Five Literary Theories and Their Limitations

This is going to be one of my last posts on literary theory, I promise. At least for a bit. Well, maybe until I finish reading David Herman’s essay “Narrative Theory after the Second Cognitive Revolution” (fascinating stuff about the mind itself as a product, as well as a producer, of discourse). We’ll see. ButContinue reading “Five Literary Theories and Their Limitations”

Preparing for the At-Home Writing Retreat

This will be my first staycation without a bouquet of flowers on my desk. But it will also be my first writing retreat in years. In fact, the next seven days will be the very first official writing residency of my Accessible MFA. So to say I’m excited, even with the complications of COVID-19, wouldContinue reading “Preparing for the At-Home Writing Retreat”

Strout’s Disturbing Portrayal of a Child Sex Predator

CONTENT WARNING Literature has a long history of sexualizing children, especially girls. Often, it centers the adult gaze, exploring pedophilia from different angles. “Death in Venice” and Lolita are two of the most famous examples, but it’s difficult to play literature jeopardy without an explosion of examples where old men fancy young women or even children, whetherContinue reading “Strout’s Disturbing Portrayal of a Child Sex Predator”

Candice Carty-Williams Wows with QUEENIE

A brilliant interrogation of the “chick lit” genre, Queenie starts off slow, with the usual plot points: career woman struggles with career and the quest for the perfect life and the perfect man. But about 100 pages in, Candace Carty-Williams begins to unravel this aggressively normative genre. And by the novel’s midpoint, Queenie is beginning to question her entireContinue reading “Candice Carty-Williams Wows with QUEENIE”

New Books

In my ongoing quest to read literary fiction that is not all about straight white men having affairs, wanting to have affairs, or trying to get out of affairs (oh, what woe to be man!), I used my 39th birthday as an excuse to add to my reading pile. And here’s what’s coming up! IContinue reading “New Books”

How LITTLE WOMEN Saved Me

On my tenth Christmas, I peeled back the wrapping paper to find a book about the size of a dictionary. The cover was printed with the image of a living room. Around a piano, five white women stood singing in the light of a hurricane lamp. Their dresses could easily be mistaken for curtains. TheContinue reading “How LITTLE WOMEN Saved Me”

Planning for Happiness: Four Tips for the Happiness-Resistant

Shit will happen. And it will happen on its own timetable. There is absolutely nothing any of us can do about that. We can prepare for the worst. We can try to accrue savings accounts (I’ve often failed at this). We can nurture the friendships that nurture us. We can be responsible with our healthContinue reading “Planning for Happiness: Four Tips for the Happiness-Resistant”

Another Staycation

I don’t know about you, but I like to start every vacation with a clear idea of what I’m going to get from my time off. Half the fun for me is in the planning. The other half is in making the plan happen. Except this time, no such luck. This time I spent theContinue reading “Another Staycation”

Ways of Reading: Part II

So I’m on Week 6 of my literary theory class, and I’ve discovered that I actually like it. Like literature itself, it’s a conversation. A dialogue. And in the best way, it’s skeptical of itself and its own conclusions. It’s curious about consciousness—where it comes from and how it creates our reading experience. And literaryContinue reading “Ways of Reading: Part II”

Ways of Reading: Part I

I started my first MFA class with a pretty clear idea of how things were going to go. Literary theory. Okay. I’d studied this during my undergrad degree. Cool. A bunch of dead white guys from Europe and North America will talk endlessly about what they think a text is, what the job of anContinue reading “Ways of Reading: Part I”