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,
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.
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.
Oh, and If you paypal me $10.00 at firstname.lastname@example.org, I will mail you a signed copy of WOMEN!