Books

The first time she told her mother to fuck off, her mother was sitting on the dirty blue velvet couch, reading the newspaper. Polly walked into the living room, excited. Her mother didn’t look up. There was a bottle of beer, open, mostly full, sweating on the table next to her.
“Fuck you!” Polly said, clenching and unclenching her fists.
Her mother looked up, alarmed, but without missing a beat, she whacked Polly across the face with the newspaper.

—Paula Bomer, “Down the Alley” from Inside Madeleine

Sally had become a platinum blonde, which made her look like Kim Novak with a brain, and her career, as she referred to her life, looked like it might do something. She actually could act.

– Eve Babitz, Eve’s Hollywood

"I thought that if my mother hadn't died she would have taught me all about female things that didn't interest me: cooking, sewing, pleasing, self-sacrifice. She would have taught me to be a better person than the one I'd become."

-Suzanne Scanlon, Promising Young Women

"I’m a political person, a political radical. I believe that the struggle for freedom, pleasure, transcendence is not just an individual matter. The social system that organizes our lives, and as far as possible channels our desire, is antagonistic to that struggle; to change this requires collective effort. "

-Ellen Willis, “Coming Down Again” from No More Nice Girls

I took the package to the post office at Eleventh Street and Fourth Avenue. There was a long line because of the upcoming holidays. As I was standing in line, I saw a sign explaining what kinds of things you couldn’t send via airmail: obviously really hazardous materials like lighter fluid and firearms but also alcohol, perfume, prescription drugs, and tobacco. Hmm, perfume. But my flask was so tiny, and it was all wrapped up in the iPod cozy, plus the package was sturdy and all taped up. I couldn’t imagine the tiny vial would break open, and if it did, there were just a few drops in there—they’d surely evaporate right away. When I got up to the window, the clerk looked humorless. She weighed my parcel and looked me dead in the eye: “Any perfume in there?” I looked her dead in the eye and said no. She put the necessary postage on the package and tossed it into a bin.

Barbara Browning, The Gift