Callie Feyen’s new book, Twirl: My Life With Stories, Writing & Clothes, makes me want to slip on my one pair of heels (black, because they go with everything; sandals, because I live in Texas; and Børn, because they’re comfortable) and twirl. And I’m not even that kind of girl.
But I am the kind of girl who loves stories, and Callie does too.
Stories for Callie (and for me) are not just sources of entertainment or even inspiration. They define us. Callie writes:
There once was a girl who loved stories. Stories were how she walked around in the world and made sense of it. Stories opened up her imagination and filled her with possibility and curiosity. Without them, she was lost.”
I interact with stories in this way too. If my journal were to fall into the proverbial wrong hands, the culprit would find deep dives into all the stories that locate me. My commentary on them is personal commentary because Jane Eyre’s story or Jack Burden’s or Eleanor Vance’s becomes my story. Callie has the same sense of ownership.
Clothes become one of the primary ways Callie processes her own story as it unfolds. Although her visit to the “Star Wars and the Power of Costume” exhibit comes later in the book, it explains this choice. “I’m intrigued by the idea that an outfit helps bring out character; it helps to tell a story,” she writes.
For example, in chapter 15, when Callie comes downstairs to discuss a career decision with her husband, he tells her the white pants she’s wearing “are done.” So also, a part of Callie’s life is done. After talking through things, Callie goes back upstairs in search of a different pair of pants for an upcoming meeting. Just as she needs a better outfit, she also needs a better story about what happened in that “done” part of her life. The answers are all upstairs, beginning in her own closet.
Twirl is also a book about writing and becoming a writer. It’s about writing courses, writing centers, and writing partners.
So she wrote. She read and she wrote. She took classes and she wrote. She fed the baby and she wrote. She took a notebook with her everywhere: the park, to story time, to the grocery store.”
In her Acknowledgements, Callie says writing Twirl was a way of bringing herself home. She had to write her way into her own story, clothes included, to understand it.
This book twirls with words. As Callie learns to dance in a denim work shirt, tulle skirt, and toe shoes, so can we. Starting March 13, join us for three weeks of discussion, focused around three of the stories mentioned in the book. You can dress up or dress down, but please join us.
March 20: Where the Wild Things Are
March 27: Dear Mr. Henshaw
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