BAE Notable

So excited to have my prize winning Redivider piece, "I'm Trying to Tell You I'm Sorry," included on the "Notable Essays" list in the forthcoming Best American Essays 2016, edited by Jonathan Franzen this year!

Or later how I’d tell another boy—the one whose parents hated me because I was in high school and he was twenty-two, still living at home, stinking up their certain kind of organized garage—to drop me off at the top of my street, nights when we’d been out doing stuff in empty corporate complex parking lots and in the wet grass. I’d wait for him to drive away and I’d walk to my neighbor’s house in the dark, this really beautiful guy, and scratch at his bedroom window. We’d smoke a little joint and my eyes would close and I’d let him do his thing.

This is how I did everything. A few in my pocket. My secret entourage.

Good press.

The non-fiction winner, “I’m Trying to Tell You I’m Sorry” by Nina Boutsikaris is a brave and lyric memoir. It’s sexy and revealing and honest. “Meaning I was born, like most of you who are born this way, with certain desired commodities, maybe the most desired commodities.” Reminiscent of a young Mary Gaitskill, Boutsikaris explores boundaries; the link between sex and power. With a rare candid lust, her prose jumps off the page. I sped through it. Yes, I googled her. Yes, now I’m a fan. Yes, I’m metaphorically in line for her collection of intimacies, real and imagined, which I doubt will have trouble finding a publisher.
— The Review Review

Check out my interview on The Nervous Breakdown with poet Eleni Sikelianos. We talk genre fluidity and the creative potential of hybrid memoir...

In You Animal Machine, that picture of my grandmother in her leopard costume probably tells about 90% of the story. At some point, I realized I was trying to gather her up, as if she’d been dismembered by time and trauma, so I took that picture and chopped it up into parts and scattered them throughout the bookleopard girl, like weigh stations, stations of the cross, or lost oases in the desert, until we get to the final, full picture of her at the end of the book. In that picture, we can see her as hiding behind the mask, or as suited up (like a super hero). Either way, the image has the last “word” in the main body of the book. It took me a lot of language to scratch at the other 10% of the story. I’m not saying a picture is worth a thousand words. A picture can over-fix reality, we can get stuck in an image’s interpretation of the past; language is a way to mobilize it.
— Eleni Sikelianos

Book Review: The World is On Fire by Joni Tevis

My review of Joni Tevis's latest essay collection, The World is On Fire: Scrap Treasure and Songs of Apocalypse

‘There is a crease for grief in any day, but usually we turn away from it,’ Tevis writes. Perhaps it is this very act of not turning away, of staying curious and vulnerable, that saves her and in turn us. The World is On Fire masterfully questions, rummages, and connects the obscure with the universal, uncovering truths about faith and resurrection we had been waiting for, whether we knew it or not.

Beacon Street Prize

So pleased to have won the Beacon Street Prize for my piece "I'm Trying to You I'm Sorry," judged by the very awesome best-selling author Susannah Cahalan. Cahalan says: “The essay was poetic, haunting, disturbing, and powerful. The imagery, word play, and propulsive rhythm of language gripped me from the first paragraph to its gorgeous last sentence. This was a highly unusual and unforgettable essay.”


#Amwriting thoughts today...

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I see, and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
— Joan Didion
I’ll look at my pictures when they’re finished and realize they are really touching on something deeper. One of the great pleasures of making photographs is being surprised by the results.
— Todd Hido

Sarah Ruhl...on Theater and Eating What We See

In the medieval age stained glass was one of the few daily images offered up for reflection and meditation, and now in the present moment we see God knows how many visual images a day—I think by one recent estimate the eye had to process three thousand visual images a day (and just think if one’s job requires one to walk by Times Square now and again, the horror). If the Victorians lived in an age of the word making the image, we now live in the digital age: touch makes image.... Recently I was with my five year-old daughter at the theater. She whispered and pointed to the stage “Are those real people?” She asked me. “They’re actors,” I said. “But are they real people?” She asked. “Yes, I said.”

I realized that she must have asked this because of the profusion of digital images that she sees. She didn’t wonder if the characters were real, she wondered if the actors were real. This is perhaps why the new generation will find theater exceedingly exciting (or else exceedingly dull)—a place where word still conjures images of the invisible world but the people are real.
— From "Eating what we see" (100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write)