Guest Blog on NAMW Site

I have a guest blog about how and why I wrote Purge: Rehab Diaries on the National Association of Memoir Writers website. Reminder: The NAMW Teleseminar is on Friday, October 21st!—rehab-diaries-nicole-johns/

Book Cover T-Shirts

These tee-shirts are so cool. I want The Bell Jar one, personally.

Career Women and Eating Disorders

This article from the Grindstone does not surprise me one bit. The general public believes that eating disorders are purely the domain of white, well-to-do teenage girls, and that is a false assumption. It makes sense that women that have dealt with an eating disorder before might have a relapse or have their eating disorder symptoms flare in a high-pressure career situation. The Renfrew program for 30+ women sounds interesting, and possibly very helpful. I know that when I was in treatment, a lot of women over 25 seemed to feel somewhat out of place. A program like Renfrew’s might’ve been helpful to them.


Literary Envy

Kerry Cohen (author of Loose Girl, which everyone should read) wrote an article about writers and envy for the Gotham Writers’ Workshop that resonated with me. Here is a link to the article:’+Workshop+List&utm_campaign=b105b2653f-WEB_October_Newsletter9_27_2011&utm_medium=email


I am a competitive person, and I sometimes envy other writers, which makes me feel really guilty, especially if the writer I am envious of happens to be a friend. I know that to some extent, this is natural, but I still hate it. In this essay, Cohen talks about using envy constructively, which is not something I had thought of before. Instead of being ashamed of my envy and feeling guilty about it (vicious cycle: envy–>guilt–>shame), maybe I should own it and use it to fuel my desire to write something amazing. As writers we should talk about this more, or at least acknowledge the existence of literary envy. Cohen mentions that envy is a taboo emotion, and that it can be paralyzing. I wholeheartedly agree. For now, I’m trying to concentrate on my own writing, and tune everyone else out, not just in writing, but in life in general. More on that last sentence later.

Recommended Nonfiction

One of my friends from college recently asked me what memoirs I was reading, after I posted on facebook about having read a bunch of stripping memoirs while sitting poolside during the summer (those were the days…I miss you already, summer), so this morning I made a list of all the nonfiction (not just memoir) books that I’ve enjoyed in recent years. Granted, a lot of my books are on loan to friends, and I just went with what was on my bookshelf this morning, so this is not a totally inclusive list, but, the subject matter of the list is rather vast. These books are in no particular order whatsoever. Enjoy! I’m thinking about compiling a fiction and poetry list as well. And yes, I have a huge bookshelf (the Expedit), from Ikea, of course.

Hillbilly Gothic-Adrienne Martini

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight-Alexandra Fuller

Marrying George Clooney-Amy Ferris

I Was Told There’d Be Cake & How Did You Get This Number-Sloane Crosley

Loose Girl-Kerry Cohen

The Liars’ Club, Cherry & Lit-Mary Karr

The Summer of Ordinary Ways-Nicole Lea Helget

Devil in the Details-Jennifer Traig

Truth & Beauty-Ann Patchett

Smashed-Koren Zailckas

Bare & Wanderlust-Elisabeth Eaves

Happy-Alex Lemon

Petal Pusher-Laurie Lindeen

Girl, Interrupted-Susanna Kaysen

Searching for Mercy Street-Linda Gray Sexton

Swallow the Ocean-Laura Flynn

Autobiography of a Face-Lucy Grealy

Don’t Call Me Mother-Linda Joy Myers

Some Girls: My Life in a Harem-Jillian Lauren

A Beautiful Mind-Sylvia Nasar

Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellion-Gloria Steinem

Second Sex-Simone de Beauvoir

Feminine Mystique-Betty Friedan

Chalked Up-Jennifer Sey

The Boys of My Youth-Jo Ann Beard

Bossypants-Tina Fey

Joliet Girl-Francine Tolf

A Room of One’s Own-Virginia Woolf

Welcome to My Country & Lying-Lauren Slater

Telling-Patricia Weaver Francisco

I’m Sorry You Feel That Way-Diana Joseph

Anything by these authors: David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, Joan Didion, Michael Pollan, Jon Krakauer, Sarah Vowell, Jeanette Winterson



NAMW Young Memoirists Talk About Truth Panel

On October 21st, I’m going to be a panelist on The Young Memoirists Talk About Truth Panel, which is part of the National Association of Memoir Writers Telesummit. This telesummit is free, as long as you register beforehand. There is more information in the link below. I think it’s going to be a great conversation! I’m excited to talk with other young memoirists.

Twin Cities Literary Punch Cards

Twin Cities people, you should get in on this:

This is so cool.

Book Nerd Post-Woot!

“Woot” is now in the OED (granted, it’s the concise edition, not the regular OED). This makes me a happy girl. 🙂 The evolution of language is so fascinating. Other words that are now in the OED (concise): jeggings, and sexting.

Maggie Goes On A Diet

I haven’t blogged for about a month, because I’ve been busy with work, school, and life, but now that I finally have some free time I’m going to blog again. Look for quite a few blogs to be coming your way…

I read about this, and was annoyed:

While I haven’t read Maggie Goes On A Diet, I think the concept is appalling. I understand that we have an obesity crisis, and that children and teens need to be active and eat a healthy diet, but I think a book like this aimed at ages 6+ is a bit much. Part of the problem is the word “diet.” That’s a loaded word for a lot of girls and women. You know what I think of when I hear the word “diet”?


The book isn’t titled Maggie Learns To Live A Healthy Lifestyle; instead it’s got “diet” with all of its negative connotations in the title. The cover image bothers me, too. Living a healthy lifestyle, and losing weight in healthy way goes beyond a dress that we long to fit into. Also, not everyone is thin. There are people that are overweight and obese that are happy with their bodies, and who are healthy.

My understanding is that the book talks about bullying, and about losing weight in a healthy manner, not crash dieting. I do think these are good things. Maybe this book will get people talking about how to best address childhood obesity. Who knows. I just can’t help but think that I would’ve felt awful had someone given me this book when I was a little girl or teenager. Like I said before, I think it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle, but self-acceptance is important, too. And we are all so much more than a number on the scale.

It makes me unbelievably sad to think that this book exists.

Do I think this book might trigger eating disorders?


I don’t think eating disorders always stem from one root cause. I think this book could have a big impact on someone who is susceptible to developing an eating disorder, though. I think there has to be a better way to talk about losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. Maggie Goes On A Diet is not the right way to address these issues.

Sloane Crosley Interviewed By The Rumpus

I simply adore Sloane Crosley, and her writing. One of the best nights I had this winter was spent at her Edina Barnes & Noble reading. She is smart, witty, and gorgeous. Her essays are hilarious and provoking, and while I loved I Was Told There’d Be Cake for its hilarity, I loved How Did You Get This Number? even more, because of its stark honesty (as well as hilarity).

Meeting writers in person is sometimes a crapshoot. Writers can be: assholes, socially inept, really nervous, snobby, mean, too cool for school, etc. Sloane Crosley was warm, funny, and down-to-earth. When she learned that  my friend Cami likes chickens, she drew a chicken in her book, as well as signing it.

Anyway, you should check out the The Rumpus interview of Sloane Crosley. Much like I love Sloane Crosley, I love The Rumpus. So these are my recommendations for this stormy, lame Monday:

1. Sloane Crosley

2. The Rumpus