doylesmells
Everyone is chain-smoking. The windows are always closed. The walls had wood paneling, which soaks things up. They’re all drunk; they’re all drinking. You somehow know that’s not the only time Freddy Rumsen peed in there. And in those days, ladies wore perfume as a matter of course, the same way they wore constricting and terrible undergarments. BUT, every single one of those perfumes, by contemporary standards, was REALLY big, and REALLY obtrusive. Stuff we now think of as extremely difficult and weird, stuff most people will not wear because it frankly offends them — birch tar; civet (which is the nicest way anyone’s ever managed to say “catshit”); real oakmoss, real patchouli; the burnt-tallow kind of aldehyde, the ball-sweat-Crisco-and-sugar kind of musk — well, that was just how perfume smelled. Joan wears Shalimar. Because of course Joan wears Shalimar.* But imagine every female person, in an enclosed space, smelling exactly as strong as Shalimar. But also different from each other. In an office that Freddy Rumsen peed on. While everyone poured liquor, and smoked.

Joy: An Entirely Frivolous Blog About Smells: Smoking, Animal Smells, and Perfume Evil 

Just reread this to cheer myself up on a gray day in an office that smells of armpit bagel. Sady Doyle Describing Anything is great, but Sady Doyle Describing Smells is HEAVEN. 

 ”Ball-sweat-Crisco-and-sugar kind of musk” !!! 

emilybooks
Who cares, when you’ve lost everything, what “everything” was? Or whether someone else lost a different everything, at some point in time? When has that ever actually mattered, to anyone? Yes, it’s true, my entire family was killed yesterday in a plane crash. However, I immediately turned to browsing these accounts of notable war atrocities, as one does, and have decided their various untimely deaths were actually not that bad! When, in the history of human tragedy, has that line of reasoning ever worked? It doesn’t matter, when you lose everything, what you had before you lost it. What matters is that you lost it, and that it was all you had.
emilybooks
Becoming a writer, in Inferno, does not mean becoming less of an outsider. It means gaining the freedom to stay outside. For Eileen, it means being able to read the books, to learn without going broke, to pursue what she loves with her whole self, and not just the worn-down, sleepy scraps designated “spare time.” It means not having to fuck men for money or advantage; it means coming out, falling in love with women, fucking women, because that’s what she wants to do. It means being able to value what she feels, and what she experiences. It means breaking through: Claiming a value for herself that is something more than economic, being a creature of thought and feeling and unfeigned, whole desire.
emilybooks
emilybooks:

We asked some writers to read this book and respond to it. This essay by Sady Doyle was the first one we got!  If we didn’t ask you it’s probably because we haven’t gotten around to it yet, so don’t be insulted. If you read the book and have something to say about it, email us.
No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays opens with Ellen Willis’s declaration that she is from New York, and that New York is not America (try to imagine any contemporary progressive saying that aloud). The collection contains “Escape from New York,” one of the better essays you’ll ever read about the hazards of conversations on cross-country bus trips. In an inadvertent homage to Willis, I wrote the following essay mostly on a bus. I was on the way home from Virginia to New York. And it was in Virginia, on this trip, that I had two conversations that illuminated what it is to be a public feminist today. 
The first was with an older gentleman, maybe in his late 40s, in line to get a burrito. He was getting a degree in divinity; he wanted to do work overseas. What did I do? Was I a student? No, I was just in town to speak at the college. What was I speaking about? Um, feminism. 
He physically recoiled. Eyes widened. Repeated the word “feminism,” with some alarm. 
“Can you tell me some of the positives of tha — I mean, the negatives — I mean, can you tell me why you think I might see some negatives, to feminism?”
I sure could. But it wasn’t a burrito-line type of conversation. 

Read the rest, buy the book, subscribe!  Learn more about what on earth is Emily Books here.

emilybooks:

We asked some writers to read this book and respond to it. This essay by Sady Doyle was the first one we got!  If we didn’t ask you it’s probably because we haven’t gotten around to it yet, so don’t be insulted. If you read the book and have something to say about it, email us.

No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays opens with Ellen Willis’s declaration that she is from New York, and that New York is not America (try to imagine any contemporary progressive saying that aloud). The collection contains “Escape from New York,” one of the better essays you’ll ever read about the hazards of conversations on cross-country bus trips. In an inadvertent homage to Willis, I wrote the following essay mostly on a bus. I was on the way home from Virginia to New York. And it was in Virginia, on this trip, that I had two conversations that illuminated what it is to be a public feminist today.

The first was with an older gentleman, maybe in his late 40s, in line to get a burrito. He was getting a degree in divinity; he wanted to do work overseas. What did I do? Was I a student? No, I was just in town to speak at the college. What was I speaking about? Um, feminism.

He physically recoiled. Eyes widened. Repeated the word “feminism,” with some alarm.

“Can you tell me some of the positives of tha — I mean, the negatives — I mean, can you tell me why you think I might see some negatives, to feminism?”

I sure could. But it wasn’t a burrito-line type of conversation.

Read the rest, buy the book, subscribe!  Learn more about what on earth is Emily Books here.

“I was difficult and unadorable and a Bad Feminist to boot,” Kraus writes, of herself, and you don’t disagree with her.  “You don’t know me! We’ve had two or three evenings! Talked on the phone once or twice! And you project this shit all over me, you kidnap me, you stalk me, invade me with your games, and I don’t want it! I never asked for it,” she quotes Dick as saying — and while she has never in fact kidnapped him, and “stalked” him only as part of the pre-negotiated super-ultra-conceptual performance piece, and this is, granted, coming directly after they have (spoiler?) had sex, the man still has a point. (When he shrieks and protests and hates her for threatening to publish I Love Dick, that goes into I Love Dick, too.) But also: “I want to own everything that happens to me now,” she quotes herself as saying to Dick. “Because if the only material we have to work with in America is our own lives, shouldn’t we be making case studies?” And the thing about case studies is, you don’t leave anything out. Especially not if it contradicts what you wanted or expected to hear.
Maybe now is the time to tell you that I’ve been having some serious doubts about my place in Internet Feminism. Not my involvement in Internet; that, no doubt, will go on. Because what else am I going to do with my time? But there are problems, I think, with the terms of the conversation I’ve set up here; there are problems with my own place within that conversation, the person I’ve agreed to be when I talk to you. That outraged, righteous, upright, know-it-all person who has compassion for all the right people and scorn for all the wrong ones, who’s on the right side (your side) of all the issues: I think she’s dangerous, and I think she’s at least partially false. The falseness is the root of the danger; problem with Internet Feminism, or any politics of identity, any system that purports to help you get your life and problems understood better, is when it sets up a too-easy, pre-packaged narrative for your own life. When it gives you the language, the rules for engaging and discussing, but doesn’t help you to look with any greater or more dangerous honesty at what you’re thinking, or how you’re acting, or who you are.”
I’m hoping you’ve already read Sady’s post about I Love Dick and Internet Feminism, but if you haven’t, please do!

“I was difficult and unadorable and a Bad Feminist to boot,” Kraus writes, of herself, and you don’t disagree with her.  “You don’t know me! We’ve had two or three evenings! Talked on the phone once or twice! And you project this shit all over me, you kidnap me, you stalk me, invade me with your games, and I don’t want it! I never asked for it,” she quotes Dick as saying — and while she has never in fact kidnapped him, and “stalked” him only as part of the pre-negotiated super-ultra-conceptual performance piece, and this is, granted, coming directly after they have (spoiler?) had sex, the man still has a point. (When he shrieks and protests and hates her for threatening to publish I Love Dick, that goes into I Love Dick, too.) But also: “I want to own everything that happens to me now,” she quotes herself as saying to Dick. “Because if the only material we have to work with in America is our own lives, shouldn’t we be making case studies?” And the thing about case studies is, you don’t leave anything out. Especially not if it contradicts what you wanted or expected to hear.

Maybe now is the time to tell you that I’ve been having some serious doubts about my place in Internet Feminism. Not my involvement in Internet; that, no doubt, will go on. Because what else am I going to do with my time? But there are problems, I think, with the terms of the conversation I’ve set up here; there are problems with my own place within that conversation, the person I’ve agreed to be when I talk to you. That outraged, righteous, upright, know-it-all person who has compassion for all the right people and scorn for all the wrong ones, who’s on the right side (your side) of all the issues: I think she’s dangerous, and I think she’s at least partially false. The falseness is the root of the danger; problem with Internet Feminism, or any politics of identity, any system that purports to help you get your life and problems understood better, is when it sets up a too-easy, pre-packaged narrative for your own life. When it gives you the language, the rules for engaging and discussing, but doesn’t help you to look with any greater or more dangerous honesty at what you’re thinking, or how you’re acting, or who you are.”

I’m hoping you’ve already read Sady’s post about I Love Dick and Internet Feminism, but if you haven’t, please do!