January 5th, 2013 / 11:21 am
Behind the Scenes

My Experience Writing for Muumuu House

Not Elizabeth Ellen

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.

Thought: shit.

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.”

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  1. david jones insane

      sick ass i really liked this

  2. reynard

      i miss chelsea martin

  3. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Can someone please explain to me the appeal of this? I’m going out to get drunk now but would be willing to get into it later tonight.

  4. megan boyle

      i really liked this ellen, also laughed aloud a few times

      based on this and other things i’ve read by you i’d like to be your friend

      if we ever meet irl i’d like to get my ass photographed by you

      i didn’t hook up w/sam in 2010 via feeling more interested in tao and thinking sam didn’t like me and other things, i think

      this september on a reading tour i felt close and attracted to sam but we didn’t have sex. currently resisting urge to go on a long tangent about that experience and liking sam and feeling moved by his existence and the things he makes

      felt influenced by this thing i just read by you writing last sentence i wrote

      when i was discovering things i liked to read on the internet in 2007 or 2008 i remember reading things by you on juked and thinking ‘elizabeth ellen writes about sex’ and ‘elizabeth ellen seems confident’ and ‘lorrie moore’ and ‘does elizabeth ellen seem angry?’ around that time i submitted something to juked and it got rejected

      re bsg: was surprised you knew about 2009 hook-up, then remembered he mentioned kissing me in the same article where he talked about you and cigars. he edits thought catalog now, saw him recently in nyc and he seems to be doing well, feel good when i think about him doing well and being bsg on the streets of nyc

      re what i ate today + do i do drugs: i woke around 2PM after taking xanax last night and sleeping 12 hours after not having slept for 38 hours via taking adderall. my mom made some kind of p.f. chang’s frozen stir fry thing and i ate a little of that last night around 10PM, but that was the first thing i had eaten since the morning before (a turkey club and vegetable soup and fries at a diner)

      seems insane, what i just wrote, a little…want to say ‘that’s not normal for me’ but think it mostly is

      loled at seeing reoccurring ‘where’s waldo’-like presence of zac zellers in your life…feel like encouraging you to write a life-long thing about your interactions w/zac zellers…seems so funny/sweet…like on your wikipedia you’d have ‘books’ and ‘personal life’ and ‘zac zellers…’ (it would really have the ellipsis there too)

      yesterday at the mac store an employee said ‘zac will help you’ and pointed to someone who looked almost exactly like zac zellers who was smiling and i felt immediately like, flummoxed, and thought of you

      was surprised to see my name come up so much in this (in a nice way)

      think i’m rambling, felt my head like, buzzing with things i wanted to talk about w/you while reading

      have re-read this a few times now with high levels of enjoyment all the times

      you have a nice ass too

  5. shaun gannon


  6. bartleby_taco

      this was fun to read.

      made me wish i was friends with more people on the internet and more transparent about my irl identity on htmlg over the years (via desire to have more friends from the internet).

      have found that beginning sentences with “feel”/”felt”/”imagined”/”thought”/etc (via muumuu house style of writing/speaking) is very addictive.

      remember reading a roberto bolano poem that begun every stanza with “imagined…” and felt more validated in using this form of speech; feel weird that i need emotional or intellectual validation for using a form of speech lifted from somewhere on the internet

      feel embarrassed by this comment mostly which has reaffirmed my original desires for internet anonymity


  7. Rachel Harthcock

      <3 thank you for writing this !

  8. Robert Irvine's pecs

      The world of indie lit is a world of shitty words.

  9. deadgod

      Read Elizabeth Ellen blogicle about muumuuviana and about writing for Muumuu House with fluctuating, mostly moderate-to-high levels of interest.

      Feel that the pith of Elizabeth Ellen’s style is to husband suddenness.

      (Am almost always affected with pleasure by rapidity in writing, whether it feels gimmicky or organic.)

      Share common antipathy towards muumuuvian style in a small way; am pretty sure that fine–even ‘great’–muumuuvian writing is likely. Wonder about self: why the conflicted resistance to muumuuvian style? –though mixed feelings are, generally, no problem for self.

      Not sure how to interpret Elizabeth Ellen’s undisguised career management, or how I feel about it. Experiencing conversation with self about authorial sincerity, artistic vs. personal manipulation, suspicion, irony.

      Thought: just because a task makes one feel inadequate in the doing doesn’t mean it’s not a “lazy” choice, either for others or for oneself.

      Example of own readerly skepticism: “Felt good that I had made Tao laugh out loud.” No: ‘Felt good when Tao told me he had laughed out loud several times in a way that unambiguously implied that he had laughed out loud several times at things I had written.’ Even as Elizabeth Ellen’s sentence registers as neurotically comical, wonder: is Tao Lin telling Elizabeth Ellen his irl reaction? what is effect of Elizabeth Ellen implying she believes what Tao Lin says?

      Think at end of blogicle: inhabiting style makes one belong differently, belong in one’s own way.

  10. tao lin


  11. tao lin


  12. Brooks Sterritt

      I shared an AWP taxi with Justin Taylor one time–I bet it was after you turned him down

  13. herocious

      zac zellers?

  14. Richard Grayson

      My hat is off to Elizabeth Ellen for writing this wonderful piece of humor and to HTML Giant for publishing it. Please let’s have some more of this heartwarming satire!

  15. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Thanks for being passive aggressive. Y’all are gonna raise shitty children who don’t know how to communicate

  16. Frank Tas, the Raptor
  17. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Listening to Jamiroquai

  18. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Best way to get people to listen to you is to be a pestering asshole

  19. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Screw being kind and thoughtful. That shit’s for old lame-wads

  20. Noah Cicero

      I’m listening to Lil’ Debbie songs on youtube. This is funny. Gonna watch Gossip Girl after Brittany gets out of the shower.

  21. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Like I’m doing this just to upset people enough to elicit a response, because if you try to start a conversation based off of sincere concerns no one will respond because it’s easy to ignore a single comment

  22. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Adorable social strategy online that is a joke

  23. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I resort to this because this is the only way to get an idiot to speak up

  24. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      You Know? If you don’t, you probably shouldn’t be using the internet, because your approach is lazy and self absorbed

  25. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Just apply to the Real World instead, you ambulating waste

  26. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I just want to know why live blogging that is not clever or fun or anything is considered “entertaining”

  27. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Like it’s like you invent a style and pretend you don’t need to justify it, especially when it’s something anyone could do, really

  28. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Jamiroquai rules

  29. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      And you pretend anxiety is not the same as “being shy” and your whole approach to life is blowing pretty plain boring shit out of proportion. Virtual Insanity is coming on

  30. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Hey where’s your fucking innovative lit now

  31. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I deleted my blog. I do this just to exist, no page hits or anything

  32. Frank Tas, the Raptor


  33. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      But this is great material for pharmaceutical reps

  34. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      And people who need someone to tell them that leading a boring existence is actually interesting (???)

  35. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      This is art

  36. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Jamiroquai rules

  37. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      What is art

  38. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      It’s when you do shit no one wants you to do

  39. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      It’s when you exist even though no one cares whether you exist

  40. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      It’s my jizz encrusted dick

  41. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      It’s my liveblog of existing

  42. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      It’s when I get an erection for no reason on a train

  43. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      It’s when I think things I don’t wanna (think)

  44. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      It’s my flight back to my parents and there’s no reason to try and make them into bad people the way a lot of self-absorbed writers are happy to kill their parents

  45. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      You know? Go Jets

  46. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      This is basically what was written up on top; except this won’t be liked a lot because most people who like this writing are looking for comfort instead of conflict

  47. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Nothing says integrity like being white and upper middle class and being afraid of controversy

  48. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Who wants to do drugs

  49. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Is this done yet

  50. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Who ever wants to be done ever

  51. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      If I were done I’d be a self-inflicted diabetic

  52. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      You know

  53. Frank Tas, the Raptor


  54. Frank Tas, the Raptor


  55. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Wanna go on a date, I’ll actually make you laugh instead of drafting your thoughts on the date

  56. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      This is just Harriet the Spy for hacks

  57. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      These comments come up a mile a minute

  58. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Elizabeth talk to me; I’d be following comments on a site like this if I wrote something for it

  59. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Don’t stop going and never die

  60. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I earned this

  61. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I deserve this

  62. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I worked hard for this

  63. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I’m a hero

  64. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I’m the best

  65. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      My credentials precede me

  66. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I’m a genius

  67. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I earned this

  68. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I’m a victim

  69. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Never the bad guy

  70. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Step in line with the rest of the jokes

  71. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I owe myself cocaine

  72. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Kiss me because I’m the best

  73. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Also gimme money

  74. Frank Tas, the Raptor


  75. Frank Tas, the Raptor
  76. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      One more thang

  77. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      You made a lot of friends online

  78. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Waht if you made no friends online because you refused to like certain things and instead chose to be yourself

  79. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Like being a legit individual on the internet is the best way to never make friends

  80. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      You know/

  81. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      kiss me

  82. Nick Antosca

      Ha, nice

  83. mimi
  84. deadgod

      For lots of response: say only that you prefer celebrations of vaginal rape to Elizabeth Ellen’s intellectualized misogyny.

      I think muumuuvians find their epistemic biases to be clever and their literary play to be fun. I think part of the muumuuvian thing is not to show vulnerability by defending muumuuviana.

      Go Jets.: condenses your cry against the rancorous futility of human life.

      ‘Existence’ is a low bar. ‘Existence on terms you somehow impose’? ‘Existence in rejection of terms imposed sleazily on you’?

      Irritated that my comment is now so far from the blogicle. :(

  85. Michael Martin

      define “sexually violent.”

  86. Weston Smith

      i’ve heard of some of these people

  87. mimi
  88. Alexander J. Allison

      feel a strong desire to make meaningful contact with elizabeth ellen

  89. Mike Kleine

      Nice, nice. nice. And super honest. 100% a success, I think.






  91. elizabeth ellen

      megan, we should get married at some point in the future.

  92. bartleby_taco

      damn this song is sick // v cute

  93. megan boyle


  94. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Maybe some time we could kiss, ZZZZZZIP, but right now I feel like a bad guy in a world that don’t even exist

  95. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Hey y’all

  96. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      This is my new fucking blog, y’know

  97. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I was gonna Dennis Leary rant a second time but just got suddenly very tired plus I hater Dennis Leary

  98. Frank Tas, the Raptor


  99. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Hey anonymous disliker I dislike you too hope your student loans serve as a comfy enough pillow