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!!!!!
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.