Search Results for: Roxane Gay

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Kurt Hutton / Picture Post / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

This week, we’re sharing stories from Angella d’Avignon, Katie Englehart, Caitlin Dewey, Eric Benson, Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom. 

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What Does a Political Story Look Like in 2018?

Longreads Pick

An essay in which Roxane Gay reveals how she chose the short stories for inclusion in Best American Short Stories 2018 — with an eye toward writing that engaged with the political in thoughtful, engaging, diverse and inclusive ways.

Author: Roxane Gay
Source: LitHub
Published: Oct 3, 2018
Length: 8 minutes (2,236 words)

If Following McMillan Cottom and Gay on Twitter Isn’t Enough, Here You Go

Photo by Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Tressie McMillan Cottom is brilliant, funny, scathing, important. Roxane Gay is brilliant, funny, scathing, important. And the editors at Guernica are brilliant for commissioning the latter to interview the former.

Guernica: One of the things I noticed in all of these essays in Thick is that you take blackness, and black women in particular, very seriously, which is not something we see a lot of in academic writing—or in, essentially, any writing. How did you learn to take yourself seriously?

McMillan Cottom: Damn. That’s a good question. It is probably extremely revealing to try to answer, because I don’t know that anybody has ever modeled taking myself seriously for me. I suspect that’s true for a lot of black women. I don’t know how I did it. I think the moment I learned it was probably trauma-induced. I write a little bit about this, my major life trauma, in Thick, which I had never planned on doing, ever. But I think when you come out on the other side of trauma, one of two things can happen: You can be more of who you were before it happened, sometimes in the worst ways. You can double down on your fears and anxieties. Or you can come out different, and you’re never that same person. That’s what happened to me. For the first time, I was asking questions of myself rather than responding to how people wanted me to behave. For the first time, I was making affirmative decisions about what I wanted. In a real way, the trauma wiped the slate clean for me mentally. And that’s when I started the process of teaching myself to take myself seriously. By extension, I could start to take other black women seriously.

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Raising Really Good Hell for People Who Cannot

Longreads Pick

The only thing better than an interview with writer, scholar, and Twitter luminary Tressie McMillan Cottom is an interview with McMillan Cottom where the interviewer is Roxane Gay.

Published: Mar 20, 2019
Length: 11 minutes (2,810 words)

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Clearcut fields on the Quinault Indian Reservation
Clearcut fields on the Quinault Indian Reservation. (Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

This week, we’re sharing stories from Rahima Nasa, Roxane Gay, Jessica Camille Aguirre, Lucy Grove-Jones, and Jen Doll.

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Of Politics and Prose

Should art — and more specifically, literature — be instructive? Adding her perspective to the never-ending debate, Roxane Gay has an essay at Lithub in which she reveals how she chose the short stories for inclusion in Best American Short Stories 2018: with an eye toward writing that engaged with the political in thoughtful, engaging, diverse and inclusive ways.

Writers are divided on whether or not it is their responsibility to address the contretemps in their work. Some writers stubbornly cling to the idea that writing should not be sullied by politics. They labor under the impression that they can write fiction that isn’t political, or influenced in some way by politics, which is, whether they realize it or not, a political stance in and of itself. Other writers believe it is an inherent part of their craft to engage with the political. And then there are those writers, such as myself, who believe that the very act of writing from their subject position is political, regardless of what they write. I know, as a black, queer woman, that to write is a deeply political act, whether I am writing about the glory of the movie Magic Mike XXL, or a novel about a kidnapping in Haiti, or a short story about a woman eating expired yogurt while her husband suggests opening their marriage.

When I am reading fiction, I am not always looking for the political. First and foremost, I am looking for a good story. I am looking for beautifully crafted sentences. I am looking for a refreshing voice or perspective. I am looking for interesting, complex characters that I find myself thinking about even when I am done with the story. I am looking for the artful way any given story is conveyed, but I also love when a story has a powerful message, when a story teaches me something about the world, when a story shows me just how much I don’t know and need to know about the lives of others.

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Fifty Years Ago, Protesters Took on the Miss America Pageant and Electrified the Feminist Movement

Longreads Pick

In the wake of a sexist email scandal that has led to new management of the Miss America Pageant, Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay reports on 1968 protests by radical feminists against all that the pageant stands for.

Author: Roxane Gay
Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Length: 6 minutes (1,646 words)

The Rise of Roxane Gay

Longreads Pick

A profile of hyper-prolific essayist, novelist, short story writer, comic book author and tweeter Roxane Gay. Author Molly McArdle brings to light Gay’s prominence not only as a brilliant author, but as one of the literary community’s most upstanding citizens, frequently championing under-recognized writers, and tirelessly battling bigotry of all stripes in various ways–most recently withdrawing her forthcoming book, How to Be Heard, from Simon & Schuster because of their now-canceled plans to publish alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’s memoir.

Published: Feb 22, 2017
Length: 18 minutes (4,651 words)

You Can’t Cut Out the Pain

Photo by Incase via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As part of the Unruly Bodies project she spearheads, Roxane Gay wrote an essay telling the world about the weight-less surgery she underwent in January of this year. Unsurprisingly, especially for anyone who’s read Hunger, the essay is almost punishingly candid in how it forces us to reckon with how the world treats fat bodies — with pity at best, but usually with disgust and scorn — and the options offered to fat people looking to avoid that pain.

The dominant narrative around weight-loss surgery is that it changes your life and makes everything better. It’s a lovely fantasy that, by cutting yourself open and having parts of yourself removed, everything that weighed you down will be lifted. But it is only a fantasy.

People who have weight-loss surgery are more likely to commit suicide. Many married people get divorced after the surgery because their spouses cannot cope with the changes, so much so that “bariatric divorce” is a thing. The psychologist I saw for my presurgical evaluation warned that the first year is really difficult, and many patients end up suffering from depression and regretting the surgery. The second year is better, she said, trying to reassure me after my face fell. And she was right: I am depressed and miserable. I am cold all the time and exhausted because I’m only eating between 1,200 and 1,500 calories. I am filled with regrets because everything has changed, but everything is exactly the same.

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