Starting this week, progressive leaders from all parts of the movement, from the blogosphere to the Hill, take a break out of their schedules to tell us what they’re watching, reading, and listening to. Suggestions or requests? Email AlyssaObserves (at) gmail (dot) com.
Up this week, Kate Harding: Co-author of Lessons From the Fat-O-Sphere, and the upcoming Book of Jezebel; founder of the influential body acceptance blog Shapely Prose; and teacher of both fiction and non-fiction writing classes, Kate is one of the sharpest, funniest voices in the feminist blogosphere. She chronicles a week of her cultural consumption, from the New York Review of Books to In Plain Sight.
Monday, May 23
I wake up and start getting ready right after my husband, Al, does, and when I get into the bathroom, Alison Krause and Gillian Welch’s version of “I’ll Fly Away” is playing on his iPad. Al almost always has music on in the background; I almost never do, except in the car. In my teens and early twenties, I couldn’t have imagined a time when I wouldn’t care deeply about current music, but my interest in it wore off around the same time I started feeling too old to really enjoy myself at shows—which, sadly, was when I was about 25.
After making coffee, I go to my computer and immediately check Twitter, which is basically my favorite news source at this point. I follow a ton of other feminists, progressives, and writers, so my feed is always full of links to things I’ll find fascinating or funny or lovely or infuriating. For instance, this post by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, which Claire Mysko (@ClaireMysko) linked to this morning, is so right on, it hurts a little. I love reading and writing fiction more than all but a very few things in this world, yet I’ve come to the point where I have to trick myself into devoting uninterrupted time to either.
At the end of the day, I drop Al off at the train station for a business trip that will last all week, then meet up with Wendy McClure, M. Molly Backes, Claire Zulkey and Kat Falls for drinks at a bar near Story Studio Chicago, where I think we’ve all taught at some point. Claire, Kat and Molly all write young adult fiction, and Wendy is about to start working on a YA imprint at the children’s publisher she works for, so I spend 3/4 of a glass of sauvignon blanc quietly convincing myself I should try writing novels for the teen girl market—as if that would be as simple and straightforward as buying a cute pair of shoes several of my friends happen to own. (I was a teen girl! I know how to make sentences! What could possibly go wrong?)
Eventually, I remember that I have not read a single young adult book in the last twenty years that wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins or Claire Zulkey (I met Kat tonight, and Molly’s first novel won’t be out until 2012), so I’m just being an asshole. I head home early, since I’ll need to be back out the door by 5:30 AM at the absolute latest.