The biggest secret to writing well is that there aren’t any secrets. Maintaining a blog or writing a book takes the same type of skill, and that’s organization. That means, creating a schedule, an environment, and taking the time to research. When we talk about writer’s block, we are really talking about disorganization and waiting for those “idea” moments to happen. Like lightning, inspiration does strike—just not often and fades before our very eyes.Read More
We could all stand to surround ourselves with love more. There's really no better time to foster the relationships with the people around you than during times of strife and turmoil, both personal and political (and isn't the political always personal?). To get you in the mood, here's a playlist full of some of the best love songs around.Read More
For adult survivors of child abuse, boundaries are a lifelong struggle. We are taught early that chaos reigns and that anything can and will happen at any time. We alternate between hypervigilance and radical openness, and our wires are so tangled that we often cannot figure out which of these responses is appropriate in the moment. We spend our lives letting the wrong people in, and lashing out at the right ones, until we become conscious of the pattern and begin working to rewire our own brains.Read More
Here's what happens when popular music gets darkly glamorous...Read More
Steven Cordova is the 2012 first-place winner of the International Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry Prize. His first full-length poetry collection, Long Distance, appeared in 2010 from Bilingual University Press. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.Read More
I often write to music. I find music helps set a tone and atmosphere that is hard to do on my own, especially if I'm in a public space like a coffee shop (and I often am). Here's a playlist that helps get me in the mood to write/make art:Read More
Lisa A. Flowers is a poet, critic, cinephile, ailurophile, the founding editor of Vulgar Marsala Press, and the Reviews Editor for Tarpaulin Sky Press. She is the author of diatomhero: religious poems, and her work has appeared in various magazines and online journals. Raised in Los Angeles and Portland, OR, she now resides in Colorado. Visit her here.Read More
The reasons a person who chooses to get or not an abortion or use or not use birth control are varied. For many the choice is not even there. The legislation may currently there in some cases but the opportunity is not. Although abortions are currently legal, there are still a multitude of reasons an individual does not have access to the procedure. There many be women who wish they could be on birth control but can’t.Read More
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (2016, ELJ Publications) & Xenos (2016, Agape Editions). They received their MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Civil Coping Mechanisms and Luna Luna Magazine. Some of their writing has appeared in Prelude, BUST, The Atlas Review, The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. Joanna also leads workshops at Brooklyn Poets.Read More
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
When you say that "Lady Gaga has a tummy," you're saying so much more than that. And I think you know it. First, let's just get the obvious out of the way: she's not overweight and she doesn't have a tummy. (Also, it would be 100% OK if she did). Bear in mind we did this with Beyoncé as well, whose body seems very much to be something people continuously feel they have a right to comment on. If we're holding legitimately straight-sized women to such an impossible standard — what does it mean for women who are a size 6, 8, 12, 16, 22 or so forth? According to Refinery 29, the average woman or 67% of the population, is size 14 or larger. And what's more is that we're doing it to ourselves. #MindBlown.
So, when you say these things, you're actually saying:
1. I am disregarding the millions of people who are considered plus-size or "fat," and who are shamed day in and out because of it. You are disregarding the struggle that millions of people face by using language that encourages hate. Especially when you target someone who very literally benefits from the privilege of being considered thin and beautiful 99% of the time (except, apparently, during the Superbowl or when she happens to gain a few pounds, as humans do). Not to mention, you're disregarding the many people (including Gaga) who have developed disordered eating as a result of this social shaming.
2. I am assuming that having fat or being a plus size person is bad. When you ridicule someone for having a tummy, you're assuming that tummies automatically bad. Guess what? Skin is skin. A tummy is a tummy. You can be big or small, fit or unhealthy, tall or short — and still have a belly.
3. I am alienating the millions of women who are mothers or who have a post-baby body. News alert. Having a baby stretches your skin! What do you think women are dealing with post-partum body changes think and feel when this detritis gets published all over the Internet? Most of the people attacking Gaga's body are women, including mothers. What do you think your message sounds like to them? Regardless of whether or not Gaga has a belly (she doesn't, it's called skin and tight shorts), you're basically saying, "anyone who has THAT isn't good enough."
4. I am commenting on her appearance rather than commenting on her work as an artist, which means that I am furthering the idea that women are just objects. Whether or not you thought Gaga's performance at the Superbowl was political enough or not doesn't matter. She's an award-winning artist who trains and works hard to put on her stage shows, she actually can sing, and she's taken a lot of risks in her career. Whatever you think about her, at least acknowledge the foundational facts before jumping right ahead with your vapid opinions. You may struggle with ridding yourself of the ideological garbage Patriarchal society has pumped straight into your veins, so it might be hard not to judge a woman by her looks. After all, you've been conditioned to do so. But if you think it and then correct yourself — and then take the time to figure out why you're thinking these things, that's very different from posting a status that says, "Just watched Lady Gaga's performance. She has a belly!" Keep that shit to yourself.
5. I am disregarding the power of fitness. Your size doesn't always indicate your ability to dance, move, stretch or perform crazy stage shows that require insane amounts of strength or cardio ability. So when you judge someone on their non-existent tummy while they're dancing and running and jumping, you're choosing to disregard the amazing feat that is happening so you can comment on something so completely inconsequential.
6. I am contributing to social illness. Look, you're part of the problem. I know it hurts to hear it, but women — especially minority women, like Beyoncé, who dealt with this before Gaga — are constantly at a disadvantage. They are consistently questioned about their bodies, confronted about weight gain and reduced to slabs of meat. Don't contribute to that. Women have it hard enough. Be an ally.
7. I am judging myself. When we spread hate about other people, we are usually doing so from a center of internalized pain. That isn't the sort of pain that wins you sympathy. That's a sickness, and it needs to be eliminated. Whatever your fears, failings or self-esteem issues are, you don't need to project them onto others. You can deal with that on your own time. It's not always easy, and no one is perfect — but you have to start somewhere.
Lisa Marie Basile is the author of Apocryphal (Noctuary Press) and a few chapbooks, including Andalucia (Poetry Society of New York) and war/lock (Hyacinth Girl Press). She’s the editor-in-chief of Luna Luna Magazine. Her work has been published in Best Small Fictions, Tarpaulin Sky, Spork Press, The Atlas Review, PANK, The Rumpus, Huffington Post, the Tin House blog and Ampersand Review. Some of her work can be seen in Greatist, Marie Claire, Hello Giggles, Bustle and more.
I think about the smell of the earth after it rains when I think about wilderness. I think about wild animals. Speaking personally, I am currently trying to figure out a way to get out of the city. So, I think I embrace these things that make me feel like I'm more a part of the earth, through gardening, or through making herbal products, or through doing rituals with the Moon, or different things that I do just to feel grounded and on the actual earth because, living in the city, I feel like sometimes we get so caught up in the grind of just trying to pay our bills, or trying to be a good friend, or trying to take care of our animals, or trying to take care of our other friends who are upset that we lose sight of the fact that we are actually in the wilds. If we collapsed all these buildings and nobody did anything in a hundred years, then it would all turn back to the wilds.Read More
Toby Penney is a southern artist working in paint, photography, printmaking and multiple sculpture media. She creates work accepting, even glorifying simple objects and fleeting moments. Penney holds a sculpture degree from Middle Tennessee State University. From 2005 until 2010 she held a Vitreography internship with Master Printmaker Judith O’Rourke at Harvey K. Littleton Studios, in Western North Carolina. She was honored when asked by the studio to photograph the process for the first Littleton sanctioned studio manual/ book about Vitreography. In the Fall of 2008 Toby was the guest artist in the printmaking department at Penland School of Craft, working with book/paper artist Frank Brannon of Speak Easy Press. Find Penney’s paintings in private and corporate collections and museums. Her images can be found on the cover of Professional Artist Magazine and Hellbent Magazine and featured in Numinous Magazine, Feroce Magazine, and Polonium II, a book by David Downs, among others. She is currently developing a new publication featuring interviews with working artists and crafts people as well as exploring film making as a medium to expand her voice.Read More
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (2016, ELJ Publications), & Xenos (2016, Agape Editions). They received their MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM. Some of their writing has appeared in Prelude, The Atlas Review, The Feminist Wire, BUST, Pouch, and elsewhere. They also teach workshops at Brooklyn Poets.Read More
Sheila Maldonado is the author of the poetry collection one-bedroom solo (Fly by Night Press, 2011). Her 2nd publication, that's what you get, is forthcoming from Brooklyn Arts Press.Read More