What I Did On My Summer (Internet) Vacation

August was a month of biking and cheating. Biking became what I did most afternoons, after the slow crawl of a morning spent writing (sometimes with success, sometimes mired in self-doubt). And cheating was the necessary evil of the summer. I had to check my e-mail more than once a week to keep up withContinue reading “What I Did On My Summer (Internet) Vacation”

Goodbye, Internet! Hello, August!

For the fifth summer now, I’m taking the month of August off from the internet. What began as a simple week without internet has morphed into a full calendar month without any social media, nor endless links to endless articles, nor obsessive e-mail checking and general time suck. I’ve been looking forward to it allContinue reading “Goodbye, Internet! Hello, August!”

On the Lammys, writing, and faith

[NB: Scroll down for a list of this year’s winners, and links to purchase those books from an indie bookstore!] A while ago, I threw my hat into the ring for a grant that I didn’t get. Later, one of the judges for that grant had kind things to say, notably that there were so manyContinue reading “On the Lammys, writing, and faith”

pep talk

Dear Courtney of November 2013, Hi. This is Future Courtney. I can’t quote exactly when/where I’m writing from, but I wanted to drop you a line. You’re five days into this month and have received rejection notes from three literary magazines, one residency, and one grant. Rough. You’re a really good cheerleader. I watch youContinue reading “pep talk”


When the Postmasters Podcast introduced me as “Brooklyn essayist Courtney Gillette,” I straight up swooned. Postmasters is a new podcast put together by the fabulous writers Audrey Camp and Lacy Mayberry. We crossed paths at Lesley, and they gave me the honor of being their first interview for their podcast about life after the MFA.Continue reading “postmasters”

a catalog of the things above my desk

postcard of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s typewriter birthday card from my father “Don’t forget to show the grace and humanity.” — advice Dorothy Allison gave Justin Torres at the Lambda Emerging Writers Retreat a gold mask from my brother’s wedding a sticker of a dinosaur that says “Fuck!” “…and with a tiny prayer I sayContinue reading “a catalog of the things above my desk”

letters to our younger selves

Recently, a friend came across Eileen Myles’ letter to her young, queer self, part of the anthology The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves . My friend was so moved by the gesture of Eileen’s letter that she decided to invite some friends to write their own letters, and come together to shareContinue reading “letters to our younger selves”

one month without internet

Starting tomorrow, I’m saying goodbye to the internet for the entire month of August. I took a one week internet detox two summers ago with great results — there’s something about unplugging that lets me refocus on the present and slow down. My plan is to only check e-mail for one hour each Sunday (unfortunatelyContinue reading “one month without internet”

joy without shame

This week Wilde Boys hosted their first woman poet, Marie Howe, at this intimate salon for queer poets and writers. Crowded into the stylish living room, I ended up sitting on the carpet, nearly at Marie’s feet. The entire evening was breath-taking: a rare venue for creative conversation. She was both electric and generous. AtContinue reading “joy without shame”