Archive | Book Matters

First and Forest

When I came to Truro, it was to be for a month. I had put the word out among my extended circle that I was looking to live in rural New England in September, and had rolled my eyes as I’d done so. Who’d be willing to lend me their empty house wily-nily for four weeks?

I had gall.

But as is often the case when life really needs to change, that gall paid off. A friend from high school—really, someone I liked but had never known very well—got in touch through Facebook, and the next thing I knew Grace and I were hurtling to Truro in a car full of cat food, thin cotton dresses, and platform shoes.

That’s who I was on September 7. Tired eyes, disappointed smiles, trailing glamour like yesterday’s big idea. Grief-stricken about the hateful ignorance validated by the Trussian Oligarchy. Grief-stricken about who I no longer was. Continue Reading →

They Shoot Jewish Witches, Don’t They?

Last night I had dinner at a Truro restaurant, and encountered the particular strain of New England xenophobia that inspired me to leave the region decades before.

It annoys me that I feel compelled to report on what occurred. Soon I must jump back into my ADHD life in New York, and expending precious writing time on this topic feels like a microcosm of how our predator-in-chief siphons our energy by making it all about his ugly heart rather than the huge issues he should be managing. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? The hatred lurking everywhere in American life is leaping to the surface because it’s been endorsed at the top.

So here’s what happened. I had had an almost perfect day before that dinner. By 1 pm, I had written 3,000 words of a book section that had been giving me trouble. Then I’d headed over to the Provincelands, an extraordinary stretch of the Cape Cod National Seashore comprised of dunes and forests and ancient, still-inhabited shacks. I walked for miles in this extrarrestrial territory—all sand mountains, barreling blue sky, trees stubbornly growing sideways. I was dressed how I most like to dress—a loose skirt and trenchcoat, barefoot and pigtailed—and could not stop smiling. It was the first bright day all week, and I was fucking happy. Continue Reading →

The Hazards of Building a Bildungsrosman

One of the weirdest things about writing a book about my early life, which is what I mean when I call this memoir a bildungsrosman, is that there are days when I’m channeling my elementary school self or my mother at 16 or my dad at 26–people I’ve never met before, basically. Somedays this is interesting, others it’s plain devastating. Today’s one of the devastating times and it’s like I just watched the goodbye scenes in Terms of Endearment; ain’t no way I can hold back the tears pouring down my cheeks though I don’t even notice them until I feel wet on my cheeks and even then assume they’re springing from a leak in the ceiling. Metaphorically at least, this may not be so far from the truth. It’s all coming down.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy