Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Hello! Thanks for visiting Girldrive. You will be redirected in mere moments to the NEW SITE:


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rubyfruit Jungle, oh how I heart you

Okay, so this doesn't really have to do with Girldrive, per se, except for the fact that it's about finding your feminist identity...but I just wrote a piece on Bitch's site about how much I love Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle. It seriously is the best feminist novel I've ever read. Check it out.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Preview: some dates for the Girldrive launch

Seal Press and I have been hard at working settling some dates for various Girldrive events. So far we're planning on:
  • a reading at KGB Bar in NYC on Oct 29 at 7 p.m. (featuring some ladies from the book)
  • a classy-ass launch party (kid-and-underage-friendly!) at A.I.R. Gallery in NYC on Oct 30 at 7:30 p.m.
I'm also hoping to hit up Detroit, Milwaukee, Madison, and any college or bookstore that invites me within driving range! (Or if you want to fly me out, that's cool too.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Real quick: Jezebel gives Girldrive a shoutout

(Thought I'd tell you in case you didn't see it...)

Also, not sure whether to laugh or cry, but one of the comments jokingly compared the Girldrive vid to this fake trailer by Alicia Silverstone and Alanis Morissette. Crazy coincidence? Um, hopefully.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Girldrive trailer!

Check out the new Girldrive trailer, which has actual footage of our road trip (it actually kinda matches that photo of us on the right!). The video was made by the amazing and talented Lucy, who came with us for a week on our adventure, and brought her video camera along with her. Pretty soon, there will be shorter trailers of a few individual interviews to get you excited for the book.

Note: the new website (advertised at the end) doesn't work yet, obviously. That'll be up in a couple of weeks, I just couldn't wait to share the video!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Become a fan of Girldrive on Facebook!

Hi everyone,

I just created a Facebook fan page, a place to keep up on updates and events related to Girldrive. Clearly if you read the blog, you already get these, but please become a fan so that your hundreds of Facebook friends will see the little icon, get curious, and click on it!

It also has some photos that aren't on the blog. Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Girldrive's cover

Yay! Girldrive's cover is finally done!

It features the beautiful faces of some of our interviewees on this blog, like Mehiko, Puja, Pia, Gina, Noel, Julia, and Raine, as well as a few women we met after our initial journey.

This means I can finally make a Facebook fan page for Girldrive, too, since I have some actual art to accompany it. Be sure to become a fan so that your Facebook friends can see the icon and learn what the book's all about!

I keep promising a new site, and it is indeed in the works. I'll link to it from this blog as soon as it's done!



Thursday, May 21, 2009

RainTaxi reviews Belladonna book honoring Emma

Thought I'd link to this piece (better late than never), an amazing and thoughtful review of the fourth book in the Belladonna series, which honors Emma, written by Ellen Kennedy Michel of RainTaxi Review of Books. It has a lot to say about Girldrive, too--and it's very spot-on.

An excerpt about my essay in Belladonna:

"In her own contribution to Belladonna #4, “Emma’s Poetry,” Nona Willis Aronowitz writes: “Emma was always disappointed that ‘GIRLdrive the book’ could not possibly embody the headiness of ‘GIRLdrive the experience’. . . She wanted us to be more conspicuous characters in the story of GIRLdrive, more than just the talking heads of the odyssey that forged connections between hundreds of women across thirty-five cities.” Nona’s prose, both here and elsewhere, conveys the energy and intelligence of GIRLdrive. The two women knew how to seize the moment, identifying the gaps and the overlaps between their forebears and feminists (or “not”) of their own generation..."

And more specifically about Emma:

"It is clear from Belladonna #4 that feminism, photography, and artistic expression have lost a fierce, articulate, forthright, inquiring practitioner, the voice and vision of a young adult who was romantic, idealistic, impetuous, talented, and knowledgeable beyond her years. Her pace was fast, eager, and self-reflective. Emma’s photography (for which she earned a degree with Honors, with images such as the one here, of a friend) played with the notion of masquerade: “In all of the photographs, a set of elusive and unknowable eyes peers out from the layers of artifice, trying to see and be seen. There is a tragic element, as despite all the attempts at engendering an image that matches a mental picture, the woman underneath the clothes and behind the skin remains a mystery to us and to herself.” That Emma suffered so much at the end of her life confers a harder look at the issues that consumed her."

It's a great piece. Check out the rest here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Update: Galleys headed my way!

Yay! My deadline has officially passed and the first galleys of Girldrive are en route to my house. AND so is the second half of my advance, which means I will be abandoning blogspot for a dot-com very shortly. Look out for a new Girldrive website in the next couple months!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Women's History Month quiz

Deborah Siegel at Girl W/ Pen, one of Girldrive's fairy godmothers, is trying to pass on this blog quiz. If you have a blog, repost this and add a question of your own!

(thanks to Feministing for the heads-up)

1. In 2009, women make up what percent of the U.S. Congress?
A. 3%
B. 17%
C. 33%
D. 50%

2. How many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are female?
A. 12
B. 28
C. 59
D. 84

3. Who was the first First Lady to create her own media presence (ie hold regular press conferences, write a daily newspaper column and a monthly magazine column, and host a weekly radio show)?
A. Eleanor Roosevelt
B. Jacqueline Kennedy
C. Pat Nixon
D. Hillary Clinton

4. The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced to Congress in:
A. 1923
B. 1942
C. 1969
D. 1971

5. Who was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
A. Phyllis Wheatley
B. Alice Walker
C. Toni Morrison
D. Maya Angelou

6. What percentage of union members are women today?
A. 10%
B. 25%
C. 35%
D. 45%

7. What year did the Griswold v. Connecticut decision guarantee married women the right to birth control?
A. 1960
B. 1965
C. 1969
D. 1950

My added question:

8. What kick-ass woman said this phrase: "If I can't dance, it's not my revolution"?

A. Elizabeth Cady Stanton

B. Emma Goldman

C. Angela Davis

D. Madonna

Answers in the comments section....

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Belladonna* book honoring Emma

Belladonna*, a reading series and small press devoted to the visibility of women writers, is publishing a book in their Elders series dedicated to Emma. She was originally the editor on the project, which was connected to a panel that hadn't yet taken place. But she had completed her work for the book, and the event has morphed into a tribute to her and her art, both for GIRLdrive and elsewhere. I have a piece at the end called "Emma's Poetry." If you're in New York, check out the info for the book release event here.

You can buy the book here. It's really a beautiful little collection, full of Emma's photographs and both of our writing, as well as an afterword by Johanna Drucker and interviews with Marjorie Perloff and Susan Bee, Emma's mom.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Some Advance Press

Check out this nicely-put piece on GIRLdrive in Too Shy To Stop, a relatively new online magazine for "young people who live, play, study, or work in the United States."

It connects older feminists' reactions to young female Obama fans with some GIRLdrive revelations, which is kinda cool. Lemme know what you think!

(photo from Too Shy To Stop)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Update: Intense Writing Time!

Hi everyone,

I'm taking some serious time to finish the GIRLdrive manuscript, so I won't be posting all that regularly during January and February. As you all might imagine, I have a whole lot more work than I thought I would and I want to make our book the best it can possibly be.

I'll check in with you soon. Wish me luck on the home stretch.


More tributes to Emma:

Her dad's tribute (includes eulogies spoken at the service)

Daoud's song dedication

Poem for Emma

Friday, December 26, 2008

Emma, 1985-2008

My co-author of GIRLdrive, close friend, and intellectual soulmate Emma Bee Bernstein died on December 20th, 2008, in Venice, Italy. Unable to give Emma a fitting tribute on GIRLdrive until now (Emma had changed the password), I am finally able to honor her after my initial shock. The past six months had been an unimaginable nightmare for Emma, as she trudged through emotional turmoil and circumstantial stress almost daily, without allowing herself a minute of respite or peace of mind.

Yet I want to believe that her despair was in spite of GIRLdrive, feminism, and our work together. During many bonding work sessions or long car rides, Emma confessed to me that this project was one of the main positive forces in her life. She cared so much about the fate of women and feminism in this country; Emma had many sides to her, but at her core was a fervently idealistic soul. I can only hope to bring forth her passion as I finish up our book, and somehow keep her misty-eyed utopianism alive amidst very real tragedy.

The other positive forces in her life, of course, were her countless loved ones. Emma touched and was touched by so many people, it's unbelievable. I've been reminded of this daily for the last six days, as dozens of people important to her have reached out to me.

Love you girl. I will miss our adventures more than you can imagine.


Courtney Martin of Feministing, one of our GIRLdrive interviewees, has written an amazingly insightful and honest tribute to Emma, linked here.

Her close friend Sam has set up a Flickr album to remember her through photos, the medium through which Emma reflected her artistic vision.

For New Yorkers, there will be a service on Wednesday, December 31st at 10:30 am, at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel at 630 Amsterdam Ave (at 91st Street).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today marks the birthday of my mother, Ellen Willis, who died on November 9, 2006. If you're a follower of this blog, you probably know that she was a major Second Wave feminist writer, critic, and activist. The best way to honor her today is by reading one of her pieces, many of which you can find simply by Googling my mother's name. Every so often I am startled by the staggering amount of fans coming out of the woodwork, to tell me how much they were influenced by her work, and how much they love and admire her.

Her life's work was one of the main inspirations for GIRLdrive, and continues to be an inspiration to me every second of every day. As my dad wrote to me in an email today:

"Ellen is always on my mind and heart. But we sometimes need markers like birthdays to help us focus for more than fleeting moments."



Monday, December 8, 2008

Update: Nona on The Golden Notebook

Hi guys,

Couldn't resist telling you about an interesting project that I'm involved in.  The Institute for the Future of the Book is running an online think tank funded by the MacArthur Foundation about Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook, a feminist classic and, apparently, one of Barack's favorite books, as well.

Six other readers, all female critics/writers, and I are participating in a close reading of the Nobel Prize-winning author's novel, literally commenting in the margins as we read along.  Check out the website here.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mid-Week Memo: The Abortion Debate

Last month, when we visited Fargo and spoke with three women who worked for the only abortion clinic in North Dakota, the presidential elections had not yet been decided. One of the central issues defining the cultural war--and the difference between a McCain and an Obama administration--is the issue of choice. The women who worked at Red River Women's Clinic told us that the topic is especially sensitive in the Dakotas; although there is a strong pro-choice voice, much of North and South Dakota is vehemently pro-life. Billboards like the one below (just west of Sioux Falls) weren't unusual to spot on the side of the road.

We checked back in with two of these ladies and asked them their predictions and hopes for a pro-choice, Obama presidency. They both seemed excited and hopeful.

Becca told us:
"It would be more than fair to say that all of our staff (and probably a majority of our patients) are glad to see our choice more secure with Obama as president. I have always been proud to work at the RRWC and being connected to our community, but it is frustrating to see legislation, ND, and our country move towards conservative values that leaves women with an unwanted pregnancies and people in other situations without control over their lives. Obama gives a me peace that we have a leader that I can trust and be excited about."

In response to our questions, Dena sent us a copy of a newsletter article she wrote regarding the election outcome. Here is an excerpt from her piece:

"Many of us woke up elated November 5th and for those of us who are pro-choice, a huge factor for our bright Wednesday morning was that our nation elected a pro-choice president. We elected a man who unabashedly stated 'A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women.'...Obama is also a strong supporter of comprehensive sex education and government funding of family
planning...The citizens in the United States spoke loudly and clearly with the election of a pro-choice president and the defeat of anti-choice legislation in two states. With these positive changes now is the time to keep that momentum going."

Read the rest of Dena's article here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Moorhead: Beth

Beth (right, at her parents' farm): 20, lives and grew up on a farm in Moorhead, ND, second oldest of five kids, started her own business a year ago called Eden Photography, attends bible college through the Fargo Baptist church.

"I wouldn't say I was a feminist. I don't believe that women should be a doormat--we're all equal to God--but he gives us different roles. The way I see it is that if this is his will, to raise the next generation, you're going to be your happiest [raising children] can have your business on the side, as sort of a "fallback" I would say, but your focus is on your family and God. I don't think that certain people shouldn't get a job because they're a woman, but I do think in a marriage, you should submit. There are definitely roles for a husband and wife, and feminism would be erasing that."

Fargo: Prairie Rose

Prairie Rose (left, in her Fargo apartment): 28, member of the Fort Berthhold reservation in northwest North Dakota, grew up in Fargo, half Cheyenne/Arikara, half German-Russian, one of six kids. Former manager of the Fargo theater and now works with a local promoter, but her "passion lies with social justice issues."

"The Western interpretation [of native culture] is that women were very domesticated--they did all the housework, the skinning and tanning and building of homes. But with this comes a lot of balance...the women were the backbone of our society. The men were the skin--we can't survive without skin, and they protected us. The tradeoff was that women were responsible for education...we were the healers, the doctors, the midwives, we had power...

"[Now] Native American women suffer two or three times the rate of domestic violence, rape and incest than their Caucasian counterparts. What happened with our history is that our way of life was taken away from us...we were compassionate and equitable. But when you are a people who have lost everything, who are relocated, who are forced into this whole assimilation process, you lose yourselves--because of oppression we became the oppresors. There is a new generation are trying to bring back who we are, but it's a hard cycle to break."