things we like ft. Alisson Wood
Alisson Wood is a professor of creative writing for undergraduates at NYU, where she's a candidate for an MFA in Fiction and managing editor for the Washington Square Review. She is at currently work on Being Lolita (forthcoming 2019), a memoir a two-year relationship she had with her high school English teacher. Here, Alisson shares with us her favorite things at the moment, which includes pigeons.
I’ve been reading and re-reading some of my favorite memoirs by women this summer and I adore Melissa Febos’ Abandon Me. I remember just being overwhelmed the first time I read it—it was so gorgeous and lyric and stunning, and it was just as good a second time around. I also read Sarah Manguso’s The Two Kinds of Decay for the first time a few weeks ago and kicked myself for never reading it fully before, I’d only read excerpts. Both books are deeply honest and moving and I can’t recommend them highly enough.
I’ve been listening to Neko Case’s new album Hell-On this past week and I’m in love with songs like “Curse of the I-5 Corridor” and “Sleep All Summer.” I find the album really to be about fear and disentanglement and not just rising above but rising beyond. There are moments in songs that go so epic but then she ends them in a hush. It’s really wonderful to enjoy an artist so in control of her tools. And with lyrics like “So I died and went to work,” from the song “Bad Luck,” it’s hitting all the right chords for me as I work on finishing my book (a memoir, Being Lolita, forthcoming from Flatiron Books/MacMillan).
I love going to see live theater. I live in NYC and try to get to a Broadway play or musical at least once a month. As someone who tells and deconstructs stories all the time as a writer and MFA student and teacher, I love being immersed in a dark theater and have someone else tell me a story for a change. This past weekend I saw Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf, an off-Broadway feminist parody of the classic play, and Tom Stoppard’s Travesties. Both were incredibly funny and smart and it was wonderful to see artists engage with other artists, since both plays are very much in conversation with literature and playwriting. And I saw both shows for under $60!
Unpopular opinion: I think pigeons are awesome. People love to hate on pigeons (in NYC, mean people even call them “rats with wings”!) but I am a huge fan. Not only do I think pigeons (or rock doves, since they are actually a kind of dove) are beautiful with their iridescent colors and individual patterns, they’re really smart. A pigeon was given a medal of honor for its bravery in World War I; enjoy that internet rabbit hole. Also, I think of pigeons as being very scrappy birds, so I deeply relate on a personal and artistic level. I love pigeons so much I named my literary reading series Pigeon Pages and we’ve now expanded to a lit journal, Pigeon Pages, so I’m an honorary pigeon now too.
You can find more of Alisson's work here.
Thumbnail photography by Kevin Kelley.