Category: Best Of

how a woman can write to change the world

Powerlessness and silence go together.” — Margaret Atwood

“Your silence will not protect you.” — Audre Lorde


So Vogue magazine got all literary and did an Edith Wharton spread to commemorate the grande dame’s 150th birthday. But there’s a problem. We see Edith and her friends kicking it at The Mount, Edith’s country home. Living male writers depict deceased male writers:

“There is Jeffrey Eugenides in a bowler hat doing his best Henry James. There is a bow-tied Junot Diaz as Wharton’s (unrequited) love interest, diplomat Walter Berry. There is Jonathan Safran Foer, hair severely parted down the middle, posing as Wharton’s collaborator, the architect Ogden Codman, Jr.”

And the woman depicting Edith Wharton herself?

30-year-old Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova.

As I would tweet on Twitter: *Headdesk*. click here

Sep 19, 2012 · 18 Comments / ADD YOURS

“it would cause the slow withering death of my soul” + 75 other ways to say No

1. I’ll be out of town.

2. I’ll be out of the country.

3. I’ll be frolicking through strawberry fields. Frolicking, I tell you!

4. I know I’m not the best person for that, you should ask ______.

5. I can’t do that.

6. I could do that, but then I’d have to kill you.

7. You don’t want to do that.

8. It’s not my thing. Now, figure skating is my thing… click here

Aug 26, 2012 · 15 Comments / ADD YOURS

why most dating advice tends to suck ( + an interesting definition of ‘soulmate’)


There’s a story this culture likes to tell about men and women.

It goes something like this: men and women are at war with each other because men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

Women have emotions and men do not.

Women want relationships and men do not.

Men have sexual desire and women not so much.

Therefore, men must manipulate as many women as possible into having sex with them (because that’s what all men want) and women must manipulate men into commitment and marriage (because that’s what all women want). click for more

Jul 26, 2012 · 49 Comments / ADD YOURS

27 DOs + DON’Ts for being a badass woman

I was invited to participate in Productive Flourishing’s ongoing “core conversation” about female empowerment. Which got me thinking about what it means to be ’empowered’. As always, I consulted some books — in this case Anne Doyle’s POWERING UP, Gloria Feldt’s NO EXCUSES and Linda Austin’s WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK? (excellent, all; I highly recommend them) — and came up with the list you see below. Said list is by no means exhaustive, so if you wish to add to it in the comments section, go ahead, I’d be delighted.

And just to add — I searched stock images for ‘powerful woman’ and ‘powerful womanhood’ and was depressed and dismayed at what came up. Apparently being a powerful woman means wearing a manly business suit, pretending to box, pretending to box while nearly naked, holding a gun, or standing alone. Lame. Incredibly lame. If you can find something better, please send it to me. click here


May 21, 2012 · 43 Comments / ADD YOURS

creative badass epic post: how to figure out your purpose/passion/just what the hell it is you want

When you rock, the world pays attention. — Hugh MacLeod

Early in our relationship, when my boyfriend and I still considered ourselves frovers – a cross between friends and lovers, not boyfriend-girlfriend but more than friends with benefits (I was not a ‘Rules’ girl) – he asked me, “So what do you want to do with your life?”

I talked for a bit, and he was thoughtful.

“Is something wrong?” I said.

“I’m just impressed,” he said, “that you were able to answer the question. Most women can’t.”

I thought of this when I read this post, which asks the very reasonable question: How can you go after what you want when you have no idea what you want? You can’t know what you want if you’re not sure who you are, and since we’re all works-in-progress, I would say that even those of us who know what we want, might not always remember what we want, or find ourselves clinging to outdated notions of what we want, or wake up one morning to realize that we’ve wanted all the wrong things. So I think the question, much like the line of breath in meditation, is something you have to keep returning to: keep remembering to ask, and to listen for the answers. click here


Apr 15, 2012 · 21 Comments / ADD YOURS

things that smart women know

This morning I asked on Facebook and Twitter: What do smart women know? I distilled the answers into this post. Thank you to everyone who participated*. You are awesome sauce.

Smart women know that perfection is annoying and overrated.

Smart women know to be gloriously imperfect.

Smart women know that they are responsible for creating the beauty in their lives.

Smart women know that there is more to life than being in a relationship.

Smart women know that success stems from love, connection and leading from the soul.

Smart women know that great men exist and they are not the enemy. click for more

Feb 24, 2012 · 32 Comments / ADD YOURS

7 awesome reasons to kill your inner ‘nice girl’ (or maybe just send her to Cleveland*)

“Killing the angel in the house was part of the occupation of the woman writer.” — Virginia Woolf
I give you seven awesome reasons to kill your inner nice girl.

(Or maybe just send her to Cleveland or something.) click for more


Dec 12, 2011 · 31 Comments / ADD YOURS

10 reasons why pursuing your creative work is actually highly productive (+ not selfish or self-indulgent)

1. Carving time from your regular, ‘productive’ life to pursue a hobby or project that you’re passionate about means that you increase your chances of being in flow.

Which I wrote about in this post here.

Long story short: flow is you in your element. It reinvigorates you. It wakes you up to new possibilities for yourself and increases your sense of well-being.

This is good for you.

It’s also good for the world, because click for more

Nov 6, 2011 · 14 Comments / ADD YOURS

“well-behaved women seldom make history”: redefining what it means to be bad

I posed topless for a female photographer who specializes in boudoir. I’m lying on the bed in a man’s velvet smoking jacket, hair blown across my face. I look at the camera. It’s a beautiful portrait (the photographer is very talented) and I’m proud of it. It reminds me slightly of Manet’s Olympia. That painting caused a scandal at the time — not because the subject was nude — but because of how she stares at the viewer instead of looking away demurely.

It’s that act of shameless eye contact that makes her – according to the moral dictates of the era — truly “bad”.

I once said to someone, “I don’t know if I’m a good girl with a bad streak, or a bad girl with a good streak.” But I was being ironic. My real point was that, like any other woman (or man), I am both and neither.

In fact, it’s kind of amazing to me that the good girl/bad girl dichotomy still exists. It came up again when movie star Reese Witherspoon…click for more

Jun 10, 2011 · 59 Comments / ADD YOURS

the secrets and revelations of a powerful middle act

I’ve been thinking about secrets. The characters in my novel-in-progress, THE DECADENTS, all have them. They have to do with desire, especially forbidden desire, and the destructive forms it can take when repressed. And as these secrets surface, one by one by one, the world of the story changes forever. I’m fascinated with the idea…

May 6, 2011 · 4 Comments / ADD YOURS