Author Archives

Novelist, illustrator, and freelance writer. Author of RIOTS I HAVE KNOWN (Simon & Schuster, 2019) and CONVERSATION SPARKS (Chronicle Books, 2015). Formerly digital and marketing at BOMB Magazine, The Penguin Press, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Your Best Work Comes from Scaring Yourself

Photo by Ryan Lowry

Ryan Chapman | Longreads | June 2018 | 16 minutes (4,419 words)

Several of the sentences in Chelsea Hodson’s debut Tonight I’m Someone Else radiate with the epigrammatic wisdom of Kelly Link or Maggie Nelson. There’s just something about her lines — “How lovely to be young enough not to know any better” or “I once loved so hard I almost lost everything, including his life, including my own” (both from “Simple Woman”) — that demands furious underlining and exclamation points in the margins.

These essays span the writer’s life in Tuscon, Los Angeles, and New York as she investigates what it means to have a body, to be an object, to run away, to look for answers in strangers, and to chase danger. As in, let’s tie a butcher knife to the ceiling fan and sit beneath it until someone gets hurt (“Near Miss”).

With praise from Miranda July and Amy Hempel, Tonight I’m Someone Else is a book that delights and disturbs and — in its deep dive into the performance of female identity — feels very now. Hodson is an essayist with one foot out the door, and she’s holding the keys to someone else’s car, asking if we want to drive into the ocean. Read more…