An insightful profile of Cat Marnell, author of the new memoir, How to Murder Your Life, a writer and beauty editor perhaps best known for the self-destructive tendencies that cost her various high-profile jobs and landed her frequently in rehab. Author Emily Gould casts Marnell as more together than many give her credit for, and relatively healthy—at least in her ability to keep rebounding from relapses, and writing about it all cogently and compellingly.
An excerpt of Manjula Martin’s essay anthology, Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living. Gould addresses one of the many double standards in publishing: women authors must be “nice,” accommodating and virtually boundary-less, while men authors suffer no consequences for being real–or even rude.
An elegy for a much beloved volunteer chef and leader of the rest of the volunteers at a soup kitchen in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Adventures in preparing recipes from the cookbooks of “domestic goddesses” Gwyneth Paltrow and Chrissy Teigen.
Lessons from starting a small publishing business.
Here is the opening chapter of Friendship, the new novel by Emily Gould, who we’ve featured often on Longreads in the past. Thanks to Gould and FSG for sharing it with the Longreads community. You can purchase the full book from WORD Bookstores.
Writer Emily Gould on writing books, going into debt and navigating relationships. An excerpt from MFA VS NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction:
It was more like the failure occurred in tiny increments over the course of two years, after which it was too late to develop a solid Plan B.
I spent some of the advance on clothes that no longer fit my body/life, but mostly I spent it on taxes—New York even has a city tax, on top of the state and federal kind—and rent. I lived alone for three years in Brooklyn, paying $1,700 a month ($61,200 all told) for a pretty but small one-bedroom within eyeshot of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway. I also spent $400 a month on health insurance. At one point I thought I would find another full-time job after finishing the book, but then I must have convinced myself that teaching yoga part time would better enable my writing. I also thought that I would immediately start another book, which I would sell, like the first, before I’d written half of it. In order to believe this I had to cut myself off from all kinds of practical realities; considering these realities seemed like planning for failure. In retrospect it seems clear that I should never have bought health insurance, nor lived by myself.
It’s always interesting when a very strange book is also an enduringly popular book. The Bell Jar has sold more than three million copies and is a mainstay of American high school English classes; it was made into a movie in 1979, and another version, starring Julia Stiles, is currently in production. Like The Catcher in the Rye, it is a touchstone for a certain kind of introspective, moody teenager—the kind of teenager who used to listen to the Cure and, later on, Tori Amos, and who these days listens to—actually I have no idea, but she definitely has a blog.