Published Works

Travel Writing

The Road: Being and Becoming in America’s Abysmal Heartland

The Road is catharsis; the Road is escape; the Road is motion that justifies itself. The Road expresses perfectly the form of existence that is continual Becoming without ever Being.

Kaptein, Span die Seile

In South Africa, the author sails the seas of humanity.

The Crooked Path Towards Salvation

…all ghosts, floating across the phantasmal plains, acting on the perception that something must be done to gain peace, that we’re somehow doing the right thing.

The Lighter Side of Desolation

Worlds are colliding in Nababeep all because the seeds of certain plants happened to settle here. On the one side are people struggling to eat; on the other side those struggling to know what to do with themselves once they’ve eaten.

A White Wizard in Africa

When we talk about the weather we’re really trying to set the stage for those deeper things which penetrate our lives, but are difficult to broach. It is a reach for that which is unspeakably true.

The Hakata Bums

Though more subtle than my drunken compatriots, I too had acted as if I were better than the hobos. Elitism takes many forms.

Ten Ways to Stick to Your Budget When Backpacking

By pinching pennies in the right places on your next backpacking trip, you’ll still have enough cash to set free your inner drunken German.

Guest Posts

Jingle Bell Rock

Although having the kid around makes me feel sexless, this is mostly offset by the effect she has on women. As chick magnets go, she’s far superior to even the cutest puppy.

October 31, 2011

America is the unofficial capital of Halloween celebrations—or, at least, those that involve getting wasted and dressed up. Not surprising in a country where most people are desperately trying to be something they’re not.


like Denver or wherever

Western sky just before sundown emotes white hot blues into my blood, as the mountains send word East, whispering of things West. In Denver, where you can see the earth run away from itself, kill the sky.

Cutting Bored

The Dreamer

On days she felt pleased with herself she took walks through the city, stopped in shops, not to buy, but to surround herself with small spaces of reality

TNB Posts

Brian Eckert writes for the online culture magazine The Nervous Breakdown. Check out some of his recent posts:

On Nature Walks, Anal Probes, and Shooting Sprees (Or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation)

Brian Eckert returns from a trek through the Oregon wilderness to deal with the news of the Aurora shooting and airport security.

Why the 2012 NBA Season is Driving Me to Drink

Brian Eckert explains his dislike for the Oklahoma City Thunder and why, even if his Celtics don’t win a title, he’ll be screaming and drinking beer on the couch until the NBA season is over.

Expat Adventures in Neverland

Brian Eckert refuses to grow up, at least for now, as he and the Lost Boys run wild in China.

The Lost City Revisited

Brian Eckert recalls a trip to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on the heels of Hurricane Katrina.

A Gypsy Turns 30 in the Grey City

Eckert contemplates the significance of beginning his third decade on Earth in Beijing.

A Newly Single Lump of Flesh

Brian Eckert recalls a breakup that might have been painful.

The Shit List (China Edition)

Veteran pooper Brian Eckert explains the intricacies of taking a #2 in the world’s #1 most populated nation.

I Live in a Seaside Motel

Pebble Cove is like a little family. That is, if your family is a group of transients who get kicked to the curb come June 1st so that well-off vacationers can occupy the rooms for the peak summer months.

Why I Won’t Be Celebrating the Fourth of July Early

To commemorate the one week anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, Brian Eckert chugs Budweiser and chants “USA!” Or not.

The Jackson Hole Diaries

Brian Eckert travels to an American Mecca for skiers, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and finds himself thinking about pretty much everything except skiing.

Home for the Holidays

Brian Eckert goes home. For the holidays. Poop talk ensues. But that’s not why he feels fifteen again.

Love and Death in Africa (The Journal Entries, Volume I)

“Would you like to have a look inside?” she translates. “Yes, very much so,” I say.

The Whitest Summer on Record

Brian Eckert spends a month in Martha’s Vineyard and comes to some conclusions about Caucasians.

The Folly of Certitude and Other Tales

The U.S. soccer team inspires an exploration of victory and defeat that ends with the author shouting at unseen enemies.

Twenty-Eight is the New Twenty-One

Brian Eckert goes undercover as a 21 year-old male and gets paid $30 by the government to disclose his drug use.

Patriotism is a Warm Gun

Brian Eckert explains why the tea party may yet have a use…and why he’s voting a straight ticket for guidos in the next election.

Let There Be Lights

Left without power by a vicious winter storm, the author must confront a life without his morning cup of coffee and the ability to send snarky comments through cyber space.

Dispatches From the Abyss

Dispatches From the Abyss is a bimonthly column published on

Volume I: Encounter With a Ghost of Suburbia

After years of trying to find himself, Brian Eckert finds himself very alone.

Volume II: A Land of MILFs and Money

Lawns manicured by Mexicans; an assigned parking spot; a modest selection of free-to-rent DVDs. Here is the sterile promise of middle class status.

Volume III: Abyssophobia

Abyssophobia is the exact opposite of the fear of heights. It is a fear of depths—bottomless depths. A man who sits alone in a room fears he may fall so deeply into himself that he never returns.

Volume IV: The Economics of Modern Living

Humanity has no goal. What we have are myriad individual goals. Collectively, these goals are known as “The Economy.”