Saturday, August 18, 2018

New Foreword Author Unveil: Amy Hudock, Ph.D.


Dear Feminine Rising Contributors, 

If you didn't already see our response to the LA Times' breaking story about Anna March (our previous foreword author), you can read our official response here.

I'm thrilled to announce, my co-editor Lara Lillibridge and I have replaced Ms. March with writer, professor, and editor, Amy Hudock,Ph.D. Dr. Hudock influenced me as a writer and student early in my collegiate career. Like all her students, I can say her impact on me has been lifelong. I value her insight and opinion so much, I was truly nervous to hand over the manuscript. She loved it as much as we do! We are excited to have her strong voice as part of this beautiful collection of women's writing and we know you'll appreciate her, too. Welcome aboard, Dr. Hudock!

Don't forget to follow all the career news of your fellow contributors and send us your highlights via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Sincerely,
The Editors
Andrea Fekete & Lara Lillibridge

Facebook @femininerisingcollection
Twitter @femininerisingbook
Instagram @femininerisingbook



BIO


Amy Hudock, Ph. D., is a writer, professor, and editor who lives in South Carolina with her daughter. She is a co-editor of the books Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined (Seal Press 2006) and American Women Prose Writers, 1820-1870 (Gale 2001).  In her role as scholar, she has published forwards, chapters, and journal articles on literature and feminism, 19th century American women writers, and the literature of motherhood. Her creative work has been anthologized in the Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort series, as well as in Blended: Writers on the Stepfamily Experience, Torn:  True Stories of Modern Motherhood,  Ask Me About My Divorce, Mama, PhD, and Single State of the Union. She is a co-founder of Literary Mama, an on-line literary magazine chosen by Writers Digest as one of the 101 Best Web Sites for Writers (2005 and 2009) and by Forbes as one of their 100 Best of the Web (2005). Her work has also appeared in Skirt!, Equus, The Post and Courier, ePregnancy, and Pregnancy and Baby. She is the Assistant Campus Dean at the Downtown Palmer Campus of  Trident Technical College, and occasionally teaches graduate and undergraduate classes at the College of Charleston and the Citadel. In addition, she has taught writing, American literature, and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the University of South Carolina-Columbia, The University of Georgia-Athens, Marshall University, and The University of California-Berkeley.



Friday, August 10, 2018

Is She Crazy, Whore, Bitch or C*nt? A Misogynist’s Guide to Choosing the Correct Insult 


Are you a misogynist man (misogyny is the ingrained hate of women) experiencing unpleasant emotions related to an experience with a woman? Are you feeling jealous or rejected? Are you angry? Are you sad and hurt? Maybe a little bit heartbroken?

BUT are you loathed to express or even experience these genuine emotions because feels are for sissies? Women are interchangeable objects, so who needs THAT chick, anyway. Right?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions AND you are the kind of toxic "manly man" who believes personal accountability is for the weak, apologies are for the pathetic, and women are always to blame (not you) for all of your bad behavior and yucky feels, then you need a quick, easy way to harm her emotionally as much as possible while deflecting blame for your manipulative, rude, or nasty behavior. Remember, lying, cheating, and treating women with disrespect is nasty behavior. But so what? You're entitled.

It doesn’t matter if you have feelings for her or if your emotions stem from a place of hurt. No. Acknowledgment of ANY emotion other than anger would make you a pussy and weakness is scary. 

But before you wield these tried and true insults frequently thrown at women: crazy, whore, bitch, cunt or any combinations thereof (e.g., crazy bitch" or "crazy whore") review this handy guide!

You want to make her CRY, because that’s what real men do. Derp! But WHILE blaming her and deflecting responsibility for your previous actions which caused the conflict to begin with.
So, choose your weapons carefully.

Here are definitions to clarify differences between the most common insults used by abusive men to demean and hurt women.

CRAZY- a term used to describe

1) pretty much all women. But especially....
2) a woman who expresses strong emotion. Ever. About anything. Because her expression is scary., since it means you can't control her.
3) All ex-girlfriends. (See 1)

EXAMPLES:

  • Only women out of their minds cry or express strong emotion. We don’t need feelings up in here. That’s CRAZY.
  • She has unrequited feelings? Well she didn’t mean nothin to you, so clearly that chick is CRAZY.
  • She said your buddy is abusive? None of YOUR friends could be that way. She’s CRAZY.
  • Is she upset you lied to her? 100% CRAZY.
  • Did she call you out for how you mistreated or hurt her? CRAZY.
  • Does she have expectations for how she should be treated? EXPECTING RESPECT!? Whaaa? That’s just plain, old-fashioned CRAZY right there!

WHORE- a woman who has ever had sex in her life with someone other than you. Ever. Or all women, pretty much. Because vaginas.

EXAMPLES:


  • She slept with another person after you broke up. WHORE.
  • She looks sexy tonight and men are paying attention to her? WHORE. 
  • She will not have sex with you? Pfft. She’s probably a WHORE anyway. 

CRAZY WHORE- a woman who has had sex in her life with someone other than you AND who expresses strong emotions. About anything. Ever.


F*N CRAZY WHORE- A woman who has had sex in her life with someone other than you AND who expresses emotion AND has recently rejected you. Because women who reject "manly men" deserve extra rage, right?

BITCH- a woman who tells you no. Ever. In any form or manner. For any reason. The most liberally used insult against women, second-in-line to "crazy" and its variant "crazy bitch."



EXAMPLES: 


  • Did she tell you not to touch her? That shouldn't be up to her. BITCH.
  • Did she say she didn’t want to have sex with you? Ugh. How dare she! BITCH.
  • Did she call you out for taking credit for her work at the office? BITCH.
  • Did she disagree with you? As if you're ever wrong. BITCH.
  • Did she say no when you asked her to do something in bed? Oh, that horrible, selfish BITCH. 
  • Did she call you a dick when she told you off? Now, that’s a CRAZY BITCH. Variant of "bitch."

CRAZY BITCH- a woman who expresses strong emotion about anything ever AND tells a man no in any way shape or form. BUT she differs from plain "bitch" because she gets loud or used rough language when she tells a man who doesn’t respect her boundaries, "no."

EXAMPLE:

  • If she turns to a man who gropes her without her consent and says, "Do you wanna lose that hand?"
  • It's not his fault she's upset. She's just a CRAZY BITCH.
  • A regular "bitch" would’ve politely said, "no." 


And Finally, the simplest (often used BY the simplest)

C*NT- 

1-a word used by human garbage to harm women.
2- word used a by very, very foolish, self-destructive individual

Abuse is wrong. Boundaries are good. If you have to abuse your friend or girlfriend OR boyfriend, get help. Abuse is wrong. Period. Man or woman. Friend or family.
Do what you want in life but don’t hurt anyone on purpose. Life is way too short.

VISIT THIS PAGE to learn more about domestic violence. VERBAL ABUSE IS VIOLENCE.


The Facebook page thinking Art posted the above drawing without a credit. There is a signature at the bottom I can't make it. If you know the artist's name, contact me via Author page and let and let me know their name so I can credit them here)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Letter (poem) to Our Classmates in West Virginia Who Are Not Yet Dead: A Word Before You Overdose by Andrea Fekete

Please NOTE: There are references to the Buffalo Creek Flood which survivors may find disturbing. Loved ones of overdose victims may also find this disturbing. Please share responsibly. 



This is not a real emergency.
This is an exercise in poem-ing.
Wait. No.

In Buffalo Creek, West Virginia,
across Appalachia, everyone is shooting
death up their arms.
Thank you Big Pharma and friends.

This is an emergency. Please await further instructions.

This is a letter to my childhood friends
who have not yet died.

Dear....
I would put your name after dear
if there weren’t so many names of childhood friends
who may die.

I want to tell you when I passed
you in the Dollar General store,
you said Hey, Andrea in that old familiar voice,
your aged skin, stark under hard
fluorescent lights.

I didn't recognize you at first, you, toothless,
sore-covered. Then, I recalled those eyes
still as pure green as ocean floor, crystalline, as
water on a beach with glowing white sand.
I wanted to say

you look like hammered shit.
What happened to you?
But no, people can't say that,
so we walk away
after a hey, good to see you.
Lies.

Truth is,
it’s not good to see you.
It's sad to see you. I hate that I have to see you
like this, hate seeing you standing roadside in the rain,
coat-less in a blue-jean miniskirt and I hate seeing
your boyfriend, too, riding a kid's
bike, long sleeves hanging off him like over-sized
clothes on a rotting scarecrow in 90-degree weather.

I want to start being honest so
I’ll start this way:
we're helpless, watching from a distance,
unable to pull you from the black waves,
like in 1972, the Buffalo Creek Flood,
cold February morning, our parents and
neighbors, horrified, watching from hillsides as

houses, cars,
and people,
washed away in
coal black water.

They survived. Continued. We'll continue, too,
in the days and weeks following, saying
so much about you
over the phone. In text. In parked cars.
By fireside, beers in hand. Things like:

Oh, God. Not him.
Her? Really?
Oh, man.
That's some sad shit.
What a waste and

How’s his mom taking it or
What did his uncle say?
Did his girlfriend find the body?
Does his grandma know?
Who was shooting up with her and

Did her boyfriend give her the dope?
Where was the baby?
Don't blame the family or
the family is to blame.

People will post your name on Facebook with RIP,
fly high, honey. I wish you'd have stayed.

I'm so sad you're gone or
I remember when you played 
guitar in the school talent show and
you won or
I remember you in study hall, 
your laugh, always funnier than the jokes 
or maybe
someone at the wake will say
did y'all know he kissed 
me on Sadie Hawkin's Day? 

Somebody will tell a funny fight story, say
the little shit, he kicked my ass 
and somebody will chuckle and several people
will chuckle but only for a moment.

Then, quiet will descend
on the room again
like dust.

Do you remember that one time in study hall?
How about that time
in Denny Miller's class or that time
at the football game
or do you remember that one
time we all forgot the time
and got home way too late and your
mom was so pissed?

I hope you remember that time because somebody is gonna
write about that time
on your timeline
once you are dead.

What story will we tell your son at your wake
or your dad as they
scramble to collect every memory
your classmates offer,
savoring the tellings to salvage some
scraps of you, some shreds
to sew together for some cloak of comfort.

I hate to tell you this, honey, but
there won't be no comfort.

Before you use the final time, before you choke on your vomit
in your sleep, your broken heart just finally
finally     finally
finally stopping, I want to tell you
right this second,

I miss the laugh you
used to laugh in study hall.
It was always, always
funnier than the joke.

Please await further instructions. 
This is an emergency.

Don't die.
Here.
Swim in our direction.

Reach.




The above note, found outside a bar in Charleston,WV, reads: "Sometimes we need to find words in places we’d never expect. To reach into the dark corners where we hide ourselves; I thought you should know, you’re not alone." 



This poem is dedicated to all the friends I've lost or will lose to substance abuse and to everyone who has been touched by the opioid crisis.

CLICK to find a Narcotics Anonymous meeting near you

OR 

West Virginians may click here to Learn more about Recovery Point of WV or call at 304-523-HOPE (4673) 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
Andrea Fekete is granddaughter to Mexican and Hungarian immigrants and a native of the coalfields, born and raised in Buffalo Creek, West Virginia. She is author of the novel of the WV coal mine wars, Waters Run Wild (Sweetgum Press, 2010) and poetry chapbook I Held a Morning (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Waters Run Wild has served as course material in several universities and can still be purchased online.

She recently compiled and edited a collection of poetry and essays by and about women's lives, Feminine Rising (forthcoming Cynren Press, 2019). Her co-editor, (and the subject of the Lara exhibit) is the author of the memoir Girlish (SkyHorse Press 2018), Lara Lillibridge.
Her fiction and poetry often appear in journals such as Chiron Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Kentucky Review, Montucky Review, Adirondack Review, ABZ, and in such anthologies as Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia. (WVU Press, 2017)

In 2016, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation funded her three-week stay at the famous artist retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She earned her MA from Marshall University and MFA in Creative Writing from WV Wesleyan College

Currently, she is seeking a publisher for her newest novel-in-progress, Native Trees, set in her hometown of Buffalo Creek, West Virginia. You can follow her writing on Facebook.




Friday, August 3, 2018

Official Statement Re: The Anna March Scandal from Co-Editors Andrea Fekete and Lara Lillibridge

Dear Feminine Rising Contributors-

In response to concerns, my co-editor Lara Lillibridge and I have decided to release an official statement regarding the author of our foreword.

As many of you already know, our foreword author Anna March, has recently been exposed by the LA Times as allegedly defrauding writers for services never rendered and using aliases. She was a famed writer, so the news quickly spread far and wide.

Some suggested we chose her based on glitz and glamour. We knew her writing but did not know her personally. We've never met her. We never attended any of these famous galas and parties. We chose her strictly based on merit, how we chose all our contributors. I found her work online, such as this 2014 piece in The New York Times. I followed her writing on social media. She was talented and a delight in political and literary conversations.

Like you and so many others, we had no reason to doubt Ms. March's credibility or her resume. We've never been seduced by flash and fame. While we did manage by some miracle to attract legendary US poets like Ellen Bass, for a few of our contributors this amazing 300-page volume will be their very first (or one of their first few) publication/(s). That's right!

Lauren Brimmer, for example, is a 20-something server living in Tucson, Arizona who told us she writes to heal her wounds. Feminine Rising will be her very first publication. Jessica Spruill is a new poet and English instructor, a fresh voice from a small town in rural West Virginia. These young women will enjoy being alongside well-known writers but more importantly, they'll be among brilliant writers from 12 nations and every corner of the US. 

This book started out as just a late-night pipe dream as I sat alone in my kitchen in the tiny town of Barboursville, West Virginia. Not so glamorous. I started posting on social media asking women to send me their work. At first, no one did. I even earned some hostile reactions from men. I kept at it. 

Soon, I was buried in work and I reached out to Lara Lillibridge, a former classmate who I recalled as being an edgy and unique writer. In 2014, she didn't yet have her impressive list of publications or her first memoir, which was released this year. I chose Lara because of her talent, her voice, and her bravery in her work. I couldn't even promise her anything, not even that it would be published. I had nothing but an idea and some emails in my inbox. Lara shared my passion and worked hard with no reward in sight, fueled by nothing but passion for our vision.

During our work these past four years, we became best friends. This collected work is a genuine labor of love, born out of our desire to lift up the poetry and essays of women whose work we admire, whose messages we believe need heard. We chose works based on merit, not biographies and definitely not connections.

We share your shock and disappointment regarding the allegations against Ms. March. We've scrapped hundreds of in-color promotional cards which included Ms. March's name. Cynren Press is a newer publishing company, so this development, while not devastating, is definitely a hit to us financially and also our spirits. 


Like you, Lara Lillibridge and I believe using Ms. March's foreword would be a distraction and impact the book negatively. As a result, we've solicited another author, a friend and talented women's studies scholar whom I know personally. She has agreed to pen the foreword. As soon as I receive her updated bio and photo, I will announce her identity here and on social media. 

We know you will be as pleased as we are to have her on board. Stay tuned for the official announcement. 

In addition, we have removed Ms. March's name from the cover and all social media. If you've used the cover, please remove it ASAP. We will soon provide you with a final cover design bearing the name of our new foreword author. In the meantime, if you wish, you may download the new cover below for promotional use. Stay tuned!

Also, if you'd like to volunteer to read in 2019 (beginning in April) or help organize readings/events, please email us with VOLUNTEER in the subject line and provide us with your name, geographic location, phone, and email. Lara and I will begin the event-planning process very early as I hope to personally attend as many events as my limited finances allow.

Each of you, voices old and new, have inspired us. I hope to get to meet many of you and give you my thanks in person.

Thank you for honoring us with your voice and your patience as we forge ahead in our work to bring this unique volume into the world!

Sincerely, 

Andrea Fekete, Co-Editor


Don't forget to link to us on social media and keep us abreast to any career news (or links to books) you may wish to share through our Feminine Rising sites. 

Contributors will receive their free copy in April. If you wish to pre-order, make sure to order by emailing Cynren Press directly at sales.media@cynren.com so you get your contributor discount.

Link to us here:






BIOGRAPHY 

Andrea Fekete recently compiled and edited a collection of poetry and essays by and about women's lives, Feminine Rising (forthcoming Cynren Press, 2019). Her co-editor, (and the subject of the Lara exhibit) is the author of the memoir Girlish (SkyHorse Press 2018), Lara Lillibridge.

Andrea Fekete is granddaughter to Mexican and Hungarian immigrants and a native of the southern West Virginia coalfields.

She is author of the novel of the WV coal mine wars, Waters Run Wild (Sweetgum Press, 2010) and poetry chapbook I Held a Morning (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Waters Run Wild has served as course material in several universities and can still be purchased online.

Her fiction and poetry often appear in journals such as Chiron Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Kentucky Review, Montucky Review, Adirondack Review, ABZ, and in such anthologies as Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia. (WVU Press, 2017)

In 2016, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation funded her three-week stay at the famous artist retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She earned her MA from Marshall University and MFA in Creative Writing from WV Wesleyan College.

Currently, she is seeking a publisher for her newest novel-in-progress, Native Trees, set in her hometown of Buffalo Creek, West Virginia.




Friday, July 27, 2018

GUEST POEM by RED LIPS SINK SHIPS (aka Jodi Pudding)


I AM AN OUTCAST

A blur
a blip on the radar,
a smudge in the memories of passers by.
You would have to turn your head to see me clearly
but you don’t.

I don’t fit in.
I’m not a mold-maker,
a pleasant interaction,
a sandpapered girl.

I’m rough-edged and weather-worn.
So don’t go against the grain
or you will get a splinter.

I am an icicle,
sharp-edged and waiting to fall
ever changing and reaching out.

The words trickle down
and infuse within my spine.



BIO

Jodi Lynn Pudding is a poet and painter born and raised in West Virginia. She holds an Associates in Business Management and is working toward a BA in Psychology. She left West Virginia for only a decade before the mountains called her to return home. She now resides in Charleston, West Virginia, single mother to three amazing kids.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Exercise in Poem-ing: INSTRUCTIONS FOR GIRLS in Trump’s America, an Uppity, Bitchy, Unpretty Prose Poem 

NOTE: Recently, at a women’s feminist organization’s event, I was told to keep my poetry "light" and "positive." I don’t write feminist poetry. I never write about women’s issues. When I do, it’s not light and positive because Trump’s America is not light. It’s the opposite of light. This is heavy. Thanks for letting me get heavy. 

INSTRUCTIONS for Girls in Trump’s America 

BE PRETTY, SWEETIE, but act like you don’t know it, or you’ll be conceited. Be assertive, hon, but don’t be bossy.

Be flirty, darlin’, but coy, or you’ll seem easy. Be artsy, but don’t say anything dangerous. 

Because ANGRY ain’t pretty. And you MUST be pretty. ALWAYS.

BUT selfies are bad, mmkay?


Be young FOREVER but plastic surgery is GROSS. SMILE but not too much because that’s an invitation. Be cautious because you’re prey, but don’t mention it, that’s PARANOID. 

Say "thank you" when he says you’re sexy but don’t flaunt, jezebel and don’t "steal" her husband or you’ll end up in a song, Jolene. 

Cause men can’t control THEMSELVES. They’re animals.

And cannot be held accountable.


Don’t be a whore. Don’t be a prude. 

Don’t wear those "stripper" heels. Don’t forget your stripper heels!

Say "no" but apologize or you’ll be a bitch. Say yes, but not too soon or you’ll be slut.

Don’t be emotional, that’s crazy. Be smart but a know-it-all is overbearing.

Read your angry poems if you must but only in a dark room. But 

Don’t go into dark rooms. Because men are animals, remember?

And they cannot. Be held. Accountable.


Don’t get pregnant. If you get pregnant, that’s  your fault. Don’t get raped because that’s also your fault. 

Don’t laugh too loud, that’s obnoxious. Don’t disagree, that’s unpleasant. Don’t talk about misogyny, nutty lil’ feminazi!

Be small enough to fit into boxes, the little pink ones marked "GIRLS" just over there. 

In the corner. To the left. In the dark. Where it’s cool and won’t age or draw too much attention. Never draw attention. 

Except when someone else takes you out to look at you. Or sell your image. Let them. NEVER SELL YOUR OWN IMAGE.


Don’t mind rape jokes. Don’t mind his hand there. Don’t mind his stare. Don’t be so uptight!

Serve your husband. You MUST have a husband. Serve your children. You MUST have children. 

But then you’ll be boring, SEXLESS HOUSEWIFE.

Read all the magazines about pleasing your man. Buy lingerie you hate. Don’t forget. Never forget. If he’s bored, it’s YOUR fault. If he strays, it’s HERS.

Be quiet. Be ashamed. Be worthless without a ring. 

Hide your period. Hide your acne. Hide your fat rolls. DO NOT GET FAT ROLLS. Hide your bra straps but never go bra LESS. Hide your stretch marks. DO NOT GET STRETCH MARKS. 

Love to prepare food. DO NOT EAT FOOD. Look perfect for as long as you can but never in the mirror too long.

OBSESS OVER THE SIZE OF YOUR ASS YOUR ENTIRE LIFE.

Don’t be too skinny. Don’t be too fat. Don’t wear so much makeup, hooker. Don’t forget your makeup, ugly. And 

do not. I repeat. 

DO NOT EVER. HIT 40.


Let them tap your ass. Let them make rape drug jokes. Take it in stride. It’s "locker room talk," you silly snowflake. 

Let them claim your history. Let them claim your purpose. Let them claim your life. Nothing is yours. 

Unless he gives it to you.

Not your "yes," not your "no", not your uterus. Not your vagina. Not your breasts. Not your sex. Not your ideas. Not your wishes. Or your will. Never ever your will. 

Certainly not that. 

Not your story. Don’t tell stories. Not your smile. Don’t forget to smile. 

Let them grab you by the pussy. 

DO NOT SAY PUSSY. That’s not ladylike.

And besides it’s not yours 

to say.


Photo credit: Marijean Withers 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Book Cover Unveil: Feminine Rising edited by Andrea Fekete & Lara Lillibridge 

In case you didn't know, Lara Lillibridge and I have been editing a book for a few years. Yes, a few. In 2015, I felt silenced by some unfortunate events and I was angry. Really angry.

Nothing feels quite as troubling for a writer as to feel she has no voice. For a month or so, I felt I'd lost mine. 

I called my friends and said, "What can I do to feel better? How can I turn this into something?" I tried to figure out how I could turn this trash the world had handed me into art. It's always my answer, one I learned from my oldest writer friends like poet Ace Boggess.  

I've known him 20 years. I don't even ask him for advice anymore. It's always, "Andi, put it into a poem. Get it out of you." No matter how much I wrote, I didn't feel like it was quite "out of me." 
My voice alone wasn't loud enough for anyone to hear, not in my opinion. I knew my gender was part of why I felt small, so I wanted women to talk to me, to talk to everybody. Mostly, I wanted to listen. 

When you belong to a marginalized gender you are impacted by your sex. There are a specific set of circumstances within which you will exist. This impacts your life in many ways. If nothing else, it impacts the lens through which you view yourself and interact with others. It matters. Sex matters. Gender matters. Sexual orientation matters. Race matters. Class matters. (Boy, does it ever. Don't get me started on being raised in the coalfields.)
 It all matters. More importantly, story matters. Yours matters. All our stories matter. It's stories that keep me daydreaming no matter what happens in my waking life. Stories have saved my life multiple times but that's another post.

When I teach writing, I tell my students the only thing we all can really contribute equally to this world is story. By equally, I mean no one story is more or less important. We each have one, no matter what our circumstances.
At 19, I was an intern for the Blake Special Collections Library at Marshall University. It houses the diaries of confederate women. Was the confederacy what kept slaves enslaved? Yes. Does that mean we should erase the stories of the women who lived during that time? Never.

All stories matter and must be preserved, especially that of marginalized groups. 

We can share story verbally or non-verbally, formally or informally, lecturing in a classroom or laughing at family reunions. Sometimes we tell our stories during meaningless small talk in line at a gas station at 4 AM. 
You give and receive story constantly. My favorite thing to tell someone I want to know more is, "Tell me a story from your life." I immediately know who I will love or at least like a whole lot, based on their reaction. But I value all the answers to that question. 

Story is so much more than a book, a poem, an essay. Story is in every moment. 

You tell yourself a story in your head about your day before you go to bed. You tell yourself a story about your life when you think about tomorrow or next year or you think about the past or what you wish the future could be like. These
 are are narratives that guide us or that we lose ourselves within, for better or to our detriment. 

We all have story. Not just "a" story, but story, as in an entity within us. Story is part of who we are, like our blood or our breath. 

 I share "story" in the form of instruction (and jokes) when I'm teaching writing to college Freshman, but I'm not alone in sharing story. 
During those same classes, I'm receivingfrom my students. I'm so lucky. I get 30 people per class, all coming in with all these stories that manifest through them in every interaction they have with me and each other. 

I get THIRTY of them! All they get is 1 of me. 

Even though an adjunct professor (adjunct is just a fancy word for part-time, y'all) doesn't get paid squat, each time I teach, I'm swimming in gold in the form of all these brats teach me. (I say "brats" endearingly...most of the time)

When students react to the poetry or stories of writers we study, they never, ever fail to show me something in those works that I missed the last time and they do that by synthesizing the works through their own unique lenses. 
No matter how many people I teach, no one lens is the same. We aren't like unique snowflakes; humans are each their own compilation of story. (infinitely cooler than snow)

Living your one and only unique life is what gives you that ability, to pull from a story something no one else can. Isn't it endlessly exciting? Knowing we all have a story to add to the collective? Knowing that you can learn from each human you encounter no matter their level of education or their class, sex, gender or race.

I loved compiling this book for that reason. These women all handed us their stories in the form of essays and poems. I find joy that maybe I lack elsewhere observing the stories of others. I see their stories everywhere. 

Because "story" isn't just for writers, is it? We can tell the world our story on the dance floor in how we move. How we move is a comment on the music, right? Or on how we feel at that moment surrounded by those specific people in that specific light. 

We reveal ourselves through music, sometimes music that isn't even ours. Maybe we sing someone a song we wrote or share something we found on Spotify. We reveal story by making music or collecting it. 
We can tell someone the story of ourselves or how we feel right then just by how we look at them, right?
We tell someone a story by how we respond to their hand or their unkind word. Everything holds story, every moment. There's a story in the few minutes you took to walk to work and what you thought of during that walk. The ideas you had about a person you ran into at a baseball game because of how he was dressed is a story. Every second. Every breath. 
Story. Story. Story. Even the word has rhythm like a heartbeat.

I didn't want to share women's stories because I care more about women's stories. Story is a trait of the collective human experience. Story is the only realistic connector among us idiot humans and only through authentic connection and understanding can equality ever be gained, even among the smallest community. Receiving story is as liberating as expressing story.

I've always known my sex and gender impacted my life in specific ways and I could always articulate in what ways. But how did it impact other women? How did they feel about that? I can't speak for anyone but myself.

I'm tired of people telling women how to feel and what to think and that includes other women. I wanted a book full of women's stories, full of their own unique versions of things, even if I disagreed with their versions of reality. 

On a website, I asked women to answer questions in poetry and essays. I asked, "When does your voice ring its clearest? When do you feel power? When do you feel unheard? When do you feel silenced?"  I had this idea that if I could be part of sharing these answers, I wouldn't feel so powerless.

I began asking women writers I knew personally who wrote memoir and poetry, could you send me an essay or poem that explores what life is like for you, as a woman? Tell me about your life and how your gender impacts it. Does it? How? When? In what way? 

I started posting on Facebook groups for writers and on my own Facebook page. At first, the response was slow, but overtime it gained momentum. I recruited a co-editor, my very talented friend Lara Lillibridge, a classmate from WV Wesleyan's MFA program. She shared my passion and vision. Her enthusiasm matched mine and we've emailed daily for four years as we edited this book together. 

We've worked during a years-long illness of mine, through Lara's child-rearing, and her writing, releasing, and promoting her first memoir, Girlish (Skyhorse Publishing 2018). We've worked through my moving three times and the completion of my newest (forthcoming) novel. 

Somehow, we managed to finish the manuscript.

Today, after much back-and-forth with our publisher, we finally chose an OFFICIAL cover for the collection. Finally, it is beginning to feel real, like maybe we actually did something!

I wanted to unveil the cover here on my blog, so I can get some social media "oohs and aahs" that make my life feel like someone is paying attention to when I type besides my cat Pinto Bean who likes to lay on my keyboard. Just kidding. (mostly)

PLUS, I need to remind you guys to think about how much you like and/or love me before Lara and I begin the intense, shameless online marketing efforts for Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility. The book is due out in April 2019 from Cynren Press. We are going to be talking about it A LOT until then.

I am SO SORRY. (in advance)

It's such a gorgeous book. I can't believe just how gorgeous. Honestly, I can't believe it exists at all because NO ONE was interested in it but Lara and I for a long time.

 Here is the cover.


I will post my introduction to the book at some point and Lara's as well. For now, read her thoughts on being a woman writer by clicking on her muscle. Actually, I couldn't figure out how to link the photo, so you'll have to settle for clicking on Being Female is my Superpower.

 Being Female is my Superpower

.
Thank you, Lara, for making this book a reality. I couldn't have done it without you. Thanks to everyone for letting me share.



BIOGRAPHY 

Andrea Fekete recently compiled and edited a collection of poetry and essays by and about women's lives, Feminine Rising (forthcoming Cynren Press, 2019). Her co-editor, (and the subject of the Lara exhibit) is the author of the memoir Girlish (SkyHorse Press 2018), Lara Lillibridge.

Andrea Fekete is granddaughter to Mexican and Hungarian immigrants and a native of the southern West Virginia coalfields and yes, an actual coal miner’s daughter. 

She is author of the novel of the WV coal mine wars, Waters Run Wild (Sweetgum Press, 2010) and poetry chapbook I Held a Morning (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Waters Run Wild has served as course material in several universities and can still be purchased at the famous Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia in Beckley, WV or on amazon.com.

Her fiction and poetry often appear in journals such as Chiron Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Kentucky Review, Montucky Review, Adirondack Review, ABZ, and in such anthologies as Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia. (WVU Press, 2017)

In 2016, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation funded her three-week stay at the famous artist retreat, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She earned her MA from Marshall University and MFA in Creative Writing from WV Wesleyan College.

Currently, she is seeking a publisher for her newest novel-in-progress, Native Trees, set in her hometown of Buffalo Creek, West Virginia.