Things I Read That I Love #184: It Seemed Everyone, Even The Moon, Was Laughing and Drunk.

feature image via flickr, licensed under creative commons, via The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives in the ILR School at Cornell University. headline quote comes from “Woven” by Lidia Yuknavitch.

HELLO and welcome to the 184th 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 sugar daddies! 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.

Detroit Arcadia, by Rebecca Solnit for Harper’s Magazine, July 2007

I’m obsessed with Rebecca Solnit right now, she is an activist who learns her shit before writing it down. So of course this article about Detroit is good, if dated; taking in, as it does, the whole history of the city and others like it, the mural and the fist and the station everybody talks about when they talk about Detroit, the urban farms, the city’s racist history, its potential future, all the stuff I care and think about all the time.

Live Aid: The Terrible Truth, by Spin Staff, July 1986

This article made a huge impact and wounded Spin significantly when it came out because nobody wanted to believe that the reporting was accurate. Millions were being raised for famine relief in Ethiopia by this enormous worldwide concert fundraising situation but the money was not making its way to Ethiopians who needed it. Eventually the news organizations did their own research which confirmed Spin’s report, printed on their website now in honor of the event’s 30th birthday.

Critical Conditions: For Trans Individuals, Seeking Medical Care Can Be A Minefield, by Kari Mugo for Bitch Magazine, September 2015

This is an excellent piece from Bitch’s Blood & Guts Issue that you can also read online, from a writer who has also written here! The headline is a pretty good description of the contents of the post so I’ll just leave it at that.

Woven, by Lidia Yuknavitch for Guernica, August 2015

Sometimes you’ve had a hard week and nothing seems to be going your way and then you read a piece of writing — a piece containing unspeakable violence, be warned — that leaves you in tears, and you remember that everything we do is worth it because people tell stories like this and invite you to read them.

“I lifted up my shirt and showed them my scar. It was one of the more unprofessional teaching moments of my career, though it would certainly not be the last. So much shame came out of my mouth. The shame of a daughter whose body was written by her father. The shame of leaving a woman I loved. The shame of failed marriages and motherhoods.”

The Real Life of a Sugar Daddy, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner for GQ, August 2015

I used to run in a lot of circles that overlapped with the circles described in this article, which is probably of particular interest to anybody intrigued by the Ashley Madison leak. Or you know, who like to read things about fairly fluffy stuff.

Boom and Rust, by Meagan Day for The New Inquiry, November 2014

Another excellent piece on my present area of obsession, this one looking specifically at Bodie, California, a gold rush ghost town that “embalms the risks that haunt all California settlements.” This one also pays special attention to a topic rarely discussed in ghost town contexts, which is the Mexicans, Native Americans and Chinese who were violently prevented from seeking their fortunes in this area; as well as the impact The Gold Rush had on the environment. “The story told here is a standard settler fairytale, in which it takes wild but noble men to tame a wild and formidable land,” she writes. “These were the same men—generous and admirable—who organized a racist mob to attack Chinese laborers in a nearby railroad camp in 1881.” I actually realized when reading this today that previously I’d only read it up to the point of Rebecca Solnit’s first quote, at which point I tasked myself with tracking down its original essay and then the book I could get to read the whole thing. Now that I’ve gone back and finished it, I wish I’d finished it earlier ’cause I would’ve quoted the hell out of it in the A+ piece I published yesterday.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, by Ross Perlin for Guernica, May 2011

I swear I’ve shared this before but Google says I haven’t! I read (or re-read, who knows) this last week while reading a bunch of stuff for my big ‘ol road trip book. So “interns” in the Disney College Program learn absolutely nothing and basically just do minimum-wage jobs and work awful hours and live in Disney housing. This program was first described to me by a friend who’d done it (and still liked it), and I was surprised then, as now.

The Story of Madam C.J Walker, by Hunter Oatman-Stanford for Collector’s Weekly, August 2015

Did you know that America’s first female self-made millionaire was African-American and that she sold hair and beauty products for black women? You can read her whole amazing story right now, this very moment, in your lives. You can do that! (Also you can read about her bisexual daughter here.) (Also! You can read about the 13-year-old entrepreneur who is being called “today’s Madame CJ Walker.”)

They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist, by Jenny Zhang for Buzzfeed, September 2015

Jenny Zhang has an honest, piercing critique and analysis of the situation with Michael Hudson, who used a fake name to seem like a Chinese person in order to get his poem published, and, in general, the white co-option of the pain of people of color. She also talks about how she’s been told personally that it’ll be easier for her to get ahead in publishing because of her race, which is ridiculous. White people have a much easier time selling books. There’s so much good in this piece, here’s just one graf of it:

I won’t be scandalized by a white man who hasn’t considered that perhaps what helped his poem finally get published was less the fake Chinese woman he pretended to be, and more the robust, unflappable confidence bordering on delusion that he and many privileged white men possess: the capacity to be rejected forty (40) times and not give up, to be told, “no we don’t want you” again and again and think, I got this. I know what will get me in. What may be persistence to him is unfathomable to me.

Going Home With My Ghosts, by Riese Bernard for A+, September 2015

Yes, hello, this is me sharing an article I wrote. Yup, I am promoting MY VERY OWN SELF. I wrote this for Autostraddle Plus! It’s a long-form piece that weaves in a lot of personal stories, history and so much more, and I’m pretty proud of it and it took two months to write! So, you should check it out. I think if you like the stuff I share here, you’ll like it, you have to be a silver or gold member to read it but maybe that was a thing you already wanted to do?

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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 3200 articles for us.


  1. I didn’t comment on your road trip article but it was so good. I’ve got a special spot in my heart for road trips, the wild west, and Michigan, and I’m a Midwestern girl through and through, so it hit all the right notes.

  2. Okay Im joining so I can read “Going Home with My Ghosts.” Been meaning to for ages, and the time has finally come.

  3. Guh after I read some of these I just wanna discuss them with someone at my level, but that person doesn’t exist in my life and it’s hard to train new people to get use to or understand me.
    Also face to face I can see pity crystal clear or someone trying to find the faded old set of scars on my face that’re one line away from a mark of Zorro if I were talk about the Woven piece and the ways I relate to it, how it touches me.

    I’d be annoyed at greatness of this round up of things you read and you Riese if I didn’t know strong reading makes a stronger writer.
    And wasn’t still greatly amused at how close San Bernardino is to your last name.
    It’s not as much amusement when I realised boca rhymes with chocha, but it’s like significant okay.

  4. Wowowow “Woven” was heartbreaking and amazing and I never would have found it by myself. Thanks a bunch!!

  5. I did the Disney College Program. I hated it but yes, some enjoy it. I got sent home early for having a mental illness and being declared “unfit to work”. I had depression, an eating disorder etc and couldn’t do the very physical job I was assigned and had asked to be transferred.

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