HELLO and welcome to the 237th 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 Eileen Myles! 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.
Airbrushing Shittown, by Aaron Bady for Hazlitt, May 2017
I generally avoid pieces that exist only to explain “this thing that everybody likes is actually bad / problematic / the problem” but because this was on Hazlitt, I knew it’d be more than just that, and so I opened it and I read it and I was right and it was interesting and well written and by the end I was glad I’d done it.
The Art of Poetry No. 99: Eileen Myles, by Ben Lerner / Eileen Myles for The Paris Review, Fall 2015
Eileen Myles will always be refreshing.
There’s a whole female industry engaged in materially supporting the illusion that the artist doesn’t work directly on his legacy, his immediate success. He’s just a beautiful stoner boy or an intellectual. All thought. No wife? I like turning that illusion inside out. And making the work be literally about the field and the failures and even the practice. I wrote about these things in Inferno because Dante did. We should let the writing world and its ways of distributing awards be part of fiction. We should expose the very cultural apparatus that is affecting the reception of the book you’re reading. What’s dirty is that we’re not supposed to talk about how it has sex and reproduces.
Lead Me On, by Lyz Lenz for Hazlitt, May 2017
I had not thought about Amy Grant in a long time so bless G-d for bringing this article to my attention. I loved her tapes so hard.
“… it was this, her simple desire to be heard, that made them ultimately kick her out. “How could she be a Christian?” Adults and my older sister’s friends would say in church. And what I heard was, “You can’t be holy if you are a woman who hungers for more.”
My Father Spent 30 Years In Prison. Now He’s Out., by Ashley C. Ford for Refinery 29, April 2017
A touching and emotionally complicated story from a writer you probably already know and love, because we sure do.
Days Spent Doing Too Much of Fucking Nothing, by Jarrod Shanahan for The New Inquiry, March 2017
This is about Lil Wayne’s prison memoir but also about prison itself and the history of the Eric M. Taylor Center at Riker’s Island.
The beauty of Gone ‘Til November is that it captures not only the crushing debasement of human life but also the perverse flowering of the human spirit in such an intellectually, materially, and spiritually impoverished setting. Friendships bloom, laughter echoes throughout the blocks, and flashes of joy, triumph, and sentimentality momentarily remove the inmate from the reality of a debasing institution. A multimillionaire, Weezy quickly finds himself rejoicing over iced Gatorade, makeshift meals seasoned with crushed up Doritos, adding extra sugar to the cereal he eats out of a recycled peanut butter jar, and listening to slow jams on a low quality radio.
An Incomplete List of My Failures, by Sarah Gerard for Hazlitt, April 2017
Look somehow everything on Hazlitt this week appealed to me, what can I say. This is mostly about eating disorders, but then it becomes about heartbreak, and then I think both.
I can’t speak for my husband, but I can say that I gave up too much of myself in our marriage. I know this because, now that I’m alone in the world for the first time—I haven’t been single for more than a few weeks since I was in high school—I’m finding it difficult to articulate what I want and need. Certain aspects of who I am are suddenly in flux. I’m finding that I haven’t known myself like I thought I did. I’m facing my shortcomings, and taking steps to change the less admirable parts of my personality. It’s daunting. It’s exciting.
I Thought Sex Work Would Be Empowering and Feminist. I Was Dead Wrong., by Emily Eveland for Narrative.ly., March 2016
I read this ’cause I was a sex worker for a long time and often did not find it at all empowering or feminist, but the story this writer tells is not like my story. But it’s a well-told story. Although I think the title is sort of a false grab, ’cause she is really just telling her own story, not making any comments about sex work being empowering/feminist or not outside of her own experience. Nor is sex work being empowering/feminist or not the topic of the story. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t, but it made me want to read a lot more by this writer, I really liked her voice.
The U.S. Gymnastics System Wanted More Medals, And Created A Culture Of Abuse To Get Them, by Dvora Meyers for Deadspin, May 2017
Y’all know I’m big into gymnastics and also big into all the things that happen behind the scenes in gymnastics that are really uncool
Fine Dining, by Maurice Carlos Ruffin for The Virgina Quarterly Review, Fall 2016
A Black lawyer is one of three Black lawyers at a law-review banquet in the Audubon Tea Room in New Orleans and from that moment he gets into all these other moments, like the history of this city built by and served by Black people for the enjoyment of white people and how fucked up it all is.
Norma McCorvey Vs. Jane Roe, by Norma McCorvey for Harper Collins, 1994
Longreads has acquired an excerpt from the out-of-print memoir of Norma McCorvey, aka Jane Roe, the lesbian-turned-born-again-Christian defendant named in Roe V. Wade. Which then led me to read this 2013 Vanity Fair profile that filled in a lot of gaps and included interviews with her ex-girlfriend of many years and also contradicted a lot of what Norma said in her memoir.