Terrible Writing is a podcast where I read really bad stuff I wrote a long time ago, try to remember what the hell I was thinking, and give tips to help other writers make their work a little less sucky.
Available wherever you get your podcasts.
EP 1: In this episode, I'll read part of a short story I wrote in college and rip it to shreds. I'll examine one-note anger, weird twists, and the concept of kitsch. I will get into my views on This Is Us and The Couple Next Door (they suck) and Brand New's The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me (it's complicated). Moreover, I'll get into how messed up my life was when I was 21, which was a far cry from how I thought it'd be when I was 14 and purchasing clothes from a store that promised I'd want to stay that age forever.
EP 2: Get out your burn books, because in this episode, my high school self takes on our school’s Plastics in the West Potomac Wire. Get ready to cringe as I elaborate on the activities I think the preppy kids must assume I’m into (studying nerdy stuff) versus what I’m actually into (fantasizing about partying with them.) The self-involvement is real as I ignore the problems of my closest friends and even miss a school-wide tragedy (!) because I’m so obsessed with what others think of me.
EP 3: During NaNoWriMo, regular people write an entire novel in one month. What could possibly go wrong? Besides...well...everything? I will read an excerpt of my own terrible attempt from when I was 23, called Hegira. Problems include writing myself a new boyfriend, totally oversimplifying country living, and trying to tackle a brand new topic of after-school special: abusing Robitussin.
EP 4: Hide the skanky tops and Natty Light cans, my Christian boyfriend is coming to town! Have you written something that you don’t agree with 100% just because you’re trying to change your image? No? That’s good. It's not normal!
In this episode, I get into the dynamics of UVA’s two rival newspapers, The Cavalier Daily and The Declaration. I’ll read my column from The Cav Daily, which was my biweekly chance to communicate my opinion, no matter how unrelatable. I examine my misguided attempt to present myself as a member of the Weekend Library Brigade in order to impress the new Christian kid I was (sort of) dating. It all amounts to something I’m calling The Bob Saget Effect. Welcome to the Full House of Cringe.
EP 5: Ever left the gas on? It was no big thing, right? Wrong! In this short story that reads more like a Beckett play, a diverse group of typecast roommates asks the question: if someone wants to die, should we let them? The year is 2009, which you’ll know because of the fact that iPhones are only reserved for corporate sellout assholes. Can iPhones read your heart rate (in 2009)? How many people do you need to kill to be a serial killer? How many days can you put something on eBay? Also...how do these people even know each other?!! It’s a little less Seinfeld and a little more Tommy Wiseau’s “The Neighbors.”
EP 6: In this episode, I chat with my first-ever guest, Jake Perrone. He reads a memoir that he wrote in college called "Medium-Size Me." His doctor tells him to shape up or ship out, and he tells her...many perfectly-worded witty quips that probably never happened. Get out your thesauruses, GT alumni, because when given all the possible synonyms for a word, this college kid picks the longest word every time.
EP 7: In this episode, I chat with my first-ever guest, Jake Perrone. He reads a memoir that he wrote in college called "Medium-Size Me." His doctor tells him to shape up or ship out, and he tells her...many perfectly-worded witty quips that probably never happened. Get out your thesauruses, GT alumni, because when given all the possible synonyms for a word, this college kid picks the longest word every time.
EP 8: Listen in cringey horror as this Blond(e) recounts the time she posted a literary analysis of Frank Ocean lyrics to the subreddit Hiphopheads for a sea of bloodthirsty Stans on the day Frank’s new album was supposed to drop (but didn’t). In the blog post, published on Catapult by yours truly, I compare Frank to the original hip hop head—Shakespeare—and my own head is rightfully served to me on a spinning chrome platter.
EP 9: To all the boys I loved before,
“You seem to know everything. But do you know you are profound to me?” -16 year old me
We know Penn Badgley is cute, but is stalking cute? High school me thinks so! In this episode, I will look at two diary entries about two different crushes (read: obsessions) my junior year.
In one entry, I get ignored at a football game and run home to write a letter telling my crush about the meanest thing he’s ever done to me: ignoring my last letter.
In another entry, a mysterious new man causes me to experiment with the second person. Pretty soon, I’m writing my creepy letters to someone new.
EP 10: When I was in college, I idolized Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. I wished that as a female, I could get away with the things he got away with. I felt insecure and not smart enough to be where I was, so I wrote a blog where I tried to flex my badassness and poke fun at people who actually cared about school. All while referencing my favorite modern media theorists.
Other topics include COVID-19, NYU Dean Allyson Green, professors on ego trips, whether or not I am Stacey's Mom at my neighborhood pool, GT of GT's Kombucha, Jonah Hill's little sister, and Saferide.
EP 11: At the beginning of April, enigmatic house musician Chevy Mustang became an icon seemingly overnight with his single "Because I Want To." In the midst of quarantine, he is the voice of a generation. He wants to go to Disney, to have a party. He wants what we can't have. I caught up with this beautiful human and attempted to unravel the mystery surrounding him. I ask him about his early work, his musical training, and his closest fans whom he calls "students." We discuss whether or not journaling too much can become a vice and the consequences of throwing away nearly everything you've written into a river. Welcome to the world of Chevy Mustang. If you're not willing to bury yourself in a hole with a straw as your only breathing apparatus, you may not be ready.
EP 12: Every Christmas, Jake and I manage to get ourselves into some BAD Christmas movies. We aren't sure where the tradition began...maybe on a December vacation in Pittsburgh back in 2015 when the only thing on TV was a Madea Christmas movie. If you are wondering why a movie didn't make our list, it is probably because we already watched it years ago. We will discuss, in order:
Happiest Season (2020)
Christmas Contract (2018)
Falling for Christmas (2016)
Christmas in the City (2013)
A New York Christmas Wedding (2020)
Dear Christmas (2020)
Christmas Cupcakes (2018)
From the Something in the Wilderness podcast: Marissa joins to discuss one of her favorite Andrew McMahon deep cuts. We talk about her history as a fan, the song's potential meaning, what Andrew may have been thinking about when writing it, and more!
From the Something in the Wilderness podcast: Marissa joins for her second visit to the podcast to provide insight into a Jack's favorite! Last time we heard from Marissa, she taught us about a rare song from the catalog and this time, we're doing the opposite and talking about a well-known fan favorite from the same era!
Are you interested in guest starring to share some of your own terrible writing or having me as a guest on your podcast? Just ask my first grade teacher, I loooooove to chat and don't know how to stop! Email email@example.com to connect with me.