Remember what I said last week about Ross Gay—all that still stands. I.love.him. But as many people know, love is not a finite thing. We can love lots of people. Places. Things. Authors. Poets writing micro-essays.
This week Beth Ann Fennelly’s collection of 52 micro-memoirs, Heating & Cooling, captured my heart. While I harbor any running into coffee store fantasies involving her yet (I suspect we would be better Twitter friends, trading witty barbs about feminism, parenting, and grilled cheese—I am not sure why I said grilled cheese, but I am going with it. Maybe it is grilled cheese that shows Jesus on the cross or something, something that could bring together a lapsed Catholic and lapsed Baptist over a good laugh) I did absolutely laugh out loud read my away through this collection. Especially with pieces like this one:
But this whip-smart, laugh out loud pieces are juxtaposed with a few that a bit more serious in tone taking on both the macro issues faced by many women and the more personal issues Fennelly has dealt with like the untimely death of her older sister that left her bereft. This reflection on their childhood relationship cuts to the bone and captures the nature of being siblings without being sappy.
Like Ross Gay, she mixes that personal, political, public and poetic in a way that as my poetry teacher Tom Lux would say, makes me want to “sell my soul to the devil” to have written it myself.
Here’s a glimpse of the political that stirred such a deep pride for my own birthing experience:
So if you are looking for something smart-funny, quick to read, but deep to think on Heating & Cooling is the real deal. The simplicity of the micro-essay keeps everything razor sharp, swerving away from the saccharine. They bite; they sing. And they speak deep. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.