“Um, excuse me. Can you move?” a man asked me on the train a few years ago.
I was in my seat fully and only carried a small bag. On my body, an all-sequined jacket. Dainty on the outside, but sharp upon touch. I had just bought it a month before and I began wearing it almost every other day. It was not a shield but rather a nod, a clap, a reassurance of whom I was becoming.
“I’m not in your seat,” I said confused.
“My legs need more room,” he said. His legs, his body, his space, his comfort, his self. I looked at him, shorter and smaller than me. What about my legs, my body, my space, my comfort, myself? I already gave more than I needed. What more did I have to give.?
I looked him over again. I didn’t move and returned to my book, the one I never put away, the one I never wanted to put away again.
He sat down and stretched out, spreading his body into my seat, his arms jutting into my own until I heard a low yelp.
“Ouch!” he cried. I looked over at him.
“Your jacket!” he shouted. Ah yes, my jacket. This jacket. Can you feel it all?
I will be hosting this discussion and event with Rachel Bertsche at Open Books in Chicago. Would love to see you there!
After her bestselling first book, MWF Seeking BFF, Rachel sets her sights on the glamorous lives of movie stars. In Jennifer, Gwenyth and Me, she embarks on a quest to emulate her Hollywood role models—while sticking to a budget—to see if they really hold the keys to happiness. In discussion with local writer Britt Julious, Rachel will explain the preparations behind the project, her own relationship to Hollywood, and her biggest takeaways from writing Jennifer, Gwenyth and Me.
In addition to her books, Rachel has written for the New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, More, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fitness, Women’s Health, New York, Huffington Post, CNN.com, and more. Rachel has written about everything from porn films to shark skin, and her work has been included in three of the O, The Oprah Magazine annual anthologies.
Host Britt Julious is a born and bred Chicagoan with a devotion to snappy pieces of really, really good writing. In 2014, Britt founded Inland, an online and print publication examining contemporary Midwest culture. She also writes for a variety of different publications and organizations including Vice, where she is the Chicago contributor, The Guardian, WBEZ, Pitchfork and Rookie. She currently serves as the senior editor of literary site This Recording where she is free to expound on the merits of Ishiguro and Whitney Houston equally. In 2012, The Chicago Reader named her the city’s “Best Local Writer Who Excels at Social Media.” She is a champion for the underdog, a lover of sequins and a proud Black Hippie.