Women are Cool and Interesting: Episode 5

In Episode 5, I get to reconnect with one of my favorite creative partners of all time, Ellie Di Julio. Ellie and I were very close in the years that we were both work-from-home writers, but eventually life moved on, she had a baby and I started playing roller derby. It’s crazy how much our lives have changed as we’ve been pursuing our own paths, yet the inspiration I found in this friendship is still there.

Ellie and I have an honest chat about friendships, relationships, balancing work and family, and where faith figures into it all. Ellie shares about finding purpose for her work through her spiritual journey and how that journey continues to shape her. We explore that weird territory of talking faith with a friend who doesn’t share your beliefs, and so much more.

You can find Ellie’s writing and learn how to connect with her at ElliDi.com.

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A Prayer on September 11th

I sat down to write this morning before work, and this is what happened.

9/11/17

The date stops me. I planned on writing about something else.

Someone made up a story about who the enemy was and why bad things happen to us, and we directed all our fear into rage and vindictiveness.

“Tears are bullets when they harden,” a line from a Stanley Kunitz poem, turns out to be true (poets always knew).

We have committed the terrible crime of dehumanization. In our own hearts and minds, we have replaced the faces of our neighbors with the cartoonish ¬†masks of enemies. We project our worst fears on them because it’s easier to hate an imaginary enemy than to face ourselves. And we imagine enemies everywhere. And where we imagine them they become real, if only to us, the terrified and deluded.

Wake up.

Let’s pray for our own souls.

Lord save me from my own delusion. Teach me to sit my ego down and look it in the eye. Let me see my neighbor’s true face. I will be brave, and I will act with love. Let us heal this wound.

Amen.

When I was a child, they told us in Catholic school that the word “amen” meant, “I don’t understand, but I believe.”

I don’t understand how we will heal this wound, but I believe that we can and we must. There are 16-year-old children now who were born after 9/11. They have only known a world in which we are at war and are steeped in a culture that believes enemies are everywhere. How do we teach them not to live in fear? I don’t know, but I still believe in trying.

Amen.

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Women are Cool and Interesting: Episode 4

I’ve decided this podcast is like a beauty pageant, except instead of pitting my friends against each other to see who’s the most photogenic, we just talk about how great they all are in different ways. For example, let me introduce my friend Autumn.

Autumn is an online dominatrix, and in this episode, she very kindly allows me ask her questions about sex work and her journey through it. We talk about how she found her way to the industry, the very real job of online sex work, and how the women in the community support one another. Autumn talks about inequality in her industry, how people can work against it, and how running a business based on sex, attraction and power has shaped her view of herself. It’s a pretty incredible conversation in my opinion, and I really hope you enjoy it.

If you’re interested in finding Autumn online, you can connect with her on Twitter @Misstress_Autumn. Heads up: As her work is sexually explicit in nature, so is her Twitter feed. Please consume adult materials responsibly and respectfully.

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I’ll have to retire that joke.

I was thinking about writing a novel about roller derby using The Lord of the Flies for a structural model because I had made the half-joke more than once that the derby community is sometimes like an all female LotF. I decided to listen to the audio book and take copious notes to understand what made it tick. But it turns out that Lord of the Flies is far too simplistic to do justice to an organization as complex and powerful as a roller derby league. Maybe it’s because LotF is about a bunch of little boys stranded on a desert island and hoping daddy will save them whereas roller derby is an island of women who reach out to one another and give each other shelter in a sea that offers them no rescue. Either way, someone has decided to make a new LotF movie with an all female cast, since re-casting things with women is kindof a trend right now. That’s cool, I guess. A bunch of people are predictably mad about it, but so what? People can be mad about anything, and some things just aren’t worth the energy. It turns out, after re-experiencing the novel as an adult, I find the original to be … unoriginal? Look, I guess Golding was the first to do what he did, so it was original then, but the story isn’t actually that great. It’s annoying, honestly? Like, I am a grown ass lady, listening to 12-year-old boys argue their ego shit for¬†pages upon pages while everyone is needlessly mean to the one boy with a goddamned brain, who also happens to be a clear stand-in for the women who are otherwise missing. Furthermore, Golding’s boys live in an ego/fear-based society. That is, their conflicts are primarily ego driven, and their decisions are rooted in fear. That kind of society is more or less what the majority of modern Western society is already doing, and it’s not working out so well for us. On the other hand, roller derby as a community is pretty different. It’s connection/overcoming-oriented. People don’t just play roller derby. They join a community and they overcome fears and other limitations to achieve something on both a personal and a communal level. Or maybe that’s just me. That’s more interesting to me than the old model of schoolboys on an island, so I guess it’s not an exact match. I’ll have to retire that joke.

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Women are Cool and Interesting: Episode 3

In this episode, I interview Sasha “Kim Deal With It” Morrigan. I know Sasha from roller derby where she is well-known and loved personality. I cannot quite tell you how happy this conversation made me. To be honest, there’s more than one moment where I probably sound like a bit of a dolt, but Sasha is just lovely. We talk about roller derby, diversity in our community, and Sasha’s personal experience of gender transition. Sasha tells me about her best friend, the roots of her derby name, who she’d love to know better — Shoutout to the lucky person who is Sasha’s friend crush! I hope she’s listening. ;p

If you want to learn more about what it means to be transgender and resources for trans people, Sasha recommends the National Center for Transgender Equality. Their web site includes lots of great information about health care, legal and social issues, and the personal experiences of trans people.

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