Years ago, I followed my usual literature selection method of picking books based on the title and bought Chelsea Martin’s first book, Everything Was Fine Until WhateverEWFUW (which I pronounce “oofoo”) collects stories, poems, visual art, and lists. It was great, although its range made me feel creatively limited by comparison. Apparently this was how Martin wanted me to feel; in the author’s note, she writes, “I want you to think I’m a part of you somehow, or that we share something no one else could possibly understand. I want this to make you a little nervous . . . I want your heart to break from seeing so much of yourself in me, and to break again when you realize I know more about you than you do.” I’d forgotten that note in the intervening years, but after reading Martin’s new essay collection Caca Dolce, published in September this year, I wonder if it isn’t true . . . Caca Dolce made me feel like Chelsea Martin not only knows me, but knows all the worst things about me. My heart broke a little at the realization.

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