Get ready to decorate, motherfuckers.
Get ready to decorate, motherfuckers. Oli Scarff/Getty Images

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

Thus begins the infamous ode to fall, "It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers," a 2009 McSweeney's piece that makes the rounds like clockwork every fall. To mark the beginning of this year's decorative gourd season, we bring you this Q&A with Colin Nissan, the author of the piece.

I'm surprised you have time to do an interview during decorative gourd season. This must be a very busy time of year for you.
Yeah, this is really my time of year.

So, tell me, what did you get paid for that piece?
Uh, nothing. Although I will say that they subsequently they made a mug out of it, which I did get paid for.

What is it like for you to have a piece that goes viral every fall, without fail, when you are not getting paid?
It might be different if I didn't have a job that pays. I work in advertising so I don't look to that writing as a money-maker. In my mind, it seems different. I think what I got out of "Decorative Gourd Season" is much more than I could ever have gotten from a residual. It's not a money thing for me.

What's your day job?
I'm a freelance copy writer. Mostly for TV commercials and things like that.

Has the piece been good for your career?
I think, yeah. It's cool how many people have read it. If I'm at a party or something there's a decent chance that somebody there has read it.

Do people recognize you from your byline or do you have to be introduced as the guy who wrote the gourd thing?
I think I'd have to be introduced that way. It depends on what circle I'm in. Writers probably recognize me more for my New Yorker stuff than from that.

You write for the New Yorker?
Yeah, I do similar "Decorative Gourd" style short humor pieces.

If you had your way would you be a full time humor writer?
If I didn't need money I would definitely do more of it. The thing I'm trying to do now is write plays. I love doing short piece but plays seem really exciting. TV isn't really my thing. I have two little kids and live in New York and don't want to go to LA.

What is your advice for the young whippersnapper who wants to write the next "Decorative Gourd Season"?
Write something you think is funny and see if other people think so too.

That seems kind of... obvious.
Hey, all you can do is write what you like. It sounds like a cop-out but I think it's that simple.

What about advice on how to get your pitches read?
I think it's pretty democratic these days. Even at The New Yorker, I think everything gets read. I really do. If it's good, it's good. I don't think stuff gets ignored. At McSweeney's, I know they read everything. Their turnaround time is so civilized —they get back to you in like two weeks. At this point, I don't think there's much excuse anymore. Just write. Send it in.

Were you doing this back in the days when you would send self-addressed, stamped envelopes to magazines? I did it once and was like, "Nah, I don't want to be a writer. Not worth it."
I was. I have a file of these letters. It's bannanas—you would type out these cover letters and send in these pieces with these self-addressed envelopes. Then you wait and wait for a form letter they mailed back. It's crazy to think that's how it was but I'm glad I got a little taste of it. It's so different. And I didn't publish anything. I was sending stuff to The New Yorker and GQ and The Atlantic. I didn't know what I was doing.

Did you have a relationship with McSweeney's before "Gourd Season"?
I'd probably written five or six pieces for them before. Not much. I was friendly with the editor but since then we've become a lot more friendly.

I'm sure.
Yeah, he's great. We did a Kickstarter and I sat in his living room in and signed 170 gourds

Do you have any idea how many people have read your gourd piece?
I don't know. It had over a million views very quickly. I'm sure it's slowed down but every year it revives.

It's like the pumpkin spice latte. You can mark the changing of the seasons with "It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers."