Sloane Crosley Finds Sad Stuff

Sloane Crosley
Graeme Mitchell

After charming the literary world with her sarcastic, self-deprecating sense of humor and witty personal essay collections – I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number, which is out in paperback May 3 – author Sloane Crosley is now taking on the blogosphere with Sad Stuff On The Street.  Like the website’s name implies, her latest collaborative endeavor chronicles photos of depressing finds in cities throughout the world, with pictures of boots in dirty water, lonely Missed-Connection-esque signs and dismembered action figures painting the blog’s pages.  We corresponded with the New York City-stationed author via email, and Ms. Crosley answered our questions on the new site, her favorite indie-book shops and what object she requires from boyfriends, in the only way she new how – with that sharp-tongued wit she has become known for.

You just started with friends, so how did you guys come up with that idea?

My ex-boyfriend and current good friend (same person) and I developed this pretty simple private joke in which we sent each other “we laugh because it’s sad” photos of crap on the street.  We joked that we should turn it into a website and the rest is living history.

Which city has had the saddest stuff so far?

London is a dark-horse here, but mostly New York. San Francisco wins the “Random Actual Things You’d Have In Your House” award. I’m generally impressed that people really want to send their stuff in. And it’s so good. I will say that the occasional picture of trash is weird. Because it’s just trash.

Have you discovered any sad stuff that’s surprised you?

There’s a great one someone submitted of a branch and leaves that are randomly forming a sad face on the concrete.  I thought that one was very unusual.

What are some of your favorite blogs right now?

I will never not love this:  I’m also a Daily Beast person and an Awl person. This isn’t a blog but if you watch it, it will make your life better:

Any hints on new new short stories or future projects that you have in the works?

Yes, but sorry, I am a hint-free lady.

Some writers need to smoke cigarettes, others need a typewriter or a lucky pair of shoes in order to write, so what are your essential rituals or habits when writing?

When people ask me about habits it always inspires a pang of inferiority, like I would write better if I could get a little OCD about where I put my mouse pad. And am I not doing my hair correctly for writing? Why are there six pens on my desk instead of four? I think it’s more about what I won’t do. I won’t write with music on, and I won’t write without pants on.

And do you have any advice for writers trying to get their foot in the door?

Don’t kick too hard, you’ll break your fucking toes.

In reference to “The Pony Problem” from I Was Told There’d Be Cake which details your requirement for boyfriends to buy you pony dolls, do you have a new item that guys you date have to give you?

Yes, I have a bowl full of tiny plastic dinosaurs on my desk.

Your stories are also heavily centered around New York City and the New York life-style, so what’s your favorite thing about living here?  What’s your least favorite thing?

Some favorite things are the food, the architecture, the very late nights, Central Park, The Westside Highway, outdoor drinking, The New York Public Library and the start of summer in the city and everything that comes with that. I don’t have a least favorite thing. There are so many terrible things about New York. But, in order to give you a list for your first question, you kind of have to learn to love all the bad stuff about the city.

In How Did You Get This Number, you wrote about traveling in a few of the stories, so what’s been your favorite city in the world to visit so far?

That’s too hard.  Maybe Paris for the “holy crap! I’m totally in Paris!” vibe and Quito for the “holy crap! I’m totally not in America!” vibe.

And you recently tweeted about a statement tee for people hugging the subway bar, which reminded me of some awful NYC train times I’ve experienced, so what’s been your worst subway ride ever?

I once accidentally took the F train to Avenue X.

Also, what other statement tees would you love to make, and why?

I’m not a Statement T person.  I do have a secret fantasy about a statement T with a determined bulldog puppy smoking and a caption that says “I’m no quitter.” But I wouldn’t wear it.

What are your pet peeves?

When you’re in a crowded subway car or bar and you gradually adjust your posture and hunch to accommodate the people around you and then you get too uncomfortable, so you sit or stand up straight and strangers give you dirty looks because you just bumped or touched them. That’s very specific, but it’s just happened a couple of times this week so it’s fresh in my mind.

Favorite guilty pleasures and/or vices?

I have a problem with multiple-course meals late at night, but they’re usually the best meals so that’s hard to give up. I also just quit picking at my nails. Oh, and doing tons of heroin. No, really, just the gluttony and the nails.

Favorite cafes in NYC?

I like Cafe Grumpy, 9th St in the Chelsea Market or Lulu around the corner from me for coffee coffee.

Favorite independent book shops in NYC or elsewhere?

Well, you’re asking an ex-book publicist so this is going to spin out of control pretty quickly. In New York, it’s Three Lives, Housingworks Bookstore and McNally Jackson.  Then: Tattered Cover in Denver, Rainy Day Books in Kansas City, Book People in Austin, Powells in Portland, The Booksmith in Boston and San Francisco, Elliot Bay in Seattle.  They recently moved out of this beautiful space they’d had for years, which made them easily the most gorgeous indie in the country, but the new space is still pretty excellent. Oh, and Book Soup in LA.  They have little handwritten cards hanging off the shelves with staff recommendations. Internationally, I’d say Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, but that’s a whole other discussion in terms of history and lineage of ownership and people sleeping above the store. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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