For your reading list
If you’re prone to binge reading, close this tab right now.
Think you can handle it? Here it comes: Check out the Toast’s If X Were Your Y. This section caught my eye with If LaVar Burton and Yo-Yo Ma Were Your Dads by Nicole Chung and Karissa Chen. Then I read another piece. And another. You could say it’s my latest obsession.
The premise is as simple as one phrase: “If ___ were your ___.” Writers fill out that phrase, and then take it to its logical – and then far beyond logical – conclusions. With that Chung-Chen piece, the idea led to passages like:
If LeVar Burton and Yo-Yo Ma were your dads, when you were a kid, every time you had a question about anything (“How do you spell ‘loquacious’?” “Do sharks sleep with their eyes closed?”), LeVar Burton would tell you to take a look, it’s in a book. And when you complained about how annoying Dad was being, Yo-Yo Ma would play a slow, sad song on the cello, and they’d laugh at you (never unkindly) as you stomped away.
Logical enough. But did you know “if LeVar Burton and Yo-Yo Ma were your dads, your orchids would never die, no matter how much you overwatered them”? That one waves to logical as it passes, keeps going, and ends up three galaxies away. Another great one: If Justin Bieber Were My Terrible, Golden Son. Continue reading
It’s time for another What I’m Consuming post. I started with a collection of shortish fiction. This next one is a collection of short nonfiction (i.e. essays) — Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial, 2014).
What it is and why it’s here
Bad Feminist is a collection of essays by a fiction writer and cultural critic. Gay chews on and critiques all manner of things in pieces you may recognize from Slate, The Rumpus, and others.
The book starts off with disarming reads. Gay’s first essay on feminism has her questioning the absolutism many associate with the term. “I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy,” Gay writes. She is also:
…a woman who loves pink and likes to get freaky and sometimes dances her ass off to music she knows, she knows, is terrible to women and who sometimes plays dumb with repairmen because it’s just easier to let them feel macho than it is to stand on the moral high ground.
The Association of Writers and Writing Programs brings its annual conference and book fair to D.C. next month. I plan to attend, but definitely need help with choosing sessions. If you’re a student, you can get in for 50 bucks. And as my friend Marina pointed out, in a sense we are all perpetually students.
Apparently, the country is teeming not only with students, but with writers. So many want to attend that the event sprawls between two hotels — the Omni Shoreham and the Marriott Wardman Park.
In other news, I recently found guides to literary markets that other writers might find useful. Media Bistro members can find out where, when, and how to submit personal essays in the three-part Personal Essay Market feature (thank you to Emily from my freelance writing group for that one!) Then there’s Writers and Poets’ (FREE!) guide to literary magazines, searchable by genre. P&W also has a hefty, gratis guide to grants and awards. Also free. (Did I mention that neither of these cost anything?)
If you don’t mind shelling out $40 for the year, you always have Writers Market. I recall very complete listings last time I had a membership. Don’t worry if you aren’t ready to make the investment, though; there’s a free seven-day trial.
As some writing colleagues know, I wrote an essay about my father’s involvement with TV pirates. I’m helping to organize a screening of some of the video that he and his mates, the Videofreex, produced. The D.C. Arts Collective in Adams Morgan will host the event on January 19. Read the announcement and RSVP on Facebook (essay has yet to find a home, but rest assured that when it does, you can read about it here):
Step into the social, cultural, and political tumult of the 1960s and ‘70s through the videos of the pirate TV force called the Videofreex. This screening will include interviews with cultural icons, experiments in early special effects, and bits of a pirate TV show broadcast from tiny Lanesville, NY.
Videofreex Skip Blumberg and Rhea Kennedy, along with fellow traveler Eddie Becker, will share background in person.
Wednesday, January 19
DC Arts Center
2438 18th Street NW
Total video running time: about 40 minutes
Contact: Skip Blumberg IMPIncNYC@verizon.net
RSVP on Facebook