I don’t always love Van Morrison, but when his stuff works, it REALLY works well. You always get a clear sense that he cares deeply about his art, and I will listen to “Into the Mystic” or “Moondance” any day of the week. This track off a live album is a great performance by the whole band, faithfully lurching their way through the blues. I also happened upon an alternate version that Mr. Morrison did with Tom Jones and Jeff Beck. It’s pretty killer.
I realize now that taking him on as my subtenant was not the wisest decision I ever made, setting aside my dating life, which could properly and without exaggeration be characterized as a decade-long disgrace. It’s not that I suffered lasting damage to my apartment or my body. But I now have a certain image burned onto my memory that I wish I’d never acquired. Live and learn, my father would say. If he were still alive. My father was an idiot.
It’s been a bit more than three years now since Satan first sent me an e-mail response to my Craigslist posting. Alarms should have gone off in my puny brain. I mean, who has an e-mail address like email@example.com? Redboy? AOL? But I hadn’t had much luck with the ad, and I was kind of low on money since losing my paralegal job when the law firm downsized as the economy went down the shithole. I had some savings and picked up a little work here and there from this solo practitioner in Westwood, so I wasn’t starving. But I needed an additional revenue flow, like right now. Continue reading
Samantha Irby is the writer behind the blog bitches gotta eat and the author of Meaty: Essays (Curbside Splendor Publishing, 2013), New Year, Same Trash: Resolutions I Absolutely Did Not Keep (Vintage, 2017), and We Are Never Meeting In Real Life: Essays (Vintage, 2017). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Rumpus, and Jezebel, among others. You can follow Irby on Twitter at @wordscience.
EB: First off, how did you start writing nonfiction? Have you always been a nonfiction person?
SI: When I was in high school I used to write fiction that was either imitating things I was reading at the time or was like fairy tales—well, not really fairy tales in the traditional sense, but thinly veiled fantasies of mine. Things like crushes I had that I wished could become real. I thought I could write them into existence maybe. I wrote fiction for a long time, but, oddly enough, writing fictional characters is more sensitive for me than writing about myself. I get real protective of my fictional people. I just couldn’t do all these things to them. Continue reading
Megan Stielstra’s new essay collection, The Wrong Way to Save Your Life, is a guidebook to living in troubled times. I found myself putting the book down to draw out the time I had with it. Each essay is urgent and impassioned, unique and universal, a reminder we’re not alone.
Jaime Rochelle Herndon: Your other book is also an essay collection. How did you come to essay writing?
Megan Stielstra: In high school I was the kind of geek who cut class to hang out at the library. I’d sit on the floor, reading Tolkien, Atwood, Virginia Woolf, but the kicker was Richard Wright’s Black Boy. In chapter 13, the character of Richard gets a library card for the first time and, in reading novels, he’s able to understand people who are different than himself. There I was, a sixteen-year-old girl in super-sheltered, small-town Michigan, having this profound connection with an adult man in the Jim Crow South. It was the first of many stops in an ongoing dialogue I have with myself about the enormity of our world and my own responsibility and privilege within it. Continue reading
“You’re going to go into that final trial date in drag,” the famed Stormé DeLarverie tells Alice Anderson late in her memoir, Some Bright Morning, I’ll Fly Away. “You gonna go as the most upright, pretty, perfectly Southern Republican mama they ever fuckin’ seen. And you gonna to play that part like you know how to play it, the best you’ve ever played it.”
It’s the first time in the book that dressing up and playing a part has been called what it is, but drag is all Anderson has been doing since its first pages. She buries the trauma she suffered at her father’s hands under the façade of a good daughter. She clothes herself as a model in Paris. She masks herself as a perfect wife to her terror of a husband. All of these identities are drag, and they serve as a wire that runs through the book, tensing until it snaps. Continue reading
Watch it with us: Filmstruck
Fritz Lang’s 1931 proto-thriller M still feels fresh, eighty-plus years after its original release. It’s not exactly a lighthearted romp—one of its major contributions was to introduce the world to the concept of the serial killer, something that we had never seen on film and didn’t even have a name yet. (In fact, the German word for serial killer was coined in an article written about M some thirty years after its release.) Films about serial killers are old hat now, but Lang’s take on them is still uniquely humane and empathetic, rather than lurid and lascivious.