BURN PILE: Cat People. Sex, badly written, and goodly. Lydia's cowboy on film.

Cat Person

By Kristen Roupenian

This short story in The New Yorker gets the top of the page to itself. The tweets I quote below read like comments in a highly caffeinated MFA workshop:

  • I like The New Yorker short story everyone is talking about, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I like it. What’s with all of the haters?


  • Gonna catch heat for this opinion but I solidly don't care: relatable as it is, "Cat Person" is a plodding & poorly-written story until the last few lines. But even that ending fell flat for me bc the language & characters are so devoid of nuance.


  • This is the realest shit I ever read.


  • I actually think that New Yorker piece about the cat person guy is awful but not just in the way you guys are saying it is


  • everyone is geeking over that "Cat Person" story in the New Yorker but are we just ignoring that the author literally wrote the words “small log of his erection” to describe a boner


  • Here is MY so I read "Cat Person" tweet and really, what I want to say is, y'all – it is actually the first piece of fiction in the New Yorker I have *ever* read.


  • This. Is the best. Story. I have. EVER. Fucking read. In. The New Yorker.


  • I have not read the New Yorker "Cat Person" story yet.


  • The "Cat Person" story in The New Yorker is well-written, relatable, and feels brutally honest (despite being a fictional tale). That said, it's also deeply uncomfortable and I *personally* don't understand the point of it. Would be open to discussing (if anyone in my feed cares)


  • it's 4am and i'm drunk and i just read that fucking cat person story by the new yorker and i have more words to say about it but for now all i can is that i hate it and people's responses to it are fucking awful and i hate it

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Bad sex, cont.

Have We Gotten Better at Writing About Sex?
This year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award winner isn’t as cringeworthy as previous years

By Natalee Cruz


“Bad sex is starting to be not that bad, per se. There’s no discussion of any kind of the cringe-worthy metaphors to sex you hear from that guy in your MFA.”

The Bad Sex Award Inspired Me to Work Harder at Writing Good Sex
By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

“You might argue that shaming authors who embark upon the tricky business of writing about sex is mean and unfair, and will discourage aspiring novelists from going near the subject, despite it being a significant part of experience. Furthermore, is it not snobbish and prudish and, well, awfully English? You can’t imagine the French getting worked up over some writer overusing the word ‘moist’.”

* * *

What We Do for Work
By Caitlyn GD

“We didn’t come here to argue so we just do as told, knee-highs to the kitchen floor.”


Smoke and Mirrors: An Interview with Caitlyn GD

“This story is meant to tell an aspect of sex work that is specific to a certain degree of autonomy and privilege that doesn’t encompass every sex worker’s experience. I decided that there were going to be pieces of them and their lives that were unanswered and contradictory and that allowing that was more of a service to them.”


By Meghan Phillips

“The costume is Little Bo Peep from last spring’s production of Shrek: The Musical, but everyone at the party thinks I’m Mary, like Mary had a Little Lamb. With mint jelly, one of the brothers says, and I look up from my red cup because the only other person I’ve ever heard make that dumb joke is my dad, and this guy’s certainly not my father.”

* * *

Reality check:

Enough: America’s Wholly Visible Underbelly
By The Rumpus, November 28th, 2017

Collegial Indecency: Sexual Assault in the Ivory Tower
by Ada Cheng

“I should have screamed and yelled, pushed him away, or kicked him, but I didn’t. I did say no. Over and over again. Politely and respectfully.”

ENOUGH is a Rumpus series devoted to creating a dedicated space for essays, poetry, fiction, comics, and artwork by women and non-binary people that engage with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence. The series will run every Tuesday afternoon. Each week we will highlight different voices and stories.

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From pw.org:

“A few years ago I used to tell myself I wanted to marry a cowboy.” In this short film produced by Park Pictures, director Alison Maclean adapts Lydia Davis’s short story about an English professor who fantasizes about a life of adventure. 'The Professor' is included in Davis’s collection The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009)."