Lez Liberty Lit Has Simply Had Enough of Drowning


Hi there and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit!

At the Creative Independent, writer and visual artist Larissa Pham talks about what makes a good essay, having a community of readers, and giving yourself the space you need to complete a project:

“Whenever I don’t read, I feel my brain turning off. It’s kind of like when you have a hot pan and there’s nothing in the pan and the pan’s just burning. That’s how I feel when I don’t read.”

Here’s how to live in a burning world without losing your mind.

Four Torrey Peters novellas will be published in 2022.

People don’t really like reading e-books.

Would you give up air conditioning (if it’s optional for you) if you knew it would save the planet?

It’s okay to feel lonely.

“Artists like Despentes, who came of age in the shadow of AIDS and the ensuing explosion of blood- and sex-centered queer art, were never striving to enter the canon or leave a legacy; they were simply interested in truthfully capturing all the moments in which they were dying,” writes Nina Herzog on Verginie Despentes at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

New emojis are coming.

It’s okay if your creative work doesn’t fit neatly into categories.

Where does loneliness come from?

Can literature teach us how to die?

“Few things limit us more profoundly than our own beliefs about what we deserve, and few things liberate us more powerfully than daring to broaden our locus of possibility and self-permission for happiness,” writes Maria Popova by way of introduction to this (excerpted) poem by David Whyte on stepping towards love:

“everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t
because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years
you simply don’t want to
any more
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness
however fluid and however
dangerous to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.”

Read these books in the second half of 2021. Read these 11 short story collections that practice magical feminism. Read these books about the heartbreak of losing a sibling. Read these 9 books about the complexities of identity. Read these science and tech books for summer. Read the Booker Prize longlist. Read these 8 books about the messiness and beauty of queer life.

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. “nobody likes ebooks” coming from a survey that was handled by Europe’s largest second-hand bookseller kinda feels like hearing “nobody likes to eat chicken” from a survey run by Europe’s largest beef producer.

  2. Great roundup, Carolyn! I always look forward to these. The David Whyte poem reminds me of Fredrik Bachman’s new book Anxious People which I read recently and which was charming and excellent.

    Thought provoking article about AC, too. I tried to use it minimally when I was living in the desert in California but it felt necessary at times. I think a lot of it has to do with AC enabling architectural choices that then necessitate AC to make them habitable, like very tall buildings with a lot of large glass windows. Lower buildings that allow less sunlight inside stay cooler (though feel admittedly less glamorous to live in). Now in Pittsburgh I live in an old house with no central AC and so far this summer I’ve resisted getting a window unit, but I have ceiling fans in every room and it rains often enough here to stay mostly in the 70s and 80s, compared with California which would reliably hit 100+.

  3. I prefer e books because I have carpal tunnel and also got tired of moving so many heavy boxes lol.
    I just wish it were easier to buy them and support local businesses so I mostly use the library.

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