Hello. How are you? I wish I were still at the beach.
What that quote promises is, at best, that editors and other publishing gatekeepers will do their best not to hold a writer’s appearance against them, and promises it weakly at that. “We would have paid her the same money if she weighed 500 pounds and was really hard to look at” translates roughly to: “We would not try to offer a fat writer less money for being fat,” which seems an awfully low bar. The effect is a little too self-congratulatory by half . . . It assumes, too, that the reader believes it’s normal or somehow instinctive to want to offer less money to a fat writer (or anyone “hard to look at”). A lot of writers who know that editors and agents think of their bodies as “hard to look at” knew what that sentence means for them and what they can expect in trying to get published.
The Toast acquired another sestina by David Brooks this week!
I thought I liked raccoons, but.
Jessica Woodbury on apartment-hunting as a single parent:
Technically it is illegal for landlords to discriminate on the basis of family status, just like it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion or race. But it happens all the time; two applicants present themselves and you choose the married couple over the set of friends, the professionals with two incomes over the single person with children. There is nothing I can prove and nothing I can do but go on to the next place.
The kids ask about the new house we saw and I tell them we’ll keep looking. For some reason, I know how to own my strength and my struggle with my kids. I know that I need to be solid for them most of the time. I know that it’s also important for me to show them when something is hard.
Are you in an E.M. Forster novel?
Mara Wilson on her identification with Sandy and Rizzo and Grease:
I wanted to be them. They fought, they insulted and mocked each other, but they thought of each other first. There was a special place in my heart for each one of them: sweet schlemiel Frenchy, goofy Jan, flirty Marty… And Rizzo. My heart beat faster every time Rizzo was on screen. It wasn’t a crush, it was something else: she felt familiar to me. Cynical, impulsive, completely allergic to pity. She had all my bad qualities, but she wore them so well. I was never going to smoke and figured (wrongly) I wouldn’t have sex until I was married, but somewhere deep inside she and I were the same. I understood her, because she was me.
Then there was Sandy. Naive, timid Sandy. She was probably my least favorite, but with good reason: she was also me.
I really loved this short story by Emmy Nicklin.
Yesterday was my birthday, and I got many lovely tweets from Toasties. It really made no longer being at the beach, not eating Pony Tracks ice cream all day, and a relentless onslaught of flaming garbage tweets (in response to the most innocuous tweet ever, honestly) much more bearable. Today I’m giving myself the gift of Captain America: Civil War and a couple of good auto-blockers. What are you all up to this weekend?
Nicole Chung is the Managing Editor of The Toast.