There is a difference between hesitating and saying, firmly, no. What is the name for that place? I imagine it to be vast, to be full of women who said okay, who whispered it, or didn’t. I imagine it to be full of shadows, and a difficult place to leave.
I started writing this essay in Freiburg, in Roxane Gay’s non-fiction writing class, Beyond the Self. Now, it’s up at The Toast. It was shared on Scarleteen’s Facebook page. And Jess Zimmerman tweeted it and said, “Men are terrified of writing like this.”
It’s been a pretty wild day.
I am sitting in the University of Freiburg library, which is basically my second home at this point. I’m status post one very harrowing creative non-fiction workshop with Roxane Gay and all of my amazingly talented fellow writers. I’d really meant to blog more consistently throughout the past two weeks — reporting on our syllabus, the analysis & close reading of all the amazing texts we’ve been assigned, and all the terribly insistent SnapChatting I’ve been doing both about the retreat and the daytrip to Basel yesterday (my poor friends and lovers received dozens of snaps from me yesterday, lo siento).
But instead I’m slightly drunk and writing post cards to myself. My essay topic was about “sex that is not technically non-consensual” or the ways in which sex can be both consensual and traumatic, so I wasn’t kidding when I said it was harrowing. Gray areas. People talking critically (but so compassionately) about some of the more painful parts of my life. It’s something that I’ve been mulling over for a while, something that I hinted at, maybe, months ago in my first-ever paid and published piece for The Toast, A Personal History of Misogyny. This new piece was not an easy one to write, but it was, I think, a necessary one. [And I swear this isn’t me gloating here, but I am over the moon about it: RGay corroborated that, the necessary-ness of articulating gray areas, particularly when it comes to subjects like sexual assault and trauma.]
But I don’t want to write about that essay. With any luck, and with a bunch more work, that essay will be published. I’m an ambitious sort of lady, and I’ve already pitched it somewhere. On Monday I’m headed to Amsterdam, where I’ll hopefully get a tattoo but will definitely edit my essay. In the meantime I want to share a little bit about the reading Roxane gave for us today, and some of the advice that followed.
Continue reading “If I’m not gonna believe in my writing, who will?”
So do you remember how, way back in December, I posted about how I’m going to be studying with Roxane Gay in Germany this summer? The time is nigh to figure out how to fund that. Thus I have created my first ever GoFundMe. Please take a look at it and throw some pasta my way, if you can!
Here’s what you’d be Internetly slapping your hard earned money down for:
I write about my experiences. I write about feminism, and misogyny, and surviving sexual violence. I write about how freaking awesome and brilliant and strong girls are, for the awesome/brilliant/strong kid I was, for the awesome/brilliant/strong kids I haven’t even met yet. I write about the tough-as-nails women who raised me. I write about sex in all it’s silliness and sultryness and joy.
I also write about fairy tales, and zombies, and mermaids, and superhero chicks who save the world a lot. So if you like any of those things, or if you just like me, please consider throwing some dinero my way.
If that sounds worth it to you (and I hope it does), please (if you’re able to!) help a lady out.
Also, as a thank you for your kindness and generosity, I’ll send you post cards and letters and trinkets and sketches of topless mermaids and personalized stories and poems written just for you, if you so desire.
Courtesy of Roxane Gay
My favorite books of the year, the ones that provided me the pleasure I always seek when I sit down to read, the ones that tore my heart wide open and made me envious but simultaneously honored to be writing in the same time as such accomplished writers:
Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter
Man vs Nature by Diane Cook
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh
Cinderland by Amy Jo Burns
Citizen by Claudia Rankine
Red Rising by Piece Brown
Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce
Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
Scarecrone by Melissa Broder
Continue reading My 2015 Reading List