Hi sweeties! I’ve been writing my butt off for Substack, and I’ve written some pieces I’d love you to see.
Here’s one called Sexy, which is about why, yeah, I probably feel sexier at 59 than I have ever felt before. Hint: I feel completely able to say no and fuck you.
Here’s one called My Two Mothers, about bringing together the mother who never nurtured me with the mother who taught me and cultivated in me some of the things in life I love the most. (They were the same person.)
And here is one called Cooking Up Rebellion, about how cooking, like writing, depends on a universe of others (including our hominid ancestors.)
I hope you enjoy. And if you’ve got something to say, leave a comment! 🙂
- The very first Beacon Literary Festival will be June 17-18 at the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, NY. I am excited to be on the first panel of the day on Saturday, June 17, talking about how to make nonfiction into art. 477 Main Street, 11:15 AM -12:15 PM.
- New York City friends, come see me read at East Midtown Pride on Tuesday, June 27, a collaboration between the East Midtown Partnership and the Publishing Triangle! I’ll be reading with Lauren Melissa Ellzey, Anastacia-Renée, James Villanueva, and Fay Jacobs. 7 PM, at the SUNY Global Center, 116 E. 55th St, NYC. More information here.
So, I have a couple new pieces on the Substack that I really wanted to tell you about! Coming out today, I have a science fiction story called “The Tender Brigade” that is a riff on the fact that the US military has been developing lethal, autonomous military robots with, um, “ethical” capacities. And because this is a story by me, the ethical, military robots are also gay, and very sexual.
Next, I wrote an essay called “This Is the One About Class,” which details exactly what economic class I currently am, plus the class that I grew up in. This one was hard to write — it’s about, among other things, growing up on welfare, but much later on becoming economically privileged through the pure luck of the draw. And how I feel about that very complicated reality. It’s very much about the shame many of us feel about being poor, and about how easy it is to be attracted to the false claims of elitism (the idea that we get better stuff in society BECAUSE WE’RE WORTH IT! I’m proud of this piece, so I’d love it if you’d take a read.
Finally, I have some neato events coming up! Lit Lit in Beacon is Friday, May 5 at the Howland Cultural Center, from 7-9 PM. We have our very first LIT LIT MIXER scheduled for Thursday, May 11 at Homespun Foods, 272 Main Street in Beacon, 7-9 PM — an opportunity for all of us local readers and writers to meet each other and TAWK! And then, on Friday, May 12, I will be participating in a fantastic event called Twice Told Tales, where 10 writers write original pieces based on photographs by the artist Margot Kingon. At Norma’s, in Wappinger’s. Then on June 17 and 18th, get on down to the first Beacon Literary Festival, where I will be reading and talking about my work on the 17th. Would love to see you there. 🙂
Houston, we have a Substack! Yup, after thinking about it and working on it for awhile I have launched a Substack called Rough Tongue, dedicated to “sensation, emotion, and food under capitalism.” Want to see it? Here it is:
It’s mostly free for now — please subscribe!
I’m going to write about why luxury feels so damn good even though we know it’s based on someone getting the shaft. Whether upper-class food or poor people’s food is objectively “better.” And why we should all listen much more to our emotions, because they’re on our side.
Some more topics: why sex when you’re old is better (at least for me 🙂 ). What does it mean that even most upper-middle-class people can’t afford to eat at the majority of Manhattan restaurants? And then, of course, regular lists of stark raving pleasures that are absolutely free, from Sappho borrowed from the library to the sight and smell of the roses at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, if you ask for free admission.
Two more bits of news: I was interviewed by a wonderful podcast called Beaconites about my life and writing, you can listen here.
Finally, the next Lit Lit will be Friday, March 3 at the Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main St. in Beacon. See everybody there!
Hey campers, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
We got a lot going on in January here In Donnaville:
- On Thursday evening, January 12, I will teach A FREE MEMOIR WRITING WORKSHOP at the Howland Public Library, 313 Main Street in Beacon, 6 PM- 7:15 PM. Please register here.
- My next 8-week memoir workshop starts Wednesday, January 25 at 7 PM. It goes for eight Wednesday nights, from 7-9 PM, and the cost is $325. See here for more info.
- The next LIT LIT is Friday, January 20 at the Howland Cultural Center at 7 PM, 477 Main St. in Beacon. If you’re interested, come on down! Some reading slots will be available at the door, or just come and listen 😎
Hey there! I thought I would describe to you what I’ve been working on since late fall of 2019. It’s a new book called DONNAVILLE, and it takes place in a city that is, yes… the city of my mind. You know how the poet Delmore Schwartz once wrote, “The mind is a city like London/Smoky and populous: it is a capital/Like Rome, ruined and eternal,/Marked by the monuments which no one/Now remembers”? This book imagines that city, er, my city — the little citystate of my mind.
You know how Sylvia Plath once wrote, “Is there no way out of the mind?” (Look it up, it’s a terrifying poem.) Well, sometimes Donnaville feels a little bit like that, because its central location is a prison, and one of the two main characters is the Jailer, who is also a janitor and torturer.
You know how Denise Levertov once wrote to a lover, “You invaded my country by accident/not knowing you had crossed the border./Vines that grew there touched you”? And then she tells him, “I invaded your country with all my/’passionate intensity,’/pontoons and parachutes of my blindness./But living now in the suburbs of the capital/incognito, my will to take the heart/ of the city has dwindled. I love its unsuspecting life,/its adolescents who come to tell me their dreams in the dusty park…”? Well, Donnaville is also about that, what happens when people approach the “countries” of other people’s minds, and try to have relationships with them. When different countries (or citystates), in other words, try to get together.
So, I have finished preliminary edits. It will be a long while before this book is out, but if you want to read some short excerpts, you can read them here, here, here , here, and here. Hope you like! 🙂
Edited on April 20: oh my God, I’m a finalist! Truly did not expect that. If you want to, please vote for me to advance further. For this readers’ choice award, people actually get to vote once a day!
Okay… For the very first time in my life, I get to say, “Vote for me!”
I’m thrilled to have been nominated for Chronogram Magazine’s annual award for the best author in the Hudson Valley 🙂 This is a readers’ choice award, and finalists and the winner are determined by whoever gets the highest number of votes. It’s the absolute truth to say I would be honored if I got yours.
Just to refresh you, I am the author of two award-winning and critically acclaimed memoirs. I am the founder of the Lit Lit series in the Hudson Valley, the winner of a GLAAD Media Award and Radcliffe College’s Exceptional Merit Media Award, and a writer who has gone undercover to write about white nationalists and the Christian right.
Everyone is allowed to vote, whether you live in the Hudson Valley or not.
You can vote for me at this link. (Please just scroll down slightly from the Artist category where this page begins, to the Author category where I am.) Many thanks, and if I win, I’m giving out pie!
Hey everybody! I’ve been having some exciting stuff go on, but I haven’t updated here for a while!
First, I’ve been thrilled to start doing Moth-style, personal storytelling without notes, at The Artichoke’s sold-out stage in Beacon and Beacon’s wonderful other venue, Adult Stories with John Blesso! One of my stories was about being at close quarters with some very scary people, and the other was about the very first time I went in disguise to a Christian right conference.
I am so excited to be pursuing this new art form. I’ll be doing more of it Saturday, June 29 at Pros(e) of Pie’s LGBTQ Pride Show at Philipsburg Manor and Saturday, September 14 back at The Artichoke, where the story will involve parents and porn.
Other stuff going on: I’ve been touring local Ethical Culture humanist congregations, speaking on “Atheism and the Alt-Right: A Horrible Confluence,” about the weird and disturbing fact that alt-right politics have been permeating atheist subcultures for the past several years. Next up is Sunday, June 9 at the New York Society for Ethical Culture!
Stay tuned for a project I will launch soon that combines lyrical, sensual writing with service journalism! (Bet you don’t hear that a lot! 🙂 )
I’ll be featured speaking about my career and reading my work at Julie Chibbaro’s amazing series Get Lit Beacon Sunday, July 14 at 5 PM! I will read from my memoir Growing Up Golem and read/tell some harrowing and funny personal stories about hanging with the far right.
Also, my fall memoir workshop starts Wednesday, September 25, and goes for eight weeks (we skip October 9). Let me know if you’re interested.
Meanwhile, I’ll be teaching a one-day summer memoir writing intensive in Beacon Sunday, July 28.
Oh, and I’m in a podcast.
More news soon!
With love – Donna
I’m thrilled to be spotlighted by my college alumni association! They interviewed me about my favorite books, writing, and gentrification in NYC.