HELLO and welcome to the 236th 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 thru-hiking! 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.
Going It Alone, by Rahawa Haile for Outside Magazine, April 2017
A queer black woman thru-hikes the Appalachian trail, encounters angels in the wilderness and Confederate Flag-toting racists in trail towns, writes it all down for you.
Margaret Atwood, the Prophet of Dystopia, by Rebecca Mead for The New Yorker, April 2017
An engaging and timely profile of Margaret Atwood, which involves a fascinating trip into her archives at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, among other compelling words, sentences and paragraphs.
The Mastermind Behind Coachella, by John Seabrook for The New Yorker, April 2017
Hot damn this little party makes a shit-ton of money! This was… educational.
Since Living Alone, by Durga Chew-Bose for The Hairpin, January 2015
Living alone, I’ve described to friends, is akin to waking up on a Saturday and realizing it’s Saturday. That flighty jolt. That made-up sense of repartee with time. Abundance felt from sitting upright in bed; the weight of one’s duvet vanquishing, by some means, all accountability. Rarely travelling for half of last year and staying put in my new place all to my own was akin to the emotional clarity yielded from those first few sips of red wine, or from riding the subway after a seeing a movie; riding it the length of the city only to forget that this train dips above ground as it crosses the East River, suddenly washing my face with sunlight or in the evening, apprising my reflection in the train’s window with the tinsel of Manhattan’s skyline.
The Fictions and Futures of Transformative Justice, a conversation with Walidah Imarisha, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, adrienne maree brown & Mia Mingus for The New Inquiry, April 2017
Read this roundtable with authors of Octavia’s Brood!
I think our survival depends on being able to hold both views, surviving the present, and supporting the most vulnerable with our eyes on the horizon, looking as far as we can, shaping our reality towards that. The threats now are universal–nuclear war, climate catastrophe–and none of us are served by short sight or normalizing this political moment. I also think that in our fear we get small, we get competitive, we get righteous. Division abounds. Leaning into transformative justice, complexity, unity, being ungovernable together–all of that will be important.
Big Bother Is Watching, by Jacob Silverman for The Baffler, April 2017
THIS IS ABOUT SLACK, HELP
A Super Strange True Love Story: My Disappearing Fiancé, by Annalisa Merelli for narrative.ly, June 2015
Well, this really cut right to the core of my heart and dug around in there with a razor blade for so many minutes! I recommend that if you want to read this, do it right now, before you keep reading this post and see the next essay on this list, ’cause it’s related, and therefore kind of a spoiler. TRUST ME.
I loved him, and the unexpected certainty that he, too, truly loved me gave me a happiness so enormous it frightened me. My father had died too early for me to believe happy endings were possible, let alone feeling that I was destined for one.
A Second Super Strange True Love Story: I Was The Other Woman, by Riol Dankó for narrative.ly, June 2015
Obviously I have no self-control. Here’s a story that picks up where that story left off. FTR this essay basically dug out my heart with a grapefruit spoon.
That there was something broken, someone harmed and left behind, was invisible; collateral damage. I wanted to believe in this one true love so badly that I ignored the inexplicable, as well as my own principles of loyalty to fellow women. The details were murky anyway. When they emerged, they were carefully managed. A broken engagement was revealed. Turned out his fiancée wanted to end it anyway. Turned out the wedding had to be canceled, because it was unaffordable. She was controlling and manipulative. He’d been dead done with her for years. Turned out it would be better for all, especially her, if he didn’t go back to the other side of the world, to end things in person and move his belongings out of their once shared apartment. We had to act on our love now or we would forever live in the dark shadows of regret, unable to breathe.
The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black, by Ijeoma Oluo for The Stranger, April 2017
Rachel Dolezal has learned absolutely nothing, remains the worst.
The dismissive and condescending attitude toward any black people who see blackness differently than she does is woven throughout her comments in our conversation. It is not just our pettiness, it is also our lack of education that is preventing us from getting on Dolezal’s level of racial understanding. She informs me multiple times that black people have rejected her because they simply haven’t learned yet that race is a social construct created by white supremacists, they simply don’t know any better and don’t want to: “I’ve done my research, I think a lot of people, though, haven’t probably read those books and maybe never will.”
Crowd Source, by Davy Rothbart for The California Sunday Magazine, March 2016
A Los Angeles company responsible for delivering artificial crowds to celebrities who want to seem more famous, politicians who want to seem more popular, and political movements that want to seem more incensed.
Experts in the Field, by Bonnie Nadzam for Tin House, February 2016
There is a kind of clarity of purpose, however, that comes alongside the horrible irony of seeing a former abuser, a narcissist and a self-proclaimed “expert” in all he does, a charismatic leader who often told me he was “the kind of guy who gets elected for things,” celebrated for his involvement in a “Writers Resist” event. Over and over again he made me promise not to write about him. It’s a promise I’ve broken many times—most explicitly now. What is perhaps most breathtaking about the myriad supportive responses I usually hear, not only about him but also about the second writer and teacher I will describe, below, is how many responses I get go exactly like this: “I’m sorry. Me, too.” It’s no wonder such men would rather I say nothing, write nothing. In tentatively reaching out, I’ve learned I’m not alone. But there may be some of you out there who still think you are.