I was asked by an editor at the NY Times to write & draw an original webcomic about alcohol and the holidays for their "Proof" blog. The editor loved what I did and it will go online very soon. He liked it so much that he asked me to write a short prose piece documenting where I drank, what I drank, and what happened sans introspection. That was a tougher assignment than I first imagined but I did my best and this is what I typed for "Straight Up, Vol.1":http://proof.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/16/straight-up-vol-1-drinkers-diary/
Unfortunately, it received so much hate mail from [what I suspect to be] bad drunks and frustrated writers that the comments moderator shut down the ability to write comments for a while. Dub me masochistic but I asked the editor to re-open the comments section. Some of my peers wanted to weigh in and weren't allowed. If so inclined, please leave your honest comment, too. I can take it.
The NYT editor and I went back and forth about how to tackle Vol.2 of "Straight Up" and it was decided to keep doing what I was doing. So, my next [unpublished] entry went something like this:
Straight Up, Vol. 2
By Dean Haspiel
WHERE: The Brooklyn Social. Brooklyn, NY
TIME: Tuesday, Dec. 16th, 2008. 10 p.m.
DRINK: Makers Mark on the rocks
WHAT: It’s snowing outside and there are birthday drinks for my pal Joe, a recent Eisner Award nominee, at my favorite watering hole. I hand Ivan, the most charming bartender/actor in Brooklyn, a copy of THE ALCOHOLIC, my recent graphic novel collaboration with local author, Jonathan Ames, and personalize the book with my ink-smudged DNA. Comix makers congregate for well wishes and spend an inordinate amount of time desecrating a fellow studio mate's sketchbook with anthropomorphized phallic versions of famous franchise super heroes. This sophomoric effort loses its shine when LL, a comix newcomer, divulges erotic proclivities and Joe encourages her to spill beans. A few of us huddle in the front corner of the bar watching a pornographic video of LL with a man and a woman on her iPod. There are instances of LL juggling sex acts with the aid of a plastic strap-on and I ask her what that was like. LL’s eyes light up and she says “Power. I had all the power.” I ask her to expand her thoughts and she says “It made me understand men much better.” Later on, LL endears us with a video of her female friend dancing topless while episodes of SESAME STREET are projected upon her naked chest. She looks like a human lava lamp only, instead of globules of prime colored orbs merging in slow motion, there were distorted images of elementary school kids and Muppets learning their ABC’s. I’ve never seen Elmo look better. Bourbon begins to crown as I negotiate the rest of the evening and ship everyone off to his or her respective homes before slogging back to my apartment in the rain.
I sent it to the NYT editor and, after a few exchanges, I received a definitive email that stated:
"Don't do any further work on the diary. We've decided to nix this idea."
Fair enough. I knew it was a challenge to document drinking sans introspection, especially coming from a drinker like me who doesn't drink that much.
Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled at the "Proof" blog proper when my webcomic, "Snow Dope," goes live: http://proof.blogs.nytimes.com/