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Book Review – Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels Edited by Kate West and Jasmine Elliott

June 1st, 2019

Book Review
Becoming Dangerous:
Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels
Edited by Kate West and Jasmine Elliott

I
was lucky to be sent this amazing anthology of personal power
narratives to review.

Twenty-one
personal essays by the same amount of contributors are united by one
theme- sometimes, things happen that do NOT want to see us become our
best selves, and they go out of their way to try to keep us from
thriving. These writers share their personal way they claimed what
was theirs, through personal ritual, and tenacity, and how they shine
brightly despite everything.

These
inspirational stories of hope, strength, and triumph deal with topics
ranging from magic, religion, race, sexuality, abuse, sexism,
societal norms, and PTSD. Each voice clearly expresses the power of
the human spirit to overcome, and LIVE, goddamn it, on one’s own
terms.

A
great example is in the chapter, “Femme as in Fuck You: Fucking
with the Patriarchy One Lipstick Application at a Time”, by
Catherine Hernandez. She writes, “COMMUNICATION WITH THE DIVINE: To
communicate with spirit as a way of resisting Christian supremacy.

Here you go’, said my theatre professor as he handed me a manila
envelope. Inside were photocopies of monologues from the plays
featuring an Asian woman that he, as a white man, was actually aware
of, such as…well, anything by David Henry Hwang. That was as far as
his research went, it seemed. ‘ This is for you. It’s a bunch of
monologues that have your people in it.’ That
about summed up my theatre school experience. “

That
sounds horrifying. Here is how she handled it. She writes, “I
tossed aside any former notions of artistic practice that the white
institution of theatre school taught me. I refused to create work
that sought critical acclaim for it’s adherence to colonized ways
of storytelling…I began writing as if I were simply notating what
my ancestors were telling me to write…The decolonization of my
practice became essential to my being. Listening to my ancestors
every minute of every day has been part of my healing process as a
survivor of many traumas. “

This author is quite well known. Here is a link to her website and about her on that page says,

“Catherine
Hernandez is a proud queer woman of colour, radical mother, activist,
theatre practitioner, award-winning author, and the Artistic Director
of current performing arts. Her one-woman show, The
Femme Playlist
,
premiered at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 2014 as part of the
afterRock Play Series co-produced by current, Eventual Ashes and
Sulong Theatre. Her other plays include Singkil
(fu-GEN
Asian Canadian Theatre Company in association with Factory Theatre),
Eating
with Lola
(Sulong
Theatre and Next Stage Festival), Kilt
Pins
(Sulong
Theatre) and Future
Folk
(collectively
written by the Sulong Theatre Collective, produced by Theatre Passe
Muraille). She has served playwright residencies at Theatre Passe
Muraille, Carlos Bulosan Theatre, Shaw Festival Theatre, Blyth
Festival Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Nightswimming
Theatre. Her children’s book, M
is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book,
was
published by Flamingo Rampant and her plays Kilt Pins and Singkil
were published by Playwright’s Canada Press. Catherine’s first
full-length fiction, Scarborough,
won
the Jim Wong-Chu Award for the unpublished manuscript, was
shortlisted for the Toronto Book Awards, shortlisted for the
Evergreen Forest of Reading Award and longlisted for Canada Reads.
Scarborough made
the “best of 2017” lists for The Globe and Mail, National
Post, Quill and Quire and CBC Books. Catherine was named one of 17
Writers to Watch by CBC Books. She
is currently working on her second children’s book, I
Promise
 (Arsenal
Pulp Press 2019), her second novel Crosshairs and
her final play, Library (Geordie
Productions 2019). “

This
book is a celebration of the collective writers selves, and a call to
everybody reading to do the same. There is no such thing as weird,
odd, or OTHER. There is only a world full of unique individuals
striving to live their best lives, and be happy. Unfortunately,
people, the system, and sometimes, the whole world, it seems, is
hellbent on destroying individuals, one vibrant soul at a time. These
women say, HELL NO!, and share how they broke free and became the
powerhouses they are! Sometimes, sharing with others is very healing,
for both the one sharing and the one listening. It serves as reminder
we are not alone, and there are other people who understand because
they have suffered similar pain, and they provide the support to heal
and grow.

Great
book, great read.

Happy
Reading, and Blessed Be!!!!!

Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Saoirse is
a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11,
but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was
called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not
explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing
Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age
studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse,
pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I
serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor
as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and
Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I
received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my
Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently
focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and
Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein
University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s
Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be
reached through my Facebook page Tarot
with Saoirse
. You can, also, join me on my Youtube
Channel
.

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