I’ve gotten two really awesome book reviews so far, for Women. I’ve noticed something about them. They both talk about my WRITING. Less about the content. It makes me realize how much, with LGLA, reviewers mostly mentioned the content. Masturbating, the orgy, etc. But these reviews explore things I did stylistically. It’s interesting to see. One is in Chronogram, and the other in The Master’s Review.
I liked this part:
The book situates itself firmly in the precedent of queer women’s fiction; hardly a few pages go by without a reference to Anne Carson, Jeanette Winterson, or, in one case, The L Word. Caldwell uses these as tethers for her own book, and earns a spot for herself among those she references. She brings to the page such an urgency that it is impossible not to be swept up, to remember what it was like when we ourselves were so engulfed by another person that when we emerged, we had to struggle to find ourselves again. Women is a skillfully and engrossingly written novella, a small slice of overwhelming love and heartbreak, and the search for belonging and self. Caldwell proves herself as a writer to watch in the coming years.
And these parts:
Hudson-based Caldwell dedicated Women to her mother and to the late spoken-word doyenne Maggie Estep, and Caldwell’s language shares an edgy sisterhood with Estep’s fearless prose.
The book is infused with savvy, dark humor, including a hilarious bout on OK Cupid. Women at a queer dance party dress like characters from Brokeback Mountain; at a postbreak up coffee date, neither the narrator nor Finn will take off their sunglasses. Hearts are broken, but Caldwell takes care of us. It’s hard not to fall in love with this taut little book.
The reading last Friday was beautiful. I had the best time. Thank you for coming, if you came. Domenica Ruta read from her memoir, Emily Gould read from her novel, Elizabeth Wurtzel read her recent NYT essay, Why I Will Be Wed, and Ramona Emerson read a hilarious essay about stalking exes on Instagram.
I liked this, by Cheryl Strayed and Benjamin Moser: Is This A Golden Age For Women Essayists?
Yesterday was my book’s birthday. For the occasion, I bought a necklace. And went to yoga. And went to bed early. Tomorrow is my party/reading in NYC. Feeling really lovey dovey with my publisher/editor today. We’re both so happy to be finished with this book, and even more grateful and excited that there’s been such a positive response (so far).
Electric Literature asked me to make a mixtape for October. That was super up my alley.
My Tour Dates for WOMEN are below:
Thursday October 17th–Los Angeles, California, Stories Cafe
Friday, Oct 24 – Northwestern, University Hall 102, 7pm
Sunday, Oct 26 – Champaign, Illinois
Monday, Oct 27 – Ann Arbor – Literati Bookstore, 7pm
Tuesday, Oct 28 – OBERLIN College, Cat in the Cream, 7:30 pm
Wed, Oct 29 – Toronto – Type Books, 7-9 pm
Thurs, Oct 30th – Montreal – Drawn&Quarterly Bookstore, 7 pm
Hope to meet/see you!!! <3
Last night, I was serving at a wedding and my phone started to go off with notifications and texts. Turned out, Lena Dunham read and loved my new book, Women! If you know me personally, you know that I’m an obsessive fan of LD. She is one of my main writing inspirations, and I am constantly watching and re-watching GIRLS to figure out how she writes such evocative scenes. I have watched these scenes over and over for comic relief and to study her writing. Her show has helped me get through low, low, times, and explores so many of the same things I try to in my writing. I’m so touched and excited that she liked it! My books are printed and ready to go, though the “official” date is this Wednesday, October 1st!
Here’s one of my FAVE scenes in GIRLS. Feel like this scene is similar to the scenes I tried to convey in my book. I love this song! The hug at the end melts my heart.
Thank you for reading my book, Lena! Thank you to the essayist Ashley Ford for passing it off! It’s so incredible when women artists support one another. It’s so important. I do this with all of my female writers in my life and they do the same for me.
This one time, my friend Liz and I went to the Oregon coast and stayed in this cabin in Manzanita. This hummingbird was stuck inside the window.
I don’t know why, but I often still think of this bird. It really effected our weekend. We named him Larry. But I think he was a she.
This is the strangest (best?) part of having a book come out. Celebrating. I was listening to a lot of podcasts yesterday (Wendy Ortiz on Other People Pod and Claire Danes on WTF ) and I think it was Brad Listi who said writers are private exhibitionists.
I love that term. Since December I have spent most days writing my book. From 9 to 3. I literally shower at 5 or 6pm. No one but my editor and a couple close friends were reading it.
And then your book releases, and anyone who wants to can read your private words. It always feels like coming out of a closet. It feels both AMAZING and DISTURBING and it’s a good practice for holding two things at once.
Sometimes writers email me with questions. I get at least a few a month. The author Liz Scheid recently wrote and asked me what I do for money. She wanted a job that doesn’t drain her creative energy. She teaches composition at the moment. She assumed I had an MFA. I do not. I went to one year of community college then moved to NYC and didn’t go back. I did take 4 courses of writing through Gotham in New York. She’s not the first person to ask me these questions so I wanted to write a little bit about it here.
This is what I do for money:
I teach a 4 week online class for Litreactor each season. I teach creative writing for teenagers once in a while through venues in my community in Hudson, NY. I’m a server for a catering company on the weekends. I work one day a week at my dad’s music store. I nanny when the opportunity arises. I find outlets that can pay me for my essays. I hustle. I ask people to please by my books from me directly, and some beautiful people do! I work one on one with essayists at times. What I do for money is always different.
This has all been great, because essentially I work from home; I work for myself, thus, I was able to find enough time to dedicate to writing this book. Having books being published doesn’t mean money. I did not receive a book advance for Legs Get Led Astray. I did get one for Women. One that some would consider tiny, but I considered large. It is all relative.
The most money I have received from writing, has come from these places in this order: Short Flight/Long Drive, Thought Catalog, Men’s Health, and Audible.
And I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that I love working from home. Absolutely I do. I love not getting dressed and eating and drinking whenever I want and being on my own schedule. I love having the time to apply for a writing residency or organize my books look for a certain scene in a movie that I am writing about and make phone calls. And I don’t have the looming debt of college loans hanging over me, so I don’t feel like I’m doing anything wrong by living way—by putting my writing first. And I only have myself. I don’t have kids. I don’t have pets. I don’t have a spouse. And living this way–my creativity is not drained. And that is VERY important to me.
But it’s a toss up. I don’t have a car. I don’t have a savings account. I don’t have a credit card. I live hand to mouth. I often do not know how I will pay my rent. I am, essentially what they call, broke. But I get to do what I like/love for the most part, so I have my mental health. The lifestyle is not for everyone. It would cause some WAY too much anxiety. But it works for me. For now. That’s not to say I don’t some days fantasize about having security and a nine to five job and benefits.
If you’re interested in this stuff like I am, The Rumpus recently started a podcast called Make Work, where writers talk about what they do for $. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I want to.
Every creative laborer has a different story to tell about how they negotiate their relationship between their creative work and their paycheck and how they balance their lives to sustain their creative practice. In Make/Work, Scott will speak with emerging and established artists working in a wide range of creative mediums about how they survive, how they make a living, and how they maintain their work over the long term.
Anyway. This photo above of me is from one of the outtakes from the photo shoot I did for GRAZIA UK. Taken by Mike McGregor. I was excited because Mike has met/taken photos of “cool” people like the writers Shelia Heti and Meghan O’Rourke and one of my favorite musicians: ANTONY. This was towards the end of the shoot, and he was like, there’s an awesome roof, let’s go outside. So we were out on a roof in Kingston, NY. I like the photo because I never wear white. I wear black mostly. And when the stylist pulled out these jeans, I like, oh boy. The jeans and shirt were both from Banana Republc. Anyway, it’s so not me, that I like it. I’ve always enjoyed wearing things that are not mine.
Come to the book release if you’re in the NYC area. Details are here. It’s at Housingworks on Crosby Street. I learned yesterday that Claire Danes grew up on Crosby Street. (Not actually a big Clare Danes fan or anything, although, maybe now I am?)
Been doing mad interviews lately. People like asking me stuff.
I did a conversation with Angela Giles Patel for The Manifest-Station. It was cool having Angela interview me because she took my Litreactor class twice, thus, knows me in a certain kind of way, because we bare our souls in that class.
So we got deep. Like, she was asking me things about planets. And my mom. and Maggie Estep. Etc.
And I’m in the middle of an interview for The Female Gaze…
Someone told me I should be like Angelina Jolie and be like, “I’m not talking about this, this, or this.”
Which I’ve kind of been doing. I am really bored with talking about fiction VS nonfiction and what the line is. The other thing I am bored with is talking about SOCIAL MEDIA.
I’ve been cleaning through my stuff from middle school, highschool, and Brooklyn, and found these. I used to have a busted typewriter and it would only let me type like this.
Anyway, I used to write my ass off. Ask anyone that knew me during that time. Like my friend Aaron, whose piece was just published on The Nervous Breakdown.
I’ll be there to do a reading on the evening of October 9th!
not read Dan’s essay collection, How To Be Inappropriate, get on that shit, it’s hysterical).
Thursday, October 9, 2014 7:30pm
Standish Rooms, Events and Athletics Center (Second Floor), 420 Western Ave., Albany New York
Here’s a tentative list of our book tour dates! Any questions, suggestions, or requests, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 3rd: Book launch party, Brooklyn, New York (Elizabeth Wurtzel, Emily Gould, Ramona Emerson, Domenica Ruta and Molly Oswaks)
October 9th: College of St Rose, Albany, New York (Just me)
October 16th: SECRET Los Angeles reading
October 17th: Los Angeles, California, STORIES Cafe
October 22nd: Bloomington, Indiana
October 23rd: Iowa City
October 24th: Minneapolis, Minnesota
October 25th: Madison, Wisconsin
October 26th: Champaign, Illinois
October 27th: Cleveland, Ohio
October 28th and 29: Toronto
October 30 and 31: Montreal
Oh and we’re gonna be rockin some overalls on tour too…….
My friend, the writer Erika Kleinman, wrote a really sweet review/love letter to my book Women for her column CNF 500 on The Nervous Breakdown. It’s a really great column she just started like a month ago. Read all the installments here.
I’m so touched she wrote the first review of this book, because she’s been reading drafts for the past year, and has always been encouraging and supportive.
Erika and I became friends in Fall of 2012. She emailed me twice about LGLA, the second time saying she wanted to find a way to write about her stripper dyke days. Since then, she has. She’s published the essay Jack Shack on Salon, My Life As A Dyke on Thought Catalog. We also connected over intense love for Rufus Wainwright. I wrote an essay about him in LGLA, and Erika wrote one about him for The Rumpus. She even includes one of my favorite lines from his song “Poses” in her essay:
I did go from wanting to be someone/Now I’m drunk and wearing flip-flips on Fifth Avenue
We’re going to send him these essays and hope he gives us backstage passes to one of his shows.