Riese’s Team Pick: NY Times’ “Modern Love” (Queered)

Every week The New York Times brings us a new Modern Love column which range from dumb to brilliant/beautiful but almost never gay. Often beautiful, but this one, which reader Sameera sent to Laneia and which she sent to me and which I would like to share with you, is called A Free Spirit Who Couldn’t Be Tied Down and it’s also, obviously, queer. But also, it’s just really lovely.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3223 articles for us.


      • i actually went through five pages of google search results for “flying kites in Tiananmen Square”

        • hahah me too! except i added “about the author” to that same search after a while and still got nothing :(

          • You guys, bylines are your friends.

            I love you all but how many lesbians does it take to read the whole thing?

            “Michelle Nicole Lee is a writer in St. Louis.”

          • We’re talking about Lisa Ruth Brunner’s story, A Free Spirit Who Couldn’t Be Tethered.

          • i also added: pittsburgh, brother, boyfriend, trans-siberian railroad, japan, bisexual — to no avail

          • Oops, I looked at the wrong window.

            Regardless, it’s still there. I hate the NYTimes.com layout though, it is ridiculously hard to come by information like that.

          • No, it’s not there. We know who wrote the Modern Love piece. We’re wondering who the writer was talking about in her story. Want to join us in our googling frenzy?

          • I can’t reply to Brianna’ post, but jesus christ someone should not have given me a computer today. I seriously thought you guys were talking about the author of the piece. Pfft. In my defense they are both now relatively accomplished writers and I just took the idiot’s path.

            I’ll google with you guys, but I’m not going to post anything for fear my idiot will show.

  1. This whole series is gonna cost me my Saturday. I really really really really like the writer though.

  2. I like how we all tried to find the elusive mystery writer. I, too, googled key words. No luck. This piece is beautiful.

  3. I think I found her.

    “Miriam Bird Greenberg has taught ESL in rural Japan, flown kites in Tiananmen Square, and eaten marmot on a train traveling through Mongolia. She is finishing her MFA at the University of Texas Michener Center for Writers, and has work forthcoming in Smartish Pace and DIAGRAM.”

    and then from her page

    “I grew up in rural Texas, the daughter of leftist Jews involved in the back-to-the-land movement. From an early age I began attempting to communicate with the dead; I wore the silk schoolteachers’ dresses of ancestors a hundred years dead of diphtheria, and collected honey that dripped through cracks in the ceiling to sweeten my tea.”

    How could you guys not realize that googling “memoir poem travel fellowship award biography tiananmen pittsburgh” was the key??

    • Japan? Check. Tiananmen Square? Check. Trans-siberian railway? Check. Poet? Check. Daaamn – good work!

      • I feel like we somehow should’ve guessed that her middle name was “bird”, like that’s something we should’ve just been able to garner from the text, i’m serious

        • omg I think you’re right. It fits the whole “free spirit” theme.

          I wonder if she will ever google “Lisa Ruth Brunner” and find the column about her…

          • i love the autostraddle sleuthing club. i spent last night googling tiananmen square + kites too. then today i check back and the answer surfaced in the comments.

      • And also waitaminute, the phrase “google fu” seems so woefully inadequate. Wow!

  4. Guys, in middle school I won a gold medal in “Searching the Internet: How to Utilize Search Engines”. It ain’t no thang.

  5. YOU GUYS. A story about someone cool and liberal from Texas. I keep telling people they exist.

  6. awwwww…

    *is reminded of her also-nomadic-but-just-returned-ZOMGS crush now*

  7. And now autostraddle is the number one hit for “writer kites tiananmen square.” Nice sleuthing!

  8. Here you can also find a very fascinating photo…

    “Miriam Bird Greenberg grew up on an organic farm in rural Texas and spent her childhood roaming the creeks and caved-in barns in muslin schoolteachers’ dresses left behind by ancestors a hundred years dead of diphtheria. She’s been awarded residencies from Headlands Center for the Arts, a waitership from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a Stegner Fellowship. She holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers, though she’s also taught EFL in Japan, hitchhiked solo from Montana to Vermont, and flown kites in Tiananmen Square. She lives in Oakland, California, where she’s practicing “settling down.”

  9. Thank you — was just about to start my own sure-to-be failed google search when I found this. (Curious to read Autostraddle now too…hadn’t heard of it.)
    Does anyone remember “A Friendship Too Tight for Breathing Room” ? (From 2007)

    Kind of reminded me a little of this. “IT began like many other romances: an introduction at a party. She and I slid quickly into an easy banter, drifting from the food table to the bar to the couch, smiling and laughing, the sparks between us practically visible. Anyone could see we were falling for each other. There was just one thing: neither of us was a lesbian.”

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