I just wrote something like this in an email to friends who told me the latest (I’m off twitter), which is apparently that Ed Champion made a suicidal gesture and is in Bellevue (not confirmed.)
I have a hard time even talking about how terrible the week that he published that rant was for me. A lot of people have tried to tell me that the net effect was positive for my book, but it put me in a position of talking about that rant instead of talking about the book. I hate that. I hate that that happened. I’ll never get that week or month or set of opportunities back; he poisoned them all. The worst part is that as cartoonishly evil and misogynistic and mentally ill as he is, there are still people who are like “well, it was a book review.” “Critics are allowed to call someone a bad writer.” Or worse, that it was a “subtweet war” or a “literary feud.” It was none of those things. It was an attack on women, meant to make us feel threatened and fundamentally unsafe in the online and physical spaces we inhabit. It is so bonkers that we even have to point that out or defend that point of view still, now, in 2014.
I felt fear doing events around publication. Not stage fright, fear for my physical safety. Instead of planning celebrations I was arranging with bookstores and my publisher for adequate security at events. I felt worried that the location of my apartment had been revealed in so many profiles. It’s not like I experienced physical trauma or was tortured but I felt under attack. This wasn’t something that “happened on the internet” or something that could have been avoided by “just unplugging.” Talking to readers, doing events, and promoting books online is my job.
I still haven’t sorted out what kind of damage was done.
Gabrielle Bell | Truth Is Fragmentary
So great to see one of my faves, author, and co-owner @emilybooks. Emily Gould stopped to see me at @vainbeautyworld during her visit to Seattle from NYC. We added some layers and shape to her hair as she grows it long… #emilybooks #layeredhaircut 💗 (at VAIN)
If you are live seattle or environs and you need a haircut (or even if like me you are just visiting) YOU NEED TO SEE CARLY.
I definitely tried to write a book that had some wit to it so it wouldn’t just be a horror show. I wouldn’t have been able to write it if I didn’t, much less ask people to read it. But the humor is reserved directed toward the police, or the do-gooding women who remind me of people out of the 1800s. The criticism of the book has mostly been from people trying to qualify my right to tell this story on that trajectory. It’s not a story of abject victimhood, and it’s not my funny-wacky-time-as-a-sex-worker story. That was the most radical thing I could think of to do: to make it ordinary. — Emily Books: “The most radical thing I could think of to do was to make it ordinary”: Tyler Coates Interviews Melissa Gira Grant
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I don’t know. I mean maybe there’s just more food in my books than in other people’s novels? — Home No. 5: Chain letter
Kathleen Hale tagged me in this chain letter thing and I love Kathleen’s writing and can’t wait to read No One Else Can Have You so I did it.
Today is my one full day at home between trips so I am trying to do a lot of baseline life maintenance stuff, like laundry and cleaning and moving files around on my computer and trying to get health insurance. In order to try and sell the film/TV rights to Friendship I’m supposed to put together a little proposal about how I would like the putative TV show to be, which would probably take 30 minutes if I could just make myself sit down and do it. I am still trying to be ambitious about my recently published book even though most people are on vacation. It’s hard to stay enthusiastic about promoting your book, even if you like your book and some other people do too. There’s a sense that nothing you do will ever be enough and that there’s something crucial you’re forgetting at all times. I’m also meeting with Ruth about Emily Books's August, September and November titles later in the day. I was going to also try to get my armpits waxed but now that seems like a foolish dream.
Oh, you mean like “have I started another novel yet?” Lol.
Limiting books by enforcing strictly defined “genres” and having books compete with other books in that “genre” is silly and book marketing is flawed in general. But instead of going into that here I will limit myself to pointing out that in his recent episode of KCRW’s Bookworm podcast, Edward St. Aubyn said the word “genre” and it gave me goosebumps. He said it like this: “sshhhanrrrr(whisper of “uh”).” I can’t even express how well he said it. I would like a .wav file of Edward St. Aubyn saying genre as a ringtone or something to fall asleep to at night.
I can’t write anything else. If I could write GRRM-style epics that take place in an Otherworld I would totally be doing that, trust.
I don’t write anything for a long time and I feel guilty and bad. Then I write some. Then (repeat).
I like to write in a library because just having a lot of other books around is inspiring. I also like to have deadlines for a lot of other things and to feel a certain amount of financial pressure. Well, I don’t “like” it but I seem to need it. Ugh, will someone switch brains with me?
That was fun! I miss my therapist. The next person I’m tagging for this thing is Jami Attenberg. Jami, I hope you don’t mind!
I spent the weekend with my parents in suburban MD in advance of the DC Politics and Prose reading tonight, and I made Ruth come too though she had to go back to NY today for work. We had a fun weekend exploring DC’s cultural riches. Jk, we didn’t, instead we ate excellent free food, drank a lot of ice water with crushed ice made by the door of the refrigerator (luxury), did laundry (more luxury), and made my parents buy an Apple TV then downloaded half a season of Orphan Black to it. It’s been amazing and part of me will be sad to go home and confront the reality that I am 32, not 15.
My parents live in a high-rise apartment building. People interact more in elevators here than they do in New York, and also just in general. To be perfectly honest I’m against this, but I’m sure if I lived here I’d get used to it and grow to like it. Coming home on Saturday night from a dinner of delicious sushi, we boarded the elevator with a nicely dressed older couple, a man and a woman. I got on before them so I only saw them from the back. Ruth and I were continuing a conversation we’d been having in the car about Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. I’d started playing it again earlier that day taking a hiatus after I outed myself for having actually spent money on it. I got Ruth to start playing it too because I’m a bad influence and an enabler. I was saying something possibly incoherent about how “being famous for being famous” is not inherently a bad thing and I don’t remember the next part clearly but the nicely dressed older woman said something, unprompted, about Kim and the other Kardashians. Like, that they were “disgusting” or “shameful” or “a shame.”
We were all like “ha ha, okay, good night!” and got off the elevator and everyone else forgot about it immediately but I (obviously) did not and I still feel somewhat enraged.
Leaving aside everything to do with the specifics of Kim Kardashian, The Kardashians, the game, etc, there’s a thing that woman was doing that I have seen happen over and over again and I’ve never known quite what to call it. It’s when there’s a received idea about someone or something, usually a woman or a woman-specific cultural phenomenon, and that received idea is so pervasive and somehow so convincing that most people adopt it as their own opinion without ever stopping to examine either the idea or the person or phenomenon for themselves. In this case the received idea is something along the lines of “The success of Kim and the Kardashians is representative of something very bad and I am against it.” Conveniently, holding this kind of opinion doesn’t conflict with being interested in the woman/phenomenon in question and in consuming media related to her, or even created by her. (“Ugh, it was so horrible. I watched every episode/read the whole thing in a day.”)
Whenever a lot of people think a woman is disgusting or shameful and for some reason feel incentivized to espouse that opinion loudly, something interesting is going on. What I realized in the elevator is that I’m on the side of every girl who people jump to conclusions about. I always want to know more about what’s going on with that girl, because the elevator people are boring and wrong. And really, they are missing out on a lot of fun stuff.
When before Broder’s poems were whimsically manic and surreal, now their dreaminess holds a nightmarish scalpel. She confronts death and the spectre of an aging self in the context of a culture that more than ever worships youth and commercial extravagance, in spite of heinous economic disparity and an aging population. Though the concerns are contemporary the objects of the poem are more like what you’d expect from a druid sorceress. —
Emily Books: The Binging And Purging of Melissa Broder
Get your Scarecrone today!
All I can tell you is that it’s very easy to hate everything, but life becomes much more enjoyable when you approach it with an open heart and mind. You don’t have to like everything and everyone, but let people love the small things they love. They mean you no harm. — In Case Of Actual Death: Response to Bustle’s 31 Questions About Kim Kardashian Hollywood