* Welcome to The Big Jewel, also known as the writer's only friend. Actually, if you're a writer and your mom is still alive, she's probably your friend too. But not because of your writing. She probably hates your writing. Our guess is that she likes Molly Schoemann's writing, though.

Inspiring Stories Of Famous Writers

By: Molly Schoemann

It’s not easy being a writer. Toiling in obscurity, hoping for that big break, struggling not to give up as you face rejection after rejection. But take heart, aspiring authors! Many rich and famous writers were once in your shoes — but they kept trying (and trying and trying) and eventually, against enormous odds, they kept trying some more. And you can, too! We hope these stories of well-known authors who achieved success by overcoming great adversity and ambivalence will inspire you to keep reaching toward your own probably impossible goal.

Author #1

Our first author has received some harsh rejection letters in his day, but they never broke his spirit or dissuaded him from trying again.

“One editor’s letter informed me that he’d read the first paragraph of one of my stories to his pet goldfish, and it died,” he said. “Another editor enclosed a knife in my SASE and asked me to stab myself in the face for being such a terrible writer. That one hurt,” he admitted. “And not just from the stabbing.”

Throughout the years as he continued doggedly writing and submitting his stories, his life and the lives of his family members were threatened on a regular basis, and he endured thousands of dollars in property damage at the hands of irate editors in the form of the egging and toilet-papering of his home and car. Rejection letters were frequently tied to bricks and thrown through his picture window.

“I don’t really understand why, but some people just really hated my stuff,” he said. “Like, with a blind, terrible rage that is difficult to comprehend. Several people hated it so much that they said they didn’t even want to live in a world in which a person like me existed who was so awful at doing something. One intern apparently jumped off a building after rejecting one of my submissions. He blamed me in his suicide note, which was enclosed with his rejection slip.”

But this writer didn’t let these obstacles get him down. He kept on trying, even as the threats escalated and he was forced to hide his identity and relocate across the country several times. Eventually he managed to secure a contract for a lucrative thriller series with a venerable publishing house. You may have heard of the first book in the series: it was called The Da Vinci Code.

Author #2

Our second author’s story is especially inspiring. She struggled for over a decade to complete her first novel, pouring her heart and soul into it, forsaking family and friends to spend years in a locked room, writing furiously, months behind on her rent and subsisting only on ink fumes and eraser dust. Yet when her opus was finally ready to publish, she was unable to find an agent who would agree to represent her. She submitted her manuscript to hundreds of agents, but after another decade of rejections, during which she subsisted only on the glue from licking stamps and envelopes, she gave up. Deep in despair, she decided to destroy her life’s work.

The author was in the act of flushing her manuscript down the toilet during a drugged out and drunken haze in a nightclub bathroom, when an agent who happened to be tripping her face off in the next stall saw several sheets of it flutter to the ground near her feet. Upon reading them, she told the author to stop what she was doing, and immediately signed her. The agent sold the book two hours later, and within a week the previously broke and obscure author was a millionaire with a private jet. The author’s name was Louisa May Alcott, and the book was Little Women.

Author #3
This author wrote his first novel when he was only fifteen years old. He submitted it to every single publisher he could find — and received only rejections.

“I know I must have piled up thousands of rejection slips over the years,” he once said in an interview. “At first I papered a wall in my back bedroom with rejection slips, but the papering became so thick that soon it filled the entire room, so I had to move on to other rooms as well as the floor. Eventually there was no room to walk around in my house because of the encroaching mountains of rejection slips. It was great insulation during the winter, but ultimately it became too much, and I had to move.”

But he never gave up. Instead, he continued to amass tens of thousands of rejection letters from publishers all over the world. “I started collecting rare and foreign stamps at the same time,” he said. “It was a fun hobby that kept me going through the hard times. The years and years of hard, hard times. So hard. So many years.”

When he finally found a publisher for his book, it sold a million copies across the globe on the day it was released. Some fans buy a new copy every single day. This author’s book has remained on the New York Times Best Sellers List for over five thousand weeks. The name of his book is The Holy Bible.

Author #4

Our final author grew up in a world of wealth and literary privilege. His father was F. Scott Fitzgerald and his mother was Toni Morrison. As a second grader, he penned an essay that was published in The Atlantic. Instead of attending scout camp, he spent his childhood summers as an associate editor at Penguin Books. After graduating from Harvard with a minor in Yale, he worked his way up the ranks to become the editor-in-chief of both The New York Times and The Paris Review, at the same time.

Despite the fact that he owned the majority of publishing houses on the East Coast, he was unable to find a home for a collection of vignettes he’d written about his time working as an aide in the White House, where he’d been a close personal friend of President Nixon’s, and was standing right behind President Reagan during his famous speech about the Berlin Wall.

This author has actually not yet found success and is still struggling to find a publisher for his collection, so you will likely not recognize his name, but we’ve included his story just to prove that it isn’t always only about who you know.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where you can pay your debt to society and all your other debts with this amazing new online cash transfer system, courtesy of our good friends Molly Schoemann and Matthew David Brozik.


By: Molly Schoemann

Hey, man. Did you eat five slices of pizza the other night but chip in only a couple of bucks because that’s all you had on you? Did you borrow my new Xbox game and then leave it on your car dashboard where the sun melted it? Did you drink all my vodka at the party last weekend and figure I wouldn’t notice? Well, I did. Fear not, though, moocher friends — there’s now an easy way to settle your debts with your old buddy Paul — through a new online payment system I’ve set up called PayPaul.

Pretty sweet, right? Now, with just the click of a mouse, you can get me back for a few of those late-night Taco Bell runs I took you on when you were too drunk to drive yourself home after a late gig. You can toss in a ten-spot — or more; no reason it can’t be more — to help pay for that lap dance you insisted on buying your little brother at that strip club that wouldn’t accept checks. With PayPaul, you can put cold hard cash in my pocket as effortlessly as you lifted a joint out of it the other night when you “borrowed my jacket for a minute.”

And it’s super-easy to set up a PayPaul account: All you need to sign up is your name — even a nickname is fine, T-Bomb — and any major credit card, and you’re well on your way towards compensating me for the hour-long cab ride we had to take home from that party in Jersey where you thought MetroNorth stopped but it didn’t (and where your friend had said we could crash for the night but then we couldn’t).

There are no fees to use PayPaul, and you can even earn 1% cash back when you reimburse me for your half of the electric bill from August since you ran the A/C full blast that whole month and our bill was like double.

But Paul, you might be thinking, what about those less tangible goods and services I may have swiped from you over the years, items that might have little or no monetary value, but which are nevertheless irreplaceable, such as the lucky sweater you were wearing when Josh Homme pulled you up on stage during an Eagles of Death Metal concert, which I later borrowed and then left in a cab? Or the affections of your ex-girlfriend, Vanessa, who broke up with you right after I did acid with her at that bonfire last year?

Why, I’m glad you asked! Those scenarios are the reason for PayPaul’s convenient auto-debit feature, which allows you to make installment payments on a monthly basis — as little as $10 a month! — until either I deem that your debt has been sufficiently repaid or you can convince Vanessa to give me another chance, you dirtbag. Or, you might throw in a date with your mom, or maybe a joyride in your cousin’s Corvette; something like that could significantly reduce your balance right off the bat. Never let it be said that your old friend Paul isn’t willing to negotiate.

As an added benefit, loyal PayPaul customers will enjoy elite GoldFriend status. GoldFriend club members are eligible for additional special offers, including front-row seats at all my band’s shows, free pet-sitting (no spiders or snakes), unlimited access to my Xbox Kinect, and the occasional weekend trip to my parents’ timeshare in East Islip, as long as you bring your own beer, don’t smoke anything inside, and are cool with crashing on the floor.

I’m sure you’ll also be pleased to learn that payments through PayPaul are tax-free in every state but Delaware and Hawaii. And I don’t even have any friends in either of those states, so no problem. (Wait, where does Alex live now? Yeah, I thought so. No, we don’t talk anymore. But if you see him, do me a favor and give him the link to PayPaul. Here, I wrote it down on this napkin.)

Finally, if making regular monthly payments via PayPaul seems daunting, especially for those of you who are still on your parents’ cell phone plan, just remember: The sooner you stop eating my leftover takeout, jumping on my bar tab, and swiping (and then scratching) my Dark Knight Collector’s Edition DVD with the director’s commentary, the sooner your obligation to make PayPaul payments will end!

PayPaul: No, You Got This One™

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, your favorite purveyor of disposable pop culture. This week's piece by Molly Schoemann and Matthew David Brozik brings a synthetic tear to our eye. Almost as if it was intended to.

Now, That’s What I Call Maudlin!

By: Molly Schoemann

The manipulative geniuses behind Now, That’s What I Call Maudlin! are back with the release of the long-awaited sequel, Now, That’s What I Call Maudlin…TOO! That’s right: The second installment of the critically-acclaimed/lamented compilation that won — and broke — the hearts of thousands is here… with even more Maudlin Moments.™ Packed with such instant classics as “Old Maid Gingerly Caresses Hem of Brittle, Unworn Wedding Dress in Dusty Attic,” and “Sobbing Teen Stood Up on Prom Night, Again — Date Had Promised It Would Be Different This Time,” Now, That’s What I Call Maudlin…TOO! is guaranteed to jerk the tears right out of your eyes!

There’s no question that fans will find that Now, That’s What I Call Maudlin…TOO! is packed with more sappy melodrama than even the first volume…but wait! There’s more! Are you ready?! We’ve also included extended versions of Volume 1 hits, including “Destitute Mother Leaves Infant on Orphanage Doorstep/Note Not Properly Pinned Blows Away in Sudden Wind” and “Hardworking But Incompetent Vaudevillian Is Laughed Off Stage During What Was Supposed to Be His Big Break.”

Can’t seem to get your fill of shabby yet genteel hobos in punched-out top hats heating cans of beans over sidewalk steam grates? Desperate for more scenes of crying second graders who forgot their permission slips and must stay behind during a highly-anticipated class trip to a button factory? Then grab your credit card and call this toll-free number now to order your copy of Now, That’s What I Call Maudlin…TOO! It’s chock-full of just the kind of schmaltz you’ve come to expect from your favorite professional purveyors of overwrought sentimentality.

Not only that, but this compilation features a bonus, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the beloved Volume 1 hit, “Six Year Old Bluntly Discouraged From Pursuing Artistic Career Because He Can’t Draw a Proper Bunny (They Always Come Out Looking Like Lopsided Cars).” And for nature lovers, we’ve also included a second installment of everyone’s favorite miserable microcosm, “Earthworm Perishes on Sunny Sidewalk/Mere Inches Away From Lifesaving Shady Grass.”

Plus! Order in the next fifteen minutes and we’ll send you a tote-bag screen-printed with the passenger manifest from the maiden — and only! — voyage of none other than the RMS Titanic! Pore over the names of the doomed men, women, and children — oh! the children! — who were on board that fateful vessel on that fateful night, and wonder which of them perished in the dark, frigid waters of the North Atlantic! Trust us, it was a lot of them! How awful! Order now!

But that’s still not all! Bonus Volume 2 scenes include mawkish favorites like “Profoundly Lonely Nursing Home Resident Stares Out Rain-Streaked Window at Single, Barren Tree” and “Child Spends All Day Building Helicopter Model — With Real Motorized Propellers! — That Doesn’t Work.” And diehard fans will be rewarded with a secret, hidden track: “Box of Free Kittens in an Alley (But They’re All Dead).” Don’t wait — call in the next fifteen minutes! After all, your heartstrings aren’t going to tug themselves!



* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are still finishing the leftover turkey. Molly Schoemann is no leftover. She's brand new to this page.

Bunnytown Village Requests The Following Permissions

By: Molly Schoemann

Before you can begin playing Bunnytown Village, it requires access to the following:

Your Basic Profile Information:

Bunnytown Village may access your basic profile information, including your name, date of birth, photos, employer information, home address, cell phone number, astrological sign, deepest fears, and a copy of your driver’s license, which Bunnytown Village may obtain by removing it from your wallet in your pants which you always leave draped over a chair while you are in the shower.

Your Email Account:

Bunnytown Village may email you directly or send text messages to your cell phone to alert you of special offers and promotions. Data rates may apply. Bunnytown Village may text you after midnight on Saturday, just to see if you’re around. If you don’t respond though, it’s cool; Bunnytown Village sees how it is. You can unsubscribe from Bunnytown Village’s texts and emails any time you would like, as long as you provide a satisfactory reason for doing so. Please allow up to 8 weeks for Bunnytown Village to review your request. Continue reading