Kay Holten: My favorite piece to write was probably a creative essay called “The Humanatee of My Shaved Head” that compared the habits of manatees to having a buzzcut as a woman. When I was writing it, I got into this flow state where everything on the Wikipedia page for manatees connected with my experiences. And I learned so much about manatees! The downside to telling people about this piece is that they then ask me for a manatee fact, and I’ve forgotten all my manatee facts. Except that they spend twelve hours a day eating and twelve sleeping — what a life! Continue reading “Featured Friday | Meet Kay Holten”
Joey Revenge: I don’t think music initially taught me about social justice, as much it provided me with a third space where I could feel empowered as someone who felt very othered. That was really important. Especially in high school. I really enjoyed grunge music & 90’s alternative, but I was also super into Madonna, Missy Elliott and a ton of hip hop. Funny enough, I was just revisiting Madonna’s “American Life” album really recently and now that I am older I was able to take in how deep it actually is. It was Madonna’s “socialist feminist” album I like to say. She was singing about American exceptionalism, the darkside of capitalism, exploitation in the media and trying to find a spiritual center. Give a listen to “Easy Ride” and you’ll see what I mean. But as far as music I really resonated with, there was no one else that has had an impact on me quite as much as Courtney Love and her band Hole. I was bullied a lot for my sexual orientation and in Courtney Love I saw someone who was a powerful lyricist and punk singer that never really got the credit she deserved because she was a woman, because people thought her husband wrote all her songs, etc. That was something I could really identify with, her songs, especially on Live Through This, have a certain honest somewhat romanticized vulnerability and then there is just vehement unapologetic ferocity. I felt like I was listening to someone who understood what I was going through and that I could own my own emotions, thoughts and love of art as a queer person in a very similar way. I felt like I was the powerful underdog. Continue reading “Featured Friday | Meet Joey Revenge”
Sophia E. Terazawa is a poet and performance artist at the yellow-burning crossroads of decolonization. Her work appears in Kalyani Magazine, As/Us Journal, Project As[I]Am, and other places. Visit her website here.
- Fake Haikus On Yellow Assimilation in The Fem
- A Sacrificial Song For The Model Minority in Masque And Spectacle
- Reversing The Gaze, performance essay in As/Us
- A Song for Grace Lee Boggs in Project As[I]Am
For a full list of her work, you may poke around Sophia’s portfolio.
**Lillian Ann Slugocki’s latest book, a novella, How to Travel With Your Demons, is forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil Press. The premise of the story is very simple: Leda, the protagonist, waits for a car service to bring her to the airport. It is snowing. She’s travelling home to Chicago to identify the body of a family member. At its simplest, we follow the protagonist from point A to point B. However, there is also a strong mythological subtext to the story– like Odysseus she encounters many obstacles along the way, as well as guides, both good and evil. But, all roads lead, ultimately, to the morgue, and a surprising transformation. The journey of the hero, and her subsequent transformation is also very much “…a personal experience of constant becoming– an overlapping of the past and the present.”**
Fem: What inspires you as a writer? What’s your motivation?
Lillian Ann Slugocki: I have stories to tell– they’re always scurrying around inside my brain. And if I don’t get them down, if I don’t write them, I would probably go crazy. So there’s that, lol. I wrote my first illustrated book when I was 10, self-published, of course, and when I submitted a poem to The New Yorker, at 18, I was really insulted by the rejection. This poem, that I wrote while ridiculously stoned, listening to music at maximum volume, was genius. And I was sorry they couldn’t see that, and beyond this– I made sense of the world, and I still do, by writing it. Continue reading “Featured Friday | Meet Lillian Ann Slugocki”
Feral Kitty: For many years now, writing has been a way to express myself. It has given me a chance to tell stories about the characters in my world: to write about the type of people I’ve known throughout my life, gay, straight, etc. By my coming out much later in life than most and being raised in a rather religious and somewhat homophobic family, my personal life was always kept on the hush. In 2011 I found the courage to begin work on my very first Lesbian fiction novel Royal BLU. I wasn’t sure how my art would be perceived in or out of the community but with major support from family members and friends alike the book was finished and released Oct. of 2012. Continue reading “Featured Friday | Meet Feral Kitty”
Jourden Sander: When I was younger, I was very influenced by Margaret Atwood, Virginia Woolf, and Toni Morrison. I am still influenced by these women, but I have really been inspired by younger authors doing experimental things in their writing. As a short story writer, I am fond of Kelly Link, who makes me think of a younger Atwood, being that both authors explore the limits of “genre” and “literary” writing. Link is bold and limitless in her stories. I’m also fond of Elizabeth McCracken’s writing, who I actually took a short story workshop under last year. I still consider her the most influential teacher regarding my writing to this day. She helped me see things in my writing that I hadn’t considered before, and she encouraged us to write strangely. I read a lot of lit journals, graphic novels and online work too, so I come across many authors that inspire me! Continue reading “Featured Friday | Meet Jourden Sander”
Rebecca Chamaa: Every night, a few hours
before going to bed, I start thinking of what I need to, or want to, write about the next day. Often what I am thinking about is a topic for my blog. When I finally come up with an idea (this can take a couple of hours) then I start writing the first few sentences in my mind. I put myself to sleep every night by working and reworking what I will write the next morning. When I wake up, I get to work by typing it all up on the computer. I spend much more time thinking and planning than I do writing. Continue reading “Featured Friday | Meet Rebecca Chamaa”
The Fem: In your essays, you talk about how young girls often understand their sexuality through a sexualized lens, best encapsulated by the good girl/slut dichotomy. Do you think the word slut should be reclaimed?
Hannah Bonner: I think if you had asked me a couple of months ago my response would have been the word “slut” should be reclaimed. But after reading Leora Tanenbaum’s I am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet (2015) I really reconsidered my position on the use of the word. I think what Kathleen Hanna did in the 90s was brilliant when she wrote “slut” across her body as a way of calling out society’s sexualization of young women, but Tanenbaum points out a lot of this irony is lost on the very people who it needs to reach most. And as I learn more about the porn industry, which uses this word ad naseum, I feel more and more this word becomes wrapped up in society’s fundamental concept of who a woman is once she’s labeled a “slut” – it becomes a very narrow, one-dimensional view of a woman, one who is reduced to a sex-object and/or stereotyped based on her ethnicity (sites like “Latina Abuse”) and when a woman is reduced to an object like this, it quickly becomes easier to dehumanize her, to forget she’s a person full of dichotomies, interests, and shades of being.
Every Friday we post an interview with writers we want to showcase. So far we’ve interviewed Sheila McMullin, Caseyrenée Lopez, Lora Mathis, Gurkeyrith, Amy Butcher, and so many other amazing authors and editors. Not only do we celebrate the writers we feature, but this is also a chance for them to promote their work and inspire others.
If you’d like to be included in our project, or know someone we should reach out to, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fem: Your book, Dakini Power, shares the stories of prominent female Tibetan Buddhist teachers. What motivated you to explore their perspectives?
Michaela Haas: After studying Buddhism in India and Nepal for some years I realized that I never met any female masters. Whether at the university or in more traditional circles, the teachers always happened to be men. So, where were the women? I became curious and sought them out. Of course they existed, but they just weren’t as much in the limelight. I was even more surprised when I couldn’t find a book that features the most accomplished women of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition in the West. How can we follow a tradition when we don’t see any female role models? So it seemed fitting to focus on the female teachers’ lives, how they dealt with challenges, what motivated them to move forward. I find the examples of these courageous women extremely inspiring. Continue reading “Featured Friday | Meet Michaela Haas”