|Photo by Ellen Willis|
Tagged by Gina!
1. What are you working on?
Lessons for Girls, a book of essays about HBO's Girls, specifically the first season and the critical reaction to it with some slight references to how that criticism impacted the show as it went on. Reviewing the morass of reactions to the show when it barely existed has been fascinating/horrible. Coming to terms with how long it has really been since 2012 has been even more so. The face completely melted off my life in 2012. Technically, the answer to "What are you working on?" has been the same since 2012, and it is, "Regaining the ability to respond proportionally to everyday stressors."
2. How does your work differ from others’ in the same genre?
I wager that others who have undertaken large-scale critical works on one specific subject have, at some point in the past, found joy in writing criticism, which I never did in school. So I'm sure I'm suffering some convenient amnesia about what my past critical writing experiences. Now I love it and feel deeply that the work has a purpose.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I'm writing Lessons for Girls because for all the criticism disseminated over the life of Girls on television, I do not think anyone has nailed what the show is doing or why it is significant, particularly with regards to what kind of criticism has been leveled against it.
4. How does your writing process work?
I watched the first season as it aired and recorded my initial impressions. In starting Lessons, I watched the first season again — for the first time, closely, since 2012 — and transcribed the events of each episode. Then I combed through and inserted my observations and conclusions regarding each episode, what themes are present individually and overall throughout the season. Then I read everything that I could that was written during/about the first season and have been weaving in/responding to those critical reactions. The first layer of writing, I stayed completely immersed in my impressions, and since then, I've been completely immersed in other critics' impressions. Now I'm working that all together. As my first work of this scale written while I have a job and lots of other responsibilities, it has been invaluable in developing more effective ways of structuring and building something big made of "moving" parts. It is not exactly like a piece of fiction, but in dealing with smaller essays that make up a single season, I am treading over information that becomes relevant at one point but central to another. And it has been simply reassuring that I can tackle something as substantial as this with everything else I have going on — a full-time job, two part-time jobs, a partner I now live with, friends who live far away, exercise that is vital to my health, blogs that I hate to ignore.