I have kept a hotel room in every town I’ve ever lived in. I rent a hotel room for a few months, leave my home at six, and try to be at work by six-thirty. To write, I lie across the bed, so that this elbow is absolutely encrusted at the end, just so rough with callouses. I never allow the hotel people to change the bed, because I never sleep there. I stay until twelve-thirty or one-thirty in the afternoon, and then I go home and try to breathe; I look at the work around five; I have an orderly dinner—proper, quiet, lovely dinner; and then I go back to work the next morning. Sometimes in hotels I’ll go into the room and there’ll be a note on the floor which says, Dear Miss Angelou, let us change the sheets. We think they are moldy. But I only allow them to come in and empty wastebaskets. I insist that all things are taken off the walls. I don’t want anything in there. I go into the room and I feel as if all my beliefs are suspended.
The exhibition starts with one shining, unfathomably terrible morning and winds up as all of our lives, as banal and constant as laundry, bottomless.
Steve Kandell, whose sister died in the 9/11 attacks, visits the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The Worst Day Of My Life Is Now New York’s Hottest Tourist Attraction, Buzzfeed.
It’s a privacy issue. I don’t want my boyfriend involved in something romantic or sexual that I might have on the side! It’s my life.
The ugly duckling myth is sentimental. It may soothe the memory of social rejection, but it falsifies the experience, evades its cruelty and uselessness.
Ellen Willis, “Memoirs of a Non-Prom Queen,” Originally published in Rolling Stone, August 1976;excerpted from The Essential Ellen Willis, out this week from the University of Minnesota Press.
This is an essay about accepting that it was you, and not “them,” who hurt you.