Lilit Goes

You Can't Take the South Out of the Girl

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The people who call Ciudad Juarez the most dangerous city in the world are the ones who don’t live there.

I think maybe if I walk the streets where someone was afraid, where an entire city was afraid, I’ll maybe understand the fear a little better. This is the grand fiction of tourism, that bringing our bodies someplace draws that place closer to us, or we to it. It’s a quick fix of empathy.

Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams

Filed under no dudes allowed reading list 2014 leslie jamison books travel travel writing

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Cosmo (US), August 24, page 184. My capital-F Feelings about some heavy shit that went down in my life last year. It’s really nice to be on the other side of this.
Update: The full essay is online and you can see it here.

Cosmo (US), August 24, page 184. My capital-F Feelings about some heavy shit that went down in my life last year. It’s really nice to be on the other side of this.

Update: The full essay is online and you can see it here.

Filed under stuff I wrote childfree

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I’ve written a lot about being childfree, and I’ve thought about not doing it anymore—I’m tired of talking about it, explaining it, reminding people that I (actually, seriously) am not ever going to have a kid and explaining why. But then, someone will write or say something about how women are natural mothers, how we all love kids, even if we don’t have our own, how we have to manifest caretaking in some clear way so that the rest of the world feels better about us as women. If we don’t have our own children, we have to be mothers to our pets (“fur babies”), or to children in a classroom if we’re teachers, or, through language or action, prove that we have an instinct to take care of something, besides ourselves.
My beloved Chanel Dubofsky dropping all the truth bombs, as usual

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Life was like the Bible, translated from Hebrew to Greek, from Greek to Latin, from Latin to English, from English to Mandarin Chinese. When Cuiyuan read it, she translated the Mandarin into Shanghainese. Some things did not come through.
Eileen Chang, “Sealed Off” (from Love in a Ruined City)

Filed under eileen chang quotes no dudes allowed reading list 2014

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A Seedling Travel Writer

I found this snippet from the journal I kept the summer I was in Spain. Sometimes I think our own words give us clues to what we’re not ready to know about ourselves.


I spent twelve hours in Barcelona a month ago, between a train from San Sebastian and a plane to Rome.  I couldn’t see what the big deal was.  I went to the Sagrada Familia, an amazing cathedral that is going to take one hundred years to finish, features a black Jesus, and is partly made out of Coke cans and recycled aluminum foil.  Otherwise, I couldn’t see why everyone thought Barcelona was so much better than Madrid. 

This time, though, I cracked the city open like a proverbial nut.  I stayed in one of those dorm-style hostels ten minutes from the beach and just across from the huge covered market.  Fell in with some Belfast blokes and a music journalist from New York.  Drank boxed sangria (not as bad as boxed wine, and it cost one euro twenty)  in the middle of the street at two in the afternoon.  Watched the Chelsea/ Manchester match in a crowded pub full of UKers and took part in the screaming and profanity.  Went to the Picasso museum, and realized Bilbao has spoiled me for life.

It was the first time I’d ever been in the Mediterranean.  I usually hate getting my hair wet, but I couldn’t help but go all the way in.  Even the rocky shore was no deterrent.  I have been in the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Dead Sea, and the Bay of Biscay.  I measure time in bodies of water, and the next phase of my life involves the Hudson River.  At the Hebrew Museum in Florence, I signed the guestbook Lilit Sofer, New York, United States.  Toda.  In Hebrew, the word toda means thank you; in Spanish, it means all.  I meant both.

So I stayed in Florence longer than I planned because I liked it better than Rome, and I met a guy who is the assistant to a painter doing a commissioned portrait of Andrea Bocelli.  We got to see David for free, those perfect sinews and veins, saving my non-EU self ten euros, which I promptly spent on cheap wine.  I hung out with British chicks and watched the meteor shower.  I “earringed” my way through Europe: pink glass in Venice and blue swirls in Barcelona.  I kissed a guy on the cheek and we both turned red as thirteen-year-olds.

On the train from Rome to Naples, en route to Pompeii, I pointed out the window and asked the English speaking man in the compartment across from me, “what river is that?”  He smiled and said, “it is the sea.”

Filed under flashbacks stuff I wrote spain memories baby travel writer