Q&A With Some True Tales Ladies

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Putting together an anthology featuring the brightest, funniest women you know is an honor but perhaps the best part of working on True Tales of Lust and Love is that it taught me how very much we can gain from both sharing and learning about each other’s romantic adventures. Even though I didn’t go through every single experience the women in my book describe, I related to nearly every feeling. And so I became curious about how much the book’s contributors got out of both sharing their tales aloud at the live show and within the pages of this collection. Of course—because I wouldn’t expect anything else—many of their answers surprised me.

ANNA DAVID: What did you gain, if anything, from writing about your romantic experience?

SACHA SCOBLIC (“Jammin Java Joe”): I gained a deep sense of personal embarrassment. Which I think is healthy. Everyone should be forced to write about their most embarrassing moments; it’s incredible how much you can learn from them. Someone once told me that if I couldn’t think of anything else to write to write a sex scene. Once you go there, well, you can go anywhere with your writing. Once the scariest, most awkward romantic moment is achieved on the page, then writing about, say, alcoholism or dysfunctional families is a breeze.

LAURA HOUSE (“My Very Own Stripper”): I gained personal understanding and acceptance. In my head, some experiences are scary, confusing, weird, shameful. But on paper, I get distance and perspective—like, “Oh, look what younger me did. I get it. It’s fine.” Then, sharing the story, no matter how bad/weird/shameful it might seem, people will always relate to it. It’s healing.

DIANA SPECHLER (“My Boyfriend, Jesus”): I always felt some shame when I looked back on my twentieth year of my life—Why did I fall in love with a delusional man? Why did I keep giant Tootsie Rolls in my cupboard and more or less subsist on them? Why did I watch Waiting for Guffman so many times I memorized it? Why did I get drunk and pee on the sidewalk? Not behind a tree. Right on the sidewalk. In front of a dive bar in Colorado. Writing is a shame-reducer.

AD: If you performed this piece live, were there any memorable audience reactions?

SACHA SCOBLIC: Yes! I bedded a man in Vegas with such an embarrassing tattoo across the full of his back that I felt sorry for him in the morning! And then I ran like the wind!

LAURA HOUSE: A beautiful woman with a super sexy boyfriend came up to me and said, “I wish I had your life.” I was stunned. I’d only ever wanted her life!

AD: Whom do you hope, if anyone, reads your essay?

SACHA SCOBLIC: Any and all other women who have also slept with this fellow!

LAURA HOUSE: Strippers and straight lesbians. I feel like there’s a lot of good insight for them.

DIANA SPECHLER: A producer who has been dying to make a movie about a man who think he’s the Messiah and the young woman who loves the Messiah because he’s hot and because the woman is twenty and hasn’t yet developed the part of her brain responsible for critical thinking.

AMY DRESNER: Everybody else who knows this ”muse” or has dated him. And that’s a shockingly large number of wanton people!

SARA BENINCASA: Ira Glass, President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, all the other un-dead presidents, Oprah, my kindly Armenian psychiatrist, everyone who works at a co-op grocery store, my college writing professors, and a wisecracking donkey. Because I’ve always wanted to meet a donkey who can read. And I’d like to talk to that donkey about The Poisonwood Bible.

AD: Whom do you hope, if anyone, NEVER reads your essay?

SACHA SCOBLIC: The man I bedded in Vegas with such an embarrassing tattoo across the full of his back that I felt sorry for him in the morning.

LAURA HOUSE: Maybe my dad? And, if my former boss reads it, I hope he knows it was told with awe and gratitude. I loved that guy, and still think he’s amazing.

DIANA SPECHLER: Maybe Maya Angelou? Or Salman Rushdie? I guess I feel self-conscious that some writers grapple with race relations and rape and religious fundamentalism and I write about the time my boyfriend farted in my bed.

SARA BENINCASA: I hope my dad never reads it. I hope my mom never reads it. I hope anyone related to me never reads it. I hope the family of whomever I marry never reads it. Can you imagine having a conversation with a future in-law about that one time when you were 31 and you humped a college student? Guh-ross.

AMY DRESNER: The guy I wrote about. And my ex-husband. And anybody who might ever want to date me.

AD: How would you handle the situation you wrote about differently today?

SACHA SCOBLIC: These days, I wouldn’t have lasted an hour with this guy, let alone a night, because I am sober. That means beer-goggling his personality would not be possible. Smart women and men are different on this: I think cute-but-dumb boys are difficult to last an hour with unless copious amounts of alcohol are at hand.

LAURA HOUSE: There is nothing I would have done differently in that particular situation—except, possibly, enjoy it more.

DIANA SPECHLER: I would like to think that in my thirties, I wouldn’t date a man who told me he was Jesus Christ.

SARA BENINCASA: I’d probably ask to meet his RA—you know, just to really get the full college experience.

True Tales The Book Twitter Chat!

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Please come join us this Thursday, January 9th at 1 pm PST [4 pm EST] for the True Tales Twitter chat, which will feature Meghan Daum, Sara Benincasa, Claire Titelman, Sacha Z. Scoblic, Amy Dresner, Iris Smyles, Taylor Orci and a few of the other contributors. Yes, for one hour straight, we will be Twitter talking lust, love and what happens when you write about it.

The best way to participate is to go to Twitter a few minutes before the scheduled time, type #truetales into a search window and click return. Leave that page open, then open another browser window so you can tweet your own questions to the contributors and respond to their answers. Keep refreshing the #truetales search window to see the latest responses to the chat. All we ask of you is that you include #truetales in every tweet you contribute to this discussion and include the question number in your answer (e.g., Q2 I can’t believe you actually did that, @sachazscoblic, #truetales). If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat before, these are surprisingly fun events (yes, it still counts as an event even though you’re not leaving your desk) that introduce everyone to a group they might otherwise not meet. And since these are women I hand picked out of all the female writers in the world, you know I think they’re all well worth meeting (if only over Twitter).

NOTE: IF YOU’RE ASKING, “WELL, WHAT IS SHE TALKING ABOUT? WHAT IS THIS TRUE TALES BUSINESS?” PLEASE READ THIS:

After two years of shows, a steady stream of press and more information about lust and love than I could have ever dreamed possible, another dream is being fulfilled: the release of the True Tales of Lust and Love book. The book features a collection of greats, whose essays are being called out by critics as “smart, witty, unusual and relatable” as well as “hilarious and touching.” And we’ll be doing two readings in New York (at KGB on January 19th and Book Court on January 20th), two at M Bar back in LA (one on January 16th and another on February 20th) and two more at bookstores in LA (at Book Soup on January 27th and The Last Bookstore on February 20th). Please, if you’re in either of those cities, come out and join us to see what all the hilarity (and occasional horror) is about.

We look forward to Twitter chatting with you soon. And please, if you can, come out to one of our LA or New York shows or consider getting the book from Amazon or an indie bookseller.

Two Exciting Recordings For Your Listening Pleasure


One, True Tales of Lust and Love #17, where I tell a story about when a one-night stand should stay a one-night stand and a succession of lovely ladies—Claire Titelman, Cole Kazdin, Kelly Carlin and Alison Agosti to be specific—tell tales of porn sets, long break ups for short relationships, hooking up with teen idols and why lusting after a man while loving a car doesn’t always mesh.

Two, I was a guest on my old friend Alison Rosen’s hit podcast Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend (note: “old” in this context does not mean that either Alison or I are old, as we are eternally youthful of course [using other people's toothbrushes helps] [[a reference you will only get if you listen to the podcast]].

Sizemore Book a Bestseller


I’m thrilled to report that the Tom Sizemore biography that I wrote, By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There, is on the NY Times bestseller list (and above a book with a title made up of three words that our society is arguably more obsessed with than any other: Salt Sugar Fat).

The book has gotten some very nice reviews, including this one that got reprinted in seemingly every publication in America (no argument here).

Spreecast Chat!

So…the fabulous and insightful Nic Sheff and I have been speaking at colleges and treatment centers and other events about addiction and recovery. The bulk of our message—which you can get a glimpse of here—is how important it is to feel comfortable in your own skin, without needing chemicals to get you there. To kick-start our summer of speaking events, we’re hosting a Spreecast on Thursday, May 2nd at 6 pm PST/9 pm EST. And we want you to join us! All you have to do is join Spreecast (the coolest site ever, in case you’re not familiar with it yet) and then sign into our chat by using this link on Thursday, May 2nd at 6 pm PST/9 pm EST.

Once there, you’ll be able to see us both, hear us chat and then participate yourself by asking questions or sharing your own stories. If you have any questions about this, just let me know (anna at annadavid dot com). Spree you then!

How To Publish an E-book in 3 Minutes

Check out this video I made that breaks it down…

Recovery Fair and Special Massages

So the big Recovery Fair I spent forever planning (which you heard me “cheerfully” “complain” about if you follow me on Twitter)? That happened. And it was great. Which ideally you can tell from the photo here or maybe from me picking my five favorite moments from the event for Los Angeles Magazine.

On the opposite side of the work spectrum (depending, of course, on how you perceive these things), the audio recording of last weekend’s True Tales of Lust and Love is setting all sorts of records, thanks to a hair-raising, laugh-until-you-pee, vomit-inside-your-mouth-a-little story from one Pamela Ribon. Go see what all the fun is about yourself here (it’s the 11/12 show listed at the top and hers is the third story (though all the stories are great) (of course). Just please do not have as much fun as the unnamed man in her story did, okay?

From My Inbox…


I get interesting email. See below.

My name is [retracted] and I’m a teenage entrepreneur. Starting at 14, I’ve worked my way up in the online business world. Behind the computer, everyone assumes I’m just a regular 30 year old with a couple of kids and a wife but no one really knows the truth, or very few I should say. By the age of 15, I had a company that I was managing from my computer at night and from my phone, in class, by day. I had employees, regular customers and orders to fill. Balancing school, homework, an unnecessary part-time job, and my business was tough. At the age of 16, I sold over $100,000 worth of my software. I’ve just turned 17, and I’m working towards my next bench mark. I’m looking for someone who may be interested in writing on me. May it be a short article or a biography, I’m very content with any exposure. Please, let me know.

I Am A Bad Blogger

But at least I know that about myself, which we all know is the first step toward recovery. Though I can’t say for certain that there will be recovery in terms of this problem. I mean, I essentially blog my thoughts, 140 characters at a time, so what else could I possibly say here?

Maybe that I adore you for even reading this?

That I had a lovely summer?

That I got a prison letter today so my demographic remains strong in that segment of the population?

That True Tales, The Fix, and speaking at colleges is all still going strong? That I still love my cats to an almost disturbing degree? That Sizemore is coming out in April?

These things are all true.

So is the part about my adoration!

And the prison letter.

True Tales of Lust and Love, #7