The Arlington Author Salon takes place quarterly the first week of July, October, January, and April, with some exceptions to circumvent holidays.
Next Salon: Thursday, January 9, 2020, 7:30 pm
“Stories of Turmoil and Grit”
Where: Kickstand Café, 594 Mass Ave in Arlington Center, MA.
Just off the Minuteman bike path and steps from Spy Pond.
Accessible via the #77 bus. Some parking available in front of the café, and ample parking in the two town lots across the street.
Catherine Guthrie, author of FLAT: Reclaiming My Body From Breast Cancer, is an award-winning women’s health journalist. For the past twenty years, her reporting, essays, and criticism have appeared in dozens of national magazines including Time; O, The Oprah Magazine, Slate; Cosmopolitan; Prevention; and Yoga Journal. She has faced breast cancer twice. She lives in Somerville’s Davis Square.
As a young, queer woman, Catherine Guthrie had worked hard to feel at home in her body. However, after years writing about women’s health and breast cancer, Guthrie is thrust into the role of the patient after a devastating diagnosis at age thirty-eight. At least, she thinks, I know how to fight this.
She was wrong. In one horrifying moment after another, everything that could go wrong does—the surgeon gives her a double mastectomy but misses the cancerous lump, one of the most effective drug treatments fails, and a doctor’s error unleashes millions of breast cancer cells into her body.
Flat is Guthrie’s story of how two bouts of breast cancer shook her faith in her body, her relationship, and medicine. Along the way, she challenges the view that breasts are essential to femininity and paramount to a woman’s happiness. Along the way, she traces an intimate portrayal of how cancer reshapes her relationship with her partner, Mary, revealing the book’s core as a love story.
Filled with candor, vulnerability, and resilience, Guthrie upends the “pink ribbon” narrative in unconventional ways and offers up a unique perspective on womanhood, what it means to be “whole,” and the importance of women advocating for their desires. Flat is a story of how she lost, then found the courage to listen to her body.
Glenn Koenig has always been an “outside the box” thinker. This left him at odds with academia from an early age, but he finally earned a B.A. from Goddard College in 1975.
Back in 2001, Glenn began a deep personal investigation of his own sexuality and gender identity. After thinking he might be transgender, he eventually discovered his “two spirit” nature. He now identifies as a gender queer person in a male body (and uses he/him pronouns).
His first book, “a man wearing a dress,” was published in 2017. Recently, he developed a series of workshops to promote self-acceptance for everyone.
This is the story of one man as he makes his way through life and eventually starts to question his gender identity. Along the way, he reflects on today’s world of rapid and profound change, why we’re enduring stressful times, and where he thinks we’re headed (hint: he’s an optimist, and tells you why!). Finally, he suggests that we heal the damage caused by sexism and racism by abandoning blame and instead working toward mutual understanding, support, and love.
All this is expressed as a series of essays, some poetry, and a few illustrations. Each essay may be read alone or all together as a whole. The author’s writing style is direct, personal, vulnerable, and yet with a sense of humor that can sneak up on you.
Sandra A. Miller is the author of the memoir TROVE: A WOMAN’S SEARCH FOR TRUTH AND BURIED TREASURE. She has contributed to more than 100 publications, including The Boston Globe Magazine, for which she is a regular correspondent. One of her essays was turned into a short film called “Wait,” directed by Trudie Styler and starring Kerry Washington. She currently teaches English at the University of Massachusetts and lives in Arlington with her husband and two children.
Trove is the story of a woman whose life is upended when she begins an armchair treasure hunt―a search for $10,000 worth of gold coins buried in New York City, of all places―with a man who, as she points out, is not her husband. In this eloquent, hilarious, sharply realized memoir, Sandra A. Miller grapples with the regret and confusion that so often accompanies middle age, and the shame of craving something more when she has so much already.
In a very real way, Miller has spent her life hunting for buried treasure. As a child, she trained herself to find things: dropped hair clips, shiny bits of broken glass, discarded lighters. Looking to escape from her volatile parents and often-unhappy childhood, Miller found deeper meaning, and a good deal of hope, in each of these objects.
Now an adult and facing the loss of her last living parent―her mother who is at once cold, difficult, and wildly funny―Miller finds herself, as she so often did as a little girl, pressed against a wall of her own longing. Her search for gold, which soon becomes an obsession, forces her to dredge up painful pieces of her past, confront the true source of her sorrow, and finally discover what it is she has been looking for all these years.
Books will be available for sale at the event via The Book Rack.
Visit our Featured Authors page to learn more about past readers.
(Save the date for the following Salon: Thursday, April 2, 2020, and sign up to be notified of future events.)