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? 

WOMEN Tour Dates

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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).

2 things:

Electric Literature asked me to make a mixtape for October. That was super up my alley.

Talking Novellas, Narrative, and Self-awareness with Chloe Caldwell over at Vol 1. Brooklyn

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

GIRLS to WOMEN

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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!

Order WOMEN here. And come to the book release party in NYC this Friday

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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.

RIP Bird

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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.

private exhibitionist

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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?)

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