Recently: Essays on Feminism, Gender, Race, and Identity

Without realizing it at the time, I've been on a bit of a kick with essay collections lately--especially those related to feminism, gender identity, and race--and particularly the intersection of the three.

Book Review: The Long Run, by Catriona Menzies-Pike

Every once and a while, a book comes along that rings all my bells--and then some. The Long Run is one of those books. Running. Distance running. Trail running, even. Grief. Loss. Meditation. Feminism. History. Feminist history. Memory. Writing. Literature. Books. Here's a book that manages, in the span of a few hundred pages, to talk about dactyls and iambs, trans rights, art history, the Ancients, and distance running without any piece of it feeling out of place. Yes, please, sign me up.

Book Review: Careers for Women, by Joanna Scott

This review modified from a review written for Shelf Awareness for Readers.

Careers for Women is a novel ambitious in scope: Spanning the late 1950s to the present day, Joanna Scott (De Potter's Grand Tour) uses the building of the World Trade Center as a lens through which to examine power, feminism, modernity, progress and the power of dreams to shape a life--or many.

Exploring Poetry: Milk and Honey; Love Her Wild; Delights and Shadows; Mary Oliver

I've long said that I struggle with reading poetry; it's like my brain can't figure out how to look at the words on the page and make them make sense in my head. I've found recently, however, that this is less of an inherent inability than it has been a refusal to slow. down. and read more meaningfully, purposefully. And so I've made a more conscious effort to explore poetry of late. A few stand-outs, in no particular order:

Review: A Line Made by Walking, by Sara Baume

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

A Line Made by Walking, Sara Baume's second novel, takes its title from a 1967 artwork by Richard Long. He walked back and forth in a straight line across a field and photographed the resulting flattened path of grass--a testament to Long's existence. In Baume's novel, Frankie, a young woman struggling with mental illness and an unsettling shift toward adulthood, attempts to find her place in the world--and prove that place and her existence in it have meaning. Even the mud on the stoop left by her boots is comforting in its own way: "so I know I must exist after all--that I must still be here." 

#SJBookClub: Our August Book is Whipping Girl by Julia Serano

Halloooo, strangers. Just popping in quickly to remind everyone that, despite a brief hiatus, the Social Justice Book Club is still very much alive and well. We'll be reading Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity for our August book, and I. Cannot. Wait. I've had my eye on this book since I first saw that Seal Press was publishing a new edition in 2016, and have heard nothing but stellar things about its thoughtfulness and intelligence.

If you're already a member of the Social Justice Book Club Slack group, look for the #whippinggirl channel over there. If you'd like an invite, comment below with your email address or email me at ofabookworm AT gmail DOT com and I'll get you signed up.


I keep thinking I'll come back to writing here, and eventually, I know I will. But in the meantime, I'm working on my return to reading for pleasure and running for joy, and writing is taking a bit of a back burner. Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.

What We Are When We Are Not the Roles We Play

I have worked hard, in my adult life, not to identify myself solely by my job. I am more than the forty hours of work that I do each week, no matter how much I may love what I do during those hours. I also strive to be more than what I am to other people. Of course, I am a wife, a daughter, a friend, a sister, a dog mom, a cat mom, a partner, a coworker, a volunteer. But those only describe me in terms of how I relate to other people; they do not answer the question of who I am.

For most of my life, I would tell you that I am a reader. For the last few years, I may have become comfortable with calling myself a writer. And in recent months, I've finally started to consider myself a runner.

What, then, happens when we remove those labels? In recent months, I've been on some kind of continual reading slump. I finish books, sure, but nothing clicks the way it used to, the way it did when I first came to identify as a reader. And short of deadlines I try not to miss (because I am on time), I haven't written much of anything, and what I have written has been fluffy at best. So I have not been much of a writer lately either.

I typically run several days a week, and recently completed my first ultramarathon, so I'm comfortable enough calling myself a runner. But I fell--hard--a while back, and found myself unable to run for over a month. Even now, I'm not back to my many-mile self, the one who wrote after running a 50k that I hoped to keep up 20-30 mile weeks. I'm lucky if I eek out 15 of late, and none of those miles are pleasant ones.

Which has me thinking: what are we when we are not the roles we play? What defines our day, shapes our selves, fills our time, sets our direction?

I don't have the answers, yet. Just the questions. So maybe for now I'm a seeker, or a questioner, or a breather. Or maybe I need to learn to end the sentence after "I am."

I am.

I am.

I am.

And just be.