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You Should Be Reading Michelle Tea

A while back, someone asked me to make a list of LGBT lit. "I...pretty much only read the "L" part of that," I answered. So it was amended to a list of lesbian lit. Regardless of whether or not you're gay, it's important to read its literature, the same way it's important to read other nations' or races' literatures. "Omg! Debatable comparison!" you say.

NAY. Because what they all have in common is a different experience and point of view. If a person is anything other than what YOU are, they have a different point of view. Your family has a different point of view than you, so imagine how a person who is STILL being called an abomination (but now only by select idiots) must see the world.

don't tell me that doesn't mean something

When making this list, I did research, because I haven't actually read most of the canon lesbian lit. And I kept seeing Valencia by Michelle Tea. So the next time I went to the library, I picked it up off the shelf. It starts with a girl drinking at a bar, trying to impress a girl she wants to have sex with. It struck me as seedy and potentially trashy and totally not my world, and I almost put it back, but I found that I really, really loved the writing, so I ended up checking it out. And completely loving it.

After Valencia, I decided to read all of Michelle Tea's books, so here's Rose of No Man's Land. It concerns a 14-year-old girl with a poor, mostly uncaring family, and almost all of the book takes place in one day -- like Star Wars. But UNlike Star Wars, it deals with what I'm going to term a stream of consciousness set of events, where instead of anything making sense, the main character (Trisha) and her new friend Rose (like the title!) wander from place to place and it's poetic and awesome and I really do love Tea's writing.

We looked up at the wide bowl of night, squinting for stars, but you can't see any above Route 1. We'd traded stars for the tall neon sculptures that advertise the restaurants. I say who cares. It's not like we can make the stars extinct. The stars are the last bit of nature we can't fuck up; we only fuck it up for ourselves, stacking lights on top of lights 'til we blot out the sky.

Even smaller scenes, like when Trisha's eating at a place called Clown in the Box:
I picked at the vegetable nuggets. I lifted a blobular crusty one from the paper boat and blew and blew until the oil shining on the stiff batter didn't look scalding. I popped it into my mouth and sucked in air to cool it off. 
Her writing's evocative and holds your attention and she needs to be read more. She's one of the few authors whose style itself -- as opposed to a particular plot choice -- makes me want to read all her books. I don't really care what the topic is -- I know I'm going to like it regardless. I guess Rose of No Man's Land could be classified as YA because it deals with a 14-year-old, but it doesn't feel like YA.  It's just really good. She has an actual YA book out now about mermaids. MERMAIDS ARE SO HOT RIGHT NOW.



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