I’m teaching an online 10-week memoir class at Gotham Writer’s Workshop beginning May 3rd-July 12th. If you sign up before March 21st, you get $30 off.
You must use the promotion code EBN30B16 when registering
Code expires Monday, March 21 at midnight!
I’m also teaching a 6-week personal essay class IRL in NYC, beginning July 20th. APPLY HERE.
Cosmonauts Avenue did an interview with me about WOMEN. Caroline Rayner wrote a beautiful intro and asked some really interesting Qs I’m never asked.
I read Chloe Caldwell’s novella, WOMEN, for the first time last spring. I was still getting used to living alone after my boyfriend suddenly broke up with me and moved out. I was counting down the days until I’d leave Virginia for Massachusetts. I was trying to work and read and write constantly.
Last year I promised myself I’d read more books by women, and I found out about Chloe Caldwell through a Shabby Doll House list where Lucy K. Shaw picked WOMEN as one of her favorite books of 2014. I remember flipping to the epigraph the day WOMEN showed up in my mailbox. “‘Girls are cruelest to themselves.’ Anne Carson, The Glass Essay.” I remember texting my friend something like, “I am already devastated.”
I wrote in my journal after finishing WOMEN that it made me feel torn up and that I wanted to read it a hundred more times. The narrator moves to a new city and falls in love with a woman for the first time, a much older woman named Finn, and everyone, including the reader, knows that it cannot work. But you still ride it out. I recognized bits of myself constantly, like when the narrator says, “It’s just that I love a good train wreck, possibly to distract me from my own.”
Like when she freaks out and smashes her phone. Like when she can’t quite let Finn go. I felt raw, and for weeks afterward I thought about how dangerous it can be to let yourself disappear inside the world of someone you love. I was trying to create my own world, but I wasn’t quite sure who I wanted to be.