Things I Read That I Love #155: I Will Only Bleed Here

HELLO and welcome to the 155th 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 ModCloth! 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.

Reader I must be honest with you: I’m kinda stoned right now, but I promise you this column and I never want to let you down, so.

How ModCloth Went From a College Dorm to $100 Million a Year, by Lauren Indvik for Mashable, August 2013

Oh I just find these things interesting. I wish someone would give us $1 million dollars and we’d start a fashion line and we’d have designs by Arabelle Sicardi, Nicolette Mason, Coco Layne, Lydia Our Style Editor Obviously and also Alex Vega, because she went to fashion school. Also Kaylah Wilson and Tayler Smith would do makeup lines. Does somebody want to fund that for us, I think you would get your money back, e-mail me.

James Baldwin Tells You How To Cool It This Summer, Esquire Magazine, July 1968

I already told you to read this when I told you the things to read for this #Blacklivesmatter reading list, did you read it yet? You really need to read this.

I Will Only Bleed Here, by Bijan Stephen for n+1, November 2014

Here’s another story. I am the only black person on the editorial floor at my place of employment. The other ones who look like me work as cleaners or in the mailroom. When we lock eyes I nod, and it is both the easiest and hardest thing in the world. I know nothing of their lives, and yet here we are the same. Today I will do this. We will share a look that encompasses last night’s indignities and acknowledges tomorrow’s. We will keep our heads down and our hearts guarded, and I will only bleed here, in words, on this page.

The Writing Class, by Jaswinder Bolina for The Poetry Foundation, November 2014

This did a rare thing which is that it taught me how to think about a thing totally differently than I had thought about that thing. So I am grateful for it and would like to pass that opportunity on to you. It’s described like this: “On privilege, the AWP-industrial complex, and why poetry doesn’t seem to matter.”

The Secret Life of Passwords, by Ian Urbina for The New York Times, November 2014

Everything in this article seemed totally valid but at the same time, like it was making a big deal out of nothing? I couldn’t decide. What do you think? It was well written and deftly put together, regardless.

Who Is Charlie Crist?, by Adam C. Smith and Michael Kruse for The Miami New-Times, August 2014

Here’s the answer: kind of an asshole? Most of what I knew about this guy was from that documentary Outrage about closeted gay politicians. Now I know more about this guy but I still don’t like him!

The Smartest Bro In The Room, by Ellen Cushing for San Francisco Magazine, November 2014

Well the guy who owns Uber, it turns out, is not such a good man!

Life In Chains: Giving Thanks At Cracker Barrel, by Cari Wade Gervin for Eater, November 2014

The fact that this article exists strengthens my belief in G-d. I want to talk to Cari Wade Gervin about Dad stuff forever, and invite all the people who e-mailed me when I wrote that essay too.

How The Strand Keeps Going In The Age of Amazon, by Christopher Bonanos for Vulture, November 2014

I miss the Strand more than anything in New York besides my friends. I love this place. I went there for the first time in ’99 and so much that year and the next, and then all the time from ’04-’10. I’d be heartbroken if I went back to the city and it wasn’t there, but it’s always so crowded I never realized it. I think it’s ’cause they’re really deft curators — you don’t have to dig through stuff to find the good books, it’s all right there for you.

They Heard the Call Of Freedom, by Eric Moskowitz for The Boston Globe, August 2014

Really great stories from people involved in Freedom Summer, the young idealists who traveled to Mississippi to teach schools for black children and register black citizens to vote and also the citizens they worked with on the ground. Another reminder of how brutal anti-black violence has always been.

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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 3181 articles for us.


  1. Just started reading “I will only bleed here” and I’m already floored by the first paragraph.

    “I’d blind her [justice] if I could.”

    I have no words. Since I was 14 years old and my best friend told me about her sexual assault, I’ve wanted to be a sex crimes prosecutor. Over the years, as I studied criminal justice and the prison industrial complex and the racial injustices inherent in the criminal justice system in college, I questioned how I could still hold that goal. But I pressed forward, thinking I could be an agent of change from inside the system. And now it’s like Ferguson is the last straw. I’m in my last year of law school, interning at my local State’s Attorney Office for over a year and half now, and, for the first time since I was 14 years old, I have no clue where to go from here. I don’t think I can work inside the system anymore. Maybe that’ll fade as Ferguson fades from the news. But I don’t want the discontent, the pain, the heartache to fade. But I’m terrified to not know where I’m going from here.

    I guess part of me wishes I could be blind to the fact that justice isn’t.

  2. Riese I want to give you so much money; I have these fantasies that I win the lottery and I have to sit my partner down and be like ‘Okay so after we pay off my student loans and buy a new car and get my mom a beautiful house with a wraparound porch and set up a portfolio or whatever rich people do to make more money off their money, we need to give some money to Autostraddle because they are just trying to do good things and they need help, okey dokey?’

    • I buy a lottery ticket once every few months, and my rich person fantasy is very similar to yours.

      No car, though. I hate cars. But I do love weird, queer indie media.

  3. Just quietly sobbed while reading “I Will Only Bleed Here.”

    Also, as a creative writing major (undergrad) turned activist/organizer, the Poetry Foundation piece hit me in my gut. I’m genuinely grateful I didn’t get into any of the highly competitive MFA poetry programs I applied to. When I’m at the poetry open mic night and I have nothing to read because I literally have no brain space and time for my own poetry, I am sometimes jealous of the college professor writers and the career slam poets. But then, I am also so glad to do social justice work for my job and someday I hope to get back to doing that through my creative writing again.

    The only way they will is if we disrupt the culture of privilege that insulates us. And we need to disrupt it, not for our egoistic desire for a larger audience, but for the sake of our art. The only job of the poet is to destabilize and expand language.

    ^^ so much this.

  4. these are all so good! “I Will Only Bleed Here” was fantastic and obviously the Baldwin piece is life-changing.

    also i met jaswinder bolina once! he is a nice person and i like his poetry!

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