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:
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, I’m going to get to do something fun at the Beacon Arts members show on Saturday, November 5! I’m going to read “Parker House Loaf,” a piece about food, class, status, luxury, and art. A few of you will remember my food writing from a few years back, so here’s the place to hear some more! Along with a performance by the great Donna Mikkelsen, and of course the fabulous art of the Beacon Arts members on the walls! At KuBe Art Center, 211 Fishkill Ave. in the old high school, 4-6 PM. See you then.
Hey everyone, two quick things to announce: 1) My next memoir workshop starts Wednesday, September 21 from 7 to 9 PM Eastern Time on Zoom. It will go for eight Wednesdays until November 16 (skipping the week of October 5 for Yom Kippur).
The focus is on craft, especially using emotion, sensuality, storytelling, lyricism, and voice. Everyone will get frequent feedback in a supportive atmosphere; class size will be small. The fee is $325.
Writers at all levels are welcome. For more information or to register, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) We have a fabulous LIT LIT coming up for Friday, October 7 at the Howland Cultural Center! 🙂 Let me know if you want to read! For those of you who don’t know the drill, it’s 7 to 9 PM at the Howland, 477 Main Street in Beacon New York! Everyone who wants to can read their own writing of any genre of up to five minutes in length, until we run out of time. Because of the unique magic of Beacon, we get amazingly good memoir writers, novelists, poets, playwrights, and others!
I also keep a few slots so that people can sign up at the door. Or just come and listen. Lit Lit is a great place to meet Beacon writers and readers 🙂
To sign up, please email me at email@example.com. The event is free, and soft drinks, wine, beer, and snacks are available by donation. Masks are required.
NEXT LIT LIT: chef/writer Shaina Loew-Banayan, who just got a glowing review in @newyorkermag, is our featured author Fri. June 3, reading from their tough, tender, lyrical memoir Elegy for an Appetite. I’m so excited about this! It’s a memoir about, among other things, being a chef and someone who is crazy about food who also has an eating disorder. 7PM @howland_cultural_center in Beacon, followed by our regular awesome literary open mic. 477 Main St. in Beacon NY.
All of the advance signup slots to read in the open mic are full, but if you arrive by 6:30 you have a good chance of getting a spot! See you there! #beaconny #beaconnewyork #openmic #foodwriting #hudsonvalley #literature @cafemutton #hudsonny
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!
Update: the next Lit Lit will be Friday, June 3 at 7 PM, at our regular location, the Howland Cultural Center. We are thrilled that Shaina Loew, author of Elegy for an Appetite and chef/owner of Café Mutton in Hudson, will be our featured reader this month and sign books!! Advance open mic signups are now closed. Proof of vaccination is required at the door.