Neither MFA nor NYC

Neither MFA Nor NYC

My favorite story from my college years wasn’t one I heard in a Creative Writing workshop. I didn’t hear it in any lit seminar or poetry reading. I heard it on a Wednesday night in West Oakland, sitting in a metal folding chair at the twelve-step meeting where I clung to my tenuous new sobriety. The story was told by Milton, a teeny-tiny wrinkled old man, ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Rose Lichter-Marck's "Vivian Maier and the Problem of Difficult Women" in The New Yorker Vivian Maier worked as a nanny in Chicago between the nineteen-fifties and the nineteen-seventies. She took hundreds of thousands of photos in New York, France, South America, and Asia and, like some modern-day Emily Dickinson, she showed her artwork to almost no one. It was only ... [Continue Reading]

Interview NoViolet Bulawayo

Writing about Women at the Margins: An Interview with NoViolet Bulawayo

The Zimbabwean novelist NoViolet Bulawayo, a group of her friends and I are at Buka, a Nigerian restaurant in Brooklyn, and we are surrounded by fish heads, fufu, fish stew, fresh ginger juice, yam fries, and plantains. Around us, there is a little girl with wild braids jumping up and down, trying to reach a painting on the wall. She is grabbing at my hand, asking me to ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Eva Saulitis's "Wild Darkness" in Orion For the past twenty-six years, Eva Saulitis has hiked trails along streams in Prince William Sound observing humpbacked salmon. She sees the salmon cycle through her own experience with incurable metastatic breast cancer. Saulitis is a whale researcher, and in September, when the salmon are spawning and dying, she’s at the end ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Alice Bolin's "The Oldest Story: Toward a Theory of a Dead Girl Show," in the Los Angeles Review of Books I like True Detective the way I like Bad Brains--I appreciate the artistry while at the same time maintaining criticism of of the inherent misogyny/homophobia/what-have-you. Unlike Bad Brains, though, I don't think True Detective pushes any aesthetic or cultural ... [Continue Reading]

Estrellita changing clothes backstage at the circus. Mexico 2006.

The View from Below

"Maybe we could understand that there is space for everyone, and that no one has more rights to citizenship than anyone else." -- Ryszard Kapuscinski The View from Below is a series of images that interprets the relationship between a group of dwarf men and women in space. The view from below is not the same as that from above; to be different determines one's ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Erica Wagner's "Life and death at his fingertips: watching a brain surgeon at work" in The New Statesman This was published last month, but it popped up on my radar this week, and I'm very glad it did. On one level, it's a riveting portrait of a neurosurgeon. Wagner writes fluently about a world that's fascinating but entirely alien to me; at one point, observing a ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Nikole Hannah-Jones’ "Resegregation in the American South" in The Atlantic Focusing on the experiences of three generations of Tuscaloosa, Alabama residents, Nikole Hannah-Jones paints a depressing and accurate picture of resegregation in the American South. She addresses the very real fact that, despite Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, segregation is still very ... [Continue Reading]

Photo by Jorge Santiago

The Ism and the Alcohol

A year and a half ago, I published my first essay on addiction. You’d think having gotten sober at age seventeen would have been fodder for plenty of personal essays, but it took me twelve years to start writing about alcoholism and sobriety. Even then, that first piece did not show me drinking or using, or even considering drinking or using. Instead, the piece ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

"It's Always Spilling Over the Edges": Jamie Green interviews Leslie Jamison on BuzzFeed I've been loving Leslie Jamison's essays from her new collection, The Empathy Exams, that have come out recently in The Believer and Harper's. They're narratives that plunge into the frustrating world of doctor-patient communication and the vulnerability of a patient's narrative. ... [Continue Reading]