Cover Photo: photo by Adam Armstrong
photo by Adam Armstrong

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 youve 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 youre writing about masturbating, having an orgy, trying heroin, or pretending the guy youre 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 youve 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!”

raised

Chloe Caldwell

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TheChronology of Waterpublishedkid

came out of hismothers vagina

Bukowski in a Sundress.Youre 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!”

Tin House:

mad

InterviewBored to Death.

Chloe Caldwell

I heard you wrote a nymphomaniac memoir.

Women,

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 cant write my book. This is why I cant 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!

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Chloe Caldwell is the author of the novella Women (SF/LD 2014) and  the essay collection I'll Tell You in Person (CHP/EB, 2016). She lives in Hudson, New York. www.chloecaldwell.com