Things I Read That I Love #129: The Bird Can’t Be Here, The Bird Lives In Wichita

HELLO and welcome to the 88th installment of Things I Read That I Love, wherein I share with you some of the longer-form journalism/essays I’ve read recently so that you can read them too and we can all know more about Chirlane McCray! This “column” is less feminist/queer focused than the rest of the site because when something is feminist/queer focused, I put it on the rest of the site. Here is where the other things are.

The title of this feature is inspired by the title of Emily Gould’s tumblr, Things I Ate That I Love.

The Great American Chain Gang (May 2014), by Beth Schwartzapfel for The American Prospect – This is a really thorough and comprehensive piece about how the labor prisoners do in prison is basically slave labor, and also the challenges of re-entry. It touched on many of the issues I talked about in this post and also reminded me of this post from Colorlines.

Chirlane McCray’s City (May 2014), by Lisa Miller for New York Magazine – I was really impressed with how fairly they discussed her lesbian past in this piece. It’s also a super interesting piece because it provides a huge window into political black lesbian feminist culture and magazine publishing in the ’70s and ’80s. Seriously a really interesting read.

The Art of Screenwriting: Matthew Weiner, by Semi Chellas for The Paris Review “Peggy is my favorite. I identify with her struggle. She is so earnest and self-righteous and talented and smart, but dumb about personal things. She thinks she’s living the life of “we.” But she’s not. And every time she turns a corner, someone says, “You’re not part of ‘we.’ ” “But you all said ‘we’ the other day.” “Yes, we meant, ‘we white men.’ “

Angelina Jolie’s Perfect Game (May 2014), by Anne Helen Peterson for Buzzfeed – Anne Helen Peterson also wrote that amazing article about “Cool Girls” like Jennifer Lawrence and this goes just as far and wide talking about the creation and evolution of Jolie’s image, celebrity magazines, image management from a historical perspective, etc.

Litany For My Mother’s Body (May 2014), by Goldberry Long for The Rumpus – My mother’s body took the men’s blows… My mother put beer in her body… My mother’s body held her death inside it… My mother’s body had another baby but that one she got rid of and then she was done with carrying bodies in her body.

How To Lose $100 Million (May 2014), by Luke O’Brien for Politico – Ummmm mostly this made me jealous that somebody had this much money to make a really good magazine and instead she made a really bad magazine. I mean also it’s Tina Brown and she’s this huge legend though, so.

Layers of SCUM: Uncovering Valerie Solanas (May 2014), by Hannah Ghorashi for Interview Magazine – I’ve always found Solanas really fucking interesting. So this was a lot.

Maya Angelou: The Art of Fiction (September 1990), by George Plimpton for The Paris Review “When I’m writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. I’m trying for that. But I’m also trying for the language. I’m trying to see how it can really sound. I really love language. I love it for what it does for us, how it allows us to explain the pain and the glory, the nuances and the delicacies of our existence. And then it allows us to laugh, allows us to show wit. Real wit is shown in language. We need language.”

Mentally Unfit (April 2014), by Zachary McDermott for Gawker – A really great personal essay about a 26-year-old’s first psychotic break. “Regaining sanity in a mental hospital was like treating a migraine at a rave.”


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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of 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 3198 articles for us.


  1. Thank you riese, ‘Mentally unfit ‘ by Zachary McDermott is something i will look for more information on. ” you’re not crazy, crazy people don’t know they are crazy “

  2. Bummed that the piece on Angelina Jolie included no mention of her bisexuality. Bi erasure strikes again…

    By the way, this feature is one of my favorites; I always look forward to it for weekend reading. Thanks, Riese!

  3. Recently, a friend recommended an article to me ( I read it, loved it. Then I wondered if someone around here had mentioned it; Google said no. Maybe you (singular meaning Riese, plural meaning every person or dog with a blog reading this) would love it, too.

  4. Devoured that essay on Angelina Jolie. Never expected that sort of content from Buzzfeed so this is a great surprise.

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