Seattle has produced some amazing things- Nirvana, Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing and the author, journalist and sometimes controversial blogger Lindy West. Lindy has been touring the USA and now Australia discussing her novel, Shrill Notes From A Loud Woman. Her fans include Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham who has said, “Lindy West is an essential (and hilarious) voice for women. Her talent and bravery have made the Internet a place I actually want to be.” Uplit presented Lindy West – In Conversation with Paul Barclay at the State Library.
The first thing you notice about Lindy (after her signature bold red lipstick) is that she is really not loud. She is very personable and softly spoken, but the loud comes from her courage in talking about the most difficult of topics. She was a strong Hilary Clinton supporter and famously quit the Twitterverse claiming it helped to get Donald Trump elected. She speaks about tough topics like body image, abortion, feminism, racism, the inappropriateness of rape jokes and online trolls.
Being a commentator in the public eye she was used to being trolled, but was stopped in her tracks when a man created an account using the identity of her dead father and began posting increasingly mean posts. She later interviewed this same man about this upsetting incident on podcast ‘This American Life’.
Lindy has never had a burning ambition to write, although she did study literature and enjoyed writing when she was young. She moved into journalism, started writing and the work just kept on coming. She is now known the world over and has written for ‘The Guardian’, ‘The New York Times’, ‘GQ’ and online feminist site Jezebel . Lindy has created her own advice site for teens called ‘I Believe You! It’s Not Your Fault’.
Her blend of honesty, bravery and humour has ensured she has legions of readers hungry for her unique voice and provocative style of prose. I asked Lindy about her writing routine and she replied, “There is no typical writing day. I often write my best work at 3am on the couch. I sometimes wish I was that organised, disciplined person but honestly I’m not. Hopefully the idea has been brewing all day and then it just sort of comes out all at once.
I often talk things through with my husband and that helps me clarify my ideas ready to write.”
Lindy’s husband is the musician/ composer/performer Ahamefule J. Oluo. Check out their colourful and deliriously happy wedding photos online.
On America Today
Lindy is obviously quite distressed with the direction her country has taken but says, “I just don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen and I don’t know what to do. Scratch the surface in America and you will find a patriarchal society with misogyny and racism and yet people have grown up in this toxic environment. It was crazy that fifty-three percent of women in America voted for Donald Trump. It was only when I went to Canada and felt I could finally breathe that I realised the pressure we’ve all been under. “On a brighter note she says it’s making people question and talk about things that have been buried for far too long.
Lindy West is confident, funny and not afraid to tackle the tough topics. ‘Shrill Notes From A Loud Woman’ is a memoir in the vein of Amy Schumer’s ‘The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo’. Some of her chapters include ‘How to Stop Being Shy in Eighteen Easy Steps’, ‘Hello, I’m Fat’ and ‘Slaying The Troll’. Lindy West manages to hold a mirror up to the life of a modern day American woman and tells their story with compassion and humour. She’s now jetting off to Sydney but has enjoyed meeting the friendly people in our lovely city, as well as the warm days here, so different to the freezing temperatures she’s come from in Seattle. You can catch more of Lindy West’s wit and insight on Q and A next week.