Tag Archives: Chicago

Hi readers, I’ve started writing a series of posts about caring for mental health while engaging with the rocky political situation in the US over at my Patreon site. Financial support is always appreciated (and how we get to not look at ads when we hang out here), but this particular content is free for anyone to read and share.

Posts so far in the series:

I’m still messing about a bit with Patreon rewards that can be both maximally attractive to you and sustainably delivered by me. I will be reviving the Search Terms posts and the Friday Short Answers very very soon, but for now I’m also going with: MORE CONTENT, as I realized in December when all my attempts to answer reader questions started turning into book chapters (alas, not from any of the same books) or Twitter rants that a slight separation between “the advice blog that I dearly love writing” and “ALL OF JENNIFER’S THOUGHTS, EVER” might be wise, if only to keep *myself* a little more organized.

In other news, if you missed it, a bunch of people who write advice columns talked to each other about our processes over at BuzzFeed Content notes apply for mentions of abuse, animal harm, and something called “the jizzcliner.” Next time I’d love to hear from ¡Hola Papi!, Dearly Beloved, Asking Bear, Everyone Is Gay, for starters, the advice column form is rich and varied right now.

If you’re in Chicago, Mr. Awkward is telling a story at The Stoop’s Six Year Anniversary Show on January 31  postponed until Tuesday, Feb 5, same venue, same everything, different levels of cold! (I think it’s about how his dad founded a second franchise of the family), and I’m telling a story at You’re Being Ridiculous at Steppenwolf on February 1 happening as planned, sold out as far as I know – My plan is to tell the story about the time I lived with a roommate ripped from the pages of The Gift of Fear, but I might write 6 more things between now and then, shhhhhhhh don’t tell the producers).

Here’s a song:


I wrote this to maybe read at last night’s (EPIC!) Story Club, but the name-draw for open mic slots did not go my way. Still, I didn’t want it to go to waste. So here, without ado (and without comments enabled , b/c it’s a performance piece, not a discussion piece) you go.

Notes From A Boner

They pop up from time to time on Facebook. Time-stamp 3 AM, from an old friend I used to mess around with in college. “Hey, what’s new? I was just thinking about you.”

I bet you were, buddy!

Sometimes they show up in the film class that I teach. I play a clip from Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, to show how color temperature isn’t just a technical thing and you can manipulate it to create mood. “What did you see? What do you think?,” I ask the students.

Every time I do this, a freshman boy says something like “She’s sooooo hot” or better yet, “She used to be so hot,” referring to Jennifer Lopez, who frankly kills it in this role. The girls and gay boys don’t say anything about The Clooney, and I quickly change the topic to “What did you think ABOUT THE LIGHTING” while delivering my best over-the glasses disapproving mom look. The one that says “It is I, Queen Femicunt¹, First of her Name, Khaleesi of the Bitchrealms and the Isles of No Funnington.” I want that boner to slink away and think about what it did. But its presence still lingers. Every clip I show, I now have to think about from the point of view of a taunting, persistent boner.“You’re teaching cinema, I see. Did you know that nearly everything ever created in this medium was designed to make ME happy on some level? Muahahahahaha!

Sometimes the notes from boners get delivered on the street, or on the eL. “Smile!” “You should smile more!” “Hey baby, where’s that smile?” and if I don’t smile, or I smile like this (using two middle fingers to hold up the corners of my mouth),“Bitch!” “Fat bitch” “Ugly bitch” Here I was, walking around, grocery shopping, registering to vote, minding my business. I didn’t know I was making the boners sad. Fortunately The Committee for Boner Rescue and Repair was on the case to educate me. I imagine their letterhead, with Notes from a Boner! Stamped! at the top, ready to deliver humbling memos to grateful citizens everywhere.

Sometimes I write back back to the boners. Like, when I tried to sell my bike on Craigslist, and a guy sent me a dick pic from Not wanting that boner to go to waste, I shared it with Boners are spontaneous. They live in the moment. They don’t always think things through.

Read More

Hello, everyone! I’m not quite ready to be back to regular blogging yet, but I have some essay-type readings coming up that I wanted to put on the calendar.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Story Club – North Side

  •  Holiday Club, 4000 N Sheridan Rd.
  • Open mic signup at 7:30 pm
  • Show starts at 8
  • Theme is “thanks.”

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Story Club – South Side

  • Co-prosperity Sphere, 3219 S Morgan
  • Open mic signup at 7:30 pm
  • Show starts at 8
  • Theme is “cold.”

If you’re free, come hear some stories and have a drink with me. It’s always great to meet fellow Chicago awkward folks and see friendly faces in the crowd.

P.S. Speaking of the Chicago Live Lit scene: If you’re a fan of the blog bitches gotta eat, Sam’s essay collection Meaty is out and about. Lady can write.

Hello, readers. My friend Anuradha Rana and her colleague Doris Rusch are looking for documentary subjects and collaborators for a transmedia (game, audio, video) project on emotional health and wellbeing among young people.  She is a regular reader of the blog and asked me to share her project and call for volunteers with the community here. Here is a note from Anu explaining what she’s looking for:


I am a documentary filmmaker based in Chicago, currently working on a transmedia project about issues of Mental wellbeing and health, especially in young people between the ages of 16 and 28.

The project uses a web-platform to host documentary episodes (audio and video) & experiential games that focus on emotional health and wellbeing. The goal of the project is to explore and de-stigmatize mental health issues faced by college students and youth (for instance ADD, OCD, Anxiety, Stress, Eating Disorders and Body Image issues) challenge major cultural attitudes toward them, and showcase groups geared toward making these a reality in Chicago.

We are looking for people, especially between the ages of 16-28, who have been diagnosed with ADD, OCD, Eating Disorders, Bipolar, Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia, or Depression, to share their stories with us on or off camera. We will respect your wishes to remain anonymous, if desired.
We are interested in showcasing groups, organizations or non-profits in Chicago that are good resources. If you had to recommend one such group that we should film, which one would it be?
If you need more information, or are interested in participating, please contact me at Feel free to forward this email to others who may be interested.

Please get in touch with Anu directly if you’re interested in sharing your story or have an organization to recommend.