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I’ve just released Writing Alchemy Episode 11! This is the conclusion of “Dangerous Company” and I have to say that I’m quite proud of my voice acting in the erotic scene for this one. It seems like all of those years of acting classes have actually paid off!

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Monsters is the theme as sci-fi writer and monster enthusiast Bex Shea joins Fay for the conclusion of “Dangerous Company,” in which Kalla finally discovers that the dragon she has been sent to kill has been disguised as her guide the whole time. The following discussion delves into the question of what monstrousness is, the ways that depictions of monsters can be used to otherize or to empathize, fear, compassion, unknowability, the association of gendered traits with power, gender exploration, and the blurring of the lines between human and monster.

Dangerous Company: The last five dragon slayers died. Kalla is good at solving problems, but her skills will be tested as she embarks on her journey with the very dragon she is expected to kill disguised as her guide. Some interesting surprises are just around the corner…

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New Podcast Episode!

I’ve just released Writing Alchemy Episode 10! This is a fun nerdy one for all of you gamers out there, and, of course, the story reading is brought alive with sound effects and music.

Editor and collaborative storyteller Lara Milton joins Fay for the reading of part 2 of “Dangerous Company,” which follows the growing romance between Kalla and the dragon, Har. This section of the story delves into both eroticism as Kalla and Har get closer with each other and into conflict as Har struggles with her own draconic territorialism. The following, delightfully nerdy, discussion focuses on tabletop role playing games as writing inspiration and delves into the some of nitty-gritty details of writing, comparing and contrasting first person and third person perspectives in fiction.

Dangerous Company: The last five dragon slayers died. Kalla is good at solving problems, but her skills will be tested as she embarks on her journey with the very dragon she is expected to kill disguised as her guide. Some interesting surprises are just around the corner…

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Neurodiverse people have brains that operate differently from the norm. I’ve noticed that it is common for the traits that come from these operation differences to be split into two categories: beneficial traits and traits that cause struggle. In many cases it is only the traits that cause struggle that are identified as a part of a person’s neurodiversity. I will use myself as an example. The way my mind operates allows me to be capable of finding the connections between things, keeping track of lots of things at once, anticipating many possible outcomes, and analyzing things in depth. These are all awesome skills that are useful anywhere from science to art and writing. At the same time, the way my mind works also means that I am easily overwhelmed (because I am aware of so many things at once), get anxious about minor things (because I think about all of the bad things that can happen), and obsess over small things (because I am so good at analyzing things deeply). These traits can be hard to live with.

Both sets of traits come out of the same mental patterns, but because of the way that neurodiversity is pathologized, the beneficial traits are often ignored while all of the traits that are hard to live with are lumped together into one mental illness. Well, anxiety is hard to live with, but that isn’t just because of me, it is the world I live in. If everyone in the world had anxiety then things would be radically different. Our human social structures would have more reassurance, less intensity, and more forgiveness. A society built for anxious people would be more polite (but not the excessively structured kind of polite because that would be stressful), all TV programs would be like children’s TV, and there would be cell phone aps that could conclusively tell you, “the oven is off, the windows are closed, and the house definitely not on fire.” Unfortunately for me, the world isn’t like that because the way that my brain works is not the norm, so I struggle with some of the ways that my mind interacts with the world around me.

This is the reason I use the term neurodiverse, because I want to think of my mind as a whole and recognize the beneficial aspects of my brain’s unique structure. This structure is a big part of who I am and I’m tired of feeling that it is broken or diseased. I am tired of all the blame for my suffering being put on me, when it is as much our inflexible, punitive, oppressive culture that is causing my problems. Neurodiverse is a word that acknowledges that my mind works in a way that the world around me might not be prepared for, and it reminds me that, even though that is true, there is nothing wrong with me.


[Image description: There is a web of green lines that are suggestive of the network of neurons in the brain. Over top this web is the white outline of a head. The neurons radiate out from the head in a way that suggests their connection to it.]

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After a small delay, Writing Alchemy Episode 9 is up! It has extensive sound effects and music sequences to enhance the story telling. I hope you enjoy!

Media creator and community-organizer Tobi Hill-Meyer joins Fay for the reading of part 1 of “Dangerous Company,” which begins with an angry gender-switching dragon and the woman the townsfolk have hired to kill her. However Kalla the problem-solver is not what either the townsfolk or dragon expect. The following discussion delves deep into ethical ways for artists to address oppression in their work, the changes I made to this story, and the ways marginalized people are often identified with monsters in stories.

Dangerous Company: The last five dragon slayers died. Kalla is good at solving problems, but her skills will be tested as she embarks on her journey with the very dragon she is expected to kill disguised as her guide. Some interesting surprises are just around the corner…

Listen now!

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I’ve just released Episode 8 of my podcast which is the second half of the Writing Alchemy Special on Self-Love. I was smiling so much as I was editing the audio for this, there is a lot of great stuff in this episode! Please check it out!

Summary: This episode is a workshop-style collaboration that explores self-love practices with a focus on the experiences and art of people living at the intersections of oppression. In this episode Jessica Littenburg reads her poem “Healing Is” which is about finding tools for dealing with chronic illness, Ryannah Quigley shares her inspirational experiences as a plus-sized trans woman of color working on the film project hashtag body beautiful, and the band Bicycle Face shares two children’s songs which combine fun and silliness with some important messages about self-love. Discussion also delves into using art to push back against oppression, giving ourselves permission, valuing what we are doing, self-compassion, and using ritual as a tool for change.

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The winner is the score sheet illustration!

“Score Sheet: A depiction of Tala and Death looking quizzically at the score sheet the following morning (they would be fully clothed). The score sheet would start with the numbers in the story and get increasingly chaotic and humorous until it becomes blank at the end.”

I hope to have the references to our artist, Majin Roses, within a week. Then, if we are lucky, the  illustration will be complete within a month (depending on her workflow). Can’t wait to share the final results with you!

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I am excited to announce my first ever vote for an illustration!

Did you enjoy reading “Tala and Death’s Embrace” or listening to it be read in Episode 1 of the podcast? Well, I am commissioning an illustration from the amazing Majin Roses to act as a cover image for this story and you get to vote on what that image will be!

I’ve always really enjoyed voting on subjects for illustrations so I wanted pass that enjoyment on to my readers and listeners.

Vote here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VB6KM5C

This link will take you to the another website where you can place your vote and then view the results (please one vote per person). If you think that a friend will enjoy joining in the fun, please share this with them!

The voting will be open for a week (closing the night of Wednesday, May 4th), so it is not too late to experience this story and join in by making your vote. Enjoy!

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I am very excited to release the first episode of the Writing Alchemy Special on Self-love!

This episode departs from the usual Writing Alchemy format to focus on the topic of self-love in a workshop-style collaboration between Fay Onyx and Liz Cruz that explores barriers to self-love and self-love practices as experienced by people living at the intersections of oppression.

For this episode they are joined by Tobi Hill-Meyer, who reads her erotic story, “Self Reflection,” which explores the themes of self-love and self-talk in a rather surprising way.

Listen now!

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Podcast Episode 6 Is Up!

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Finally the conclusion to “Tala and Prince Hart” is here! I have lavished a lot of time on it, putting in both sound effects and music to enhance story telling.

In this episode, activist and educator Oblio Stroyman joins Fay for the reading of part 3 of “Tala and Prince Hart,” which starts with trickster Tala’s humorous strategies for blocking the queen’s attempts to hold a successful marriage contest for Prince Hart. The story then moves to a focus on family conflict and resolution. The following discussion centers on the process of forgiveness, non-violent communication, harm done from a place of good intentions, creating new cultural space, and the treatment of youth in our society.

Tala and Prince Hart: Prince Hart is asexual, but his parents and many suitors are having a hard time accepting that. When the trickster Tala decides to come to his aid, chaos naturally ensues in this exuberant story that is a playful response to the all too common romanticization of boundary-crossing behaviors!

Check it out now!

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Current events show that the trans community is increasingly becoming a target of anti-LGBT bigots (The Calculated Republican “Trans Bathroom” Wedge Strategy). This is clearly a divide and conquer wedge strategy. However, I’m beginning to think that this is more than just that. I’m beginning to think that this is also a direct result of all of those years of “we will come back for you later” strategy in the LGBT community.

When I first became involved in electoral politics a decade or so ago, there was a lot of pressure to “stay on-message.” When we were phone banking or canvassing they’d tell us, “Don’t bring up being bisexual, gender non-binary, trans, or poly. That will just confuse people.” Polling also had significant impacts on what messages we were giving out, “The term ‘gay marriage’ polls better than ‘same-sex marriage,’ so it is important to call it ‘gay marriage.’”

At the time I remember thinking that staying “on message” really reduced our ability to educate people and build towards long-term change. It also made me feel invisible as a pansexual, non-binary, poly person. I know how important to defeat hate bills, pass protections, or elect certain people into office, but if all we do is reinforce people’s current biases by only saying those things that they are already comfortable with, how can we make lasting change? Isn’t this creating a situation where only the attitudes toward most privileged members of our community are changing? I don’t feel like I’m challenging the core mechanisms of oppression. Where is this really leading?

Well, now I have my answer. We end up here with increasing numbers of anti-trans bills inciting people to bigotry. The gap in tolerance between the more accepted and more marginalized members of our community has grown, encouraging bigots to focus their efforts ever more on attacking the most marginalized members of our community as part of their core strategy to oppress our community.

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