L.A. Reading Madhouse!!!

Book Soup, Mommy Man, Jerry MahoneyIf you’ve ever lived in, visited or heard about Los Angeles, surely you know about the traffic. It’s horrible. Unspeakable. Practically unwriteable, but I’ll try anyway. Los Angeles traffic is especially bad on weeknights around 7pm, when everyone finally gets out of work in order to crawl home in their fuel-efficient vehicles on the freeway. The only thing worse than the traffic in Los Angeles is the parking, which is just never good, ever. Oh, God, the parking. I cringe just typing about it.

You know what’s great about LA, though? The people. I know, they sometimes get a bad rap, but I’m here to tell you that they’re solid, through and through. Among the many reasons I love Angelenos is that they’re willing to brave the traffic and the parking to support a friend.

My reading last Monday night was, simply put, one of the best nights of my life.

It started when I saw this behind the store:

parkingAn assigned spot in Los Angeles? I’ve never felt like such a big shot.

And then there was this, from the store’s flyer for June:

John Waters, Garrison Keillor, Jerry Mahoney, Mommy Man, Book Soup

My friend Jessica complimented me on managing to look crazier than John Waters. Oh yes, I’m talking about the Jessica who you may have read about in “Mommy Man“. THE ONE WHO TALKS LIKE THIS! She was there, and so were some of the other very special people I wrote about in the book.

If you don’t know Book Soup, let me tell you a little about it. It’s an old school bookstore, full of books that rise up from the floor and stretch to the ceiling, everywhere you turn. It’s the kind of store where you might sometimes have trouble finding just what you’re looking for, but you’ll always enjoy the search, and along the way, you’ll find a dozen things you didn’t even know you wanted that look just as great. It’s a browser’s bookstore, and it’s in probably the best spot in West Hollywood, right on Sunset Boulevard, very close to where many of your favorite celebrities have been arrested.

They have fantastic taste in books, and even better taste in the events they choose to host, as you can see from at least 2/3 of the flyer above.

I first heard about Book Soup in the mid-90s when I arrived in LA as a starry-eyed kid. I was interning for Scott Rudin, and it seems like almost every day, someone would yell at me to go to Book Soup and pick up a book. I only dreamed that someday, some starry-eyed kid might get yelled at to go there and buy my book.

I just hope that kid didn’t show up last Tuesday, because then, BOOK SOUP WAS SOLD OUT OF “MOMMY MAN.”

There were about ten folding chairs set up when I arrived, and they filled up well before the 7pm starting time. People spilled out into every corner and crevice of a very crevice-y store. Close friends. People I hadn’t seen in years. People I’d never met before. So many people showed up, it was almost 7:20 before I finally began to read. Drew was so astonished, he made a list of everyone who showed, and he counted almost a hundred people.

They bought up every copy of my book and waited ridiculous amounts of time to get me to sign it. Those who couldn’t wait got the next best thing: autographs from my kids.

Jerry Mahoney, Mommy Man, Book Soup

I never know what to write when signing books, but Bennett made it look easy: “Bennett, Age 4″

Yes, after a lot of debate, Drew and I decided to bring the kids, mostly because they really, really wanted to come. They’ve been to Drew’s office many times. It was nice to get a chance to show them what this Daddy does, when he’s not shuttling them back and forth to gymnastics class, at least. And it was one heck of an introduction for them. As you can imagine, they were treated like quite the little celebrities.

They had a great time. They sat in the front row, smiling the whole time, and they were delightfully obsessed over by everyone in attendance. (Thankfully, the reading itself, which I slightly censored in their presence, went well over their heads.)

Jerry Mahoney, Mommy Man, Book Soup

To say the crowd was supportive would be an understatement. They laughed in all the right places and none of the wrong places. They asked great questions and made me feel like Garrison Keillor for a night. (I hesitate to add this, but — aw, screw humility – the store staff told me my turnout was actually even better than Keillor’s.)

Jerry Mahoney, Mommy Man, Book Soup

One of my big regrets of the evening is that I didn’t get a picture of Jessica, who seems to be many people’s favorite “character” in the book, but I offer you this instead. It’s Karyn, the amazing nurse I wrote about in the book. She gave us the tear-jerkingly sweet card on page 268, which I reprinted verbatim, so in a way you could say she was my co-writer. (Her real name, which I don’t think she’d mind me sharing, is Katye, and if you ever have a baby, you’d be very lucky to land Katye as your nurse.)

Katye freed up her busy work schedule and drove up to LA from Orange County (which at that time of day takes roughly 100 hours) with some of the other nurses from the hospital where the kids were born. It was truly special to get to see her again and have her reunited with my kids. I was so happy they got to meet her, because she was such a special part of our story and a big chunk of the reason I was in Book Soup in the first place.

Jerry Mahoney, Mommy Man, Book Soup

There were plenty of gay dads in attendance, including ones Drew and I knew before we became dads (like Jon and Harvey, who proved to us you can get away with having your kids call you both “Dad”) and ones who became dads after us, including Todd and Chris, who brought their gorgeous four-month-old daughter with them in a Baby Bjorn. One guest told me he and his husband were just starting their surrogacy journey, and he asked me to sign his book for their future surrogate.

Afterward, those who could stay came out to a bar across the street, which was the perfect way for me to hang onto this magical experience into the night.

If you’re in New York, I have good news for you. We’re doing it all again — tonight! That’s right, Monday, June 16, 2014 at 7pm at the Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (2289 Broadway, at 82nd Street). You can expect even more special guests this time, including Susie herself and my friend Greg, who will be very grateful that I’m not reading the sections about him. Plus Drew, of course. Come for the reading, then hang out with us afterward at a nearby location that serves alcohol (TBD).

For those of you in Westchester County, NY, you’ll get your chance on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 6:30pm at Anderson’s Book Shop in Larchmont, NY.

If you’re in New York, please come. If you know people in New York, please spread the word. (Don’t tell the bookstores I said this, but I hope you’ll show up even if you’re not planning to buy a copy of the book. Still, I’ll do my best to convince you.)

And if you’re reading this from one of those bookstores, prepare yourself for a big night, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned since moving to New York, it’s that the people here are pretty incredible, too.

Last Monday’s reading was one of those highly infrequent moments as a writer when it all feels worthwhile, where you can see your words in action and interact with the people who are taking them in. One of the many good friends who was there that night was my old buddy Nick. He was the last one left at the end of the night as the bar was closing down, and he also happens to be one of the best writers I know. If there’s ever something I’m trying to say with my writing, I can bet Nick has said it better somewhere himself. So I’m going to let him say this for me, too. This morning, he tweeted this picture with the caption, “Sometimes, rarely, writing feels like this.”

Photo courtesy of @LearnSomething

Photo courtesy of @LearnSomething

For me, last Monday was one of those nights.

* * * * *

Can’t make it to my NY readings? Well, here’s the next best thing. Order a copy of my book, scribble “Bennett, Age 4″ in the front and create your own good time by reading it out loud at home. Don’t take my word for it. A complete stranger on GoodReads wrote, “I loved this book. It was really fabulous, incredibly funny in some places, incredibly heart-warming in other places… I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good laugh and enjoys a great, quick read.” So take her word for it, and pick up your own copy in hardcover or e-version!

You Said It!

I feel very lucky to have been Freshly Pressed again by WordPress.  The traffic here has been astounding, and I’ve loved reading all of your comments.  I regret that I can’t respond to everyone individually, as I usually try to, but I promise I read and appreciate everything.  I just have limited writing time and am eager to put up a new post.

To elaborate further, I’ve added a page on Comment Policy.  It’s not as serious or administrative as it sounds, and I certainly don’t expect or even really want anyone to read it.  Just keep leaving comments.  I’m sure you’re doing it right.  But for anyone who’s curious, there it is.

If it weren’t for the comments, I wouldn’t keep writing this blog.  They encourage me, challenge me and very often inspire me.  You guys have given me so much to think about, like on my recent post, My Son Wants to Wear a Dress.  I’m very grateful for all those comments, which have helped me open my mind a bit on the topic.  Look for a followup to that post soon.

Finally, to all the new readers, welcome!  I’m working on a memoir about how my boyfriend and I created our family through gestational surrogacy.  It should be funny, touching and primed to piss off all the right people.  You can help me get it published by subscribing to this blog, liking it on Facebook (where I’m stuck with the blog’s old title, Where Do Gaybies Come From?), following me on Twitter or, best of all, alerting your dear Aunt Oprah about this cool new writer you’ve discovered.

Thanks.

Thanks for Sharing!

Well, it’s time for the least interesting kind of post, the day-after-a-big-post post.  Yesterday was my highest traffic day ever – more than double the old record, in fact.  I know that means very little to anyone but me, but it makes me happy, so I’m saying thanks.

Thanks to everyone who shared on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook.  (I had more Facebook shares yesterday than I have Facebook friends.)  Thanks to Towleroad and AfterElton.  Thanks to everyone who blogged me or shared me in ways I don’t even know about or understand.  As I say all the time, social networking is the #1 way I reach new readers, so if you like something you read here, please spread it around.

Welcome to the new subscribers, followers and Facebook likers.  (For the rest of you, I hope you’ll consider subscribing by entering your email in the right-hand column – or like me on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter.  The content is slightly different on each platform.)  Note that this blog very recently underwent a name change.  Until last week, it was called “Where Do Gaybies Come From?”, so you may see that name in some places, like on Facebook, but don’t worry.  It’s the same blog.

Also, check out that snazzy new slider at the top of the page.  It’ll direct you to a few of my more popular posts.

Once again, I’m sorry I fell behind in comment replies.  I usually like to respond to everyone individually, so I hope you’ll forgive this blanket reply instead.  I’ve read everything you’ve written – yes, even the criticism, and I’m glad that my blog has provoked some discussion.  Special thanks to those of you who had my back.

FYI the picture above is of Sutton devouring the world’s tiniest ice cream cone last night.  It doesn’t really fit with the theme of this post, because she wouldn’t have shared it for a million dollars.  But I liked it, and every post needs a picture, so there it is.

Introducing… Mommy Man!

Here it is.  The site redesign I’ve been teasing for ages.  Where Do Gaybies Come From is now…

MOMMY MAN!

But you already figured that out, didn’t you?  You’re smart.

Who is Mommy Man, you ask?  Well, he’s me, Jerry Mahoney, one of two fathers of two-year-old twins conceived through gestational surrogacy, recently transplanted to the NY burbs from LA and an aficionado of the skillet cookie.  If you’re new here, you can get more info on the About page.  If you’re a regular reader, I’m the same guy you’ve been reading about all this time.  I’m just finally revealing my secret identity.  The glasses fooled you, didn’t they?

So why Mommy Man?

  • Where gaybies come from, so to speak, was only one part of what this blog was about, so it made sense to find something a little broader.
  • Some people misread the term “gaybies” to mean that the kids are gay, rather than the parents. “Adventures of a Gay Superdad” makes it clear just who we’re talking about.
  • Because I want more attention, dammit!  Those meddling kids were stealing my limelight!  This blog is about me, me, ME!

Things to know:

  • The blog content isn’t changing.  It’ll still be the same mix of personal anecdotes and information about gay parenting that it’s always been.  I just decided that Mommy Man more accurately reflected what the blog has become.
  • No need to update your bookmarks.  The URL isn’t changing.  Wheredogaybiescomefrom.com will continue to redirect to jerry-mahoney.com, and now, so will mommyman.com.
  • I’ve added a Featured Posts slider below my header, so new readers can easily find their way to some of my favorite posts from the past.  You may need to scroll down a bit more than usual to get to the new content, but it’s there, and it’s swell.

The new header design was done by the incredible David Heatley, who really does have superpowers when it comes to drawing.  Visit his site – or better yet, buy his book – for more awesomeness.

I hope you like the redesign.  I started this blog as a fun part-time diversion from the other writing I do, but it’s been such a pleasure connecting with other gay dads, other bloggers and so many wonderfully supportive readers. As always, if there’s anything you’d like to know about me or gay parenting in general, please feel free to ask in the comment section.  (I’m working on a Gay Dad FAQ, among other things.)

And if you like something you read here, then share, share, share!  There should now be options below every post to Reddit, Digg and Pinterest me, in addition to the Twitter and Facebook buttons.  I spend an embarrassing amount of time checking my site stats, and nothing makes me happier than seeing people posting my links on their Facebook pages.  It really boosts traffic, too.  If you haven’t subscribed or liked me on Facebook yet, then please do!

Until the next post, my work here is done.  (That’s what a superhero says, right?)  If you encounter any problems or frustrations with this new layout, please let me know. Sadly, web design is Mommy Man’s kryptonite.

Welcome, Thank You and Please

English: Chain

Image via Wikipedia

It’s always nice to see my hit count spike when I post something people connect with.  So, first of all, welcome to all the new visitors who’ve been coming to this blog.  I hope you’ll stay and check out some of my other stuff.  The best place to start is on one of the pages linked above — Best O’Blog (for my favorite posts from this blog) or Other Writing (for pieces published on other sites).  You might also want to check out the About Me page for some background about the site and me in particular.

Because so many new people have been coming, I owe a big thank you to my regular visitors, who have obviously been kicking some serious tushie (that’s right – “tushie” – it’s a family blog) getting the word out.  I don’t always see who’s sharing my posts on Twitter and Facebook or I’d thank you all individually (and if we’re not FB friends, I probably didn’t see your share at all).  However, I do see how many people are sharing, and it’s more than just the friends I’m quietly bribing to link me, so I know some of you are doing it because you actually like my posts.  Wow.

That being said, to the rest of you, I ask you to please join in and help spread the word.  If you see something here that you find interesting/funny/informative/infuriating, please click the links at the end of each post that let you share the post easily on Facebook and Twitter.  If you’re on Digg, Reddit StumbleUpon or some other site so hip I haven’t even heard of it yet, then link me there, too.  (Reddit has been particularly kind to me lately.)  Link me on your own blog, if you have one.  Send out an email to your friends who you think might appreciate this blog.  Most of my readers have found me through referrals from their social networks, so I really rely on that word of mouth to help my readership grow.

Please also like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and subscribe to the blog by providing your email in the right column where it says “Follow Blog Via Email”.  (You’ll only get emails about new blog posts, no spam.)

And most of all, comment!  I love hearing from readers, especially if they have nice things to say (but even sometimes if they don’t), and it helps me understand what people like and dislike about the posts so I can figure out what kind of content works best here.

Sorry for the hard sell.  I promise not to do this too often, but as I’ve said before, I’m trying to get my memoir published, and the more hits and subscribers I get, the more interested publishers become.  I don’t advertise on the site, and I don’t make any money from it, so when people help me bring in more readers, that’s all the payment I ask for.

I’ll be back soon with another regular post… and eventually, that redesign I’ve been teasing.

Thanks again for reading!

Thanks, Everyone!

Traffic in Oslo (E18 Bjørvika)

Image via Wikipedia

I know blog traffic is only interesting to the blogger, so I’ll make this quick.  Where Do Gaybies Come From had a huge day yesterday.  HUGE.  Over 11,000 hits.  And today looks to be another big day, thanks to Towleroad, AfterElton, Think Progress, Reddit and plenty of others.  So I want to thank everyone who linked to my 5 People You Meet as a Gay Dad post.

Even more amazing, I had over 1,000 hits from Facebook, which means a lot of you are sharing my blog with your friends.  I can’t tell you how much that means to me and how much that’s helped me find new readers. Thank you!

I want to welcome all the new people who subscribed, liked this blog on Facebook and added me to their readers.  I hope you’ll poke around a bit and find some stuff you enjoy here.

Thanks also to the commenters.  One of the reasons I started this blog was to connect with other gay dads, and it was amazing to hear some of their stories and responses to my piece.  I hope all of you will come back and keep me posted on your families – maybe even start blogs of your own.

A few people wrote to say they were offended by my caricature of the “Moral Crusader” in the post, so I want to apologize for that.  It was never my intention to generalize about Latinos, and I was surprised anyone saw it that way.  So I’m sorry to anyone who was offended.  I’ve taken that cartoon down.  For the record, Latinos have been as kind and accepting of my family as anyone else.

One final note.  I’m planning a title and design change of this blog in the next few weeks.  It may look a bit different, but I want to assure everyone that the content won’t change.  I still plan to focus on a funnyish look at my life as a gay dad of twins.  I’m glad this blog has connected with so many people, and I hope it will continue to in the future.  Thanks for reading!

Big Changes Ahead

J. Crew Construction Sign #3

Image by ikrichter via Flickr

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on my Facebook page about the blog’s title. I really appreciate your feedback. As much as I love Where Do Gaybies Come From, I’ve decided to change it.

I had a little concern that “gaybies” might be off-putting or confusing to people, that it makes it sound like the kids are gay rather than the parents.  But ultimately, I just decided that WDGCF was too backward-looking. While my memoir is going to be about the events leading up to the kids’ birth, the blog is more about our life today. Not so much where they came from, but where we’re going. Plus, they’re not babies any more. (Sniff, sniff.)

Most of all, though, I came up with a new, more appropriate title that I like even better.

I won’t be unveiling the new name just yet. I’m planning a big site redesign in a few weeks, and the new name will take effect then. Don’t worry, though. You won’t need to update your bookmarks or subscriptions, since both jerry-mahoney.com and wheredogaybiescomefrom.com will still direct you to this page.

I’m so grateful to all my friends and friends of friends who support this site, and nothing makes me happier than seeing a complete stranger leave a comment or “like” my Facebook page. I hope you’ll all stick around as I make a few adjustments around here.

Hey, I’m Doing a Thing!

 

Most of the time, the only one I hear laughing at my jokes is me.  That’s why I love doing readings, because there, you too can hear me laugh at my jokes!

If you’re free on October 2nd, come see me read at Parenting Out Loud.  Details below.  It’s for a good cause, Valley Charter School.  And maybe it’ll help me get my kids in there someday.

Look, it's my name!  On a thing!