Posts Tagged ‘Lisa Borders’

Lisa Borders is the author of two novels, The Fifty-First State (Engine Books, 2013) and Cloud Cuckoo Land, the winner of River City Publishing’s Fred Bonnie Award for Best First Novel. Cloud Cuckoo Land also received fiction honors in the 2003 Massachusetts Book Awards. Lisa lives in the Boston area and teaches at Grub Street, where she leads the Novel Generator program. Find out more about her work at www.lisaborders.com.

On Hope and Hillary
by Lisa Borders

All of my life, I have been told I talked too much, too loudly, had too many opinions and should keep them to myself. The grammar school bullies taunted me for being “smart” and using “big words” – while the boy who was my chief academic rival was popular, admired.hcknown
In almost every job I’ve ever had, I’ve been told at some point that I came on too strong, or was too aggressive, or too emotional. I’ve been accused of not being a team player because I advocated for myself the way a man would. It wears us out, the jockeying and calculating, the attempts to calibrate what percentage of a woman’s thoughts and ideas men (and sometimes, sadly, other women) will tolerate our sharing.


imagesMaybe that’s why I was crying when I saw Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Because I’ve watched her go through everything I’ve gone through – and then some. Every hateful thing that’s been said of her has registered to me as a personal attack. I’m not saying she’s immune to critique because she’s female; she’s far from perfect, just like every other politician. I’m talking about the level of vitriol, the nastiness towards her. It’s an exaggerated version of what we women all deal with on a smaller scale, every damn day.


The world felt like it shifted a little this week – for the better. What a surprising thing, to feel a sliver of hope in such a bitter time.


(photos: GoogleImages)

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Lisa Borders is the author of the novel Cloud Cuckoo Land and a contributor to Don’t You Forget About Me: Contemporary Authors on the Films of John Hughes.

Thanks, Lisa, for letting us know that JAN. 4, 2010 is Michael Stipe‘s 50th Birthday.

Distiple: An Obsession in Ten Albums  by  Lisa Borders

Chronic Town

It’s early 1983 and a friend lends you a cassette of an E.P. called Chronic Town by a band from Athens, Georgia called R.E.M. The sound quality of this tape is already slightly shot – it has been passed around a lot — but you like it: jangly guitars, mysterious lyrics, energetic drumming.  It sounds nothing like the synthesizer-heavy dreck on the radio, nothing even like the punk rock your college station plays.  The black-and-white photo of the band on the back of the cassette is hard to make out, but the singer has long curly bangs that nearly cover his face.  He looks interesting.


R.E.M.’s first full-length album comes out while you are home from college for summer break.  You feel lucky to find it at the crappy record store in the mall near your South Jersey hometown.  The songs on Murmur don’t merely speak to you; they cry out.  Listening through the album from “Radio Free Europe” through “West of the Fields” is like surfing an elegant mood wave with a Rickenbacker.  You bring Murmur back to college and you and your closest friend fall into a habit of listening to it late at night, after the bars have closed or the parties are over.

In October R.E.M. appears on the David Letterman show.  You settle cross-legged on the floor of your student apartment in front of an ancient television that requires a pair of needle-nosed pliers to change the channels, a bowl of popcorn by your side.  The band launches into “Radio Free Europe”; as soon as you see the lead singer, Michael Stipe, you stop eating the popcorn.  His eyes are large and blue; his cheekbones distinct; his lips a perfect cupid’s bow.  Ringlets of curly brown hair frame his face and hang in his eyes.  He looks as if he stepped out of a Renaissance painting; a DaVinci, perhaps, or a Botticelli.  You barely register the other guys in the band.  From that point on, you are not just a fan of R.E.M; you are now instantly, hopefully in love with Michael Stipe.  Hopefully because you are twenty years old and you think that surely there is a way to meet this man, and that once you meet, he will fall as instantly in love with you as you have with him.  You are soul mates.  You know all this from watching him perform two songs on Letterman. (more…)

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