email: bunting at tomatonation dot com
About the Site
What's the reasoning behind the tomato theme?
I have a tomato tattooed on my right bicep. That's…the whole theme.
Okay…so why do you have a tomato tattooed on your right bicep, then?
One month every summer, New Jersey (where I grew up) has the biggest, best, sweetest, tartest, juiciest tomatoes in the world. That's why I got the tomato — Jersey pride.
The site is named after the tattoo, not the other way around.
What made you start Tomato Nation?(Also, when did it start?)
I used to have a column on another site called "Notes From The Smoking Section" (you can find those proto-TNs in the archives). When that got "cancelled," I started TN in a fit of pique using a crappy Sprynet page builder. Ugliest site on the internet, but also the fastest-loading.
Tomato Nation came into being in October of 1997. I don't remember the exact date.
Can we still call you "Sars"? And does "Sars" rhyme with "cars," or "cares"?
Blood relatives actually still call me "Sars," so it's fine. It's intended to rhyme with "cares," but I didn't put an extra "e" in it back in the day, so if you pronounce it to rhyme with "cars," it's my own fault. It's not like I won't know who you mean.
What happened to the mailing list?
I shut it down; the site is available via RSS feed, so just add it to your reader instead. Or bookmark it, or whatever.
Nobody uses bookmarks anymore, lady. You got a Facebook page or Twitter feed?
What's with all the aliases? I can't keep everyone you write about straight.
It's a courtesy to those who may not have chosen to be written about; you should be able to figure out who everyone is from context.
But even the Amish know that Mr. Stupidhead's name is "Dave" by now, so why don't you just call him "Dave"?
1. I do call him Dave, usually. Heh. 2. I know at least a dozen Daves, and so do you; this is clearer. 3. And funnier.
What the hell is "the GBC"?
The Girls' Bike Club. I could explain it, but it's easier if you just read them all.
The GBC album is available on iTunes and at other reputable online audio retailers.
What ever happened to the Subheroes?
It's just…one of those things. I started it, I had good intentions, life got in the way, Heroes came on, and…I sort of gave it up. I still have a whole list of them, and all their backstories, and some of them show up in my other fiction (Pat Moran is like the Alfred Hitchcock cameo of my creative work), but as far as a coherent narrative, that ship has sailed, alas.
What's going on with TN shirts?
You can buy the TN Flag shirt right here. "Eat A Bee" shirts are being designed as we speak.
How come my comment didn't go through?
Possible reasons that I did not approve your comment:
1) it was too long
2) it was off topic
3) it was rude to me or a fellow reader (snotty starters like "um" and "sorry, but" are likely to get your comment deleted)
4) your formatting threw off the page alignment (URLs can do this; please break them up with spaces or TinyURL them)
5) (Vine/Ask The Readers) seventeen other readers already posted the same thing, so it's redundant
5b) you didn't read the rest of the thread.
And sometimes, WordPress/the internet eats things.
It's almost definitely not because you disagreed with me. Just don't take 18 paragraphs and a bunch of tone to do it, is all.
So what should I do?
Nothing, if you don't mind. Before you post a comment, make sure it's courteous and reasonably concise, but if it doesn't go through, please do not email me about it, or try to jam it through the queue again. I swear to God it's not that big a deal; I don't have a scorecard of too-long comments or anything, so just move on to something else.
About my work
Where else can I read your writing?
I've written all sorts of things in all sorts of places, so a quick Google is your best bet, but you can find archives of my pieces at Television Without Pity, MSNBC, NYMag, Soapnet, the Oscars Death Race at Press Play, etc. and so on. You can also go to the Categories pulldown and select "writing."
Do you write anything offline?
I've written for Seventeen and New York, and for various zines, and you can find my profile of Brooklyn for the US Airways mag right here.
Your best bet is to keep an eye on the homepage, where I'll keep you posted on new writing.
Can I use one of your pieces in a pamphlet/to teach my class/to audition for a play/as part of a performance piece?
Thank you! But please email me to ask first; it depends on what you want to use it for. I'll probably say yes.
If you'd like to link, go ahead; it's kind of you to ask first, but there's no need.
I'm just going to gank your shit and pass it off as my own. Hope that's cool.
It ain't. Give me credit or ask permission, or it's lawyer time. Thanks for understanding.
Can you proofread something I wrote?
Certainly — please email me for my editing rates.
Yeah…sorry, dude. It's my job; I need to get paid for it.
About The Vine
Where do I send Vine letters?
Email them to bunting at tomatonation dot com.
Anything I should know before I send in my problem/question?
In fact, yes!
The standard disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, a veterinarian, a licensed career counselor or real estate broker, a midwife, a lawyer, a physician, or otherwise under official oversight. I have a bachelor's degree in creative writing and a bossy nature; that's it. My advice, like all other advice, is worth what you've paid for it, and you can take it or you can leave it in the street.
I do not answer all Vine letters; if I delete yours from the queue, you will not be notified of this. To avoid deletion, your letter should not:
1) be about something I've already addressed a frillion times (see: cats peeing outside the box),
2) be a formatting nightmare (proper caps and punctuation to the best of your ability),
3) be an obvious troll or an attempt to get another reader to see sense (I can't stop you from doing this; just don't open with "I'm hoping my [x], who reads The Vine regularly, will see this and get it together," because it puts me in a weird spot),
4) have an answer easily available via Google.
I do not answer questions "offline"; if I can't publish it, I can't use it. I'm sorry.
If you change your mind and want me to punt your letter from the queue, please email me and I'll delete it, but once it's up, it's up. Letters should be submitted with the understanding that I may rough you up a little bit, and so may the commenters.
What in the Sam Hill is "the Garner"?
Garner's Modern American Usage. It's my usage bible, and you should make it yours; it's a fun read and very accessible.
I have something I want to send you. What's your address?
You can reach me at 285 5th Avenue, Box 488, Brooklyn NY 11215.