Ann Friedman is a freelance journalist who writes a weekly column for New York Magazine’s The Cut. She is also a regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, The Gentlewoman, The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review, ELLE, and The Guardian. Friedman has worked as an editor at AlterNet, Feministing, The American Prospect, and GOOD magazine. She is the co-founder of Tomorrow magazine. She co-hosts Call Your Girlfriend, a podcast for long-distance besties everywhere, with her friend, Aminatou Sow. She also sends a weekly email newsletter and makes hand-draws pie charts, which you can find on her website. Friedman lives in Los Angeles.
EB: Let’s start at the beginning. What is your writing-nonfiction origin story?
AF: When I was a kid I would write fiction, but ever since I’ve been old enough to read newspapers and magazines, I’ve been primarily into writing nonfiction. I still love reading fiction and I have boundless respect for its writers. But for me, there is so much weird and wild and important stuff going on in the world—I take my inspiration from it, want to comment on it, want to explore it. Nonfiction is so direct in that way. I love it.
EB: Seriously, why bother making stuff up? The real world is nuts. What is the weirdest, wildest, most important thing you’ve written about lately?
AF: I recently finished a feature about a jetpack pilot. There’s this weird arms race (backs race??) happening right now to build a jetpack that will fly for more than 5 minutes. Of course they’re all semi-crazy dudes who are vying to be the first. It’s fascinating. And sure, you could make them up. But it’s much more fun to interview them IRL. I mean, I got to strap on a jetpack while reporting this article! Continue reading
Here are a couple of tracks that are all about finding that pocket in a non-obvious way.
The first is organic soul music from D’Angelo and the Vanguards’ Black Messiah, recorded by musicians in the same place at the same time, all onto analog tape (you may remember an earlier post from these guys).
The second is manufactured with bleeps and blorps from the genius mind of Aphex Twin on his latest album Syro. For a deeply layered and satisfying listening experience, I can’t recommend either of these albums highly enough. Both go deeper and deeper, and both understand the importance of that pocket…
“You could say they invented me.”
What is refreshing about literary memoirs like Peter Selgin’s is how they transform the reader through writing and self-invention. In The Inventors, Selgin charts his path from age thirteen to fifty-seven, focusing on the influence of two significant role models: his father and an unnamed teacher. These men are complex, rich, mysterious, and flawed. Selgin’s stories are personal and gut-wrenchingly honest, foregrounding memory, language, and creativity. “Can words ever do the past justice? But words are about all I have, words and this odd device known as memory, that thinks it remembers the past, when really it’s inventing it.”
The Telling by Zoe Zolbrod comes out today!
It’s the story of how the author stayed silent about her early childhood molestation, and the many kaleidoscopic ways she has come forward and told the story since then. This history of sexual abuse colors Zolbrod’s sexuality, her relationships with men, and her life as a mother and a feminist.
We asked the author one question.
How are you celebrating the publication of The Telling? Continue reading
This one goes out to all the mothers (especially mine who is obviously the best, and will definitely love this track). Happy Mother’s Day!
It’s amazing that these three voices–Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris–each iconic in their own right, blend so incredibly. One of the hallmarks of great artists, as distinct from just great performers, is that they can leave enough space for one another to be an equal part of the sound.
When he was working on his MFA in creative writing, Ben Rhodes used to write Frederick Barthelme knock-off fiction. In the tiny office where he works today — almost 15 years after leaving the program — he has shelves of books and binders, a picture of his daughter, some reminders of his favorite baseball team. When asked, he says his life could fit the mold of a Don DeLillo novel. His colleagues compare him to Holden Caulfield.
This is all familiar territory for anyone who has, or knows someone with, a creative writing degree. Except that Continue reading