Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 28: Interrogating the Publishing Industry’s White Gaze

Lisa D. Gray, founder of Our Voices Our Stories SF, joins Julián Esteban Torres López to interrogate the white gaze of the publishing industry. They challenge its myths about Black and brown communities; call out its performative allyship; expose its diversity, equity, and inclusion problem; and hold it accountable. They also center, elevate, and amplify Black and other People of Color writers, especially women. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Black Books Matter

As we find ways to impact diversity and equity in publishing and writing and disrupt its “old boy” culture, one critical thing we can all do is buy and read books written by Black and other people of color. This list provides a starting point. It’s for readers searching for themselves on the page and ones who never encountered or meaningfully engaged with someone who doesn’t look like them or share their ethnic/cultural norms and values. These tomes, written by women of color, are ones that you need to read like yesterday. These books and the women who wrote them dare to push for space and give voice to the lives of Black and brown women on the page. Buy one today. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

Stalker, Stalker, Rapist: A (Sub)Version of Duck, Duck, Goose for Feminists

In a child’s game, roles and blame flip with little more than the pointing of a finger. Terminology emerges for experiences that couldn’t be acknowledged without words to label them; new legislation and culture changes follow. #MeToo. But even the most positive changes can be weaponized against those they were meant to protect. Beware the smiling woman. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

All My Safe Spaces Are Dead

“All My Safe Spaces Are Dead” is a look at the upheaval and restructuring of my sense of self. My sense of safety is a horizon I never seem to reach; a mirage that morphs into something new once I tear my gaze away from its lies. Yet I wake up every morning looking for it, craving it, being unable to live without it. This is my hunt for a place to call home. […]

Poetry

Four Poems

While love seems to be the most common quality of a happy life, our first exposure to love starts in the home. These poems exemplify the influence parent-child relationships have on one’s experience of self-love and even romantic love. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

Tell Me If This Hurts

“Tell Me If This Hurts” portrays the gruesome aftermath of a sexual assault. From being insulted by the police, re-living trauma during the rape kit, to finding out the offender was on the force: this story depicts the challenges and pains of being a rape survivor. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

All Woman

“All Woman” chronicles the impact of sexual harassment in adolescence through adulthood, and the altered perspective of the world it cultivates. The harassment, however, is portrayed as a reclaimed point of connection, however unfortunate, from which women can bond, heal, and become stronger from sharing experiences and supporting one another. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

fleas. & their five life stages.

This piece clings to the life cycle of a flea to process a sexual assault. In comparing the five stages of a flea’s life to the events that occurred, this author attempts to find closure while addressing her nameless yet personally known perpetrator directly. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

Planting Seeds

Two decades after a newlywed suggests divorce, she writes a letter to her ex-husband, both an apology and an explanation for what she couldn’t understand at the time. Their son is now the age she was on that fateful night, in a sweltering bedroom in her mother’s apartment, waiting for her husband to come home. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

Remember to Forget: A Coping Mechanism

During a poetry open mic, Angelia Saplan explores the relentlessness of trauma and the elusiveness of the act of remembering. As she revisits her childhood sexual assault at the hands of a family member, she confronts its harrowing repercussions on her relationship with her mother — and herself. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Into Eros

Drawing on her experience of intimate partner abuse at 15, Zoë Brigley considers the possibility of sex after rape. Anne Carson’s assertion that Eros is “the biggest risk of your life” takes on a new meaning within legacies of trauma, and on a quest to rediscover desire and healing. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 23: Traces of Home

Filmmaker Colette Ghunim on her first feature-length documentary: “Traces of Home tells the story of what happens when we as first-generation Americans go back to our roots to find out how where we come from shapes our identity. Through Traces of Home, I am telling my own personal story. I’m half Mexican and half Palestinian and both my parents were forced to leave their homes as children, and they both never returned since then. So through my film, we’re going back to Mexico and Palestine to try to find the original houses and to talk about why people are leaving and immigrating and why refugees are leaving as well, during a time when we need to hear it the most.” […]

Creative Nonfiction

The Shulamite Woman

“The Shulamite Woman” places the author’s personal experience growing up as a woman in a fundamentalist evangelical non-denominal Protestant church that enforced purity culture, and the lasting psychological and emotional trauma it caused, in juxtaposition with an alternative reading of the biblical book Song of Solomon. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Barbs on a Wire

The first time we three are together and Dad says, “Hey, Hon”, both our heads turn to him expectantly. Of course, he means her. I blush, embarrassed by the demotion. Confronting and exposing childhood sexual abuse—like walking a barbed wire. […]

Creative Nonfiction

800,000 Clenched Cervixes

Childbirth is often heralded as one of the most amazing and profound experiences a woman can have. But what happens when the birthing mother has been sexually abused? Lan Tran shares her experiences, shadowed by trauma, of birthing naturally and via C-section. […]

Creative Nonfiction

The Tree is a Body

Disassociation. Panic. Looking back and freezing. Moving between nude art modeling, trauma, and becoming a tree. How do we ignore the way our body hurts when we don’t move it? How do we let other people look at our bodies? […]

Creative Nonfiction

On Suffering

The girl sweeping cedar chip insulation in the bitter cold of winter becomes a teenage girl drowning in the heavy metal that seeps through the wall between her room and her brother’s. While drunk at a house party, this malcontent teen confronts the man who stole her innocence. We leave the girl pondering her fate spelled out in a fortune-teller’s tarot cards. Will she alter her doomed journey? […]

Creative Nonfiction

in which a woman closes, then opens, a door

The piece considers the aftermath of trauma in the context of a woman revisiting her childhood. It weaves together personal narrative with a meditation on temporal displacement in La Jetée (1962), to consider how trauma creates temporal vertigo – and ties us to the past whilst simultaneously alienating us from it. […]