Her Plumage

Here’s the latest anthology from Quail Bell Magazine, featuring myself and other fantastic members of the Quail Bell Crew.

“A collection of essays, fiction, and poetry by female members of The Quail Bell Crew and select contributors. This is the third anthology by Quail Bell Magazine, a literary magazine for real and unreal stories from around the world. Edited by Christine Sloan Stoddard and Gretchen Gales.”

 All proceeds benefits R.A.I.N.N. Buy your copy here!

In Remembrance of the 2019 New Zealand Mosque Attacks

My newest piece published at Quail Bell Magazine titled “The DSM-V Diagnostic Criteria for PTSD.”

“I’m trying to write and I keep remembering

the brown of my husband’s hands”

Read it here.

Book Review: You Have the Right to Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar

I received this book as a gift for my birthday from my best friend, Kate. She and I are fierce feminists who often discuss our favorite Netflix show between diatribes against the patriarchy.

She is also fat, and proudly so. I often reference her as such, like “Yeah, my best friend is fat, and she deals with XYZ.” I often get looks or stutters at that, and inevitably explain that Kate accepts the word and has given explicit permission for me to use it. “I am fat,” she says. “It’s a descriptor, like short or freckled or loud. I want to use that word and, through using it, take away its power to be used as a weapon. It’s just a word.”

So, while body positivity and fat activism are not new concepts for me, my situation is different from Kate’s as I am not considered fat. I do not mean this in a pejorative way but am speaking factually. I am someone who is able to walk into any store and find something in their size. I am not subject to whispers and comments when I go out to eat, and in fact am praised when I eat burgers and pizza because “that’s a girl who knows good food.” While we are all impacted by fatphobia and body-shaming, I am under no illusion that I face the obstacles and prejudice that Kate or any other fat person faces every day.

Virgie Tovar’s book, though, was refreshing and challenging in a way that was new. She underlined fatphobia’s misogyny and highlighted its intersections with racism. She not only challenged the fatphobic attitudes of which I was well aware, but the movement of body positivity itself. Too often, she points out, body positivity becomes a movement to make fatness attractive to men; it becomes less about abolishing fatphobia and more about repackaging it so that thin, white, straight people become its arbiters and its icons.

Her voice is simultaneously poetic and brutal; she is unapologetic but utterly empathetic. She describes her experience without the trappings of excuses or apologies for the people and forces in her life that caused her suffering. She pinpoints them with accuracy and hangs them out to dry. There’s rage there, but a rage that is without direction or composure. It’s a fury that is composed and controlled and utilized to its full potential. She doesn’t just want you to empathize with her experience; she wants you to recognize its echoes in your own life. It’s not enough just to be angry that one suffered; you must refuse to let others suffer as well.

As the new year begins, we are all in the throws of resolutions and promises, how we can make the most out of the upcoming year. And, on my Facebook feed, I see post after post about cutting out carbs, taking up dieting, talking about “This is the years, guys! This is the year I become skinny! This is the year I finally become happy!”

Well, I think it’s high time that we all listen to voices like Virgie’s. I think it’s well past time for us to say Fuck You. We have the right to exist exactly as we are, without apology, without shame.

We have the right to remain FAT.

You can follow my reviews at Goodreads.

Catching Up & Falling Back

This year has not been a year for the creative.

Between the the dumpster fire that is the political landscape, finishing renovations on a house, and preparing for my wedding, it’s been chaos and craziness all year. I wish I could say I was at least able to write in the downtime, but that is clearly not the case (ever the burden of the Writer).

I wish I were able to balance my life so I was able to feel like I could sit down and do this on the regular. You’d think that at 31 that I would have figured out how to do that. But, I think that’s part of entering your 30’s; you’re still a tangled up mess that you were ten years ago, five years ago, two minutes ago. You don’t miraculously become an Instagram version of yourself, with tea and yoga and minimalist furniture and hashtag blessed.

I think of that Amanda Palmer song “In My Mind” at times like this. Think about the Ren I imagine in the future, the one who is organized and writes every day and never has clutter and wakes up early.

And then I’m reminded of who I am at the moment and I think: you know? I’m not so bad. Not so bad at all. Messy and tangled and everything.

both hands stained with paints
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Amanda Palmer – In My Mind

The End of Winter

Oh my Goddess, have I been away.

That hiatus was entirely unplanned and way longer than it should have been. To make a long year short, my beau and I moved into my parents’ house a year ago while we made renovations on his mother’s home, which is now ours. It required a full gutting and we’re still not completely finished (the master bath is still in pieces) but we were able to move in this winter.

After that, my niece was born and was subsequently hospitalized with a major illness. We then were delivered the heartbreaking news that she will not be with us for very long. She’s turning six months this weekend, and it’s pretty special that she’s still here with us at all. We’re going to continue celebrating each birthday, each moment, each breath until she is with us no longer.

On a happier note, I am now engaged! The beau officially proposed and our date is set for November 2018. I’m so excited that he and I are going to continue this journey together.

As for writing, I have written very little since my internship with RVA Magazine ended last spring. It was such an amazing experience, though! I had so much fun and learned a lot and wrote some pretty great pieces, if I do say so myself.

However, it’s a new season and it’s time for a fresh start. I have novels to finish, editing to complete, and ideas to get started.

It’s been a long winter; it’s time to see things bloom.

‘Richmond Resists’ highlights decades of RVA’s activist past through zines at Gallery 5 this month

Residing the second floor of Gallery5 is Richmond’s Independent Zine Library, a space dedicated to the radical, the nonsensical, the weird, and those who stand up and say “NO!.”

Read more here

From national protests to grassroots activism, EV’s Day of Action connects local LGBTW advocates and citizens with legislators on 2/7

My newest article for GayRVA Magazine.

“Equality Virginia is holding their annual Day of Action, an event for LGBTQ and ally constituents to meet with legislators and discuss bills that affect the LGBT community. The day involves meeting with legislators, workshops led by fellow activists and top attorneys, and a legislative reception, in which the community is able to meet with legislators that support LGBT causes.”

Read it here.