Greg Bardsley



“What About Greg?” starring me

The chicken-bone sceneOne of my all-time favorite movies is the 1991 comedy “What About Bob?” starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. When I chance upon it on TV, I can still sit there on the couch, point at the screen and laugh out loud. And when the Heimlich Maneuver scene unfolds, I go into a full-on fit with tears streaming down my face — at which point my wife pats me on the leg and whispers, “I think I’ll leave you alone.”

“What About Bob?” features an annoying but harmless “multiphobic obsessive compulsive psychiatric patient” (Murray) who won’t leave his successful psychiatrist (Dreyfuss) alone. All the good doctor wants is a restful, Bob-free family vacation at the lake; problem is, Murray’s Bob Wiley follows him there. As the stalking continues, Bob slowly drives the doctor loony.

I don't wanna be like BobI got to thinking of this movie today — right after I sent my literary agent, Jeff, another email. You see, I don’t want to annoy Jeff. I don’t want to keep sending him emails, as he already is overloaded with them. And being that I am capable of sending Jeff too many emails, I suddenly realized that I risk becoming the literary equivalent of Bob Wiley, the annoying client who won’t leave his savior alone.

But on the other hand, Jeff is about to start telling book editors about my novel, and it’s a major moment for me. I want to make sure I’ve given Jeff everything that could help him, which is why today I sent him a kind of cheat sheet to my book. It summarizes some of the selling angles we’ve discussed, and it offers my crudely developed list of editors who’ve bought novels similar to mine. Mindful of possibly becoming the Bob Wiley of Jeff’s world, I did promise to “go away” for a long time and resume work on my next novel.

Have any of you sent your agent any sales leads? Or would that be too annoying, too Bob Wiley’sh?

Literary-agent theatre

I heard from my literary agent the other day. He’s at the beach reading the ending of my revised manuscript. And with any luck, he’ll soon come back with a list of publishers to target.

I remember the first time a major agent requested to see my novel. I could barely sleep. I tossed and turned. I stared at the wall with a goofy gaze. I imagined said agent sitting in a softly lit corner of his house flipping through my book, maybe even chuckling to himself. When he actually came back and informed me that he “might be able to sell it” but just didn’t have the time, it was a major blow.

So began my gradual desensitization to the literary letdowns so many writers face. Ultimately, I think those letdowns opened the door for something really fortunate — the chance to start talking with my eventual agent, Jeff Gerecke. Not only was this guy a longtime Raiders fan with a great sense of humor (relevant qualities as they relate to my novel), but he’d sold his share of bestsellers and came highly recommended. With his brilliant insight, Jeff set me off on a year-long course of revision that has helped the book “grow up.”

So now I wait — again. Knowing that Jeff still may come back with concerns. Knowing that this gig is filled with a seemingly endless supply of false starts, letdowns, long waits and hardcore introspection into one’s work. Knowing that nothing is guaranteed.

No wonder I’ve stopped tossing and turning at night.


What’s the longest time you’ve waited for big news?

Gather ’round the kiddie pool

My sweet little baby has found a home.

You see, a while back I’d been forced to kill this “baby.” I’d always been fond of it, but after a very frank discussion with my very frank literary agent, I knew I had to “kill my babies,” as they say in writing. And believe me, when it came to my novel, there were a lot of babies that needed killing. One scene in particular was hard to kill — it involved the primary thug in my novel being mistaken for a performance artist, and the violent hilarity that ensued.

So I sent my baby to a cut file — a document packed with other cut scenes, a document that spans hundreds of pages. By being housed in a document, you see, my babies don’t really die. They’re just in some kind of literary form of cryogenics, waiting for a cure that may or may not ever come, waiting for a new lease on life, assuming the author ever finds a way to use them properly.

Then I had an inspiration: I saw a way to marry this cut scene with other scenes that still remain in my novel, and then turn it all into a story that works on it’s own. A few weeks later, I sent it to Thuglit, a terribly fun pulp-fiction ‘zine that recently signed a three-book deal with Kensington Books, and they loved it.

Last night, Thuglit went live with the story. I feel really good, and I’m thinking this could be my strongest attempt at a short story yet. It also feels great to see folks having fun with the whole thing. Thuglit creates some interesting art for each issue, and they have editors with names like Big Daddy Thug, Lady Detroit, Johnny Kneecaps and some guy they call Roadhouse.

My story, Big Load of Trouble, is here. The other stories are here. So tell me what you think. It’s okay; I have thick skin. I spent seven years in newsrooms, where they tell you, “You ain’t shit, Fancy Boy,” every day of the year.

Thuglit Table of Contents and Cover Art

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