“Dennis Rodman, Dolly Parton, Prince Rogers Nelson are my role models. Mariah Carey, Fiona Apple, and Celine Dion for a time, fit this role for me. In some sense they are all divas who embrace their importance while highlighting their own absurdities, reveling in the artifice of their successes while always creating, exploring, demanding more from a world that so often tells us we deserve nothing”
— And this is the part of “The Radical Possibilities of Being Human: A Survival Guide for Liminal Feminists” where I started crying. (via mollitudo)
“I discovered The Silent Woman, Janet Malcolm’s portrait of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, last fall and read it in just one sitting, the book in one hand and a champagne flute of white wine in the other. I had recently broken all of my wine glasses. I did not break them all at the same time. Some I broke while cleaning, and I was upset that I had managed to destroy something while trying to make it clean, make it better. Other glasses were broken using more theatrical methods, smashing them against walls to prove points. I had also recently broken my bed frame, cracked a rib, and wrecked a series of valuable relationships. Broken things had become my metric. It was fall and this book fell on my head in the Strand. It was fall and everything was falling out of place. It was fall and I felt, constantly, as if I were in a state of vertigo. I could go on. I won’t.”
“But Fight Club was never a fairytale. It’s a painful howl into a night that probably isn’t listening and that is more a cry of pain than a drive to hurt. When a bunch of confused, angry, and sad men bond together, first to fight one another, then to indiscriminately terrorize an entire city, we are meant to feel uncomfortable. We are also meant to feel uncomfortable by the fact that, for a little while, Tyler Durden’s diatribes did seem interesting and seductive.”
“I looked down at my book again, and when I glanced up I saw the dynamic that had been at play the entire length of our conversation: the man’s dick was out of his pants. I looked down quickly and thought about what would provide him the least satisfaction. I considered ignoring it for the final two stops of my ride, but I felt the anger rise in me. I looked up into his eyes, and said, “Get away from me.” He smiled. “What?” “You know what I said. Get away from me and cover yourself.” I pointed toward the door. “Cover yourself. Cover yourself,” I repeated in full voice until he apologized and pulled his pants up.”
Repetition by Jac Jemc.
“The poet and professor James Galvin, during a graduate school seminar he was teaching, once said something along the lines of: “You could burn every copy of your favorite poem, and it would still exist.” It terrified me at first—that if that happened, it would be difficult to reproduce an accurate version of the exact piece. That we would lose so much. Imagine “Prufrock,” or “One Art,” just—gone. But what’s stayed with me about that notion is this: the poem would still exist, because it would have already begun the work it was meant to do inside of me, that it was meant to do in the world—like a virus, both good and bad. Is it helpful or harmful when a thing becomes only a souvenir?”

There is no time in sport for tears. In football there are men, real mean—whatever that means—and they can’t cry unless maybe they’re the coach, in which case, okay, we’ll accept it as a possibility—after winning a big game, perhaps. Or the same thing, only losing. But not the players. The players, there are twenty-two of them on the field and they wear pads, I think, and I’m pretty sure, some helmets. It is maybe against the rules if you don’t have a helmet. Like riding a bike, only different. Sometimes they say “hike” and sometimes they say “hut” and sometimes they say “Blue! 42! Blue! 42!” though that may be a myth and anyways I’m pretty sure they all mean the same thing, or close to it, like love and cherish and miss. But there is—I’m quite sure of this—a ball involved. It is brown and swollen with stitches like the busted lips of a child, which, all in all, I imagine was the intended effect. Like life, there are rules about what you can and cannot do with the ball, what you can and cannot do with your body—though, unlike life, the penalties seem to be not so severe. It should be clear by now I know nothing about football. In this way it is very much like everything else—like croquet, say, or dying.

What I do know: in football when a player is injured the stands go quiet until he rises again and everyone claps for him—partly because they are glad he is all right, partly because it is something like a brave thing to take bodily injury on behalf of those of us who can’t, and partly because they are excited that the game, now, will continue. Partly because he wasn’t all right, partly because dying isn’t brave—partly because the game was just over, over—at my grandfather’s funeral not a single person clapped.

Against Everything by J.M. Gamble.
“My daughter and I had not had what they call a “good birth.” Her heart rate had dropped dangerously low, and I’d undergone an emergency c-section. The drugs I took in the hospital set off a slew of other problems, and even two weeks after she was born, my milk was still sluggishly coming in. I was sleep-deprived, anxious, and overwhelmed. So when my graduate student Gretchen wanted to come see the baby, I was reluctant. I didn’t want any student seeing me unwashed and puffy-eyed, weeping because I just wanted to put down the baby long enough to have a fucking bowl of oatmeal. I love newborns, she said over the phone. My sister has a baby. Then she added: I could hold her while you take a nap or shower.”
“Since 2006, as the surgeries (salivary, thyroid cancer) have robbed from Roger (speech, voice, food), I’ve found him hard to view. I hated my weakness. Today, I don’t blink. Gauze scarfs what remains of his chin, jaw, throat—anatomy so essential it’s hard to make a face without it Childhood flashback: an industrious boy flinging newspapers. On screen, I see University of Illinois for the first time. I never visited a college. I never partied in a dorm; rarely did I party.”
The Rumpus Review of Life Itself by Joanna Novak!

There is no question that I want to remember Robin Williams as he was in the Birdcage, a dynamic gay club-owner prancing around a stage in an “eclectic celebration of a dance,” or as the poignant Dr. Maguire in Good Will Hunting, or, of course, as the daring and inspiring Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society. Sure, right now I want to imagine that he is sitting in that field of brilliantly colored flowers in What Dreams May Come, looking out into an ethereal sky brushed with shades of bronze and gold. But if I am to remember him wholly and honestly, and embrace him for the talented actor he was, for his ability to sublimate his sorrow into seamless laughter, then I must also remember that his real life wasn’t lived as a Hollywood movie filled with starlight and wishes, nor did it end that way. I remain confounded, left wondering how the Academy could choose to tweet a wistful cartoon image in Williams’s memory when the tapestry of his life’s work is so much richer and deeper than a caricature of himself as a powerful genie.

Beyond The Wishes Of The Genie: Remembering Robin Williams by Maria Smilios

“Fire escapes. Not buildings exactly, but accessories. Iron rods fused into vessels of descent—and departure. Some were painted blue or yellow or green, but most were black. Black staircases. I could spend a whole hour sitting across the street from a six-floor walk-up studying the zig-zags that clung to a building filled with so many hidden lives. All that richness and drama sealed away in a fortress whose walls echoed with communication of elemental or exquisite language—and yet only the fire escape, a clinging extremity, inanimate and often rusting, spoke—in its hardened, exiled silence, with the most visible human honesty: We are capable of disaster. And we are scared.”