Leftovers from the week of March 28
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Leftovers is a free newsletter published on the first and third Friday of each month that features curated links to things I’m reading, listening to, and more. As a free subscriber you also get access to Snacks, Sound Bites, and Ask Guerrilla Femme. Go to my Guide to see the publication schedule.
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Hi Dear Readers,
The past week has been rough. First, I was sick from what I think was a fruit intolerance flare (I can’t eat fruit or things with white flour and sometimes I think I can, but my body says otherwise). Then, the season change has had me feeling mopey. And finally, I received my fourth rejection from a publisher regarding my book proposal.
(I talk openly about this because I believe it’s important. I also want people to see that even if you have an agent (like I do) that doesn’t automatically get you a book deal—it just means your proposal is more likely to be considered).
So THAT happened, and I feel like a failure, which is sort of odd because I don’t really believe in failure or that people can really fail at things. Perhaps I’m lying to myself. Perhaps I think this way because I have felt some semblance of shame around “failing” at things since I was a third-grader diagnosed with two learning disabilities. I am, after all, used to being not very good at things.
Writing has always been different for me, though. I know many writers say this. But it’s true! I proclaimed that I wanted to be a writer on an assignment for first grade. It was that or ballerina, and well, I did have a very short stint as a ballerina, but clearly that ship has sailed. My point is: I always felt like I was a writer. If I ever believed in a “calling,” then that was it.
So now, in this moment, I’m feeling very uncertain. I’m feeling like maybe I suck at writing. Maybe this book isn’t supposed to get written. Maybe what I did with Guerrilla Feminism in the mid-aughts isn’t all that interesting or important.
Truth be told, I would like to move on from Guerrilla Feminism and being *known* for that when I am so much more. I started it when I was 24 and I’m now 36. I still believe the same things, but GF is no longer my focus—and I don’t really want it to be. I have a large following on Instagram, but my heart is not in it. I would prefer people subscribe to my newsletter here instead. I wish I could change the username on IG. I can’t since I’m verified (and also because I was told I should probably keep it as is for the sake of this book that may or may not happen).
Maybe I will never become a published author.
And I have to be okay with that—to some degree.
But I will always write. Whether it gets published or not. Whether it gets read or not. I truly love having an audience, but I write first and foremost for myself. Always have, always will.
Enjoy this week’s Leftovers,
Reading List 🔖
What Makes Foreign Policy “Feminist”? - Rafia Zakaria
The German feminism that exists today has carried on those assumptions of white women’s centrality to the feminist movement and an unquestioning stance toward aligning nationalistic strategic interests under the feminist brand.
The Rise of the Reboot: Why We Can’t Escape Nostalgia - Madison Jamar
Accepting nostalgia as an ever-present condition allows us more agency in how we choose to engage the past. Instead of looking back with the only intention of recreating old joy, we can learn to fashion new circumstances that produce hope.
Political Performance Anxiety - Courtney Martin
Why am I telling you this? Because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ways in which social media and the theoretical shrinking and speeding up of the world impacts our ability to be nuanced thinkers and ethical actors, not to mention emotionally stable. It’s produced a sort of shallow political performance anxiety in so many of us.
Trans People Are In Grave Danger - Brynn Tannehill
The record number of laws being introduced targeting LGBT (but mostly trans) youth are increasingly dystopian. In addition to the bans on sports and medical transition, we now have “Don’t Say Gay” bills that allow parents to sue schools and teachers if they so much as mention anything LGBT: A gay teacher could be in deep trouble if they so much as mention their spouse, or tell other students not to laugh at or harass another student for being transgender. Other laws require schools and teachers to out students if the come out as LGBT, or attend a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) club meeting.
A History of the Advice Column - Carolina Ciucci
Manning’s brainchild became “Advice to the Lovelorn” on July 20, 1898. Writing under the pseudonym of Beatrice Fairfax (named after Dante’s Beatrice and Fairfax County, Virginia), she turned the genre into what most people now think of when they picture an advice column. Its success was immediate and overwhelming, to the point where Manning herself later said “If I had been ten years older, I might have hesitated at the Frankensteinian monster I was invoking.”
Books of Note 📚
Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation - Hannah Gadsby (nonfiction)
Seeking Fortune Elsewhere - Sindya Bhanoo (fiction)
The Lost Dreamer - Lizz Huerta (young adult)
See You Soon - Mariame Kaba (children’s book)
Return Flight - Jennifer Huang (poetry)
Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto - Tricia Hersey (self-help)
[If you order any of the books above or any listed on my Bookshop site, a percentage goes to local bookstores and I get a small commission. Thank you for not ordering from Amazon!]
Mood Board 💓
Self-Care + Good Things ☕
Kino (my nephew). Ginger tea (and mint tea). Sweet messages from strangers on the internet. Sweet texts from friends. The new Kirby game (it’s so fun!).