this book looks way good, from Nia King
i love everything about roxane gay. below, from the New York Times
Toward the end of your new essay collection, “Bad Feminist,” you cite your favorite definition of feminists: “women who don’t want to be treated like [expletive].” Is your definition still so succinct? At its basis, I just don’t believe that women should be treated like [expletive] for being women. But as you begin to expand the definition, it’s that women deserve to have full and satisfying lives in the same way that men do. I’m very committed to making sure that we do get there somehow.
To me, the book seemed at least as much about the “bad” half of the title as the “feminist” part. You embrace your flaws and the way they influence your feminism. I began calling myself “bad feminist” sort of tongue in cheek. But eventually it was just that I wanted to own feminism and acknowledge that I’m inconsistent and human, but still, my heart and my head are in the right place.
It’s catchier than “Imperfect Feminist.” I thought the title would be an interesting juxtaposition to the actual nuance that there is in the book. It’s a way of pulling people in.
Much of the book has already been published online. But you’ve said that publishing a book is risky because your writing might find a wider audience. How so? You might think books have a smaller reach, but since my first novel was published in May, I’ve realized that, no, books have a huge reach. On the Internet, we tend to read the sites that we read, but that’s it. We have habits and places that we go, and just because something is online and can be read by everyone doesn’t mean it will be read by everyone.
Your book contains an essay about your ongoing love for the “Sweet Valley High” series. How did you become so obsessed?Growing up, I was such a nerd and so unpopular and “Sweet Valley High” offered me a lot of really satisfying wish fulfillment. I could sublimate my loneliness and angst into the lives of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. My family moved around a lot when my brothers and I were young, so it was a familiar thing. No matter where I lived, Jessica and Elizabeth were there with me.
There was a piece on Slate recently arguing that adults should be embarrassed to read young-adult fiction. What did you think of that? I think it was written by a really smart critic, but I just disagree. I think reading is reading, and I’m not going to be ashamed of a goddamn thing I read. As long as people are reading, good things are happening, unless they’re reading, like, “Mein Kampf.”
I’ve read that you started writing at age 4 — is that true? Yeah. I would draw little villages on napkins, and make up stories about the people living in the village. There was always a cemetery, and a guy who ran the cemetery, and there was a priest. It was very bucolic.
Interesting that you mentioned the cemetery first. Yes, that darkness has always been in me.
You’re also known for being very active on Twitter. I delude myself into thinking no one’s reading what I’m doing. That’s the only way I can do it. It’s a very elaborate delusion that I spent a lot of time and effort building. People ask, “What is your social media strategy?” and quite frankly my strategy is that I don’t have one. I don’t ever want to be the kind of person who uses the phrase “social media strategy.”
You have a Ph.D. in rhetoric and technical communication and will soon be teaching writing at Purdue University. What was your dissertation about? It was on the narrative in higher education about students being bad writers. I think that narrative is a fetish among faculty, not a reality. They fetishize the idea of bad writing, and they are more interested in the lore of bitching about students’ writing than they are in actually evaluating students’ writing as it is. But complaining can be a way of bonding.
So it’s almost healthy to talk about students because otherwise they’d be talking trash about other faculty members? Well, that happens, too. Oh, people are terrible.
Creativity is a combinatorial force: It’s our ability to tap into our mental pool of resources — knowledge, insight, information, inspiration, and all the fragments populating our minds — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways.”
— Maria Popova, Brain Pickings. She goes on to say: “In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new ideas…. The richer and more diverse that pool of resources, that mental library of building blocks, the more visionary and compelling our combinatorial ideas can be.” (via howtheydoit)
Mon raison d’être. (My reason for being.) What is yours? #TBT to my girls literacy club in Manila, Philippines, 2012. #livingonpurpose #workislove #girlseducation #girlsempowement #literacy #youth #education #passion #mission #love #purpose #manila #philippines ❤️
She’s one I think about the most, really. After all, I, along with thousands of other bookish females with a tendency towards blue, have worshipped her every word since finding The Bell Jar in the school library at fifteen. Sylvia! we cry. Oh, there have been armies of us, knobby-elbowed girls poring over her tangled prose while aching away on our twin beds.”
Katie Crouch writes about suicide and Sylvia Plath over on Buzzfeed. (The essay was originally published in the journal ZYZZYVA.)
I’d just say to aspiring journalists or writers—who I meet a lot of—do it now. Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.”
Sometimes a book just cannot be fixed. And sometimes you can’t know that until you’re in the middle of it.”
To begin with, you need to write. This seems axiomatic because it is. The only way to amass a pile of words into a book is to shovel some every single day. No days off. You have to form this habit; without it you are screwed. I’m going to assume everyone who keeps reading already has this down. If you don’t — you won’t make it. My best advice on how to form this habit is twofold: Get comfortable staring at a blank screen and not writing. This is a skill. If you can not write and avoid filling that time with distractions, you’ll get to the point where you start writing. Open your manuscript and just be with it.”
The real work is how not to hang your self-worth, your sense of success and merits, the fullness of your heart, and the stability of your soul on those numbers—on that constant positive reinforcement and external validation. That’s the only real work, and the irony is that the more “successful” you get, by either your own standards or external standards, the harder it is to decouple all of those inner values from your work. I think we often confuse the doing for the being.”
— Maria Popova (via inspiracioh)
Bradbury was always talking about how he never did a day of work in his life. He always wrote with love and with joy and that was the only way to really be for him. I think that sort of romantic idea of the despondent writer somewhere secluded, drinking and cutting her veins or whatever, is just horrible! And, I think a lot creators today think that that is the way to have good ideas, but I think just being in touch with your emotional reality is what it takes to make meaningful work.”
— Maria Popova (via inspiracioh)