The Unbearable Banishment: An Elephant Stepped on my Guitar

Friday, September 17, 2010

An Elephant Stepped on my Guitar

That’s my all-time favorite metaphor for something really bad happened. An elephant stepped on my guitar. Isn’t that just beautifully descriptive? Well, an elephant stepped on my guitar and it wasn't your run-of-the-mill-I-dropped-my-phone-in-the-pool-again thing. I didn’t feel much like writing. Or reading blogs. Or sleeping. Or eating.

But in the midst of the strum und drang, a couple of really nice things happened. First, I received a few “are you okay?” emails from some of you. Others posted a “where the fuck are you” comment. (Not those exact words, perhaps, but that’s the spirit of the messages.) Thank you all for your concern. It’s meaningful to me and I’ll never forget it.

Here’s another really nice thing that happened to me over the last two weeks while the walls were on fire. Last June, I was contacted by the editor of an online literary publication in Chicago. He is a regular reader here. His site has been around for a few years and it was due for a retooling. As part of the relaunch, he asked me if I was interested in writing a monthly column on rare books. First I said yes and then I went through the “I’m not smart enough, good enough, etc., etc.” guilt trip that I usually lay on myself. Then I grew some hair on my sack, sat down and banged out a column. It was easy! The damn thing practically wrote itself! The site just relaunched. It's the world famous Undie Press and my column is called Books You Cannot Read.

I’m from Ohio. We frown on any type of self-congratulatory behavior. We consider it undignified and déclassé. We believe in modesty. But I'm going to go out on a dangerous limb and say that I'm really pleased with my first attempt. I invite to you hop over and have a look. It’s a quick read and it’s a pretty good show, if you don’t mind my saying so. Plus, you’ll get to see my real name. How‘s that for incentive, bitches? No stalking, please.

I’m WAY behind on my theater posts. The season is well underway. Thank you all, again. I wish I could find the right words.


Blogger savannah said...

you just did, sugarpie! ;~) xoxoxoxox

September 17, 2010 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

I'm glad you are OK.
I'm not firing on all cylinders just now but dammit I've clicked and clicked and got the site - which looked inviting - but can't see your column.
Savvy did it - why can't I?

September 17, 2010 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Good to see you back here.

September 17, 2010 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Pearl said...

Glad you are okay -- and go ahead and celebrate!


September 17, 2010 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Everyday Goddess said...

I'm glad you are doing better now, and wishing you much success on your new writing job! excellent!

September 17, 2010 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Savannah: I hope that was adequate. It was certainly heartfelt.

Pat: Scroll down just a bit and it's the first article in the middle column. You can't miss it!

Map: Thanks. It's good to have all that crap behind me. Now...where'd I leave off?

Pearl: I'm meeting a friend in a cigar/scotch bar tonight. You can't do better than that. Oh, and that metaphor about the elephant? Guess who said it? ALEX LIFESON!

EG: It's not a paying gig, but I get a lot of satisfaction from it. That counts for something, right?

September 17, 2010 at 3:28 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

glad you're back! want me to go kick some elephant ass? they're big, but dumb. besides, i've got some mad trailer park justice skillz...

September 17, 2010 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger sukipoet said...

I love the 'Im from Ohio" lines. I am not from Ohio, but I went to college there eons ago and am still friends with five or six Ohio schoolmates. When you are friends with someone from Ohio, you are friends for life.

September 17, 2010 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Daisy: You're the FIRST person who comes to mind when I think of delivering some well-deserved vengeance.

Suki: You've just got to love Buckeyes. They're good folks. If you've got a Buckeye in your life, you're one of the lucky one.

September 17, 2010 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

Well, I was wondering where you'd got to, but didn't think I knew you well enough to email.

But we have books, theatre and a weird sense of humour in common, so maybe I should have asked.

If your guitar gets elephantised again, I'll email!

September 17, 2010 at 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Tim Hall said...

Thanks, Mark, it's wonderful to have you as part of Undie Press. You're a great writer and blogger, and the columns you've already lined up are fantastic.

And thanks to all you kind Banishment visitors who have checked out the site!

September 17, 2010 at 5:56 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Nice piece. Nice name. We have a Mark:)

September 17, 2010 at 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Hey UB. I did note your absence for a bit, but not being a steady generator of content myself, I figured that something IRL was likely up.

Read your piece at Undie. Entertaining and sounds just like you. Congrats on that and best wishes going forward.

September 17, 2010 at 6:40 PM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

Back again after my trip to UP.(Hey! from UB to UP...not bad.)

Yes, I'll pop back to read more.Well done!

September 17, 2010 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Dina: Thanks for the sentiment but I PRAY something like this doesn't happen again anytime soon.

Tim: My pleasure. Thanks for asking.

Pat: Another Mark. There are SO MANY. You walk around thinking you're one in a million and it turns out you're a dime a dozen. Eh.

Rob: Thank you, sir. I have to say I'm pretty proud of it and am happy for the opportunity.

Dina: I didn't make the UB/UP observation. Well done, you! A+.

September 17, 2010 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

I've missed reading your blog and I've been worried, wondering if you were not writing for good or bad reasons. So sorry about what the elephant did - hope all can be mended to your satisfaction.
About the new column - I'm so very happy for you! Your excellent writing will reach wider and wider audiences. Exciting future ahead - it will be fun to watch your success grow.

September 17, 2010 at 10:36 PM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

So glad you're back - I was seriously worried. Great article too.

September 18, 2010 at 4:54 AM  
Blogger Nimpipi said...

Woohoo! You're back! Die, elephant, die! Love the poor jumbos but I'm so glad you're blogging again.

Also, Mark:), I enjoyed your piece. Looking at book collecting in an all new light. Condition is king, yes sir. I'll remember that.

September 18, 2010 at 4:56 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Lori: Thanks for your kind words. I'm backloged about three plays with a few more on the way. Buckle-up.

Nurse: It's nice to be back. Thanks for your comment. Honestly, though, I didn't think about blogging the whole time.

Nimpipi: Don't reveal my name in the comments section! I wanted every to have to work for it by going to Undie Press.

September 18, 2010 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger JZ said...

I cannot deny that I observed your absence. But I also have to note that things got a bit hairy in my life as well and thusly, moderated my sense of panic. Its good to see you're back at it with some affirmation from legit sources of your street cred. Its about freaking time you started accepting your fate..and your talents. Next up perhaps?: a regular theater column....I can dream, can't I?

September 18, 2010 at 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing says "luxury" quite like pressed undies.

September 18, 2010 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

An elephant stepped on my guitar, is kind of like 'a monkey pissed on my bonfire'.

There was a distinct lack of UB on the googlereader for the last couple of weeks, you see. One was beginning to get a little anxty.

Enjoyed the column, by the way. That's such a niche subject, so number one it's great that you have found a place to share your love of books with others, and number two, it's good that when you do that you make it an interesting read.

September 18, 2010 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

JZ: Fate schmate. There's no such thing. But thanks for the nicities. And take it from me, hang in there long enough and things get less hairy. Until, of course, they get hairy again.

kykn: Don't you think Undie Press is the most clever name? I do. And that logo! Fantastic!

Jo: So glad you still kept me in your Google reader. I was afraid that if I was gone long enough, people would hit the unsubscribe button.

September 18, 2010 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Look at you with all your comments!! :¬)

September 18, 2010 at 10:12 PM  
Anonymous neecole said...

uncle mark that is so freaking awesome!!!!!!

September 19, 2010 at 3:12 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Map: It's about friggin' time, if you ask me.

Nic: Yes, dear, you are correct. I am the Most Awesome Uncle of all time.

September 19, 2010 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Eryl said...

Glad you've come out the other side of whatever damage the elephant did.

The column is great: you give what often seems like a rather fusty hobby kudos. I have a few rare books myself, received as gifts, and it generally irritates me that they can't be read and they look awkward on my shelves amongst the paperbacks. I like the smell of them though.

September 20, 2010 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Kono said...

congrats on the new gig and we Clevelanders aren't all that modest are we? besides there's Cleveland and then the rest of Ohio.

September 21, 2010 at 7:52 AM  

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