Our latest Longreads Member Pick is now free for everyone: Matt Siegel’s love story about identity, sex and finding companionship:
It was an acquaintance and former editor of one of those gay lifestyle magazines who advised twenty-year-old me to tone it down if I ever wanted to find a boyfriend. This coming from a man obsessed with anything Disney-related; the walls of his West Hollywood condo adorned with carefully framed Snow White and Fantasia animation cels. “You don’t need to tell them how much you love Belinda Carlisle on your first date,” he said. “But I do love Belinda Carlisle! That quavering vibrato!” I whined. “Well,” he said, “they’ll find out eventually, and by that point they will love you, Belinda and all.” While I hate(d) him for saying it, I understood the algorithm: gay men are attracted to men, so the more you resemble a man, the more desirable you will be to a gay man. [Insert frowny face emoticon.]
PUBLISHED: March 4, 2014
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7343 words)
This week, we are excited to give Longreads Members exclusive early access to a new story from Matt Siegel, to be published next week on The Awl. Here’s more from The Awl co-founder and editor Choire Sicha:
“Matt Siegel’s very funny nonfiction story of love, deceit and betrayal (oh my God, I know!!!) comes on all unassuming and conversational. Unlike many citizens of the MFA world (Matt’s a recent graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program), he keeps his techniques hidden. We’re really looking forward to publishing this at The Awl, but we’re more thrilled to share it with Longreads Members—like ourselves!—first.”
) has previously written for The Huffington Post, The Hairpin, Flaunt Magazine, and The Advocate.
Become a Longreads Member to get the story
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PUBLISHED: March 2, 2014
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7343 words)
The writer on working on art piece called the "Love Letter Project," in which she ghostwrote love letters fro strangers:
I listened until he was finished talking. Then I arranged the sentences he’d spoken on the page. It was more like transcribing than writing.
I will never in my life not regret that we didn't work things out. I will never let go. I don't want to.
At the front of the room was a small table with a printer, envelopes, pens and stamps. "You may sign your letter," Jana told him and he did. "Would you like a stamp so you can mail it? Or we can mail it for you." He took the stamp and addressed the envelope, but wasn’t quite committed enough to let us mail it. His feelings had been so close to the surface. We had happened to catch him at the perfect moment.
But it kept happening like that.
PUBLISHED: Jan. 30, 2014
LENGTH: 8 minutes (2040 words)
This week's picks from Emily include stories from The A.V. Club, The Awl, The Hairpin, and Grantland.
Our story picks of the week, from the Dallas Morning News, Narratively, The Atlantic, The Awl and GQ, with a guest pick by Rebecca Hiscott.
A look at the culture and politics of something we all do: poop:
Consider the difficulties of your everyday life if you had to wade through wet fields or even an idyllic garden to get to a leafy area to shit or to an outhouse to take a crap, and if you couldn’t simply flush it away with a quick movement of the hand but had to worry about the sanitary requirements of seeing that the shit didn’t simply turn into a disease-harboring pile or smear your clothes or return with you into the home.
Consider what your day would look like if you had to go in a bucket, constantly rake over your own shit and that of others, being careful to cover it with enough composting material so that it didn’t simply turn into, well, a pile of shit that, again, spread disease amongst everyone in your household.
For many millions of people, shit is not something you hold on to but rapidly want to get away from, as soon as you’re done. For the eager shit activists in cities like Chicago and New York, composting is a way to prove their fealty to the planet or their credibility.
PUBLISHED: Oct. 30, 2013
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6409 words)
In 2011, we highlighted an essay called “Weekend at Kermie’s,”
by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens
, published by The Awl
. Stevens is now back with a new Muppet-inspired Kindle Serial called “Make Art Make Money,”
part how-to, part Jim Henson history:
"The real breakthrough in Henson’s career—the thing that would make him a mogul—was Sesame Street. It debuted in 1969, a good fifteen years into Henson’s television career. Because it taught children across the country, Henson became a household name, and through Sesame Street toys, Henson became a millionaire. In short, merchandizing is the 'secret' to Henson’s success. However, licensing toys, to Henson, felt like selling out. Before he became a mogul, he had to find a good reason to do so."
PUBLISHED: Sept. 17, 2013
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4102 words)
"The rape joke is that you were 19 years old.
"The rape joke is that he was your boyfriend.
"The rape joke it wore a goatee. A goatee.
"Imagine the rape joke looking in the mirror, perfectly reflecting back itself, and grooming itself to look more like a rape joke. 'Ahhhh,' it thinks. 'Yes. A goatee.'"
PUBLISHED: July 25, 2013
LENGTH: 5 minutes (1312 words)
Can one find clarity at a Kundalini Yoga retreat? A first-person account from the Summer Solstice Sadhana Celebration:
"Japji was written sometime in the 16th century by Guru Nanak, the first of the ten Sikh gurus. It was written in Gurmukhi. It takes about twenty minutes to recite and what it mostly says is A. it is good to chant God’s name and B. you can’t comprehend how great God is so you need to chant his name and C. doing so is the only way you will really make any headway in life, so don’t bother trying to figure life out, really, it’s too complicated, so you should just chant God’s name.
"I don’t believe in God, really, or maybe I do. Either way, metaphorically, that all makes a lot of sense to me."
PUBLISHED: July 10, 2013
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4637 words)