Never forget /
to connect the dots /
This book is an attempt to connect a couple.
In Begin by Telling, experimental pop sensation Meg Remy (U.S. Girls) spins a web out from her body to myriad corners of American hyper-culture. Through illustrated lyric essays depicting visceral memories from early childhood to present day, Remy paints a stark portrait of a spectacle-driven country.
As though channel surfing, we catch glimpses of Desert Storm, the Oklahoma City Bombing, random street violence, the petrochemical industry, small town Deadheads, a toilet with uterus lining in it, the county STD clinic, and missionaries at the front door. Each is shared through language of the body; the sensation of experiencing many of the defining events and moments of a country.
These threads nimbly interweave with probing quotes and statistics, demonstrating the importance of personal storytelling, radical empathy, and the necessity of reflecting on society and one’s self within that construct. Immersive and utterly compelling, Begin by Telling is an artifact of our time; a fascinating perspective on American culture.
Praise for Begin by Telling:
“Powerful and distinctive, Begin by Telling ripped through me with the velocity and weight of a freight train; it’s roar drowning out the world around me. A beautiful and brutal work, that forces the reader forward, but is crafted to leave space to catch your breath.” —Tegan Quin from Tegan and Sara and co-author of High School
“Begin by Telling explores the horrors and absurdity of being a “girl” in the mediated warscape of America. With sharp emotional intelligence, Remy reveals a cultural systemic rot that begins with family and fractals out into school, life, the media, the government, and history. Both hallucinogenic and lucid, this work is a radical interrogation of trauma, and a literary salve for the feminist psyche.” —Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions and Criticisms
30 new books we can’t wait to get our hands on in the first half of 2021 —Toronto Star
Spring 2020 Canadian Nonfiction Preview —CBC Books
“Begin by Telling reminds us that the very act of telling one’s story can change one’s life.” —Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Quill and Quire
Meg Remy is a multi-disciplinary artist, and performer. Originally from Illinois, she is established as one of the most acclaimed songwriters and performers to emerge from Toronto’s eclectic underground music scene where she currently lives. Primarily known as the creative force behind the musical entity U.S. Girls, her celebrated discography spans early experimental works released on the Siltbreeze label, and includes three Polaris Prize shortlisted albums released by 4AD: Half Free (2015), In A Poem Unlimited (2018), and Heavy Light (2020). Both Half Free and In A Poem Unlimited also garnered Juno nominations for Best Alternative Album. Meg has toured extensively through Europe and North America, establishing a reputation for politically astute commentary and theatrical performances with her extended U.S. Girls band, named the best live act of 2018 by Paste Magazine. During this time Remy has maintained a visual arts practice, exhibiting collage work and directing several music videos and other video art works including her short film Woman’s Advocate (2014), in which she also performed. Begin by Telling is her first book.