Our monthly Witchy World Roundup is curated by Joanna C. Valente. Want to contact her? Email her here.
Hoodoo witches speak out about the appropriation of their magic:
"'Some people will just read one book on Hoodoo and start selling oils online to make a quick buck," he says. "To me, that's appropriation.'"
-Gabby Bess in Broadly.
Why coming out as bisexual shouldn't be an overshare:
"My current closet is a lesbian one. I am a ciswoman who is married to another ciswoman, and, wait for it, we have a child. I have experienced coming out as bisexual very differently from this set of life circumstances. People seem genuinely, if biphobically, concerned for my marriage and family. My bisexuality is a particularly harmful overshare for certain liberal straight people because it ruins their image of me as a respectable gay person who was making them more tolerant."
-Allegra Hirschman in Buzzfeed
Want to be a better poet, but don't have money? Don't worry:
"Take free and low-cost workshops and classes. Find the free ones. Find the low-cost ones. When I made the decision to start writing seriously, I researched on Google and took a number of free one-time sessions through places like the New York Public Library, Gotham Writers Workshop and the Women of Color Writers Community. I went on to take 5-week workshops offered by the Women of Color Writers Community, some of which I was able to take via bartering—a method I talk about later in this post—because they needed the organizational support at the time."
What about the spouses of transgender people?
"In the midst of this turmoil, wives are often left feeling like they can’t voice any disapproval without coming across as transphobic. “If you say, ‘Hey, what are the kids going to think?,’ is that transphobia?” asks Laura Jacobs, a transgender psychotherapist who specializes in work with gender nonconformity. “Or is that because you’re really concerned about the kids? Because you don’t know what else to say? Because the kids really are transphobic and you’re being protective of your spouse? The dynamics of that kind of a situation are so complex, but the struggles of the partners are invisible."
-Alex Morris in New York Mag
Because we all love facts about banned books:
"9. From 1990–1999, Judy Blume was one of the most challenged authors, with five books on the most frequently challenged list: Forever, Blubber, Deenie, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, and Tiger Eyes.
10. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is one of the most challenged books of all time, citing “racism, homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group."
-Krystie Lee Yandoli on Buzzfeed
Why we need to listen to undocumented poets:
"'I’ve been growing up a brown, femme, queer woman of color. The idea of taking up space has always been challenging. You’re not even supposed to be here. You’re supposed to be quiet,” she said. “A lot of the space in my poetry has been intentional about taking up space … That’s just me saying, I’m going to do whatever I want with the page. That is a radical thing, for me.'"
-Corinna Segal for PBS
Because the safest place to bury a body is in another body:
"A Russian can’t write a book without nesting dolls;
burying ourselves in ourselves is in our blood, our mother’s blood.
We birth, we bury, we swallow tongues down the body
buried inside the body. Tongue is a delicacy
you can serve at a funeral. The safest place to bury a body
is at a funeral."
-Sonya Vatomsky in Glittermob
When white voices drown out those of color in the lit world (& the world in general):
"White supremacy tries to reduce people of color to our traumas. Resisting white supremacy means insisting that we are more than our traumas. One quick perusal through the shelves of world literature in any bookstore confirms just what the literary world wants to see from writers of color and writers from developing nations: trauma. Why, for example, is the English-speaking literary world mostly interested in fiction or poetry from China if the writer can be labeled as a “political dissident”? Even better if the writer has been tortured, imprisoned, or sentenced to hard labor by the Chinese government at one point. Surely there are amazing Chinese writers who don’t just identify as political dissidents just as there are many amazing white American writers who don’t identify, or rather, are not identified as one thing. Why are we so perversely interested in narratives of suffering when we read things by black and brown writers? Where are my carefree writers of color at? Seriously, where?"
-Jenny Zhang for Buzzfeed
Because listicles on 10 weird facts about the Salem Witch Trials makes the world more fun:
"Technically, England’s Witchcraft Act of 1735 was still official and on the books until 1951, when it was replaced with the Fraudulent Mediums Act. The language of the original Act wasn’t about persecuting witches per se, but rather made it illegal for people to claim that others were witches. Yet being legally convicted meant that you purported to have the powers of a witch—and in fact, a woman named Jane Rebecca Yorke was found guilty in 1944 under the law, though she was convicted mostly because she was defrauding people with bogus séances."
-Sean Hutchinson at Mental Floss
There needs to be a class on this mini-syllabus on marriage plots:
"Marriage plots are rarely associated with anything beyond supposedly frivolous, Jane Austen-esque “romances”, however our society’s fixation on matrimony continues to permeate art, politics, and literature. If Austen’s views on matrimony exposed economic instability, class restrictions, and patriarchal values, what does today’s culture reveal? Despite the high pedestal marriage is placed on, American media is inundated with rhetoric that does little but force discerning viewers to question the very “values” it supposedly represents. Divorce rates have never been higher, consumeristic wedding culture has never been more exorbitant, “The Bachelor” has just been renewed for its twentieth season—where does this leave us?"
-Meriwether Clarke on Entropy