During this Pride season, 44 years after Stonewall and 17 years since HAART
was introduced, writers reflect on what the past can teach us about the way forward and what the end of DOMA has to do with it. John Weir on AIDS, death, trauma, and liberation
; Reina Gossett on resistance, assimilation, and the life of Marsha P. Johnson, one of the first to fight back at Stonewall
. And Stonewaller Sylvia Rivera
at the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Rally
, recently rediscovered by Reina Gossett, and Gossett's reflections on what Rivera, like Johnson and countless other transwomen of color, had to do to make space for herself.
posted by liketitanic
on Jun 30, 2013 -
"I have no patience for contemporary handlebar mustaches. They anger me. They look indulgent and ridiculous. If you have a handlebar mustache, that is pretty much all you are. You are a delivery system for a handlebar mustache." Marc Maron goes shopping for denim.
posted by four panels
on May 5, 2013 -
“I stole this book from the library ages ago…”Behind the Curtain (AKA OMG Marvin K. Redpost is a girl!)
“Fourth grade” I say, watching them huddled together in the mirror.
“…one of those Marvin K. Redpost books. He kisses his elbow one day and when he wakes up the next morning he's a girl.”
“I meant to make you take it back but I bet we still have it.”
“My mom's cataloging fifteen years of gender-bending in one week.” She says, rolling her eyes.... “Seriously Mom, how did you NOT know?”
She will ask me this a hundred times. I will ask myself a hundred more and still never I didn't have a good answer then and I don't now. Perhaps we simply see what we expect to see and write off anything that doesn't fit into the little boxes we put people into. Or perhaps she'd learned to mask and over-correct, to hide so well that by the time those distinctions matter, I could not see her until she tore down that wall. I wish I'd known sooner.
is one of the funnier excerpts from The Complicated Geography of Alice
, a memoir in progress.
posted by carsonb
on Nov 25, 2012 -
How Things Fell Apart
, By Chinua Achebe - 'In an excerpt from his long-awaited memoir, the inventor of the post-colonial African novel in English discusses his origins as a writer and the seeds of revolt against the British Empire.'
I can say that my whole artistic career was probably sparked by this tension between the Christian religion of my parents, which we followed in our home, and the retreating, older religion of my ancestors, which fortunately for me was still active outside my home. I still had access to a number of relatives who had not converted to Christianity and were called heathens by the new converts. When my parents were not watching I would often sneak off in the evenings to visit some of these relatives. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Oct 25, 2012 -
"It’s the feeling I remember from that glorious fall, a feeling I have never felt since and am quite sure I’ll never feel again. I was full of sap and muscular and strong, and, of course, quite deluded. A young Icarus with enough literary training to be pretty sure of where all this was heading. It was hubris plain and simple, but one thing they don’t tell you about hubris is how good it feels. In fact in some ways, though I now know what it will lead to, I still think of that fall as the high tide of my twenties. In some ways I still think of it as the high tide of my life. Though a happier and better man now, I still miss that time and if there were a way, if granted a wish, I can’t pretend I wouldn’t run right back and crawl inside that lunatic’s skin." Ultimate Glory: A Frisbee Memoir
by David Gessner
. [more inside]
posted by davidjmcgee
on Oct 12, 2012 -
Those Americans who are familiar with the name Claude Lanzmann most likely know him as the director of “Shoah,” his monumental 1985 documentary about the extermination of the European Jews in the Nazi gas chambers. As it turns out, though, the story of Lanzmann’s eventful life would have been well worth telling even if he had never come to direct “Shoah.” In addition to film director, Lanzmann’s roles have included those of journalist, editor, public intellectual, member of the French Resistance, long-term lover of Simone de Beauvoir and close friend of Jean-Paul Sartre, world traveler, political activist, ghostwriter for Jacques Cousteau — I could go on, but it’s a good deal more entertaining to hear Lanzmann himself go on, and thanks to the publication in English of his memoir, “The Patagonian Hare,” we now have the opportunity to do so. (previously)
posted by Trurl
on Apr 16, 2012 -
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has sold over one million copies and has been translated into over fifteen languages. He wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race.
posted by Trurl
on Dec 29, 2011 -
Even people who would normally never care about something Judy Garland-related marvel at the incredible pathos and dark insanity of these tapes, which come off like Garland performing in a one-woman show written by Samuel Beckett.
posted by Trurl
on Dec 28, 2011 -
Mohammed el Gorani, the youngest prisoner held at Guantánamo, has written a memoir
of his time there, the lead up to his imprisonment, and subsequent release years later.
posted by gman
on Dec 14, 2011 -
Reading Blaise Cendrars is like stepping into another universe. His fiction is unlike anything else I've ever read. His poetry influenced the mighty Guillaume Apollinaire and helped shape the face of modernism. But it is his mockery of biographical detail and the very notion of literature that fascinates me the most. If, like me, you're not a fan of autobiography, then Blaise Cendrars is the memoirist for you.
posted by Trurl
on Nov 30, 2011 -
Fifteen years after we broke up, my ex-boyfriend published a book of poetry. ... For months, the slim book sat on my shelf like an awkward houseguest. Then, one quiet night, something nudged me out of my inertia, or dread, and I settled into bed with his book. And there I was.
posted by Joe Beese
on Feb 10, 2011 -
Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt,"
told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 23, 2010 -
is well-known to many as a founder of legendary 80s indy/alt band Throwing Muses
, as well as for her own successful solo albums and alt-punk 3-piece band 50 Foot Wave
, is having a good 2010. A new solo album, Crooked
, is due out later this year -- a follow-up to the collection Speedbath
, which was released on the web under a Creative Commons license, and demos for a forthcoming new Throwing Muses collection
have been appearing on the band's CASH
has also appeared in the UK in book format through HarperCollins' Friday Project imprint
. A nice additional tidbit for fans is the just-released live collection, Cats and Mice
. As if all that wasn't enough, stories that Kristin came up with for her sons
while they accompanied her on tour over the years inspired a children's book, Toby Snax
in 2007, and Hersh will be publishing a memoir, Rat Girl
, in the UK edition) detailing her early days with Throwing Muses -- a time in which she struggled with mental illness
and figured out what it meant to front a touring rock band while pregnant (excerpts of Rat Girl
arrived in periodic email installments to Hersh's subscription supporters
, whose support has enabled much of Hersh's current productivity
). Hersh has been taking advantage of various social media as well: you can follow her doing in the Throwingmusic fan forums
, or via her often-curious Twitter feed
posted by aught
on Jul 14, 2010 -
'There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If
it be now, 't is not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if
it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all. Since no man has
aught of what he leaves, what is 't to leave betimes?'Chris Chester
, author of Providence of a Sparrow:
Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds
, a meditation on his life
with B, an English Sparrow which he raised from a hatchling fallen from
the nest, died suddenly early this past Spring. His nephew Marc Mowery
has created Chris Chester - born May 14, 1952
died April 17, 2007
to his memory and has posted 6 of 8 short videos
of Chris and Rebecca Chester and the sparrow named B on YouTube.
here is The Sorrow and the Sparrow: The
Life and Death of Chris ChesterExcerpt and video
links within [more inside]
posted by y2karl
on Oct 25, 2007 -
It's the first Monday in October and time for Supreme Court Justices to compare liberals, unfavorably, to the Ku Klux Klan. In his new memoir
, released on the first day of the Supreme Court's 2007 term, Justice Clarence Thomas writes that he grew up fearing the KKK, but now knows he had "been afraid of the wrong white people all along. My worst fears had come to pass not in Georgia but in Washington, D.C., where I was being pursued not by bigots in white robes but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony. "
No small man, he also comments on Anita Hill's bad breath. Slate's spectacular legal columnist, Dahlia Lithwick, notes that "in the few hundred pages of his new book, Thomas has managed to undo years of effort by his colleagues to depoliticize the judicial branch."
As usual, only Jon Stewart
can make us laugh through the tears.
posted by The Bellman
on Oct 4, 2007 -