I Love Dick!. I’m a little behind the times on this one, as usual, but I’ve been meaning to get to it for a while, and of course, as a result, I’ve absorbed all sorts of secondhand ideas and reactions to it—I even watched Jill Soloway’s TV adaptation. And, unsurprisingly, it’s so much different than I expected, and so much more than the sum of the cultural fragments I’ve absorbed in its wake.

A few initial thoughts—one, it’s pretty heady. I didn’t go to art school; in fact, I’m a college dropout. So I may not necessarily get every single arcane reference, and perhaps--depending on the context you’ve acquired in your life--neither will you. But I don’t think that’s entirely necessary to absorb what’s going on here. I once feared I needed an advanced degree to earn the right to absorb new ideas; thank goodness I’m free of that mess.

I have to be careful here not to try to write a review of this book—god knows I’m not equipped to do so adequately, and the world certainly doesn’t need another. This is about my experience with this book, something that in and of itself I’ve been taught isn’t terribly interesting or worthy of consideration. Which is another thing this book is about.

People will tell you that this book is about female desire and shame, about infatuation and inspiration, about taking control of one’s own narrative. “Who gets to speak and why is the only question.” I am an artist, and a woman, and a human being, to boot, so I think a lot about these things, too. There’s always a strange mix of excitement and discomfort in witnessing someone else expound upon the contents of your own mind better than you ever could.

My favorite quote so far is the following:

"No matter how dispassionate or large a vision of the world a woman formulates, whenever it includes her own experience and emotion the telescope’s turned back on her. Because emotion’s just so terrifying the world refuses to believe that it can be perceived as discipline, as form.”

To me, this encapsulates something I’ve come to think about in my own work as the benefit of the doubt—something I’ve always wanted, wished for, something I’ve watched handed over to male contemporaries without so much as a passing consideration for whether it’s deserved. I’m a singer-songwriter, I make pop music, it’s lowbrow, I know. But it’s my work, and it eats away at me that my female-ness will always be the primary lens through which the world outside understands the things that I make.

Bonus points: this is a really fun book to read in a public place like an aeroplane or on the subway. You get a lot of looks.

Wye Oak's new album The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs is out on April 6th via Merge. Listen to 'It Was Not Natural' below.