The summer stew.

After months of traveling in Vermont, Greensboro and Martha’s Vineyard, I’m so happy to be home in Durham for a summer of writing. Right now I’m working on What Every Girl Should Know, a play commissioned by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern about feminist badass Margaret Sanger. Her autobiography is incredible–she got arrested a dozen times and traveled all over the world, as far as Japan, speaking on birth control–and I’m struck by her deep moral instinct, which we take for granted now: that parents should be able to choose when to have children. And that when they can’t, the woman (to put it mildly) suffers disproportionately.

But because I dislike the conventional approach to biography, I’m taking an oblique route, viewing her through the eyes of four young women imprisoned in a Catholic reformatory. They read the newspaper. They start dreaming. I’m dreaming too–everything becomes an inspiration. Right now I’m especially responding to BorgesFoxfire, Heavenly Creatures, Bug, the Angelus, and, of course, the oeuvre of Jane’s Addiction. If that sounds like a crazy mix, I promise you, it makes sense in my head! It’s like I’m adding more and more ingredients to my stew, but can’t taste it yet.

3 Comments on “The summer stew.”

  1. Biography is such a hard road to go and keep it a living, breathing independent thing as opposed to a repetition of what’s already been done. Best of luck. Are you doing any other research besides her autobiography or focusing on her perspective?

  2. I am! I’m doing a lot of research on the Lower East Side in the 1910s, pending my friend gets back so I can borrow his university library card, ha. Her autobiography and some of her pamphlets are the only reading I’m doing from her perspective. Otherwise, I just want to know what life was like for young delinquent women in that age.

  3. Denise says:

    Young delinquent women in the 1910s…can’t wait!

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