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.
Immersive and utterly compelling, the threads in Begin by Telling 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.
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
Shrapnel’s Most Anticipated Titles for Spring 2021 —Shrapnel Magazine
U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy on her first book, Begin by Telling —Michael Barclay, Words and Music
With her uneasy memoir Begin By Telling, indie-pop star Meg Remy connects the dots between personal and societal trauma —Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail
Rock and Roll Book Club: Meg Remy (U.S. Girls) talks about her book Begin By Telling —Jay Gabler, host of The Rock and Roll Book Club on Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current
“To recover and grow from trauma is a slow and long process. But Remy shows that there can be a path forward. One can listen to the knowledge of the body. One can remember things as they are, not as what others want them to be. And one can share such stories, with themselves and with others — can begin, simply, “by telling.” —Lily Nilipour, Stanford Daily
5 new books to read in April —AV Club
The Writer’s Life: Meg Remy: Begin by Telling and End with Radical Empathy —Shelf Awareness
Spring 2021 books preview: 45 new titles for you and the young readers in your life —Emily Donaldson, The Globe and Mail
Hybrid Forms: An Excerpt from Begin by Telling by Meg Remy —Shrapnel Magazine
5 Great New Works of Innovative Nonfiction —Book Riot
What Meg Remy learned about grief and trauma by reading Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala —CBC Books / The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers
Toronto International Festival of Authors’ 42nd edition is underway: We introduce eight ‘dazzling’ debut writers —Toronto Star
The best Canadian nonfiction of 2021 —CBC Books
“With great candor, Begin by Telling is an intersection of personal and collective trauma. It’s centred on a belief that telling one’s own story can be powerful and healing. Inventive from its very first page, it forces readers to reconsider what they think they know about girlhood, empathy and grief.” —Jessica Rose, Herizons
Interview with Meg Remy —What Happened Next Podcast
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). All three albums 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.