The Chicago Public Library offers an impressive assortment of authors and events in September as part of its monthly Authors at the Library series.
Wendy C. Ortiz was an only child and a bookish, insecure girl living with alcoholic parents in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Her relationship with a charming and deeply flawed private school teacher fifteen years her senior appeared to give her the kind of power teenagers wish for, regardless of consequences. Her teacher—now a registered sex offender—continually encouraged her passion for writing while making her promise she was not leaving any written record about their dangerous sexual relationship. This conflicted relationship with her teacher may have been just five years long, but would imprint itself on her and her later relationships, queer and straight, for the rest of her life.
In Excavation: A Memoir, the black and white of the standard victim/perpetrator stereotype gives way to unsettling grays. The present-day narrator reflects on the girl she once was, as well as the teacher and parent she has become. It’s a beautifully written and powerful story of a woman reclaiming her whole heart.
Ortiz is also the author of the upcomingHollywood Notebook, to be released in November. Wendy writes the column “On the Trail of Mary Jane” for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nervous Breakdown, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Rumpus and elsewhere. She is co-founder, curator and host of the Rhapsodomancy Reading Series in Los Angeles. For more information, visitwendyortiz.com.