Melissa Broder happy to bring 'So Sad Today' back home

Melissa Broder, Philly-raised poet, Twitter celeb, and author of "So Sad Today," appeared at Barnes & Noble Rittenhouse Square on Wednesday, March 23. Photo: Lord Byron.

"I'm in an open relationship with Wawa and 7-Eleven," said Melissa Broder. "I'm in a triad."

It sounded like something she might have tweeted on @sosadtoday, Broder's viral, irreverent, stream-of-consciousness Twitter account.

But today Broder is speaking by phone from her home in Los Angeles, where there are no Wawas.

"Wawa will always have my heart," she says. "It's my first love, but love the one you're with."

Before she was the key-holder to a 300,000-plus following on Twitter and author of So Sad Today, a memoir named for the account, Broder was an anonymous tweeter. Prior to that, and currently, she was and is a poet. Earlier still, she was a girl growing up in Bryn Mawr. She'll return to the area on Wednesday for a reading of So Sad Today, out Tuesday, at the Rittenhouse Square Barnes and Noble.

Broder's voice is animated. She is a witty person, and there is very little signifying she is indeed so sad today, with a reputation as one of the saddest tweeters on the Internet. Her long wrestle with sadness began as traditional adolescent discomfort, never quite feeling like she fit into the Main Line "polish and gloss."

"As a person who's introspective and feels a lot, you're always comparing your insides to someone else's outsides," Broder said. "I would've had that poet sensitivity and introversion no matter where I grew up. I don't know if it's Pennsylvania's fault."

There were, however, many good times: skiing in the Poconos with her father and sister, hanging out on South Street as a teenager, the greasy East Coast Chinese food.

After high school, Broder moved to New York, working as a publicist at Penguin Books for more than nine years. She fell into a poetry scene and began publishing poetry books - under her own name - including When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother, Meat Heart, Scarecrone, and the upcoming Last Sext.

In 2012 @sosadtoday was born, when, to cope with anxiety and depression, Broder created an anonymous Twitter account in which she could fire off honest and personal quips without fear of judgment or concern from her friends and family. The self-deprecating and relatable posts, ranging from "everything I did was for you but I think you were asleep" to "my aesthetic is a panic attack that feels like i'm dying and then not actually dying," Broder carved a place out for herself in the world of nice fandom Twitter. Even Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus caught on.

"My personal Twitter as a poet, it's done well, but nowhere near the popularity that me tweeting these unsculpted missives into the dark about how I was doing and where I was in my anxiety my depression and other issues," she says. "That one, I was tweeting into the void - unedited."

In 2013, Broder moved to Los Angeles and began, slowly, shedding the @sosadtoday cloak of anonymity. In 2014, she revealed her identity to a close Internet friend. About six months, she told a few dozen friends. By May of last year, she'd inked a book deal and decided to unmask herself fully.

But it never affected the way she continued to run the account.

"I still feel like @sosadtoday offers me a protection to be able to say wild, crazy things or to talk about [things] that I'm going through, but if I said it on Facebook everyone would be really worried about me."

So Sad Today, the book, is simply an extension of Broder's 140-character miniblog, with portions of the book dedicated to sexual tales, struggles with anxiety and depression, and more. Much like her poetry, So Sad Today was written while Broder was moving about her day. Much of the framework of the memoir was dictated via voice memo while in the car or walking along the beach.

She aimed to be, like her Twitter account, no-holds-barred - which was fine until she realized her parents, who still live in Bryn Mawr, will be coming to her reading.

"I'm not ashamed to have out in the world," broader says, "until I think about my parents and maybe people from high school reading it and being like, 'Uh, she was really a freak and I never knew.' "

That won't stop her from tweeting. And, as she has done throughout the call, she drops a tweet-worthy sentiment:

"I definitely think the Internet is drugs."        


Melissa Broder

So Sad Today: Personal Essays
7 p.m. Wednesday, March 15
Barnes & Noble, Rittenhouse Square
1805 Walnut Street. Free.
Information: 215-665-0716