Today’s guest, Peggy Shinner is the author of You Feel So Mortal / Essays on the Body (University of Chicago Press, April 2014). Her work has appeared in BOMB, The Southern Review, Colorado Review, TriQuarterly, Fourth Genre, Bloom, and most recently on Salon. Newcity, Chicago’s cultural weekly, named her one of the Lit 50 2014: Who Really Books in Chicago, and she has been awarded two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships and a fellowship at Ausable Press. Currently, she teaches in the MFA program at Northwestern University. As a trained martial artist, she taught Seido karate for seventeen years.
Peggy came by to to talk about snooping around for family secrets, pushing the essay form to its limits, and what the practice of martial arts taught her about the practice of writing.
In Peggy’s words:
“I think that martial arts provided a model for discipline and for dealing with boredom, because martial arts is predicated on repetition. And in fact it’s through that repetition that you learn to love martial arts… There’s a phrase in our training: ‘striving with patience.’ You don’t ever want to get complacent and yet you don’t want your effort to be overcome by impatience either.”
Plus, misogyny isn’t just for bros, anymore! We kick off the show by talking about the recently emerging stories of sexism, sexual assault, harassment and misogyny in the alt-lit world. A couple weeks ago, blogger and podcaster Ed Champion caused a real stir on Twitter when, seemingly out of nowhere, he very publicly threatened another writer. Since then, writers Tao Lin and Steven Tully Dierks have been accused of rape. In both cases, their alleged victims were younger, female writers. The stories have really blown up all across the interwebs, and one of the results is that a number of women involved in writing and publishing are coming forward to talk about similar situations where they’ve been assaulted, abused, threatened, or manipulated by male writers and editors (like in this great essay by Robyn Pennacchia about “non-bros”). This isn’t something that only happens in Brooklyn; it’s a cultural problem. So, what can we do about it?
(Oh, and here’s that essay that makes Willy go into rant mode.)
Tags: alt-lit, bikini, chicago, creative non-fiction, cultural criticism, essay, fiction, hair, James Baldwin, karate, karen shimmin, Leslie Jamison, misogyny, New Mexico, non-fiction, nugget, Peggy Shinner, posture queens, prose poetry, research, secret half-siblings, teaching, Virginia Woolf, willy nast
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