Behind the Scenes
My Experience Writing for Muumuu House
Wrote about Tao Lin for Hobart.
Exchanged emails with Tao about what I wrote.
Tao cut and pasted part I’d written about Zac Zellers and Marie Calloway and wrote beneath it “this seems funny to me.”
Replied with a paragraph in which I described Zac Zellers as the “Where’s Waldo” of Ann Arbor.
19 mins later got email from Tao saying “you should write something about this and send it to me.”
Stared at email for a minute contemplating what Tao meant by “you should write something about this and send it to me.”
Felt good Tao thought something I wrote seemed funny to him.
Felt good Tao might want me to write something for Muumuu House.
Thought how husband and friends would make fun of me for writing something for Muumuu House.
Thought: people only make fun of Muumuu House until they are asked to write something for Muumuu House.
Received email from Tao with link to Muumuu House piece called “Four Times I’ve Interacted with Justin Taylor in Real Life” by Andrew James Weatherhead.
4 seconds later received follow up email from Tao saying, “Do you know who Justin Taylor is at all?”
Remembered being at same AWP party as Justin Taylor and Justin Taylor asking me repeatedly if I wanted to share a taxicab with him back to the hotel.
Remembered having little to no interest in sharing taxicab with Justin Taylor.
Went to bed feeling excited about writing for Muumuu House.
Went to bed wondering who Andrew James Weatherhead is.
Waited for husband to leave in the morning before looking at Muumuu House site on my computer.
Printed out Andrew James Weatherhead piece as well as pieces by Megan Boyle, Brandon Scott Gorrell and Mallory Whitten.
Thought: what ever happened to Brandon Scott Gorrell?
Thought about Chelsea Martin asking me recently about my dedicating, “I Am Running Out of Ways to Make You Love Me” to Brandon.
Thought about Brandon referring to me as someone who “makes a public display of her sexual, drinking and cigar-smoking habits” in his, “Most of the People I Know on the Internet” Nervous Breakdown piece in 2009.
Thought: it’s funny that Brandon wrote something for The Nervous Breakdown.
Thought: it’s funny that in 2009 I had no idea who Megan Boyle was.
Remembered hearing somewhere recently that Brandon Scott Gorrell hooked up with Megan in 2009.
Remembered Donora Hillard telling someone, “Welcome to indie lit. We all fuck one another.”
Read “What Xanax Makes Me Feel Like” by Megan Boyle first due to past history of liking shit I’ve read by Megan Boyle.
Liked “What Xanax Makes Me Feel Like” same amount as other stuff I’ve read by Megan Boyle.
Thought: Megan makes taking Xanax sound appealing.
Thought: being slowly fucked in oppressive heat feels like something I’d like.
Thought seriously for a minute about taking Xanax but then thought about how Mary Miller said she’d gotten “addicted” after only a couple weeks and had to wean herself off.
Thought: I wonder if Chelsea Martin takes drugs.
Thought: if I was going to take drugs, Chelsea Martin seems like someone I would feel safe taking drugs with.
Read “My Experiences on Bath Salts” by Mallory Whitten.
Thought: which one is Mallory Whitten?
Thought: she is either the one who dates Noah Cicero or the one who dates Jordan Castro.
Thought: why does everyone live in Ohio?
Kept reading Mallory’s experiences on bath salts while thinking about how Steve Roggenbuck said on Brad Listi he doesn’t do drugs.
Remembered thinking I liked Steve Roggenbuck more once he said he didn’t do drugs.
Circled “teacher’s hands” and “birds eye view” because of mistakes in possessiveness.
Liked “My Experiences on Bath Salts” less than “What Xanax Makes Me Feel Like.”
Thought: no part of “My Experiences on Bath Salts” made me want to try bath salts or be friends with Mallory Whitten.
Thought: I would possibly be friends with Megan Boyle if she was nice and wanted to be friends with me but if she was stuck up and didn’t want to be friends with me I would probably hate her and tell people I didn’t want to be friends with her.
Mostly felt indifferent about Mallory Whitten.
Read “Four Times I’ve Interacted with Justin Taylor in Real Life.”
Thought: Justin Taylor is shorter in real life than I thought he would be.
Thought: I feel fine that I have only interacted with Justin Taylor once in real life.
Remembered reading fiction by Justin Taylor in The New Yorker.
Remembered thinking: I didn’t know Justin Taylor was Jewish.
Thought: The New Yorker likes fiction that is urban and Waspy or urban and Jewish.
Thought: I write about the Midwest and am not Jewish or Waspy or urban.
Read “Things I Remember My Great-Grandparents Doing” by Mallory Whitten.
Thought: this shit is fucked up.
Thought: this shit could not possibly have happened.
Thought: reading this piece makes me wish I were on bath salts.
Looked at but did not read, “All The Drugs I’ve Taken” by Brandon Scott Gorrell.
Thought: “I get it” scanning the piece.
Didn’t think any more about writing a piece for Muumuu House for a while.
Spent an hour checking email and looking at Tumblr.
Thought: I wish I were Megan Boyle taking Xanax and taking pictures of my ass in a mirror right now while looking at picture of Megan Boyle taking picture of her ass in a mirror on Tumblr.
Thought: I wish I were friends with Megan Boyle so I had someone to text right now.
Thought: I wonder what Megan Boyle has eaten today.
Thought: I should be working on my novel.
Thought: I should write three novellas instead of a novel because I can publish them faster and it will seem like I am more prolific and I will have more books out.
Looked at Proust quote on wall: “photography is the product of complete alienation.”
Thought: I wish I had a dark room.
Thought: I would like to photograph Megan Boyle standing in bra and panties in black and white.
Thought: Megan Boyle’s ass isn’t bad.
Tried to start writing piece for Muumuu House again.
Wrote and deleted six sentences.
Wrote part about Tao Lin coming to town for reading in 2010.
Thought: I think Tao had hung out with Megan in Ohio shortly before this reading.
Thought: I remember being worried Megan would hook up with Sam.
Thought: I shouldn’t mention Sam in this piece.
Thought: I remember looking at pictures online after the Ohio reading and trying to tell if Sam and Megan hooked up.
Didn’t work on Muumuu House piece for a week.
Printed out more stories from Muumuu House.
Read all of “Embarrassing Moments” by Megan Boyle and liked it.
Read “It’s OK RE DRUGS” by Jordan Castro and liked it.
Skimmed “James Franco” by Jordon Castro.
Thought, yeah, Jordan Castro does look kind of like a younger, dirtier James Franco, kind of.
Printed out but did not read “Jeffrey, Vincent, Jeffrey and Vincent’s Father, and the Woman in the Photograph.”
Reread “My Experiences on Bath Salts” by Mallory Whitten and felt differently about it than first time I read it.
Thought: I was not being open-minded the first time I read “My Experiences on Bath Salts.”
Thought: if Scott McClanahan likes Mallory Whitten she must be a nice person.
Thought: I wonder if Scott McClanahan does drugs.
Thought: if I were nineteen or twenty I would probably like to read pieces like “My Experiences on Bath Salts.”
Thought: I feel like something bad would happen to me if I did drugs with Scott McClanahan.
Went back and edited what I’d written so far.
Felt conscious of trying to write in “Muumuu House style.”
Took out words like “the” and “I.”
Worried it would seem like I was consciously trying to write in “Muumuu House style.”
Didn’t work on Muumuu House piece for a while.
Printed out and read old article on Mornings News about Tao Lin and Muumuu House.
Thought about how author of article had said Muumuu House writers were lazy and produced lazy writing.
Thought about how I’d already spent 2 weeks trying to write piece for Muumuu House.
Thought: what the fuck is wrong with me?
Thought: why am I working so hard to sound lazy?
Opened copy of Bret Easton Ellis’s Rules of Attraction.
Turned to random page and read about character carrying around a copy of The Fountainhead and wishing he had his Walkman.
Fought urge to sit on floor and read entire novel in one sitting.
Thought: if I were ever asked in The New York Times Sunday Book Review section what writer I would invite to dinner I would say Bret Easton Ellis.
Looked at Morning News article again; focused on sentence: “For now, it seems unlikely the literary establishment will ever take Lin and his friends seriously.”
Thought: this is probably what they said about Andy Warhol.
Thought: I hope if I publish something on Muumuu House, I will be taken less seriously.
Thought: I hope if I publish something on Muumuu House, I will take myself less seriously.
Thought: is it possible to be taken less seriously than I am already taken?
Thought: is it possible to take myself less seriously than I do right now?
Worked on Muumuu House piece off and on for another week.
Showed Muumuu House piece to friend after dinner at friend’s house.
Friend laughed a lot while reading Muumuu House piece but friend had ingested large amounts of alcohol before and after dinner and could not be trusted to know what was funny due to inherent humorous qualities and what was funny due to effects of intoxication.
Thought: should have shown friend piece while friend was still sober.
Came home and read through Muumuu House piece one more time then sent to Tao Lin despite piece not feeling “done.”
Turned off computer and smoked in basement in effort to avoid feelings of insecurity if Tao did not reply within reasonable amount of time (reasonable amount of time being 24 hours, but preferably, two) or did not like my piece.
Checked email the next day and there was an email from Tao saying he had read piece on his iPhone while walking and had laughed out loud several times.
Felt good that I had made Tao laugh out loud.
Meditated on image of Tao walking around New York City with his iPhone and laughing at something I’d written.
Emailed back and forth with Tao regarding small edits before piece went “live.”
Felt excited seeing my name on Muumuu House.
Felt similar to how it once felt seeing my name on McSweeney’s.
Wondered how long it would take for someone from Vice/Thought Catalog to contact me about writing something for them. (Thought: isn’t this how it works?)
Wondered how long it would take for one of my writer friends to contact me about my Muumuu House piece.
Thought it equal chance writers friends would like or hate it.
Went to bed without receiving email or text from “writer friends.”
Thought: if I were still on Facebook I could post shit like this and it would probably get a bunch of “likes” and I could deceive myself into thinking I have a lot of friends again.
Thought: pretty sure only writer friends are Scott McClanahan and Chelsea Martin.
Thought: okay, if I’m ever going to do drugs again I will do them with Scott McClanahan.
Got email two days later from teenager in California who claimed to know Marie Calloway and said he liked my piece.
Felt happy someone I didn’t know read and liked my piece.
Felt interested to know more about Marie Calloway but distrustful of teenager.
Saw Zac Zellers outside bar where I was hosting a reading five days after Tao put up Muumuu House piece.
Felt nervous and anxious about possibility of talking to Zac Zellers.
Stood outside on sidewalk and smoked a cigarette with friend while talking to Zac Zellers.
Zac Zellers made point of saying he wasn’t gay twice and asked about my daughter three times.
Felt relieved when Zac Zellers was nice and soft-spoken and didn’t seem upset or angry but worried that he seemed interested in my daughter.
Zac Zellers did not make point of saying if he was “sexually violent” or not.
Asked Zac Zellers how he’d first started reading Tao Lin and he said someone he shared music with on the Internet had told him about a writer named Sam Pink and from reading Sam’s writing and liking it he had found Tao Lin.
Felt interested in having teenagers and young people read my writing.
Felt more interested in teenagers and young people than in “literary establishment.”
Felt more interested in Tao and Muumuu House writers than other writers and other writing scenes.
Felt good when Megan Boyle retumbld me.
Still feel interested in taking photographs of Megan Boyle unless she is stuck up in which case I hate her.
Thought: wonder if Megan Boyle takes drugs.
Thought: define “sexually violent.”
Tags: Andrew James Weatherhead, andy warhol, bret easton ellis, Chelsea Martin, elizabeth ellen, James Franco, jordan castro, Justin Taylor, Mallory Whitten, Marie Calloway, mcsweeney's, megan boyle, muumuu house, Noah Cicero, sam pink, Scott McClanahan, steve roggenbuck, Tao Lin, the new york times book review, Zac Zellers