An Untamed State, by Roxane Gay.
This book broke my heart over and over again. It reads like a nightmare-fairy tale. The opening paragraph sums it up:

Once upon a time, in a far-off land, I was kidnapped by a gang of fearless yet terrified young men with so much impossible hope beating inside their bodies it burned their very skin and strengthened their will right through their bones. They held me captive for thirteen days….

Yeah, cried on the subway - twice - while reading. And yet the story is still rolling around in my mind.

I hope you get this book. My novel is my baby.


An Untamed State, by Roxane Gay.

This book broke my heart over and over again. It reads like a nightmare-fairy tale. The opening paragraph sums it up:

Once upon a time, in a far-off land, I was kidnapped by a gang of fearless yet terrified young men with so much impossible hope beating inside their bodies it burned their very skin and strengthened their will right through their bones. They held me captive for thirteen days….

Yeah, cried on the subway - twice - while reading. And yet the story is still rolling around in my mind.

I hope you get this book. My novel is my baby.

She is our queen. 

By Popular Demand: The September Issue Livetweets Noted in Bad Feminist

 Live Tweeting the September Issue

First ad: Ralph Lauren Romance, which is strange. It’s not a new perfume.

Four full color pages. Lots of happy white people. Rich happy white people wearing loose cotton and wavy hair. Also horses, twice!

Three sexual embraces, one wedding, one family portrait, some kid photos. Fascinating. I guess this is Romance!

Next, Prada. Sad white teenagers wearing avant-garde fashions. Tim Gunn would want the designer to make this shit work because it doesn’t.

Dior! Marion Cotillard. Her hand seductively held to her bare neckline. Legs also bare. She stares into the distance thinking, “I am rich.”

Fast forward a few pages. Gucci. Dark tones, lots of pale cheekbone and red lips, shellacked, severe buns and ponytails. Angry white women.

While we’re on the subject, my cousin and I like to perform this video.

Just flinging off baubles, fierce Charlize.

Chanel. White lady, wet hair, holding her shoulder, fully dressed. Eyes half-lidded. She just got bad news.

Oh snap. Burberry. Two girls wearing Dalmatians on their heads. They have a secret and possibly a drug habit.

Tom Ford, in typical TF fashion selling perfume by displaying the female form ridiculously w/ the perfume bottle practically out of shot.

This is, I suppose, an improvement on Tom Ford perfume ad/ with baby oil hairless crotch shot.

By the way, many of these ads are the same was the ads in W which feels… lazy.

David Yurman (who?). Scarecrow of a pretty girl holding her nutrient deprived hair thinking, “My god. I am as hungry as I look.”

LOL, the TOC is randomly snuggled into p. 68. Worry not. There are 230 or so pages until the masthead, no competition for content.

When I read fashion magazines, I pretend I am an alien trying to understand this planet. It’s delightful.

There’s a many page Gap ad but it has words so I skipped it.

Horses, leather, dust, fur. What would McGyver do?

Good lord. Home With the Hilfigers, only it’s not the Hilfigers. Very Royal Tenenbaums. Lots of tennis rackets and layers.

Leon Max. Someone has read Wuthering Heights Woman in long, gown w/ cane. Pale, long hair, mist. Thinks, “My legs are unshaven under this.”

Hell yes. Givenchy. Girl sitting on wooden pallet w/ pillow. Ugly dress, ugly shoes. Awkward ugly pose like Tyra teaches. Lips parted. ANTM!

She looks like she’s… using the restroom in her underpants.

Alexander McQueen. Dystopic landscape. Dark save for a beam of red around the scarecrow… model’s head. Gorgeous dress. Million inch heels.

The Letter From the Editor is spread across 3 pages with about 50 pages between each page. Like… meal courses. The ads, the amuse bouche.

Or amuse yeux as the case may be.

Oh Anna. Cover model Kate Moss’s house is “wonderfully charming and unpretentious” and her daughter is “enchanting.”

For real, Anna uses about 111 adjectives in her Letter. I love everything about that.

I will tell you what. All those years of watching ANTM have PAID OFF! I know things.

Sad Talbots ad. Tweed. Windblown hair. Elephant-sized purse. Still Talbots.

Hold up! It’s Julianne Moore. Good for her. She gets 4 pages. She has a satanic pact, clearly because she looks… 30.

There’s a 4 page QVC ad. I have to imagine Anna Wintour was not happy about that ad at ALL. The Kardashians are featured, after all.

I get it. The closer we get to content, the more affordable the brands. Also a Macy’s ad.

An ad for my perfume, Bulgari Noir. Girl leaning against a lion (?!?), hugging a massive perfume bottle, dead eye staring at the camera.

Missoni for Target. In typical populist fashion, the ad is like 20 pages long. Anna is angry again.

Demi Moore for Ann Taylor looking well-preserved.

Kate Winslet! It’s like People Magazine but w/ prettier clothes. I guess she took Angelina’s position at St. Johns.

I have no idea why I know this stuff.

First real article is, of course, about 9/11.

Also, her story is sad. She was burned very badly. Interesting choice starting the issue with this story.

Lovely profile of Rosamond Bernier. She turns 95 in October. Fierce.

She breakfasts in bed, “a lifelong habit,” and why not?

She lectured on art, in full eveningwear at the Metropolitan Museum! OMG! This is why I’m going to rock on Jeopardy. Fascinating.

I’d pay extra to be able to download a version w/ just the content so I could read without flipping thru 15 pages between each content page.

"I don’t consider myself exceptional in any way. I think I’ve had exceptional good luck." Class.

LOL, “Rosamond not only had brought along the appropriate shawl, but she also brought out a flask of alcohol.”

Lanvin (the designer of Beyonce’s VMA gown), 2 women, knock knees, ugly faces, eyes closed, chests thrust forward, arms flung back.

They are TOTALLY shouting, “I WANT TO FLY!”

The way their hands are posed they’re totally hoping someone reaches down for them. Tyra would be so proud. You have to mind your extension.

This is what’s fascinating about Vogue. 700 pages of ads and maybe 35 pages of content. And an article about women liberating Libya.

Kmart ad: “Money Can’t Buy You Style.” That’s truth in advertising. At Kmart, no, money cannot buy you style. A sensible bra, though, yes.

"At Chanel, there is only one opinion and it’s me," Lagerfeld observed. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS.

I love love love that ALT has his own little column filled with lots of designer adoration and ALT charm.

"Soon, we’ll be off to his country house—a 16th century manoir he’s renovating in Normandy…” I, myself, shall be off to the gas station.

"I love nudity. I am super French. It’s the body, it’s sexuality, it’s part of life." Emmanuelle Alt, new editor of French Vogue.

Also name dropping that she’s besties with Carla Bruni. All French people know each other, obvi.

Kenneth Cole ads. Support gay marriage. Wear black clothing. Gel your hair.

Versayse ad. Let’s just say Nomi Malone would not wear the outfit.

And of course another breathless article about China! OMG they’re just like us now!

I’m guessing they just keep Mario Testino on retainer.

Profile on John Huntsman. I’ll skip that. I just don’t care what Vogue has to say on this matter.

Most adorable byline: “Plum Sykes reports.”

The article is on rooftop getaways in the city—rich people stuff.

"Lagarde is a planet w/ a powerful field of gravity, orbiting through the skies of global high finance." I’d hurt my students for that.

Oh, a black woman featured in the last 10 pages of a 758-page issue. How nice.

Whew. I’m done. My arms hurt. That magazine is HEAVY. Awesome. Buy this issue so we can talk about it. Thanks.

I do think I pulled a forearm muscle.


This Is Not Humility

Tonight I had the opportunity to cook in my new apartment for the first time. I was sick of sandwiches and shitty food. Before I moved I was telling Twitter I basically only have one knife, and it is serrated at that. They shamed me, appropriately, so during the move, I bought a big girl knife set with a German name and also used my new knives for the first time. Well, I used one of them, and the first order of business was slicing an onion and then I sautéed that onion in olive oil. I was craving Mexican and I needed protein but I also wanted something resembling healthy.

As I was cooking, I was thinking about flirtation and how women have been very ummmm friendly with me at my readings lately. I have been friendly back. I am flirtatious. I am and it is especially fun when flirtation is mutual. It has done my ego good to be flirted with by lovely people. When you reach a certain age, it’s nice to have reminders that you’re still interesting to at least a couple people. Tattoos are always a great conversation starter and for whatever reason, they compel people to reach out and touch. “What’s the story behind this?”

Oh this old thing, smile, batting of the eyes. Well, let me tell you. 

It’s interesting…women will walk right up to me in public and make their interest known. Men send pictures of their dicks. I’m not always opposed to the later but the contrast is kind of funny.

The thrill of flirtation will never take the place of the magnetic pull of you, always you. 


I took a can of Amy’s refried beans and added them to my softened onions. It looked absolutely horrifying. I’m sorry but refried beans look like dog shit. I was really dismayed staring down into my pan. 

I had a conversation with my mother this evening. With all the press that’s out there, I have no secrets and my parents have been tentatively trying to talk to me about The Thing. For the first time in my life, she blurted out, “I need to talk about your rape.” There was no more talking around it. There were no vagaries or using someone else’s story to have a conversation about me or our family. She asked, “Have you gotten help?” She said, “Give me their names.” She asked, “How could I not know?” She asked, “Are you okay?”

It’s hard for me to have this kind of conversation with my mother because she is an exceptional mother and I don’t want her to feel hurt or responsible. I don’t want to shatter what she knew of my childhood though I suppose that illusion is no longer possible.

She asked, “Why did you go public with the story? Is that because you’re over it?” I said, “I haven’t been private with it for quite some time, but really, I’m as over it as I’m going to be and I cannot stay quiet anymore.” She was quiet for a moment and then she said, “I understand how something like this, you never really forget or move on from.” She said, “Your father is struggling with this.” She said, “It’s strange how children never tell their parents the things they most need to tell them.” 

Then we moved on to other things and I stopped holding my breath but as with the last sort of conversation we had, I instantly feel lighter. They understand me more now, I think, and that’s good. I want them to understand me.

I want to be understood.


I added fresh Roma tomatoes and cilantro, salt and pepper and chilli powder to the beans and let that simmer. I loved the pop of green the cilantro provided. 

I was on the radio in Ireland.  I was interviewed by BUST and I have a considerable bust so that worked out well. 

I was on KCRW today (if you scroll down the page you can listen to my segment, or you can listen to the entire episode, which was really good). The interviewer asked me about The Thing. There was an uncomfortable moment where my voice caught in my throat, where I just wanted to vomit and run away from the radio station. There are moments when time collapses and there is no preparing for that moment, none. Will that horrible feeling truly never go away? This, is a life sentence but I try not to live my life like i have been sentenced. 


Eventually, the beans were ready and I was ready because I was hungry.

There is a tattoo I have been thinking of getting—two letters, two numbers that are really one number, an infinity symbol, bold lines, surrounded by tribal ink work. Right now the tattoo is an idea. It might always be an idea but I know what it looks like.

Bad Feminist was #13 last week and it is #16 this week and it is sold out in many stores and it is going into a fourth printing. I ordered groceries on the Internet and a strapping young man in tight khaki pants delivered them to me. This tumblr now has more than 100,000 followers. 

I keep trying to feel worthy. The boss of me gets rather testy when I say that. She made me write out, “I am worthy,” thirty-three times. I repeat this as a mantra. I try to believe. This is not humility. This is  overwhelm and surprise. I won’t Taylor Swift this. Soon, I will accept all of this, as best I can. Soon. And I will make sure to do something good with whatever this is, not for myself, but for others. 


I made little tacos withe lettuce and light sour cream and cheese and raspberry chipotle salsa and this was a very delicious dinner. Everything in my new kitchen works as it should.

The new semester begins on Monday and I am nervous and excited and not even a little bit prepared so that’s what I will spend the rest of my week doing. 

I do wear a ring on a certain finger. I am often asked about it.  Sometimes, a commitment is silent and it may never become spoken, may never become anything more than an idea of what could have been, but that commitment is still there, beneath the ring and the pale tan line, in the skin and in the blood and in the breath and in the beating of a heart.



embarrassedandsorry asked:

Fuck you for spoiling Gone Girl. I spent real dollars on your book only to get to page 94 and stop reading it, because I now hate you. Which is ironic because the chapter that contains the spoiler is discussing how likability of a character is unrelated to literary worth.


Let me know your PayPal address and I will refund the purchase price of the book, but Gone Girl has been out for three years. 

This Is Not Fiction

I was in Los Angeles, the city that is a woman. 

It was one hell of a trip. So much happened. First we had an hour, a little more, all we would have for the trip because timing is everything and this time, timing was our enemy. We had an hour and the world fell away, our hands clasped together, words falling out of our mouths and then an unexpected but lovely moment hurtling us forward. We had an hour and we tried so hard to make that hour last forever and it was enough and it was not nearly enough. 

That night I had a reading at The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles. I wasn’t expecting many people to be there because it was Friday night and the bookstore is downtown and that’s just how I roll, always thinking the least of myself. I was lucky to read with seven amazing women—Kima Jones, Antonia Crane, Pamela Ribon, Nina Bargiel, Mallory Ellis, Kate Spencer, and Karolina Waclawiak. Our host for the evening was the always soulful and generous Zoe Ruiz. Something special happened that night. Every reader was fierce and electric. There were hundreds of people crammed on two levels, standing, sitting, crouching, several deep in all the balconies.

It was a hell of a thing, being in that store that night. 

The room was unbearably hot but miraculously, people stayed. I read last and when I was done, I got a standing ovation, the crowd rising to their feet in this gorgeous wave of energy. It was, by far, a Moment, one of the biggest moments of my life. I stood there and I felt this rush of everything. I felt how far I have come. The signing line lasted ninety minutes and it was still hot and people stood and waited just to talk to me. Words cannot express anything about how overwhelming, unexpected, and gratifying that night was so I can only offer up these meager paragraphs. I will never forget that night. My god. I cannot believe what is happening with my writing. 

I had a bunch of media interviews on Saturday morning, one after the other and by the end, I was absolutely over myself. I am grateful for the press but so interviewed out.

L.A. and I talked on the phone for a while and then I had lunch with Mallory in my hotel room and we talked and talked. Mallory has perfect skin and perfect teeth and gorgeous eyes and she can wear the hell out of a dress. Just know that. We have a delightful time when we hang out. Our Twitter followers ship us and it’s adorable. I get it. We’re pretty interesting ladies. Twitter keeps saying we are OTP. While we were hanging out, I said, “Mallory, what is OTP?” She laughed but she also explained the lingo and then I laughed. I am SO OLD. 

Which reminds me. At the reading, Mallory’s grandmother was in the front row and she simply beamed with pride as her granddaughter read about how to deal with criticism and also male novelist literary jokes. It was so cool to see that. You couldn’t tell grandmother a damn thing that night. She knew, and rightly so, that her grandaughter is the shit. 

There was also, during the Q & A, a woman who wondered why all the readers talked about sexuality (not so accurate), because she was deeply concerned with global economic inequality. I answered her question and I’m still pleased with my answer. 

Saturday evening, I saw my friend Amber in Neil LaBute’s Reasons to Be Pretty which is showing at The Geffen Playhouse. Amber is an actress but I actually know her as a writer. I published a poem of hers at PANK and we’ve done literary events together and so on. Anyway, it was really cool to see her doing her thing on stage. The show is interesting. I am not a fan of LaBute but there’s a lot to chew on about gender and beauty and relationships—a very dense script. GO SEE IT. The cast is stellar, the set is basically a Transformer, and the theatre seating is comfortable. I went with my friends Zoe, Casey and Josh. Casey and Josh were also in LA for my reading and having them there throughout the weekend was the loveliest. 

After the play, we went for a drink with Amber and her friends, one of whom is a TV show creator and we then proceeded to have a peak Los Angeles experience that I am still giggling about. That city is ridiculous in the best possible way. 

I was riding on the high of being in my favorite city but the weekend was also laced with melancholy. I felt every emotion ever. I was hurting. We both were. I was a little angry at circumstance. I was frustrated at things I don’t understand and things that are out of my control. 

I had a meeting Sunday afternoon with an amazing woman writer/director/producer where we talked about Things and Possibilities.

It was a weekend of events where I kept thinking, “I wish you were here.”

Sunday evening, I went to dinner with Casey and Josh and we had amazing Chinese food and drinks and conversation and they were really good to me. We also beheld an amazing view of the city at night, all glitter and glam. 

The next morning, there was so much traffic but I did something impulsive, found us one last moment.

Later, on the drive home, I offered a way out, as I have done probably too many times. I was crisply told to make that the last time. 


I do not particularly enjoy feeling things. I shut myself off for many years so this allowing myself my emotions thing is kind of new and kind of a pain in the ass. For the past several days, I have been drilling into myself, “See the world as it is. See the world as it is. See the world as it is.” I want to write these words one hundred eleven times. Or is it a hundred and thirty three times? I want to burn these words into my skin and tattoo them on the insides of my lips and eyelids. 

Or I remind myself  I need to be patient,  I need to be patient, I need to accept that I do not get to shape the world as I want. That sort of thing only happens in fiction and this is not fiction. This is a huge, messy, exhilarating life.

I would not choose anything but this. I’m probably not supposed to say that but while we may not get to shape the world as we want, we do get to feel what we feel. 

Sometimes, emotion is too much. I wish myself to be a robot. I wish to break myself of hope, the allure of possibility, needing reassurance, the foolishness of fairy tales, of hearing words and hoping the truth behind those words will be enough to overcome. I want to break myself of everything that makes me human but then, what would I be?

No. I don’t want to break myself of these things. I want to allow myself these things while also seeing the world as it is. 

In truth, my ability to hope is such an indelible part of who I am. No matter what has happened, I have always held on to hope, even when it was the frailest glimmer of a thing. I wrote a whole novel about it, in fact. 

That hour and some was everything. And enough. I will always want more. We, I think, will always want more. May we be so lucky as to get that more someday. This is not fiction. 



Last night was so full. Today felt like a shell—almost a constant stream of longing & self-control. But I won’t get into that. 

About a month ago I casually tweeted Roxane Gay, suggesting she come to the bookstore where I work for her Bad Feminist tour. She did. Though I was extremely nervous the whole time, it was one of the greatest nights I’ve had in a little while. She brought along with her a handful of the realest women writers in LA & the whole evening was delightful, heartfelt, honest, and inspiring because of it. Hundreds of people at the store, in the portals, between shelves—she also brought the biggest crowd we’d ever seen. Oh, and Mallory Ortberg read Male Novelist Jokes which had everyone in stitches. Obviously. In the end, I was introduced to Roxane even though I was too shy to approach her myself. After reading An Untamed State and bits of Bad Feminist, her presence was overwhelming. Her work is so important to me & I am an idiot for not telling her that because I was too dang shy for my own good. Still swelling with so many feelings. Roxane tweeted, “And then they gave me a standing ovation and it took all I have not to cry,” and, well…same.

Oh, and we cleared out Harper Perennial + sold out of the book that very same night. So tremendous.



I never wanted to go backstage after a show. I never stop celebrities to ask for their autographs. But Friday night at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles I felt like a teenager at a Beatles concert.

Roxane Gay is a tremendous writer and a fabulous person. If you haven’t read her…

Thank you, Jan!


"I am stunned but I should not be. I recognize the luxury of my disbelief. I will never allow myself such luxury again. Today, I truly understand privilege.

I am outraged but I do not know what to do with my outrage that might be productive, that might move this world forward toward a place where black lives matter, and where black parents no longer need to have “the talk” with their children about how not to be killed by police and where anger over a lifetime of wrongs is not judged, but understood and supported.

The mainstream media is trying to report on this travesty, and all too often, they are failing. There is a preoccupation with the actions of a few, with the salacious discussions of looting and a people run amok over the plight of the many living in an occupied community.”


Now that I can breathe again, I’m so excited to announce that Bad Feminist will debut on next Sunday’s New York Times bestseller list at #13!
Gigantic thanks to all of you readers, booksellers, librarians, and BAD FEMINISTS for supporting roxanegay and this book. We couldn’t have done it without you! harperperennial:

Now that I can breathe again, I’m so excited to announce that Bad Feminist will debut on next Sunday’s New York Times bestseller list at #13!
Gigantic thanks to all of you readers, booksellers, librarians, and BAD FEMINISTS for supporting roxanegay and this book. We couldn’t have done it without you!


Now that I can breathe again, I’m so excited to announce that Bad Feminist will debut on next Sunday’s New York Times bestseller list at #13!

Gigantic thanks to all of you readers, booksellers, librarians, and BAD FEMINISTS for supporting roxanegay and this book. We couldn’t have done it without you!