her? What do you kids like these days?
Me: I dunno, get her a book.
Dad: Oh, like a Tin Tin comic?
Me: No, Dad! RL Stine! RL Stine is radical.
After what seems like an eternity, Tho rushes back and hands off a wrapped gift. Whew. Crisis averted. I owe you big time Pops; the next report card won't have a single check-plus. Only pluses.
Fast forward to the opening of the presents. Everyone is peeing their hammer pants in anticipation to see what I got the birthday girl because, I'm the unspoken-but-everyone-knows-it crush. Mrs. Baker reaches for the last present, my present, and hands it over to Morgan.
"I wonder what this could be?" Mrs Baker says with a smile and wink.
I have no idea either. Huh. I'm kinda curious myself actually.
Morgan Baker opens it up and gingerly pulls out two paperbacks. Her brown eyes bulge and her trademark freckles vanish in a wave of blush.
The Girlfriend by RL Stine.
The Boyfriend by RL Stine.
Now it's my turn for my eyes to get as wide as dinner plates. I want to die. I want to fucking die. I want to reach over the table and grab an ice cream scoop and take out my eyes.
My so-called "friends" erupt in giggles and gasps. Mr. and Mrs. Baker have their hands covering their mouths hiding (not very well, I might add) their smiles, their bodies are shaking, barely able to contain themselves.
The deal is off, dad.
Monday, November 8, 2010
I haven't given up on this project yet. Although I'll admit that at times I feel like that guy who keeps performing CPR and vigorously rubbing chest paddles together while the victim's rigor mortis has clearly set in.
Who knows? Maybe it'll be like when Timmy got revived after getting electrocuted on that big ass fence in Jurassic Park? "Tim! No, TIM!"
I thought I'd share some of the first few pages for the pilot. I had a lot of fun writing it, which is the most important part. I took some creative liberties, as those who have read the blog in its entirety will see immediately.
However, I feel the tone is pretty in step with blog and there most of scenes that are actually things that actually really happened (e.g. me on the porch in nothing but a Russian hat, a parka with a beer and Leo telling me find my manbits). But I'll let you be the judge.
PS. Who would you cast for some of these roles? If Zac Efron is Leo, I would die a happy man.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
It's certainly has been awhile since I cracked a cheap beer, sat at my sticky keyboard and pounded out a blog entry.
In fact, it's been almost a year exactly since I smash cut to black. Time certainly does fly.
Before I begin, I must say that I feel like the guy in high school who graduated and came back to school pick up his girlfriend during lunch. He's high-fiving the people who might remember him, but really, they are all rolling their eyes and wondering when he's gonna finally let it go.
I can accept that.
::adjusts collar on letterman's jacket::
Believe it or not, my old So@24 gmail still has emails coming in from past readers and people who have just discovered the blog even after a year of my "final" entry. The response has been amazing and I'm still shocked (in the good way).
A lot has happened in a year and I felt I owed it to those who have taken the time out to write me and ask "Dude, seriously, wtf happened?" to give a proper response.
Man, so much has changed in the blogging universe. People are making Facebook fan pages of their own blog?? Jesus. Now I know how Brooks felt when he finally got out of his stint at Shawshank.
After a lot of urging from Beth and emails I've received, I thought I would try and see I could get the ol' blog a book deal. Might as well give it the old college try right? And if not, I still had a hellva run. But I figure if some dude can get a TV deal by simply hitting the key CTRL and V every time his father says something mildly amusing, why can't us working stiffs have our day in the sun? It's been a lot of hard work, but unfortunately no biters yet.
Glamour.com reached out to me a while back and asked if I would do an interview with them. A few mere HOURS after the article was published, I was surprised to find out that bloggers were posting the link on this little website called "Twitter". I had no idea people still cared!
So what has happened to some of all-stars on So@24?
Crazy Janice recently moved back to Los Angeles. I received a nice handful of passive aggressive texts from her when I didn't show up to her "Welcome back" party. Oops!
Beth (the original) and I reconciled after our falling out. She was the first to break the silence with a heartfelt apology and our friendship was rekindled. I met up with her when I was back home for Christmas.
In a surprising turn of events, Leo and I met up with the infamous Irish blogger Caitlin when we traveled to Dublin. The clouded and muddied fizzle of whateverwehad was never brought up, but a good time was had by all after plenty of shots and pints. We don't keep in touch often.
Not sure what happened to Amber. I never heard from her after our last encounter, but I think she's engaged now?
Bree and I are still friends. She's still bloggin and still dating. I have no doubt she'll find what she's looking for. She'll find her Tetris piece. And for the record, she never did get that headboard upholstered.
Lynn. Can't have a 1 year recap without bringing up the girl who stamped the passport for this whole trip, right? She's doing well and we're friends. We've met up for dinner a few times, but those are few and far between. She might catch me on gchat to share a funny YouTube video or I might post some nonsense on her Facebook wall. She's dating the same guy and as far as I know, things are going well for them.
Her mother Andy and I still chat on the phone.
And now, I thought I'd share a picture with you of me and my one, true love:
Just joke, just joke!
Beth and I are still together. When people ask us how we met, we always share a look of "Welp, here we go" and spin our tale to keep it as succinct and low-on-the-creepy scale as possible. I did the fly out and met her folks in New York.
I never had the experience of meeting "the dad" before (Lynn's dad passed away when she was young). Within seconds of the classic Dad-meet-the-boyfriend hand shake, he was showing me his brand new camera, asking me about my high school wrestling stories, and insisting that he teach me how to drive a boat. Again, I can't make this up. Fucking classic.
Beth made the move out to Los Angeles and we're inching our way into the cool waters of cohabitation together and cautiously holding up our swim trunks up in case we get really wet before we're ready. But so far, it's been great; we constantly are checking in with each other: "Are you having any doubts?" "You think we're doing the right thing?" "You're cool with watching Glee on your laptop swishing a glass of wine while I play Red Dead Redemption in my undies with a bottle of suds?"
We have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. What more can you want? For awhile, Beth and Leo were living at Sexy Dojo for awhile. Living with your best gal and your best friend? It really could have been a sitcom. I like to think that the promotional poster would have gone something like this:
Alright alright, it was actually more like this:
I wish I had something more exciting to say about where I'm at and what the future holds. But maybe that's the best thing?
Before I sign off again, I want to again, thank all the readers new and old. As I stated before, I'm always blown away that people are still discovering my little nook of the internet and take the time to write such personal, thoughtful emails to me. I still check from time to time and I always write back.
Blogging has been good to me and I hope you had as much fun reading as I did writing.