Recommended Reading 7.9.12

Anna Holmes on Sheila Heti, Girls, and “women’s issues.”

The raw thrill of both “How Should a Person Be?” and “Girls” (and let me acknowledge here that I am hardly the first person to compare the two) is in the way they treat heterosexual coupling as secondary, and how they depict the profundity of female friendships, not to mention their real perils—which are quite different from the competitive jockeying that is so often imagined. It is other women, not men, Dunham and Heti seem to be saying, who most impact the evolution of girls into women. Other women, not men, who provide the opportunities for self-expression and self-discovery. Other women, not men, who bear witness to the triumphs and tragedies of young womanhood. Other women, not men, in whom we both find and lose ourselves.


Women in (play)boy-run businesses:  Katherine Losse writes about her early days at facebook.  I thought this article was particularly interesting contrasted with Jessica Francis Kane’s Q&A with her mother, who was a secretary at Playboy in the early 1960s.  Kane’s mother specifically shouts out Mad Men glamour and gender play in the office, which is an interesting contrast to Losse’s dealings with harassment.


Jada Yuan on the “success” of Marc Maron, one of my favorite podcasters. Spend $9 on a Libsyn subscription and get access to every episode of WTF.  Recommended episodes:  Louis CK, Adam Scott, Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm, Maria Bamford, Amy Poehler.

Maybe success isn’t quite what you’d call it. At Stress Factory, Maron worked the merch table himself, a wad of cash in one hand and his dinner, fan-baked pecan pralines, in the other. When not on the road, he lives a “hoarderish” existence in L.A.’s Highland Park, in a cabinlike two-bedroom with three official cats, Monkey, Boomer, and LaFonda, and enough strays that he’s nicknamed his place the Cat Ranch. His girlfriend, Jessica Sanchez, just moved in, too. He got together with the 28-year-old, a behavioral specialist who works with autistic children, when she e-mailed him and “said she thought I was hot and wanted to sleep with me,” says Maron. “So I said, ‘Okay. When and where?’ And I met her in Portland, and we had sex for three days.” He recalls with affection how, when he walked into her hotel room, “she had been there literally since that morning, and it looked like she had been living there a month. The clutter was amazing. It was like, My God, if this is what’s on the outside, what’s inside has got to be pretty exciting.”

The attraction is obvious for a guy clearly drawn to high-stakes personal drama. “The bottom line is, people don’t talk about real things because they don’t think that other people have the capacity to carry their burden,” he says. “But all that stuff is essentially what makes us fucking human. We’re built to deal with death, disease, failure, struggle, sickness, problems. But we are too proud to reveal ourselves to each other anymore.”


A post by Team Human author Justine Larbalestier (who is blogging every day during the month of July, despite the fact that her Repetitive Stress Injury makes prolonged typing extremely painful) the relationship between writers and editors, and whether an editor should “rewrite” an author’s work.  I love Justine’s blogging, not the least because she uses footnotes!  FNFTW!


Letters between F. Scott Fitzgerald and his editor, Maxwell E. Perkins, on Fitzgerald’s manuscript, The Great Gatsby.  This is a nice read to compare to Larbalestier’s post above.  She responds to her editor’s suggestions much the same as Fitzgerald.

Forgive me for inserting myself into this conversation, but I love how both posts show the author saying “I can fix that.”  I’m defending my creative thesis for my MFA tomorrow, and the most important thing that I’ve gotten from this degree is the faith that I can fix any of the problems that I make in my manuscripts.  Any writer worth her salt has to know that she can fix any of the problems she’s solved.  When I first started the program three years ago, I was sometimes afraid to even commit scenes to paper, because what if I got them wrong?  I was afraid that it would be like filling in a crossword with ink, then realizing I can’t figure out the right answer because all the wrong letters were floating in my head.  Then I realized, it’s not like that at all.  Now I think of it like sketching—pencil and paper.  When the line is wrong, I erase it and make a new one.  When all the lines are wrong, I turn the page.  All “fixing it” means is coming up with something better.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s