What a whirlwind of an AWP weekend! For all of you who made it to Boston, we hope you had the most amazing time, met your favorite writers, met new favorite writers, and lost yourself in beautiful, beautiful printed wor(l)ds!
So to Speak had a tremendous time! Thank you to everyone who stopped by our table to introduce yourself! We loved meeting you so much and sharing our feminist mission!
Our offsite reading was a huge success and total blast! Moira Egan read from her book Spin. Julie Marie Wade, introduced by our nonfiction editor Chrissy Widmayer, read from her surreal memoir Small Fires. I (Sheila, poetry editor) introduced the fabulous Danielle Pafunda. She read “Mommy V” poems from her newest, Manhater, new poems, and one titled “I Can’t Publish This.” The magical Lara Glenum, introduced by our assistant nonfiction editor Jess Szalay, read from her newest book Pop Corpse, a contemporary retelling of Little Mermaid fable with vernacular swing and swoosh.
Feel like you where there with us with these lovely photos!
P.S. Remember we are open for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry submissions until this Friday, March 15th, midnight Eastern Standard Time. Our first and most exciting visual art contest will be open for submissions through April 15th. Download the Hybrid Book Arts competition call here.
Filed under: Interview, Poetry, Post by: Sarah M, Post by: Sheila M, Reviews
Sheila: Why is feminism important to you? What does it mean to you?
Sarah: Feminism is responsibility. I believe that I am responsible for being an effective advocate. Like Steinem, I think that a “feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” Being a feminist means subverting an accepted culture of silence. As such, feminism is vital to creating civic-minded, educated humans and consumers. I spend a great deal of time thinking about ways to win hearts and minds. I lesson plan and write and start conversations and show my face in my community. I support other feminists— I think we have a duty to be role models for young women and men. I am painfully aware of my words and actions and how they impact those around me. I am overwhelmed by the cultural backlash to feminism that surrounds us on a daily basis: reality television, violent and degrading (always present) pornography, the Republican’s war on reproductive freedom, etc. It is important for me to remember that I am (we are) the example. People are always watching us. We are educators and guides, and being a feminist means having integrity. It means being in healthy relationships. It means modeling how to be with a respectful partner. Having self worth and refusing to wallow in self-pity. It means not looking in that bathroom mirror, hallway mirror, car window, etc. and saying, “I look disgusting,” because I never know who’s watching me. A student? A child? A friend? It means not judging someone’s clothing or lack thereof. Today, I am accountable for giving what I never had.
Being a feminist in today’s academic culture means publishing my students, teaching equality in the classroom, and talking about gender identity and sexual violence even when it’s uncomfortable—even when no one wants me to have the conversation. During college I was a sexual assault/rape crisis counselor and victim advocate for Butler County, Ohio. Being a feminist means positively impacting our communities. Gloria Steinem has always been my hero because she represents fearlessness. She revolutionized the presentation of our emotional lives. She represented the uninhibited. She was apt to unwomanly assertion, passion, and individualism. Through her example and the example of so many others, (Adrienne Rich, Elaine Showalter, Eve Ensler, Betty Friedan, Susan Brownmiller) I learned that being brave and strong doesn’t mean that you don’t have a difficult time or make mistakes, but that you walk through them with dignity and grace. I learned to embrace femininity. I think that forgiveness (true forgiveness conquers the dutiful martyr) is principally feminine.
Today, I feel this communal attitude that we are only allowed to publicly call ourselves feminists within certain limits. We are not supposed to be aggressive or appear angry. We should know how to communicate and operate and advocate for change within the realm of our context—within what the current patriarchal hierarchy has deemed acceptable—what they feel comfortable with. This model feels submissive and repressed and ironic to me. Sexual and angry—we are threatening; we are dangerous. I think that our discipline is self enforced and kept in check by society’s incessant scrutiny.
I do not pretend to speak for or represent an entire movement or even a small part of a movement. I’m not sure that I would even feel comfortable aligning myself with a particular wave of feminism. Although, I do have a soft spot for second wave hardliners… I am a feminist operating within a tradition of trailblazers. I am also a feminist who loves and appreciates chivalry (I have received unfortunate, collective gasps for this statement). I hate that some people would like to kick me out of the club for this. Yes, please open my car door and do kind things. I do not expect this, but I certainly cherish it. I respect it. It’s not because I don’t know how to open my own door. It’s not because I need a man (or anyone else) to help me. I value the concept because it’s caring, because it epitomizes the idea that we should be of maximum service to our fellows. It was a beautiful day in my life when I realized that I was finally becoming the kind of man that I was told I should marry (Steinem’s description of self-actualization).
A: In the 7th grade, Mr. Simeone told our class that patience plus perseverance equals survival. This is a math equation that makes sense to me. I hope BACKCOUNTRY inspires us to be ferocious. I am arguing that the act of entering someone or something (a landscape) physically and emotionally is a type of violence. It’s violence even when it’s beautiful. This is a violence because some boundary, some border, has been irreversible crossed. A barrier is broken. I think love is a type of violence. People describe themselves as love-sick (so the body experiences a violence). Perhaps these instances should be called small violences. Everything about our human nature is voyeuristic, intense, and wild. When you enter someone, you must also at some point leave them. (This is a violence.)
Filed under: Announcements, Monthly News Round-Up, Post by: Sheila M
StS had a huge month! We celebrated inaugural victories when President Obama honored and remembered Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall, when he declared “our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts,” “until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well,” and “ until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.” With huge smiles we opened the boxes to behold our newest issue, Spring Vol. 22 No. 1! And laid the foundation to have a kickin’ AWP offsite reading with poetry, fiction, and nonfiction rockstars to celebrate StS’s 21st birthday! Where better to celebrate our legal drinking age than at Sonsie’s from 3-6 pm March 9th? So make sure to check back in to get all the details before AWP Boston!
With gorgeous artwork from the cover to inside pages curated by our new art editor, Ceci Cole McInturff, we are so happy to congratulation again our contest winners! Representing nonfiction, Lucy Bryan Green won our grand prize with Melt. Contest judge Julie Marie Wade also celebrated Lynn Casteel Harper’s Playing the Numbers and Lauren Koshere’s Shoshone.
Representing poetry, Rebecca Dunham won with Glass Armonica. Contest judge Danielle Pafunda also celebrated Caitlin Cowan’s Every Creeping Thing and Laura Grothaus’ Baba Yaga in Conversation with her Home.
Get an inside look at our winning pieces by following our contest winners’ guest blog posts! Join in on the conversation of what makes feminist writing feminist by providing your insights in the comment boxes below the posts!
- Start here, by reading the full-text of Rebecca Dunham’s poem, which complements her guest post on the history of hysteria and how medical discrimation influenced the writing of Glass Arominca.
- Also, check out Lauren Koshere’s guest post, Yellostone Social, in 33 Miles around Shoshone Lake, which thinks about the male dominated nature-writing genre and how she tackles her enviroment with strength, courage, and persistence.
- In more political news, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, focuses on social issues in his State of State address. StS poetry reader, Luke Huffman, discusses Cuomo’s feminist implication and celebrates feminist positive speech in political news.
We are accepting creative writing and art submissions until March 15th! Looking forward to reading your work and make sure to say hi at AWP!
Filed under: Movies, Post by: Sheila M, Reviews, Starring Local Feminists
“On the eve of her best friend Katrina’s wedding, Laurie reveals a long held secret feeling which may alter their relationship forever.”
The Veil is Bunte’s newest script revolving around the real life concerns of real people. In this story the veil is not only the description of the bridal gown, but the intersection of metaphor when society makes it particularly hard to reveal one’s true self and demands honest and good people to hide behind. Here, we follow Laurie as she comes out to her best friend. As a central theme in all Bunte’s stories, The Veil “aims to express the feelings of LGBTQ people growing up in small American communities, to show young people that they are not alone in their experiences and to help straight Americans see and understand all people for who they really are – human beings.”
In collaboration with Director Krisstian de Lara, Producer Lu Liu, and Director of Photography Donk Kyu Lee, Alison Vande Bunte has initiated a Kickstarter Project to help fund and make possible the shooting of The Veil. A donation to their production fund will help the team “let people of the LGBTQ community know that they are understood and supported and that others have gone through strikingly similar experiences. More specifically, in order to produce this film, we need $5,000 of funding to pay for: equipment, props, locations and actors. We want to make a high-quality film, and therefore need to rent a high-quality camera, as well as lighting and sound equipment. We also need to pay for our locations and props, and compensate our actors.” –from The Veil Kickstarter profile
The Kickstarter profile has many wonderful and detailed descriptions and insights of The Veil team’s goals, and in addition I’ve asked Bunte some more feminist related questions…
SM: It seems to me one aspect of the movie is investigating female friendship– those bonds and struggles, especially if one friend develops a crush. Do you think this is different at all between opposite sex friendships when a crush happens? Or any thoughts in general about same sex friendships? (I try very hard to be female friendship positive on the blog)
AVB: The second part I’m not so sure about, but I do think there is a difference if someone develops a crush in a same sex relationship v. an opposite sex relationship. For many opposite sex friendships, I feel like (especially if at least one party is single) it’s basically expected by society/friends/etc to develop into something more. But there’s very little expectation on anyone’s part for that in a same sex friendship, especially when someone has been frightened into staying in the closet their whole life. If that makes sense!
Another dimension I’m interested in is what you hope you’re script will teach people? What attitudes people might walk away with after viewing the movie. What you hope for the movie in the long-run.
So the script has two audiences, the LGBTQ community and people who may not understand the LGBTQ community fully. For the first group, I hope that it will be something people can relate to, to know that weird or embarrassing feelings they have had are not weird or embarrassing, but something other people have experienced too. For the non-LGBTQ community, it’s to show them the emotions behind the lesbian main character and her fear of coming out, as well as that she is a real person, not a stereotype.
So I hope that people walk away with an attitude of understanding and of not feeling alone. And I just want more media that represents gay characters as real people, especially in main roles.
If you want to see more gay, lesbian, queer, transgender stories in main stream and pop culture consider making a minimum donation of $1 to this film. If you also want to see more LGBTQ concerns at the center of films, then definitely donate to this project! To help support this incredible movie pledge the amount you are comfortable with here! And a bonus: For different amounts pledged, you are guaranteed a fun thank you gift! Follow writer Alison Vande Bunte for movie updates @myhandsmyknees
♥ Sheila M
Filed under: Monthly News Round-Up, Post by: Sheila M
It has been a slow cyber-month for StS as we’ve been busy choosing our final selections for the Spring 2013 issue! We got a huge lot of amazing art, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry submissions! It reminded us of the strong and vital feminist community we have and can rely on to stand up for equality for everyone!
This month on StS blog:
Geri Lipschultz, 2012 StS fiction contest winner, gave us an insight into Heidi Hutner pursuit and dedication to environmentalism and keeping our planet healthy in her post One Woman’s Journey and the Survival of a Planet.
You voted and you made a difference! President Barack Obama was reelected for a 2nd term and we celebrated what seems like a shift in American’s perspective on openly gay individuals with the election of Democrat Tammy Baldwin as a Wisconsin Senator.
Our stellar intern, Brittney Knight, began the serious conversation of cyber-bullying and suicide prevention on our front page, titled Cyber-bullying and Bullying Prevention. She invites all of you to join in on the conversation. Share resources on how to create empathetic communities and success stories. We are all very interested in learning how to become more supportive and engaged.
♥ Sheila M