Several months ago, the brilliant and fierce Kate Harding asked me to write something for a book she was putting together documenting how women's lives had been affected by the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath. So, I wrote something. Now that something is in an actual book called Nasty Women.
To see my name in the table of contents alongside authors who have been my heroes for years is astonishing. There's Rebecca Solnit, Samantha Irby, Sady Doyle, Randa Jarrar, Cheryl Strayed, Katha Pollitt, Jessica Valenti, and so many others. If you haven’t read the women, read these women. Read their essays in this book, but also read ALL of their books.
Women & Children First has always prided itself on being as political as it is literary. When I bought the store from the co-founders, Ann and Linda, two years ago I took on the responsibility to maintain this mission.
Since November 2016, independent bookstores across the country have felt a call to action to become the resistance. The *rump administration is the antithesis of everything indie bookstores preserve and protect: marginalized voices, justice, the arts, education, equality, dignity, FACTS. We must fight. We have no choice. Please read THIS ARTICLE in THE NEW YORK TIMES documenting how bookstores have become hubs of resistance.
"What? Really? No." I said, when my friend Lily Be posted a photo on Facebook of this year's Newcity Lit50 issue, featuring myself and Lynn on the cover. I couldn't believe it then and I can't believe it now. I am amazed and humbled by the support and accolades that we've received since purchasing Women & Children First bookstore almost a year ago. Every day of co-owning a small indie business has been a struggle, but every day comes with a reminder of why we're doing this. Admittedly, some of those reminders have been larger than others, but all of them equally gratifying.
Thanks to a very successful Indiegogo campaign, Women & Children First has a fresh new look. It's a beautiful thing. Please come celebrate the renovation and the bookstore's history on the 21st. Read more about what we did to re-imagine the bookstore's physical space and why in a recent Trib article.
Did you know that there are fewer than a dozen feminist bookstores left in America? Women & Children First needs your help staying strong and sustainable. Earlier this month, we launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $35K in 30 days. It would mean so much to me if you explored the campaign page and made a contribution today! Click HERE.
I am thrilled to report that Women & Children First did staggering business yesterday for the first ever Chicago Indie Bookstore Day! Even the Mayor showed his support with this grand proclamation! Despite the rain, customers were at our door as soon as we opened to collect their puzzle pieces, pick up free swag, get snacks, and even buy some books! It was the beginning of a very good tradition.
It's finally here! For the last several months, Dana, David, Elle, and I have been putting together the new issue of Story Club Magazine. This one is a monster! More stories! More audio! More blue! I hope you love it. I certainly do. Check it out here http://www.storyclubmagazine.com.
Beginning April 8th, I'll be serving as President of the Accountability Club at StoryStudio Chicago. Part support group, part workshop, The Accountability Club helps writers working on long manuscripts set deadlines and create goals, as well as offers a space for commiseration, validation, and venting. If interested in signing up, click HERE.
What a thrill to find this article about the Live Lit Explosion happening in Chicago right now in this month's Poets & Writers magazine. There's Story Club South Side host Andrew Marikis on the top right and--HEY! That's the back of my head in the Guts & Glory photo on the bottom left. 15 minutes accomplished!
Last night at Story Club South Side, Andrew and I told a packed room about, among other things, the first time we had sex. He used the word "amazing," I used the word "unobjectionable," and the audience lost their minds. We went on to describe the months between when we first met and when we fell in love, a period we refer to as "The Before Times."
Afterwards, at the bar, featured performer Katie Prout told me that she hates love stories of all kinds, but that ours had surprised and touched her. I told her that I hated travel stories, but she had won me over with her hilarious tale of repeatedly getting lice while living in India. The fact that we weren't bullshitting eachother proves that Story Club South Side is magic.
"I have slept with men I never kissed."
That sentence is how I began my June performance at Guts & Glory, a live lit event hosted by Keith Ecker and Samantha Irby. Sharing this as-of-yet unpublished essay, chronicling my fraught relationship with kissing--from my first terrible mouth-mauling to my most recent lip-locks--helped me understand the appeal of confession. Like confession, I can't repeat to you any of the stories that I've heard at Guts over the last year. I can tell you that they are often haunting and beautiful, riveting and humbling, and that they routinely make me cry in public. Sometiimes, I feel as if what the writers do on that stage is the equivalent of what dancers do when they "leave it all on the dance floor."
So, if you're in Chicago on the third Wednesday of the month, go to the backroom of Powell's Books on Lincoln Avenue and get punched where it counts the most. Also, it's free. It's BYOB and your donations benefit charities. Mid-month Wednesdays never had it so good.
Since its launch in 2008, The Review Review has been a godsend to anyone who has ever been in a creative writing program. Thus, I'm so honored that my essay "A Goldmine" is mentioned in its review of Dogwood. Check it out here