Summer Brennan

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Born
in California, The United States
May 12

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Rebecca Solnit, Joan Didion, David Grann, Susan Orlean, Eula Biss, ...more

Member Since
August 2014


Summer Brennan is a journalist and author. She received the 2016 Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award and was a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Her first book, The Oyster War: The True Story of a Small Farm, Big Politics, and the Future of Wilderness in America (2015) was a finalist for the 2016 Orion Book Award. Her second book, High Heel, part of the Object Lessons series from Bloomsbury and The Atlantic, was published in March 2019. A longtime consultant for the United Nations, her writing has appeared in Granta, The Paris Review, New York Magazine, The Guardian, Scientific American, Longreads, Pacific Standard, McSweeneys, Lit Hub, the San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. She ...more

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Summer Brennan I get writer's block quite severely. No matter how much I may tell myself that writer's block is all in my head, it still insists on doing a…moreI get writer's block quite severely. No matter how much I may tell myself that writer's block is all in my head, it still insists on doing a marvelously lifelike impression of reality. For me it isn't usually a case of not having any ideas, but more that I can't seem to make those ideas show up properly on the screen in readable English sentences. Here are some things that help.

1) Take a walk. Get away from your computer or notebook and think for a while while moving your feet up and down in a way that propels you forward. You're still working, so don't let anyone disturb you. Sometimes you just need to clear the cobwebs.

2) Talk instead of write. I use the Voice Notes app on my phone to record long rambling messages to myself about whatever I'm working on. I can walk down the street doing this and people just think that I'm having a conversation with someone on the other end of the phone. It feels crazy at first but then you get used to it. Try to tell the story in however jumbled way that you can, just to get the elements out there. Then, after a few days or weeks or whatever you want, listen to your messages and transcribe them work for word. Congratulations, you now have a very, very bad first draft of something.

3) Make yourself write. Use a timer and vow to get out 1,000 words in an hour, or even 30 minutes. Make it tight enough that you won't have time to think too much. Just put down sentences one after the other, and then edit later. Only rarely will the writing you get from this be as bad as you'd expect.

These are my three main approaches, but there are more! I should hang a list of them framed on my wall.(less)
Summer Brennan Hi there! I'm sorry I didn't see the question earlier. The best way to contact me with queries for interviews and such is through my website, …moreHi there! I'm sorry I didn't see the question earlier. The best way to contact me with queries for interviews and such is through my website, https://www.summer-brennan.com/. (less)
Average rating: 4.1 · 362 ratings · 84 reviews · 3 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Oyster War: The True St...

4.06 avg rating — 231 ratings — published 2015 — 5 editions
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High Heel

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4.16 avg rating — 129 ratings — published 2019 — 4 editions
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The Parisian Sphinx: A True...

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings
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High Heel is on its way!

9781501325991

High Heel's publication date is not too far off—on March 21st, 2019—and advanced review copies (ARCs) and going out now! If you don't have access to one of those, be sure to pre-order via Indiebound, Powells, Amazon, or your local bookstore!

Add it to your Goodreads list here: High Heel

xo

Summer Read more of this blog post »
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Published on November 12, 2018 06:28 Tags: essays, fashion, feminism, high-heel, shoes, summer-brennan

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Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Duchess Goldblatt
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Nana by Émile Zola
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It should shock no one that Zola was a misogynist and a homophobe as his epoch almost requires of any popular literature, but this is still a good novel. Nana does not come across as a real person, but rather a nexus of male fear, desire, and blame.
Summer Brennan is on page 140 of 464 of Book of Ages
Book of Ages by Jill Lepore
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Book of Ages by Jill Lepore
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Jeanne Duval by Maud Sulter
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Wild Milk
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More of Summer's books…
“But I find that perhaps the greatest gift of reading is how it can transport us not to the future or to the past, but to the present. How it helps us be right here; to return to ourselves. It gives us different lenses to try viewing the world through, to see if any of them can help the universe make more sense. We may write to shout into the abyss of history, but we read to hear the voices of our fellows calling back to us through the dark.”
Summer Brennan

“To escape the throngs, we decided to see the new Neil Degrasse Tyson planetarium show, Dark Universe. It costs more than two movie tickets and is less than thirty minutes long, but still I want to go back and see it again, preferably as soon as possible. It was more visually stunning than any Hollywood special effect I’d ever seen, making our smallness as individuals both staggering and - strangely - rather comforting. Only five percent of the universe consists of ordinary matter, Neil tells us. That includes all matter - you, and me, and the body of Michael Brown, and Mork’s rainbow suspenders, and the letters I wrote all summer, and the air conditioner I put out on the curb on Christmas Day because I was tired of looking at it and being reminded of the person who had installed it, and my sad dying computer that sounds like a swarm of bees when it gets too hot, and the fields of Point Reyes, and this year’s blossoms which are dust now, and the drafts of my book, and Israeli tanks, and the untaxed cigarettes that Eric Garner sold, and my father’s ill-fitting leg brace that did not accomplish what he’d hoped for in terms of restoring mobility, and the Denver airport, and haunting sperm whales that sleep vertically, and the water they sleep in, and Mars and Jupiter and all of the stars we see and all of the ones we don’t. That’s all regular matter, just five percent. A quarter is “dark matter,” which is invisible and detectable only by gravitational pull, and a whopping 70 percent of the universe is made up of “dark energy,” described as a cosmic antigravity, as yet totally unknowable. It’s basically all mystery out there - all of it, with just this one sliver of knowable, livable, finite light and life. And did I mention the effects were really cool? After seeing something like that it’s hard to stay mad at anyone, even yourself.”
Summer Brennan

“Still, she knew they were there, even if she couldn’t see them; like benevolent ghosts lost in the ether, not far from her, rolling their plump bodies in the surf or stretched languorously on the shore.”
Summer Brennan, The Oyster War: The True Story of a Small Farm, Big Politics, and the Future of Wilderness in America

“someone will remember us
I say
even in another time”
Sappho, If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

“He is ugly and sad... but he is all love.”
Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
tags: love

“Cease, cows, life is short.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

“As he died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap.”
Leonard Cohen, The Flame

“I want
To do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”
Pablo Neruda, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair




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