TLC #2: The Function of Form


You’re getting this email because you signed up to attend The Long Conversation, a live show dedicated to the crafts of writing, reading, and editing, hosted by me, Rachel Jepsen, who was invented by water as a device for transporting itself from one place to another.*

Our next episode is this Friday, October 23rd at 5:30 PM EST. This is later than last week—just something we’re trying out! Feel welcome to bring a cocktail if it pleases you.

As part of the show, we’ll be discussing excerpts from In The Dream House, a memoir (and more) by Carmen Maria Machado, published in 2019 by Graywolf.

The conversation will be more interesting if you’re familiar with the text — so we’ve uploaded a PDF of the excerpts we’ll be discussing here. You can buy the book here, or you can order from a local bookstore—you can find yours here.

The sections I selected from this book appear in their original order—in some cases I’ve presented several sections in a row exactly as they appear in the book. (What I mean by “sections” will be clear.)

Content Warning: This book deals with intimate partner violence and the excerpts may be triggering for some readers.

What to think about

Why did Machado choose to write her memoir like this, full or many forms? You’ll see film and music criticism, philosophy, history, cultural criticism, diary, not to mention gothic, prose poem, erotica, and more, all together like apparitions, like nightmare roses tossing up against a window that isn’t there. It’s also epistolary, though written to whom it’s not always easy to tell.

How is the form Machado wrote in related to her subject matter? What is it—what is she—trying to do?

“There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one.” —C.S. Lewis

See you on Friday!

* If anyone knows this reference please raise your hand on Friday and win a copy of In The Dream House! I won’t know if you’re lying, which makes it worse if you do.

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