What I Think of the Fact That You Keep Asking Me What My Family Thinks of My Writing
When men create characters based on themselves, they are innovative; when women do it, they’re shaming their families.
Has anyone gotten mad at you over what you’ve written about them?
But I wondered if you worried about how they would feel about being written about? Did you check with folks, or change names?
When you’re writing about a subject that is going to make someone else worried or upset do you reach out to them first? Do you just let the essay fly and wait for the fallout?
When you’re writing about masturbating, having an orgy, trying heroin, or pretending the guy you’re having sex with is James Frey, how do you get to that place of complete honesty? Were you worried about what your family would think?
Do you regret anything you’ve written?
We were walking aimlessly around the West Village. She sounded disappointed.
Maybe you weren’t emotionally ready for your new book to come out, but it is! You worked hard! Celebrate it!”
TheChronology of Waterpublishedkid
came out of hismother’s vagina
Bukowski in a Sundress.You’re the WorstEasy
Operating Instructions The New York Times,Does Sam read all of your writings?” He mostly reads the stuff where he knows I mention him. That’s my boy!”
InterviewBored to Death.
I heard you wrote a nymphomaniac memoir.
You could have died.
Shame on me for wanting to do something so worthless. Shame on me for not accepting the life my family lived. Shame on me for shaming them. My shame is everyone’s shame.”
wantI knew it! This is why I can’t write my book. This is why I can’t finish that essay. Writing is bad, wrong, embarrassing.
I hope you keep writing your hopes, dreams, and fears. Maybe you’ll even write a book one day!
Chloe Caldwell is the author of The Red Zone: A Love Story, the critically acclaimed novella WOMEN and essay collections I'll Tell You in Person and Legs Get Led Astray. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, Bon Appétit, The Cut, Longreads, Nylon, Buzzfeed, and more. She lives in Hudson, NY.
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We don't talk about witnessing when we talk about writing, but I witnessed my students finish their essay collections in a year-long program.