Mary, Thunder Road, responds

So I’m listening to the radio, some oldies crap that my stupid mother can’t seem to get enough of. Yeah, fine, I’m still living at home. You think it’s easy getting a job with a lousy high school degree? Anyway, I hear this car drive up, and I think, “Oh, God, no…”

I go out on the porch, and the screen door slams, which is, like, so annoying. And my dress gets kind of caught in it, and I stumble just as I see him, and he’s all, “Like a vision she dances across the porch!” Uh, sarcastic much?

Read more over at McSweeney’s, where I’m happy to be published today.

It’s been five years since I’ve submitted anything to McSweeney’s, and I can’t believe it’s been that long. McSweeney’s will forever be associated for me with my post-newspaper period in the mid-2000s, a highly prolific time when the ideas kept popping out like acne, but less gross. I felt unfettered after more than a decade of structured journalism, and McSweeney’s provided an outlet. I didn’t even care that McSweeney’s didn’t pay, I was so happy to be read on this cool site.

McSweeney’s still doesn’t pay* and it’s still cool. For my (non) money, it’s still the best site for humour, and they’ve been on a tear lately with brilliant Trump takedowns. Glad they’ve found a slot for this piece that’s been rattling around in my head for about, well, five years.

*For the record, McSweeney’s has paid me for pieces that ended up in two of their printed anthologies.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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24 Responses to Mary, Thunder Road, responds

  1. pinklightsabre says:


  2. byebyebeer says:

    This is great! McSweeney’s is a white whale but at least gives quick rejections. I’m super impressed though not surprised you’ve found success there.

  3. I have a lot of reverence for McSweeney’s. I do remember discovering the site and putting it on a pedestal at a time when I hadn’t found anybody doing the kinds of smart humor pieces I was aspiring to write. I submitted a few times years ago when I first started writing comedy but never made it through.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I found it in a bit of a rut the last few years — satisfied with what it was in the 2000s — but it seems to have gained its mojo back of late. Modernized the site a bit as well.

      • I hadn’t given it a look in a long time. I’d had the same impression that it had found a niche and was happy to keep doing the exact same thing. It wasn’t necessary to check in very often because everything remained no matter how long it had been.

  4. To pack on your trips in the Way Back Machine. You’ll have to imagine the cigarettes and newsroom-full-of-old man smell.

  5. shoshana5000 says:

    Love it! So unexpected and wonderful.

  6. pinklightsabre says:

    I like the ending to that piece, that was good. Funny how it reads like you but not 100%, like “more than you.” More than this. Try that, see if you can vector out of a Roxy Music song and get that published, good luck.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      The only thing I had going in was “you ain’t a beauty but hey you’re alright,” so I was glad it led to a logical (?) conclusion with a sax solo. I’m happy with it, a gentle stretch, though it’s not my best work.

      • pinklightsabre says:

        I’m happy for you too. That “not my best work” thing, I’ve taken a stance I’m just going to keep doing it as long as I’m having fun and entertaining people. That pays its own dividends. We need to talk art some day, proper. Poke shit with our stick around the fire.

      • pinklightsabre says:

        And I like you had that grapple hold of that line, I relate to that. I take one line or phrase and see how much I can make out of it.

  7. Well done, sir. It’s really funny. I’ve gotten away from McSweeney’s over the years but this is quite a feat. I’m wondering how you came up with Neptune, NJ? It’s not exactly as well known as Asbury Park.

    ‘….less gross.’ would be up to the audience to decide.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      What was my thinking there? I think I wanted Asbury Park to be a place where you would hook up, not live, and Neptune was reasonably close. Plus: “Neptune.”
      McSweeney’s has been positively activist in the past months in terms of skewering the Trump admin. It feels recharged.
      Glad this piece got a passing grade, sir.

  8. Liz Hott says:

    Hilarious. And niiiice byline!

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