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?”

****

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.

Emily Books

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WOMEN is now an Emily Book. 

Read our convo: Emily and Chloe Talk: On Being A Fan Of Yourself.  

I love when EG says this:

I feel like it’s my duty somehow to celebrate women’s grosser darker weirder aspects cause everyone has gross dark weird aspects.

***

Emily: It’s hard to tell sometimes whether you’re just fascinated by someone’s terribleness. On the other hand, female terribleness often has something legit and cool in it.

Chloe: Elizabeth Wurtzel for example?

Emily: I think she’s great. I totally get why people find her irritating. But she does too, I think.

Chloe:  ‘More, Now, Again’ of hers is my fave.

Emily: It’s my fave too. It’s the best one.

Chloe: Plucking the leg hairs! On ritalin!

Emily: (typing simultaneously) Dude, the compulsive leg hair plucking.

and later….

Emily: A big obstacle women writers put in their own way is not being like “I’m a genius and the shit, everything I do is golden,” which is the default setting of so many mediocre dudes.

Chloe: True. I feel, to an extent, like don’t have that obstacle.

Emily I mean, I’d say “be more Kanye” except obviously what fuels Kanye is profound insecurity, which is what makes him so sympathetic.

Chloe: The thing I feel most secure about is my writing identity.

Emily: Yeah, you’re a fan of yourself. I like that about you.

Chloe: I get so sick of women not championing themselves, putting themselves down. What other women writers do you think are fans of themselves?

Emily: And not, like, fans in a defensive overcompensate-y way?

Chloe: Right. Like, genuine.

Emily: Oh, well, lesbians. Ann Rower is a fan of herself. 

Emily Books

Learn more about Emily Books. To say I share a similar taste of books with Ruth and Emily would be an understatement. EB is how I learned about one of my fave books, The Buddhist by Dodie Bellamy, and found out about Lee and Elaine by Ann Rower, Empathy by Sarah Schulman, etc.They champion small press, women, blurred genre, nonfiction, and books that generally fall between the cracks. Can’t recommend them more!

P.S. If you’ve read WOMEN, maybe you could review it on Goodreads or Amazon? Thank you!

P.P.S. I am open for one on one memoir manuscript or personal essay editing/critiquing. Email me at cocomonet@gmail.com

RIP Leslie Feinberg

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I’m obsessed with two conversations right now. This one with Leslie Jamison at The Rumpus and this one at FSG with Meghan Daum, (whose new essay collection released today! I ordered one). If you write nonfiction, or are thinking about writing nonfiction, these are not to be missed.

“I think that when you write about yourself (and I consider this a dubious enterprise, despite my heavy trafficking in it), the debt you owe the reader for indulging you is to be mercilessly honest. You have to be willing to present your lowest moments. Otherwise, you’re just promoting yourself. You’re writing a personal ad. What’s more, you have to present those moments in such a way that the reader knows that you know how low they are. You can’t just lay them out there like “Look what a jerk I was!” They have to mean something. There has to be insight born of hindsight. Otherwise, you’re only confessing your sins and asking the reader to forgive you. And that is a complete misuse of the writer’s power and unfair to the reader.” ———-> Meghan Daum

Poets & Writers asked me what I do when I have writer’s block, and I said—> I watch movie trailers. 

Leslie Feinberg died over the weekend. I read Stone Butch Blues a year and a half ago on a friend’s recommendation. It was a pivotal time in my life, reading this book. The copy I read had this cover; I spilled a cup of coffee on it, the edges were curled, and I read it outside on my yoga mat in the sun each morning. It broke my heart; it comforted me; I learned things. When I finished my friend and I went out for beers and discussed it. I mention Stone Butch Blues twice in my new book WOMEN. I liked this essay on the book, and this article. Buy this book.

Relationship Writing

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I designed a new class to teach at Litreactor.com. 

It begins January 20th and lasts for four weeks. We meet each Thursday and there are reading and writing assignments each week. Email me if you have questions at cocomonet@gmail.com. The class outline and sign up is here. There’s a 20 person limit, so sign up asap! I can’ say enough good things about Litreactor classes. I’ve made so many friends through teaching the classes and have watched people publish the essays they wrote in class. This is a great holiday gift for the writer in your life.

Writing About Relationships with Chloe Caldwell

Women is now available on Amazon, Powell’s, and directly from Hobart.

A few  photos from book tour. We talked a bit on tour about how much “cooler” it is if you’re a musician on tour. When you do a book tour, like we did, for books, you tell people what you’re doing and they seemed confused. Their eyes glaze over. Basically, we did nine readings in a row at various bars and bookstores and one college. We rented a van and drove from Ann Arbor, Michigan to St. Paul, Minnesota to Chicago to Indianapolis, to Champaign and back to Ann Arbor. Then from AA to Oberlin, Ohio, then to Toronto, and finally to Montreal. We set the tour up ourselves.

At a rest stop in Wisconsin

At a rest stop in Wisconsin

At Olive Garden w Scott McClanahan and Juliet Escoria

At Olive Garden in Indianapolis w Scott McClanahan and Juliet Escoria 

First reading of tour in Los Angeles at Stories Cafe

First reading of tour at Stories Cafe

EE working out her guns

EE working out her guns at some hotel

Last reading of tour

Last reading of tour

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I hadn’t done karaoke in like years, then I did it three times in a month. I think we must be singing “Mmmbop” in this humiliating photo that I love.

i think we're singing "mmmBOP"

i think we’re singing “mmmBOP”

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regrets

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Feeling uninspired to post photos from tour. But here’s a clip that Aaron Burch took from our first night. We’re playing ping pong in Aaron and EE’s basement.  In case you can’t make out the conversation, it begins with me expressing surprise that Chelsea Martin reads female essay collections by authors such as Chelsea Handler. Then Chelsea says she has read her book “Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea” someone says “You READ that?” and she says, “…..And I regret it.” It makes me laugh and miss them,

Barnes and Noble reviewed WOMEN.

The narrator is hyper-aware of her audience, jumping the fourth wall within the first few pages. “I don’t know if I will be able to get you to see her the way I saw her,” she frets, aware that her editorial choices have the power to help or hinder the reader’s ability to understand the experience as she lived it. She admits to feeling tempted to leave out the unsavory details — that Finn had a girlfriend, for example — but ultimately bowing to her editor’s demands to leave them in (“It would be unfair for me to keep this from you”). She repeatedly questions her memory, whether a particular event happened this way or that, reminding the reader that narrators are only so reliable. Memory is faulty. It is easier to trust a narrator who’s frank about her power, but also easy to wonder what omissions her editor might have let go.

BUSTLE reviewed WOMEN.

What is refreshing about Women is its storytelling through the female gaze, and how this informs our questioning and resolution of identity. Women doesn’t profess to be a feminist novella, and I didn’t notice this distinction until I meditated on why the book feels so different from classic coming-of-age fiction and memoir.

The new issue of Poets & Writers listed WOMEN as a “New & Noteworthy” book. In print! I love print.

And I read the some of the book on the P&W podcast. I’ve got a micro-essay coming out with Poets & Writers this Thursday, about what I do when I get stuck with my writing.

Poets & Writers

Oh, and If you paypal me $10.00 at cocomonet@gmail.com, I will mail you a signed copy of WOMEN!

This Fall > Last Fall

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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 Female Gaze did a lengthy interview with me. 

The Times Union did a Q&A with me.

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.

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Me in between Georgia Clark (Author of PARCHED) and Lindsay

Me in between Georgia Clark (Author of PARCHED) and Lindsay

My bb and the host of the night, writer Molly Oswaks

My bb and the host of the night, writer Molly Oswaks

Elizabeth Wurtzel!

Elizabeth Wurtzel!

Reading from WOMEN

Reading from WOMEN

I liked this, by Cheryl Strayed and Benjamin Moser: Is This A Golden Age For Women Essayists?