"Belongings of The Deformed Child" (ca. 1998)
We run this cartoon in honor of my new book, We Learn Nothing, now in stores and available for download. As I have explained to friends and colleagues many times, when you have a book out that book is like your Deformed Child. And you, as that book's parent, are willing to do absolutely anything--ingratiate or debase yourself, bribe, guilt, wheedle, or threaten--in order to secure any possible advantage for that child and advance its interests in an indifferent world. Now, as I embark on the soul-wearying process of self-promotion, I remind myself of the Analogy of the Deformed Child every day.
So it is in this shameless spirit that I beg you all to buy my fucking book. If you have a column or a blog or a tumblr where you post naked pictures of yourself or some other public platform, please put in a kind word for it among your readers. It really is not a bad book at all. There are essays about heartbreak, drinking, secrets and lies, friend breakups, crazy uncles, the end of the world, and long-lost sisters. It will make you laugh, cry, and think. There are even little pictures! You'd like it. Just buy it. It's twenty dollars that would otherwise just vanish in an evening's amnesiac drunkenness. The book you will have with you always. I ask this not for myself, but on behalf of the Deformed Child.
Apologies to any parents who actually have children with birth defects, disfiguring injuries, etc. But in my experience it's people who have to deal with such things every day who can find humor in them; it's people for whom they are unimaginable horrors who are shocked and censorious. David Foster Wallace once told me he and his then-girlfriend, who worked with special needs kids, had laughed so hard at this cartoon they'd gotten all adrenalized and couldn't fall alseep.
Click for the "This Is the Worst" Project
Announcing ARTIST'S RESIDENCY: While I am on the West Coast leg of my tour in July, I am offering what I'm calling an Artist's Residency at the Undisclosed Location. This will be from roughly July 4th until early August. You will live in the Undisclosed Location, a cabin right on the shore of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, in splendid isolation. There is a landline, but it's a ten-minute drive to the nearest internet access, at the very nice local library. You will have lovely scenery, peace, quiet, and solitude in which to work for a month. It'll be just like Jack Torrance's dream job in The Shining: "finally... a chance to accomplish something. [To get] really into [your] work!" This is a rent-free proposition. The only catch (heh, heh) is that you must feed and care for Tim Kreider's famous cat, The Quetzal, a.k.a. Mrs. The Cat. Couples will be considered. Submit your pleas, personal information, references, and samples of work or a url of your site where tat work is posted to my email address on our contact page. Junkies and cat-murderers will be rigorously screened.
What you will see first thing every morning of your life
My collection of essays, We Learn Nothing, was released on June 12 by Free Press. I will be embarking on a whirlwind national tour to promote the book. My reading schedule so far is as follows:
Baltimore / D.C.
- Monday, July 9 , 7 PM: Books, Inc. (Berekeley, CA)
- Monday, July 16th, University Bookstore ( Seattle, WA)
Wednesday, July 18th, 6 PM: Town Hall Seattle (Seattle, WA), with Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain Cancelled--IXNÆD by Meghan McCain!
- Monday, July 30, 7:30 PM [note time correction]: Powell's Books (Portland, OR)
- Wednesday, August 1, 7 PM: Ravenna Third Place (Seattle, WA)
"Tim Kreider's writing is heartbreaking, brutal and hilarious--usually at the same time. He can do in a few pages what I need several hours of screen time and tens of millions to accomplish. And he does it better. Come to think of it, I'd rather not do a blurb. I am beginning to feel bad about myself."
"Tim Kreider may be the most subversive soul in America and his subversions--by turns public and intimate, political and cultural--are just what our weary, mixed-up nation needs. The essays in We Learn Nothing are for anybody who believes it's high time for some answers, damn it."
author of Empire Falls and The Risk Pool
"Whether he is expressing himself in highly original cartoons that are hilarious visual poems, or in prose that exposes our self-delusions by the way he probes his own experience with candor, Tim Kreider is a writer-artist who brilliantly understands that every humorist at his best is a liberator. Because he is irreverent, makes us laugh, ruffles the feathers of the pretentious and the pompous, and keeps us honest, We Learn Nothing is a pleasure from its first page to the last.""
author of Middle Passage and Black Humor
"Earnest, well-turned personal essays about screw-ups without an ounce of sanctimony—a tough trick."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Kreider locates the right simile and the pith of situations as he carefully catalogues humanity's inventive and manifold ways of failing."
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Now available for preorder at: