This question/answer is between Amanda
Englander and Leandra Medine aboutMan Repeller, a collection of awkwardly funny experiences, a sweet love story, and
above all, a reminder to celebrate and embrace a world made for women,
Englander: You’ve shared a lot
of personal stories on your website. What made you want to write a
book? How was it different from writing for your website?
Leandra Medine: What writer doesn't dream of at some point, publishing a
book? I'd grown really accustomed to condensing my stories to 1000 words or
less so figured challenging myself to writing in far longer form and not for
the purpose of, say, my senior thesis would be good for me. I think (hope) I
So many things about the book are different. For one thing, I am used to
getting immediate feedback on my stories. They're determined either good or bad,
and then the following story is catered to the accrued data of the previous
story. With my book, I spent eight months writing and editing the stories, and never
knew if they'd resonate with the same enthusiasm that the blog posts do. Frankly,
I feel like I'm in a perpetual state of “waiting room syndrome.”
In addition to that, most of the writing for my blog is
pretty pertinent. A story I post this week may be irrelevant next week and so
stepping out of the mindset and beginning to think more evergreen was something
of a challenge as well. Also, it's pretty easy to forget bad blog posts, they
get pushed down on the homepage and then clocked into the archive. Once that
book is out there--it's out there forever. FOREVER.
Englander: How did you choose
which stories to tell in this book? If you had to relive one of them, which
would it be—and would you be wearing the same thing? Are there any outfits that
you cover in the book that you won’t be able to wear anymore?
Leandra Medine: Well, I knew that the all-encompassing message of the book
was going to be a combination of the evolution of Man Repeller and the
relationship that found me married. So when considering which stories to
include/discard I had to think about whether or not what I wanted to share was
integral to that story-telling process. I would totally go back to the Harem
Pants, but only if I knew then what I know now. It would have made the
situation comical instead of tragic. To be honest--I don't think i'd wear 75%
of the things that I wore and documented throughout the book. That's the great
thing about fashion, isn't it? One day you like it, love it, can't live without
it and the next day it makes you recoil.
Englander: Where do you write?
Tell us a little bit about your process.
Leandra Medine: Typically at my desk--I wish it was more interesting. I used
to like writing at my kitchen counter but found that my bar stool seating was
doing a huge disservice to my back. I am pretty sure I have
developed scoliosis. In terms of the process, I have definitely found that
shutting my wifi off is an important part of actually getting the work done.
When people say it took them years and years and years to write a book, I often
wonder how much accounts for the procrastination process, too. Getting down
words is important, even if you turn out scrapping each and every one of
Englander: What do you read for
fun? Who are some of your favorite writers? Do you have any literary fashion
Leandra Medine: I read a lot of creative nonfiction. Some of my favorite
authors include David Foster Wallace, Joan Didion, David Sedaris, Fran Lebowitz,
and recently George Saunders. Currently, I am reading a book by Ray McGill Jr
called On Sincerity. I'm not sure
Fran Lebowitz meant to become anyone's literary fashion icon, but there's a
reason I cut my hair if you know what I'm saying.
Englander: What would your advice be for someone who thinks they have a great idea
or a story to tell?
Leandra Medine: Tell it. Don't be shy, don't be embarrassed, and
definitely don't think about the writing process. Just tell it to the best of
your ability. You can rest assured that at least someone will care, like it,
and want to hear more. (Hi, Mom.)
Englander: You’re a fashion rule
breaker—but is there one rule you’d never break?