God Land by Lyz Lenz


My favorite parts of God Land, by Lyz Lenz:

“For a young mother church was more than a religious education -– it was her community. ‘Some weeks, I only left the house to go to church,’ she tells me. The women in the congregation shared cold remedies for babies, which, according to Evelyn, involved ‘steam and some molasses.’ …Betty tells me those years were the worst years of her life. And in those years, church with her escape and her sanity.”

“I believe Marilyn is talking in general terms. I think if I told her about my life and my purpose, she’d be on my side. But maybe I’m foolish. And which of us is supposed to bend toward the other? We are worlds away, but at the same table. Between us is an unconquerable space, But for now it’s filled with treats, Folgers, and crumpled and napkins. I lean forward and listen.”

“I’m hurt and angry at a Christian ethic that is so tangled in the politics of the right that voting any other way means I am seen by my family and my friends as going against the very will of God.”

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby


The best parts of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby:

“‘That’s a really nice bag,’ I said genuinely, taking a sip of my light bill. ‘Did you recently receive a settlement of some kind?’ She laughed heartily and poured her Obamacare deductible down her throat in one long swallow. ‘Girl, nah, I bought this with money I should have spent on my car payment.’ I clinked the ice in my checking account overdraft fees and nodded solemnly in agreement.”

“I do not like conspicuous men.”

“This is a luxury, you know, being spared the day-to-day deterioration of someone you love.”

“I spent too much time trying to mold myself to fit the romantic ideas of humans who proved themselves unworthy of the effort.”

“I once dated an asshole who, every single time I called, would immediately text, ‘Are you in a burning building?’ Um, no? If I were, and I still had the ability to breathe and read the numbers on my phone while choking to death on smoke, my first call would most certainly not be to a dude who says LIE-BARRY and is afraid to try artichokes.”

“I have never, in any of my interpersonal relationships, with women or men, proposed to sit down somewhere and have a talk. No one ever wants to sit you down and talk about something good, like how he or she should buy you more stuff; people want to trap you in an uncomfortable chair so they can go through the laundry list of your perceived crimes. And all you can do is sit there like a scolded child, nodding sadly in agreement that yes, you are the literal worst.”

Poem: A Word on Statistics

Out of every hundred people,

those who always know better:

Unsure of every step:
almost all the rest.

Ready to help,
if it doesn’t take long:

Always good,
because they cannot be otherwise:
four — well, maybe five.

Able to admire without envy:

Led to error
by youth (which passes):
sixty, plus or minus.

Those not to be messed with:

Living in constant fear
of someone or something:

Capable of happiness:
twenty-some-odd at most.

Harmless alone,
turning savage in crowds:
more than half, for sure.

when forced by circumstances:
it’s better not to know,
not even approximately.

Wise in hindsight:
not many more
than wise in foresight.

Getting nothing out of life except things:
(though I would like to be wrong).

Balled up in pain
and without a flashlight in the dark:
eighty-three, sooner or later.

Those who are just:
quite a few, thirty-five.

But if it takes effort to understand:

Worthy of empathy:

one hundred out of one hundred —
a figure that has never varied yet.

Wislawa Szymborska
(translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak)

Best Parts of The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis


We got married a couple weeks ago, and on our honeymoon I read The Thin Place. If you decide to read it too, make a character key for yourself as you go along. Mine clocked in at thirty-seven characters before I started to remember who was who.

Memorable parts:

“It was hard being married to a man who treated the least impropriety like the end of the world, like freezing rain and a tractor trailer jackknifing right in front of him and everything going so fast it might as well not be moving, the immense tire and the windshield racing toward each other yet frozen in time. It was hard being married to a romantic.”

“Every single thing that happens in a life is like Chekhov’s Gun, trustfully casting before it the shadow of its own final shape, if only we knew how to see it clearly.”

And a saying I didn’t know existed:

“any fool could see George was gay as a box of birds.”


Waxing gibbous The word crescent refers to the phases where the moon is less than half illuminated. The word gibbous refers to phases where the moon is more than half illuminated. Waxing essentially means “growing” or expanding in illumination, and waning means “shrinking” or decreasing in illumination.

1. of a dull grayish-green or blue color.
2. covered with a powdery bloom like that on grapes.

meritricious apparently attractive but having in reality no value or integrity.

tippet a scarf-like narrow piece of clothing, worn over the shoulders.

Candent glowing with heat; being at a white heat

esker a long ridge of gravel and other sediment, typically having a winding course, deposited by meltwater from a retreating glacier or ice sheet.

presbiopic farsightedness caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye, occurring typically in middle and old age.

sumpy characteristic of a pit or pool at the bottom of a shaft or mine, in which water collects and from which it is pumped

humus the organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material by soil microorganisms.

anchoress in Christianity, a woman who chooses to withdraw from the world to live a solitary life of prayer and mortification

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection
The best parts of The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown:

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.” – Pema Chödrön

One of the greatest (and least discussed) barriers to compassion practice is the fear of setting boundaries and holding people accountable… This research has taught me that if we really want to practice compassion, we have to start by setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their behavior.

If we don’t follow through with appropriate consequences, people learn to dismiss our requests — even if they sound like threats or ultimatums.

The key is to separate people from their behaviors — to address what they’re doing, not who they are… That’s where we get into trouble. When we talk ourselves into disliking someone so we’re more comfortable holding them accountable, we’re priming ourselves for the shame and blame game.

When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.

If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe we are worthy of love and belonging.

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it.

Guilt = I did something bad.
Shame = I am bad.

Life paralysis refers to all of the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect.

Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough.

Martin Luther King Jr. described power as the ability to affect change.

The Greek word for joy is chairo… “the good mood of the soul.”

The more entrenched and reactive we are about an issue, the more we need to investigate our responses.

Men Explain Things to Me


Do works about equality and social justice make you so sad and pissed off? It’s so hard to power through, and it’s all I can think about for weeks after. Still, this was worth reading. It’s always nice to have facts confirm your suspicions about weird elements of your life.

The best parts of Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit:

“Women’s liberation has often been portrayed as a movement intent on encroaching upon or taking power and privilege away from men, as though in some dismal zero-sum game, only one gender at a time could be free and powerful.”

“Credibility is a basic survival tool.”

“A woman is beaten every nine seconds in the country. Just to be clear: not nine minutes, but nine seconds. It’s the number one cause of injury to American women…”

“In 1990, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported, ‘studies of the Surgeon General’s office reveal that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of fifteen and forty-four, more common than automobile accidents, muggings, and cancer deaths combined.'”

“the confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant”

“Clearly the ready availability of guns is a huge problem in the United States, but despite this availability to everyone, murder is still a crime committed by men 90 percent of the time.”

“billions of women… being told that they are not reliable witnesses to their own lives”


Carbuncle a severe abscess or multiple boils in the skin, typically infected with staphylococcus bacteria.

Eve-teasing a euphemism used throughout South Asia for public sexual harassment or molestation (often known as “street harassment”) of women by men, where Eve alludes to the very first woman, according to the Biblical creation story.

antediluvian of or belonging to the time before the biblical Flood, or an idea that is ridiculously old fashioned.

Any other feminist works you’d recommend? I want an updated Backlash.

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley


I’m conflicted about this book, have you read it? Because let’s discuss.

The Clasp is the first book I’ve read by Sloane Crosley, and she has such a talent for observation and detail that I’m now going to read everything else she’s written. And I can’t wait.

That said, the momentum and my character investment waned so abruptly that I didn’t even bother to finish the last seventy-two pages. I was 300 pages in when all the air went out of my tires, so I just skimmed to the end. Wehhhhhhh.

Have you ever had sex with someone you’ve built up in your mind, and it’s electric at first, but then he does his thing and rolls over to sleep? This book was like that.

Still, that electric part though. My favorite parts of The Clasp:

“The groomsmen’s jackets had come off. The women had grown shorter over the course of the evening.”

“Inside, Meredith’s husband, Michael, was wearing mint-green drawstring pants and opening a bag of frozen shrimp with a corkscrew.”

“She hated Los Angeles as a concept, but she also hated it on a personal level… Kezia had been told, by people trying to befriend her, that she should inject stroke medication into her forehead, how many calories were in her meal, which stylist had dropped a bracelt down the toilet, how to minimize undereye bags, all leading a few drinks later, to stories of molesting uncles and first loves who had perished in car accidents. ‘Anyway, should we split the burrata?'”

“He had reflexively touched her when she offered to show him her pirouette, last performed when she was seven years old and executed with all the grace of a human that age. He caught her in his arms before she fell headlong into a bamboo chair. She did not scramble to remove her weight but stayed limp, as if he had dipped her. Women had used this tactic with him before. Generally it took the form of drunken cartwheels in his living room or hand slapping games he did not want to learn. He know what they were doing. They were aiming for charm but missing the mark; their actions seemed to say, ‘I have the carefree joy of a prepubescent girl. So please fuck me.'”

So you see what I mean about talent. There was more. You should really read the first half of this book, guys.


Raynaud’s phenomenon is excessively reduced blood flow in response to cold or emotional stress, causing discoloration of the fingers, toes, and occasionally other areas.

U-bet chocolate syrup

An alcove studio is the same as a studio apartment with an additional space off the living room.

slitchiness This was a weird one, I think she means the sound of voluminous women’s clothing in motion, but the only ref I could find for slitchy was as a slang term meaning bitchy or slutty.

solopsism (a word I should know by now) the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist

Okay! Have you read it or any of Crosley’s other stuff? Tell me your things.

P.S. If you’re on Goodreads, I am also on Goodreads. Nerd party!

Evany is Writing Again


Evany is one of my favorite people, and she’s posting something new to read every day this month. There will be some good reading in there, and my favorite so far is her advice letter to her son Desi:

5. Don’t rape people. This one may seem obvious, but it’s become increasingly apparent that for some reason, it totally isn’t. But the directions are pretty easy to follow on this one: No matter what someone’s wearing or not wearing, even if you’re both naked, even if you’ve already started, it’s still never too late to stop. If the other person says “no” or “stop” or “uh-uh,” then you just…stop. That’s all.

On Death, without Exaggeration

On Death, without Exaggeration
Wislawa Szymborska

It can’t take a joke,
find a star, make a bridge.
It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,
building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.

It can’t even get the things done
that are part of its trade:
dig a grave,
make a coffin,
clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn’t strong enough
to swat a fly from the air.
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, tracheae,
nuptial plumage, and winter fur
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won’t help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d’etat
is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies’ skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it’s omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it’s not.

There’s no life
that couldn’t be immortal
if only for a moment.

always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you’ve come
can’t be undone.