Rad Reading: Mary, Glennon and Rebecca

posted in: Grow Mama

Essays seem to be my thing at the moment. Writing them. Reading them. Thinking about them.

I’m reading Glennon Doyle’s Untamed on kindle. I kinda speed-read/skipped through her Warrior books but this one, this one I am taking my sweet time with. She’s an oversharer in a real, let-me-take-you-on-a-journey, lean in and let’s learn together sort of way. I appreciate her candidness and so love the recounting of the story of how she met her wife. It’s lightning bolt love stuff. High on my feminist must-read list. Not strictly an essay collection but it works like one for me. This book is with me wherever I go, so it's read in waiting rooms, in cafes, as I wait for meetings, beside the pool while the boy has his swim training.

I have Mary Oliver’s Upstream on the couch – a collection of her essays. Then I had dinner with her. (I'm sometimes the only person in the house so can do that sort of thing.) Her poetry remains some of my very favourite. The kind I reach for again and again, as a kind of balm, or sense of being seen, but I hadn’t read any of her essays before. I am not sure why. There is something lyrically special in a poet writing longer prose. Upstream does not disappoint. I am saddened all over again by her passing though. I need to haul out any and all of her work. I am sure there are signposts and signals I need in there. I read Upstream on the couch in a patch of afternoon sun with the doors flung open or under any open sky.

How I have gotten through almost thirty years of feminist discourse and inquiry and not have read one of Rebecca Solnit’s books I cannot say. I have loved the pieces of hers I stumbled across on the internet. Protest and Persist: Why giving up is not an option, published by the Guardian was the one that finally propelled me to request her books from the library. I am knee-deep in her essay collection Men Explain Things to Me. I wish I had of known, as a girl growing up very working class, that it was possible to make a career out of writing like this. She is sharp-witted and accurate in her dismembering of society’s ills, pinning them out and labelling them, flagging where they lay in everyday life through stories. I am not sure I hold enough hope in me to get through her other 16 books though.

Next up is Ibram Kendi’s How to be an Anti-racist, Shaun King’s Make Change and Roxane Gay’s Hunger.

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