Author Archives: chloecaldwell

Being.

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When I moved to Portland, I got a job cashiering at Powell’s. I quickly befriended my co-worker Zach Ellis, or he befriended me, or it was mutual because we both hated when people say, “You rock”. Zach turned into one of my closest friends in town. We almost exclusively ate breakfast on Thursday mornings at Helser’s on NE Alberta. Like Central Perk in FRIENDS. I went to his house for homemade pizza dinners and played dolls and Barbies with his daughter. We both worked until 11pm on Tuesday nights and he gave me rides home in his car that we named Rufus, because we blasted and sang along to Rufus Wainwright in it. I had no family in Portland and was lonely at times, and Zach was truly a great friend to me. When I was at my lowest, he showed me how to collage a GOD BOX, if you can believe this.

During this time Zach wrote a lyric essay called BEING, which is, essentially, about being transgendered, as Zach was born a woman. His essay won an award and he flew to Scotland to read the poem at an event. Since then, he’s expanded it, and it is now a book that you can buy. It’s an ebook. Buy it and support him. It’s not easy to write (well!) about this shit, I imagine. This book is truly unique and one of the most moving things I’ve read in a long time. I’m so proud of him.

Zach and I sitting in Rufus

Zach and I sitting in Rufus

Here’s an excerpt:

i don’t know if you can mourn something you have never had, but i’m in mourning. when i want

to process something, i don’t capitalize words. unless they’re important words. that’s how you’ll

know.

i was born without a penis. i was born with girl parts, but a boy’s brain and a boy’s soul and a

boy’s feelings and a boy’s heart. you just have to take my word for it. i don’t know what

happened, but i used to believe there was a mix-up somewhere in the roasting pan of my

mother’s womb. maybe it was that mexican food she might have tried or the msg at a chinese

restaurant. maybe it was a silent prayer i made for patience as a fetus. whatever the case, my

insides and my outsides were not a match. i realized very young that god had gotten my mom

and dad’s order wrong. the big problem is that there was no kitchen to send me back to and fix

the problem.

now & then

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a week or 2 ago i spoke with Ashley Ford of Buzzfeed over the phone. she asked me questions about WOMEN the book, and WOMEN the people. read it here. it’s pretty juicy.

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i just got back from denver by way of  portland where i was staying with cheryl strayed’s kids while she attended the golden globes among other places. i went from having 0 kids to the below situation. i survived!

these don't all belong to cheryl!

these children don’t ALL belong to cheryl. that would be insane.

in denver, i read from WOMEN at The Book Bar, and spent time with my childhood BFF, lindsay. if i have unconditional love with/for anyone, it’s her. we were like sisters from when we were babies to age fourteen.

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In Denver.

In Denver. We hadn’t seen one another in almost 10 years!

My 4-week personal essay/creative nonfiction class begins TOMORROW. so if you impulsively want to join the class, sign up tonight or in the early morning. 

I’ll be in San Francisco to do a reading on February 12th. I will be popping my SF cherry, as I’ve never been there before!

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Thursday, February 12, 2015
SF Main Library – 100 Larkin Street
Latino / Hispanic Rooms (Basement Level)
6pm
Hosted by Michelle Tea
Featuring fresh baked cookies during the artist Q&A
==FREE==

that’s all my news, i think!!! thanks for caring/pretending to care.

YOLO

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On Monday night, Karina was my date to the GIRLS HBO Premier at the Museum of Natural History. I had one of the best nights everrrrrrrr. Karina was hoping to meet Kristie Alley and/or confront Taylor Swift on feminism, and though neither of those things happened, we did intercept a bunch of celebs including Gabby Hoffman!!! And the chicks from the brilliant Broad City. I got told I look like Christina Applegate and Lena confirmed to Karina’s face that they do in fact, look alike.

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I LOVE HER

I LOVE HER

Everyone was talking about the last scene in the film Squid & The Whale

Everyone was talking about the last scene in the film Squid & The Whale.

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Karina confronting Alex/Ray on the time he didn't tip her at the cafe she worked at in Greenpoint

Karina confronting Alex/Ray on the time he didn’t tip her at the cafe she worked at in Greenpoint

When we looked at these pics the next day, K and I both agreed..."we look like adult women"

When we looked at these pics the next day, K and I both agreed…”we look like adult women”

<3

Lena and I getting cozy

Lena D and me getting cozy

<3 <3 <3

broken girl cookie

broken girl cookie

Afterwards, we had to take it down a notch and K and I ended up at Kellogg’s Diner with grilled cheese and chicken fingers and Budweisers. Overall, a gorgeous and memorable night. The two new episodes of GIRLS they showed were hysterical, and Elijah especially KILLS IT. I took this photo of him taking a selfie and he saw me……Oh well, YOLO, am I right?

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who is elle macpherson, really.

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WOMEN made Electric Literature’s Best Novels of 2014 list. Along w one of my fave books: Department Of Speculation by Jenny Offill.

Best Novels

It was also featured in this list on Brooklyn Magazine! 

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If you liked
Adelle Waldman’s The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
Read
Women by Chloe Caldwell

You know how Waldman’s debut novel was a look at a series of relationships with complicated, real women told through the POV of a smug, irritating male writer? Well! Imagine how awesome it would be to read something about a series of relationships with complicated, real women from the POV of a complicated, real woman? Pretty awesome, right? You have no idea; Caldwell’s Women will blow you away.

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i was sitting in a bar in greenwich village last week w/ my friend erika drinking a negroni and got a notification that elle macpherson tweeted and blogged about my book WOMEN. i told erika, i don’t know who elle macphereson is. and she was like, “dude! duh! she’s a super model.” then i looked her up and remembered when she dated joey on FRIENDS. i used to LOVE FRIENDS. that’s what’s fun and interesting about putting your art into the world. you have no idea whose hands it will end up in.

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the block

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I’m sort of getting around it in  2015. details below and hope i can see some of you somewhere.

Denver, Colorado

January 17th, 2015

The BOOK BAR 

Reading, Signing, and  Q&A

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San Francisco, California

February 12th 2015

Radar Reading Series

San Francisco Public Library, 111 Larkin Street, Latino Reading Room, Basement Level

With  Brent Armendinger, Ryka Aoki e la Cruz, and Samantha Chanse.

SF-Public-Library

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New York City: February 26th 2015

Housing Works Bookstore

Elisa Albert’s AFTER BIRTH book launch

Elisa Albert, Paula Bomer, Anya Uilnich, Rebecca Wolff, Meaghan O’connell

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Brooklyn, NY: April 9th 2015

Pete’s Candy Store

with Elisa Albert 

petes

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FANZINE reviewed WOMEN. 

Women, like Caldwell’s first book, Legs Get Led Astray, is positively feral and coyly voyeuristic, inviting questions as to whether the memoir is autobiographical or not. Along with unpretentious prose that’s stripped of adverbs and metaphors but jacked up with dark humor, it’s the “is this or isn’t this” question that makes Caldwell’s work so readable.

Anyone who has suffered through apologetic fictionalized memoirs where the narrator spends every other page reminding you that she is 1) ashamed 2) confused 3) conflicted about the things that she is sharing with the reader will race through this nimble novella like a child gunning for the stairs.”

female friends o 2014

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I was texting w my friend Steph last night and was like, “Yr one of my fave friends I made in 2014″ and then I got inspired to make a list because I’ve made some sweet ass writer friends in the past year since I’ve moved home to New York. And some I’ve known longer than that, and some I know from Portland and Austin, etc–but in the past year we’ve cemented our friendships. Coincidentally–they are all talented writers. So click their names and it will bring you to their words and art.

It’s really popular lately to write essays about cultivating female friendships, which is interesting. It’s almost a genre.

Friend I never expected to be friends with cause she was too cool for me, but lucky me: Steph Georgopolous

Friend I get to meet in person for the first time after talking via phone and skype and text and email since August 2012 and who I <3 like crazy: Erika Kleinman

Friend who sends me the best links and is fiercely loyal: Angela Giles Patel

Friend whose WILD success makes me wildly giddy and who I spent some much needed quality time with in Cali this past summer: Cheryl Strayed

Friend who picks up with me right where we left off, and who I have phenomenal adult sleepovers with and feel I can tell anything to: Molly Oswaks 

Friend I’ve secretly wanted to be friends with since 2010 and finally did and my life has become better with her in it, shes V generous and kind and a fantastic book and leggings reccommender: Emily Gould

Friend who I’d like to know better and whose single people dinners on IG comfort me: Ruth Curry

Friend who has an amazing novel coming out in Feb 2015 and who has been full of beautiful support and who I’m excited and proud to know: Elisa Albert

Friend who doubles as a life coach–Lena Dunham has Jenni Konner–But I have: Frances Badalamenti

Okay, I can’t call her a friend, but woman who read with me at Housing Works who I never dressed I’d be so lucky to read with: Elizabeth Wurtzel. Same goes for Domenica Ruta and Ramona Emerson. 

Friend who I know if I ever got married, I would probably have in my wedding, because she makes me feel like my best and happiest self, and friend who challenges me and I have a good book sharing system with: Karina Briski

Friend I met and then went on book tour for 3 weeks with and was charming: Mira Gonzalez

Friend I became closer with and I think I’m beginning to “get” more: Chelsea Martin 

Friend who published WOMEN and helped me turn it into an edited book rather than the mess it was: Elizabeth Ellen

Friends I made via teaching at Litreactor: Meghan Nesmith, Rennee Risher (and through them, Logan Sachon)

Friend who nerdily obsesses over vitamins with me and whose support I’m honored to possess: Lena Dunham 

Friend who I experienced Big Sur and too much wine and toast with, along with raccoon and rat sightings and who kissed my forehead when I was drunk and crying between her and Cheryl Strayed (this nite was fucked): Kristen Forbes

Friend who I made while sitting on a couch in Bushwick and clicked with quickly: Robin Grearson

Friend who is dear to me and stayed in my life longer than I expected: Milcah Orbacedo

Friend who got drunk and played OASIS  on guitar: Lucy K Shaw 

Friend who died to soon: Maggie Estep. 

Friend who is best to talk about TV shows with: Alison Pels

My soul mate friend: Eliza Plumlee.

If you’re not on this list, know that it’s because I literally did this off the top of my head in like 20 minutes and that I still <3 you.

fdg

Me, Robin, and Steph

With Erin, Cheryl, and Kristen in Big Sur

With Erin, Cheryl, and Kristen in Big Sur

Karina, Steph, and Robin a few weekends ago.

Karina, Steph, and Robin a few weekends ago.

books o 2014

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Was excited to see Lena chose WOMEN as one of her favorite books of 2014 in The Guardian on Saturday. Purchase WOMEN for a friend this holiday!

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It made me think about what my fave books of 2014 were. But I can’t think of any that came out in 2014 that I loved. I think I am blanking. So I’m going to list the books I read while I wrote WOMEN. I have really fond memories of this past spring, because each week I’d request a different book from the library. I read a bunch of novellas and novels about twisted relationships to inform the way I wrote WOMEN. Here they are:

Loverboy by Victoria Redel

The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison

Louise, Amended by Louise Krug

Written on The Body by Jeanette Winterson

The End of The Story by Lydia Davis

The Buddhist by Dodie Bellamy

Sita by Kate Millett

Intimacy by Hanif Kareshi

Breakup by Catherine Texier

Walks With Men by Ann Beattie

God, Irony, and Glass by Anne Carson

tour documentary

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Here’s our reality TV show style book tour documentary. Watch at your own risk. Edited by Chelsea Martin. My fave parts are the “Chloe’s a bitch” montage and the “It was good” montage. And the Blues Traveler conflict, obvi. I also love when Chelsea says “No one’s gonna stop writing.”

I’m pissed about a lot of the angles I am filmed in. But I feel like the new liberating thing to do is post photos/videos of times when you DON’T look good. It’s an exercise in control. Hehe. ( :

if you like this book by a man, you’ll love this book by a woman

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This made me v happy yesterday. From Buzzfeed Books by Jessica Schaffer. Cool idea.

If You Like This Book By A Man, You’ll Love This Book By A Woman

23. David Sedaris, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim → Chloe Caldwell, Legs Get Led Astray

There’s an art to addressing weighty issues with humor and grace, and both Sedaris and Caldwell have it down pat. Add to that an ear for the poetic and you get Legs Get Led Astray, Caldwell’s debut collection of essays.

Quotable line: “My mother wanted to be Betty Boop. Betty Boop was independent. Betty Boop was sexy. Betty Boop really had her shit together, you know?”

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My brother totally gave me that Sedaris book, christmas….2005 maybe? On tour last month we listened to Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls on tape in the van. Effing hilarious.

I have a box of 10 LGLAS if anyone wants to purchase one.

What are you reading? I’m reading Meghan Daum’s essay collection UNSPEAKABLE. No one write essays like she does.