Raphael Bob-Waksberg began writing “Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory” a decade ago — he just didn’t realize it at the time. Back then, before Bob-Waksberg gained acclaim for creating the animated Netflix series “BoJack Horseman,” the tales that now make up his short-story collection were stray concepts rattling around his brain. “I had some smaller pieces up on my blog, or I would write them as tweets,” he says. “Any way I had to get little ideas out.” One such idea: a satirical “missed connection” listing that Bob-Waksberg actually posted to Craigslist in 2013. In that fabricated ad, now immortalized in his book, a lost soul seeks the woman with whom he shared flirtatious, fleeting glances on a New York City train as the stops sailed by at an increasingly outlandish rate. “For months we sat on the train saying nothing,” the narrator says. “We survived on bags of Skittles sold to us by kids raising money for their basketball teams.” The book, which hit shelves Tuesday, features that yarn alongside similarly surreal stories of the heart. In one sobering parable, a husband finds refuge from his tedious marriage by venturing to another dimension. Another entry follows a couple as they fret over the socially acceptable number of goats to sacrifice at their wedding. The mind behind these tragicomic tales will speak Thursday at Politics and Prose.
Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW; Thu., 7 p.m., free.
The stories in this collection mix up the structure and world-building. How did you decide to play with the format like that?
Talking to my publisher, I described it as a mixtape or a scrapbook, almost. I wanted it to feel like each thing was a little different and it didn’t just feel like pieces of a larger novel. A lot of times when I’m thinking about storytelling, both in television and these stories, I think about format first. What would be a fun way to tell a story? What’s a new way in or a way where the reader immediately goes, “Oh, this is kooky”? Then the second step is finding an emotional hook that justifies that storytelling.
What drew you to love as the theme running through the book?
When I got the book deal, I had maybe half a book, maybe a third of the book, so I had a lot of writing left to do. And there was a lot of thought of, “What is this collection about? What is a story that is appropriate for this collection?” I arrived primarily on the idea of these are all love stories of a type. That’s obviously a very broad designation, because loves can mean a lot of different things — there’s romantic loves, there’s family love, there’s a love between friends. I wanted to keep it loose, but I thought that was a good rubric.
How did you manage your time, putting together this collection while also working on “BoJack”?
Oh, God, I didn’t — I’m drowning, man! No, it’s nice sometimes to have a couple plates spinning at the same time because you can go back and forth. If I was stuck on something on “BoJack,” I would open up my book document and go, “Well, OK, maybe I can work on one of these things for a little bit to distract me.” And vice versa — if I got stuck on a story, I could switch to a different story or I could open up a script and start noodling with that.
How is production on “BoJack” Season 6 coming along?
We are in the middle of it — I think people are going to like it. We tried some new things out with how the season is structured, which I think at least was interesting for us. It’s the same old “BoJack” that people love with some surprises, as we try to do every season.
You’re also co-creating the upcoming Amazon animated series “Undone.” What can you say about that show?
I think people are going to be really surprised at the kind of show that it is, and how it looks and how it moves and how it feels. There’s really nothing like it on television.
What’s the next project you’d want to take on, now that you’ve written your first book?
I wouldn’t mind going on a vacation and replenishing a little bit, but I just want to keep trying new things. I’d love to write another book, I’d love to write a movie or a Broadway musical or an immersive interactive theater experience — I don’t know. I want to keep busy, but first not be so busy.