Fiction Editor Shares Tips
Book Giveaway: Screaming Divas
National Book Festival 2014
After Page One: Journaling
In recent weeks, I’ve organized our photographs and cleaned out files, jewelry boxes, and the tool chest my dad dipped into whenever he did odd jobs around my apartment. I’ve donated huge trash bags filled with clothes to the thrift shop and cartloads of novels to the used bookstore. The reward is that, as I excavate, I find riches. My grandfather’s citizenship papers dated 1914. A baby blanket my mom crocheted the year I was pregnant. A cassette tape of seven-year-old Ethan reading The Bravest Dog Ever aloud in his sweet, raspy voice.
There’s still another month of summer reading ahead! If you’ve already reached the bottom of your beach bag, our editors have some exciting suggestions for replenishing it.
Jenn Crowell released her first novel, Necessary Madness, to wide critical acclaim at age eighteen. Just five years later, in 2002, she followed it with her second novel, Letting the Body Lead. Her third novel, Etched on Me, was recently released by Washington Square Press. In addition to writing, Jenn also serves as a mental health advocate: she is a survivor of sexual abuse in a psychiatric hospital setting and has advocated with health care agencies for more sensitive and safe treatment of women with mental illness. Jenn lives outside Portland, Oregon, with her husband and daughter. Writer Kristen Witucki spoke with Jenn about her choice of writing fiction, mothering while living with a mental illness, the value of teachers, and how motherhood has shaped her as a writer.
I know it’s hormones. I know it’s sleep deprivation. I know it’s not rational. I know I should get a handle on myself.
Dizzy humid, punctured and wet
grown into my body then from it.
But the self returns, returns again
changed like exploded light-bulbs
or rosebush after tornado.
But what happens to our agency when the pregnant body is defined as “risky”? When women’s bodies require extensive monitoring and treatment?