I love self-help books. I told this to Cheryl Strayed’s husband one night after babysitting and he said, “It’s great to hear you say that. No one likes admitting that, but what would we do without self-help books?” A few weeks ago, I saw Augusten Burroughs read from his self-help book This Is How. Even Augusten Burroughs was like, You are not supposed to read these books on the bus. Can you imagine?!
I’m sorry–what? I’m not allowed to read my self-help books on the bus? I don’t believe in that rule. It’s not like it’s offensive literature.
Here’s five books I read in the past 6 months or so that I loved.
Someone from Mellow Pages Library in Brooklyn wrote this joint review of LGLA and Fast Machine by Elizabeth Ellen.
I wish Mellow Pages was around when I lived in Bushwick. Looks pretty sweet.
Mellow Pages is an independently-run library & reading room located in Brooklyn, NY focusing on providing limited-print fiction and poetry to the neighborhoods of Bushwick, East Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy. With a collection of over 1,200 titles and zines, come check out the space and have a coffee, crack into a new one
I love her. Here’s one of my favorite clips in GIRLS.
Last night at work, I rung up a girl’s books and then she handed me this little card. It reminded me of stuff I used to do in NYC. So keep your eyes out for the Typerwriter Bandit. She’s trolling around Portland.
She bought the book Story of the Eye by George Bataille and I asked her if she knew the Of Montreal song “The Past Is A Grotesque Animal” that references that book and she said she did and that she was thinking about that too. OMG.
Being a lesbian doesn’t come natural to everyone. That’s what Erika Kleinman learned during her sexual awakening in 1990s Seattle, when she began dating a host of butch women who were all too willing to show her the ropes. My Life as a Dyke recounts Kleinmans’ relationships with candor and humor while making one thing clear: no matter who you’re interested in, dating can be a nightmare.
Also: my Thought Catalog e-book The New Age Camp is on Goodreads now–if you have a sec please review it.
Check it out. Noah Kalina’s photograph that we used as my book cover is hanging in the TC office in Brooklyn:
Below is my dear friend Milcah Orbacedo talking about her mission in the world. We were at Thai Peacock for lunch, eating Papaya Salad, and she was saying interesting things so I taped her.
Book Talk: Your essays are also extremely personal, and there’s a lot of talk out there that says, you know, memoir-type writing is selfish writing, or too self-serving. What do you have to say in response to those kinds of critiques? And, why is writing about yourself a good thing?
Caldwell: I feel that we live briefly on earth, and should make whatever kind of art we want. Nothing kills a good idea for an essay by the self-doubt of but does this matter? Do I matter? Who would care about this experience anyway? I’m so narcissistic, so lame.
I have way too many friends that let that voice win out, and it actually kind of breaks my heart. If it’s important to you, then it’s important. It’s not narcissism that drives nonfiction writers, it’s transcendence of the self for sake of connection with the reader.
I don’t believe in selfish writing. I’m very un-grounded when I don’t write and I act out my emotions instead of putting them to the page. If you’re anything like that, then writing is not selfish. It keeps you sane. Do you know how many worse things people could be doing than writing? They could be stealing or snorting drugs or killing people. Writing is a good thing for anyone who does it, no matter what or why they write. It makes me sad that writing gets all these bad names like “masturbatory.” I say, let the people write. It’s good for the soul.
Come write with me! I promise it will be fun.
There is not one right way to write an essay, and in this course, students will bend the genre of nonfiction by playing with an array of essay forms such as lyric and personal. We will discuss and practice taking events from our lives and whittling them into inventive and dynamic nonfiction. Students will be given a box of tools that will be invaluable to their craft leave palpably excited about creating narratives out their lives.
CHLOE CALDWELL is the author of the essay collection, “Legs Get Led Astray“ (Future Tense Books, April 2012) and the e-book “The New Age Camp” (Thought Catalog, 2012).Her nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Salon, The Rumpus, Thought Catalog, Nylon, The Nervous Breakdown, xoJane, The Frisky, The Sun Magazine, SMITH, Jewcy, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, Vol 1. Brooklyn, Freerange Nonfiction, The Faster Times, The Fix, Men’s Health, and the anthology: Goodbye To All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving NYC (Seal Press). She is the founder and curator of the Hudson River Loft Reading Series and has taught CreativeWriting workshops at Omega Teen Camp, The Hudson Opera House, and Crow Arts Manor. Chloe lives in Portland, Oregon.
Cost: $15 members $25 nonmembers
Last weekend, Mary Miller, Amy Butcher, Elizabeth Ellen and I were in Chicago at The Drake Hotel. It was cold (either that or Portland has made me a pussy) but luckily we didn’t have to leave the hotel for anything. We left one day and went to the Art Institute of Chicago, which was pretty sweet. We live-streamed a reading from our hotel on HTMLGIANT Friday night, but if you missed it, you missed it forever.
Speaking of Child’s Pose and all things yoga, yesterday my teacher Michele Loew honored me with my teacher training certificate. Yahooooooo! It was a difficult six months for me, and it’s rare I graduate anything, so I feel proud.