Lady Inspiration: Roxane Gay

By now, you probably all know and love Roxane Gay. If you don’t, then we are clearly using different internets. Either way, Roxane Gay rules and she’s one of my writing role models. I’m always in awe of her productivity, her amazing and emotional prose, and her great attitude. This interview on The Great Discontent just further illustrates her awesomeness.

The whole thing is worth reading, especially the part about the Midwest, but I’ve really been thinking about this:

“Writing is not a tortured act for me. I don’t have any angst about it, and I don’t find it to be a painful misery. Writing is the one endeavor that makes me purely happy, and it comes fairly easily to me. I don’t know why I’m that lucky, but it’s true.
There are definitely times when I have writer’s block, and it’s infuriating, but writers love to dramatize the suffering of the writer. I don’t judge them on that, because it’s their truth, but I’m suffering when I’m not writing: it’s what I do for fun. When people say I’m prolific, I think, “Well, it’s kind of my self-medication, and it doesn’t feel like work.”
I’m a happy writer, and although that hasn’t always been the case, I count my blessings. I’m finally in the place I’ve always dreamed of. Maybe my dreams weren’t that big, but I just wanted to write and have people read what I had to say one way or another. I have that, and I have been lucky to work with editors who let me be myself in my writing. I wrote the novel I wanted to write, I wrote the essay collection I wanted to write, and I haven’t had to compromise. I’m truly creatively satisfied.”

Pretty often, it’s easy to get sucked into this whole “writing is torture” thing, because that’s the way a lot of public writers treat it. It’s good to remember that it doesn’t have to be that way. That’s not how everyone views writing! Most of us started doing it because it was fun, or satisfying, or just because we were good at it, and I think it’s useful to reconnect with those feelings when we’re starting to get discouraged. Writing is work, but it shouldn’t be torture.

Ladyville Book Club: ‘Friendship’ by Emily Gould

friendship emily gould

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been reading Emily Gould’s writing since I was in college. I’ve always loved her voice and sense of humor, even though I live in Ohio and she writes a lot about very New York specific things. So of course I was super excited to read her new novel Friendship, and guess what, guys? I was not disappointed!

One of my least favorite things that people say about books (even though I’m guilty of saying this, even in this week’s HelloGiggles column) is “I really related to the characters!” I mean, yes, sometimes it’s really great to read a character’s thoughts and think, “Whoa, that’s me!” But, at the same time, I don’t really think that whether or not you relate to a character has anything to do with the quality of the book. This is all my way of saying that, although lots of the reviews I’ve read have praised the relatability of the friendship between Gould’s characters Amy and Bev, they didn’t seem like any friends I have. This is probably due to the fact that I’m a boring person living in the Midwest, not a hip person living in New York. All of my friendships are very Midwestern.

So I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to relate to these characters to really love this book. I didn’t agree with basically anything Amy said and I still loved reading every single thing she thought. I really loved Bev. This was a pretty short book, but honestly, it could’ve been twice as long and I still would’ve enjoyed reading it. It’s so funny and compulsively readable. Emily Gould is very good at writing dialogue that flows naturally and at making you care about flawed characters.

It just felt good to read a book that was primarily concerned with the relationship between two female friends. There isn’t really a romance in this book (I know, it’s not like me to read a book without a driving romance, but whatever)..it’s just about, as the title implies, friendship.

If you’re still on the fence, first of all, get off that fence. That’s dangerous. Then listen to this great interview with Emily Gould on Julie Klausner’s How Was Your Week. It starts off with a lot of cat talk, so you know it’s good.

This Week on HelloGiggles

sisterhood of the traveling pants BFFs
I’m still writing about YA for HelloGiggles, and this week I had two posts up!

I wrote about my favorite BFFs in YA (obviously I spent most of my time talking about Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants because DUH).

I also read and really enjoyed Katherine Howe’s Conversion (and now I want to read Megan Abbot’s The Fever, which I hear has a similar subject).

If you’re looking for YA recommendations, my column usually goes up on Saturdays. And if there’s anything you want to suggest, just send me an email at youngadulteducation@gmail.com!

Lady Tip: Join a CSA

paiges produce

This week, Alicia at Jaybird wrote a post all about the joys of learning where your food comes from. It reminded me that I’ve never mentioned that H. and I joined a CSA this year…and it is awesome.

I’ve wanted to be a part of one for basically forever, but when I lived by myself it wasn’t super practical. This year we decided to split a share with one of H’s coworkers, and now we get a bag full of surprise vegetables every week. Pickup day is seriously the highlight of my week. So far we’ve had tons of peas and lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, some herbs, zucchini, peppers, and green onions. We even had one of these dudes, which I had to do some research to identify:

It was kohlrabi.

It was kohlrabi.

The best part of joining a CSA? Now I’m motivated to try out new vegetables I’ve never cooked before. I even got to make fried green tomatoes for the first time (because, like, what else am I going to do with green tomatoes?)! I’m not an adventurous person in any other arena, but when it comes to food, I’ll try pretty much anything. This CSA has been tons of fun because it’s pushed me to get out of my food ruts and encouraged me to try some new things. It also guarantees that I’ll eat way more vegetables.

It’s a low stress, relatively low cost way to get tons of vegetables (no grocery trips!) and I sort of like that it eliminates a lot of decision making. I know that on Wednesday night I’ll be eating whatever vegetables get delivered that day.

If you don’t have your own garden, you should definitely think about joining a CSA next year. Ours is called Paige’s Produce and I’d definitely recommend it! But if you’re not in the Columbus area, you can look up CSAs near you with this handy website.

What about you guys? Are you part of a CSA? What sorts of crazy fruits and veggies have you received this year?

Cover image via Paige’s Produce; kohlrabi image via Food Politic