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This is a photograph of graffiti on a wall. The graffiti is a black and white artwork of two people who appear to be a white cisgender woman and a white cisgender man, both of whom are in wheelchairs with artistic designs on their wheels. They are leaning toward each other and touching while gazing into each other’s eyes in an intense, romantic fashion.

This is a photograph of graffiti on a wall. The graffiti is a black and white artwork of two people who appear to be a white cisgender woman and a white cisgender man, both of whom are in wheelchairs with artistic designs on their wheels. They are leaning toward each other and touching while gazing into each other’s eyes in an intense, romantic fashion.

I am going to start by saying that, in general, there is an absence of stories with disabled characters. When disabled characters do show up, they are often confined to specific, narrow roles. Most often disabled characters are used as objects of pity, inspiration, or both, where our everyday struggles are treated as if they are somehow more extraordinary or terrible than the struggles in other people’s lives.

In stories that portray disabled heroes, they are either disabled in name only (usually as a character who has magic, abilities, or technology that makes them effectively an able-bodied person), or they are treated like their mind is the only thing they have to contribute (almost as if the writers wanted to erase or ignore their disabled bodies).

In addition, these portrayals of disabled characters frequently fail to capture the lived experience of being disabled. In these stories, the characters never seem to encounter the barriers that real world disabled people run into every day, and yet the world they live in is not portrayed as more accessible than modern USA society.

The lack of real-feeling, diverse representations of disabled people is a major concern for many disabled writers, artists, and activists, and it is a key reason I have put so much effort into including disabled characters in my own writing.

Well, in addition to being a writer, I am also an avid player of tabletop role playing games, but despite my commitment to writing disabled characters, I have not been playing disabled characters in these games. In fact, until recently I was struggling to imagine what dynamic, awesome disabled characters would be like in the context of these games. This is because many role playing games, like Dungeons and Dragons, are action focused and revolve around power fantasies of characters that are not only able-bodied, but physically capable far beyond the capacity of a normal able-bodied human. The very structures these games can make it hard to play disabled characters.

As a queer person I know that it is important for me to be able to play queer characters and to have that part of who I am reflected in games. In the same manner, I believe that it is important for me to be able to play disabled characters.

Too often the world around me gives me the message that being disabled is a state of being lesser, broken, or incapable. But the truth is that real world disabled people are capable of many, many things and we need to be reminded of this in the face of all of the messages telling us the opposite. This is why it is so important to be able to imagine and play heroic disabled characters that reflect this truth.

I want to experience diverse, dynamic, complicated, amazing, and capable disabled heroes. That is why I am creating the Unfamiliar Heroes podcast series, because I want to work with other disabled people to combine our experience and creativity to make something that is bigger and more expansive than any of us could do on our own. Together I hope that we can have fun playing tabletop role-playing games while we create real-feeling disabled characters that express the diverse lived experiences of disabled people in games that demonstrate all of the genuinely amazing things that disabled people are capable of.

 

This article is my in-progress draft of the introduction to the first podcast episode of Unfamiliar Heroes.

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This is the third bite-size chapter of The Wishing Dildo series!

Summary: It is said that the Wishing Dildo can grant any wish relating to sexuality or fertility, as long as that wish is consensual. Prince Hart sure hopes that is true as he and his friend, trickster Tala, embark on a quest for it. As they travel, they soon discover that sometimes the greatest adventure is the people you meet along the way.

Note: This story contains some sexual humor.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

The Wishing Dildo Part 1: Six Companions

Chapter 3

This story is continuing from Chapter 2, which you can read here.

It was not easy for the horses to carry two extra people, but they gave the horses frequent rests, and after another day of riding, they arrived in the capital. There, Prince Hart presented the queen with many fine gifts, and she in turn honored them by announcing three days of feasting that would start the very next day.

Tala and Min were both excited about this, but Tomás was concerned about spending so much time with the queen. He knew that people frequently made assumptions about his tremor, as well as about his exclusive use of ceramic cups and cast iron utensils. In addition, he worried how the queen would react to any mishaps.

“Tension makes it worse,” he said to Prince Hart, Tala, and Min, “and I do not want to cause offense.”

“Would it help if I made an opportunity for you to explain the situation to the queen?” asked Prince Hart.

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This is an image of a pile of multicolored dice. These are the types of dice used to play tabletop role-playing games. The pile include 20-sided, 12-sided, 10-sided, 8-side, 6-side, and 4-sided dice. Many of the dice are metallic and have different colors artistically swirled together.

This is an image of a pile of multicolored dice. These are the types of dice used to play tabletop role-playing games. The pile include 20-sided, 12-sided, 10-sided, 8-side, 6-side, and 4-sided dice. Many of the dice are metallic and have different colors artistically swirled together.

Announcing Unfamiliar Heroes, a podcast series in which three disabled and/or chronically ill players and a game master will play story-focused tabletop role-playing games in which all of the player characters have disabilities and/or chronic illnesses. Each game will be a one shot that will be recorded in one to four sessions and then broken into multiple podcast episodes. For the moment, Unfamiliar Heroes will be released as episodes of my Writing Alchemy podcast.

You can read more about this project here.

I am so excited and passionate about this project. As a disabled person, it concerns me that I’ve never played a disabled character in a tabletop game. There are a lot of reasons for this, but two big ones are the lack of disabled representation that exists in speculative fiction and that game mechanics don’t always make a lot of room for characters with disability. This project aims to change that by carving out space for disabled players and characters.

I am actively recruiting people for this project, so if this excites you too, please contact me at fayonyx at writingalchemy dot net!

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Today’s discussion with activist, comedian, and sex worker Vee Chattie focuses on the lived experiences of sex workers. In this conversation we talk about the performative aspects of sex work, emotional labor, myths, stereotypes, stigma, and empowerment.

It was really great getting to connect with Vee and talk more about their personal experiences and I’m really excited to share that in this episode.

Photograph of the back of a slender person wearing a white shirt and red and black striped skirt. The back of their head is obscured by a red umbrella. The red umbrella is a commonly used symbol of resistance to the discrimination faced by sex workers.

Photograph of the back of a slender person wearing a white shirt and red and black striped skirt. The back of their head is obscured by a red umbrella. The red umbrella is a commonly used symbol of resistance to the discrimination faced by sex workers.

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This is the second bite-size chapter of The Wishing Dildo series!

Summary: It is said that the Wishing Dildo can grant any wish relating to sexuality or fertility, as long as that wish is consensual. Prince Hart sure hopes that is true as he and his friend, trickster Tala, embark on a quest for it. As they travel, they soon discover that sometimes the greatest adventure is the people you meet along the way.

Note: This story contains some sexual humor.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

The Wishing Dildo Part 1: Six Companions

Chapter 2

This story is continuing from Chapter 1, which you can read here.

That evening, Prince Hart and Tala were the guests of honor at an elegant supper at which the local nobility did their best to impress the prince on short notice. As the lead masons within the city, many members of Tomás’ family were also present. Normally, commoners such as themselves would have been seated at a distant table on the other side of the room, but Prince Hart asked that they be seated next to him in recognition of their skill and hard work on the future library.

Interestingly, each member of Tomás’s family brought their own hefty ceramic cups and bulky cast-iron utensils with them, which they used in place of the fine cutlery and crystal glasses that had been provided by the nobility. So as to avoid offense, Tomás explained that the weight of these cups and utensils helped reduce the effects of the family tremor while they were eating. Indeed, even with the added weight, several of the family elders experienced shaking that was strong enough to spill wine and fling food. At one point, there was a tense moment when the grandmother’s spoon ended up on Prince Hart’s plate, but he just laughed and handed it back to her, and with this, everyone finally relaxed. All further mishaps were handled with grace and humor.

At the conclusion of the meal, Prince Hart and Tala explained the goal of their journey and told everyone about the Wishing Dildo. As they spoke, Tomás’s family listened with rapt attention. Afterward, many significant looks were exchanged between members of the family.

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In this second podcast segment of The Wishing Dildo Series, the fairy tale continues as Prince Hart, Tala, and Tomas meet two new companions, each with a unique magical superpower. Then activist, comedian, and sex worker Vee Chattie joins Fay for the following discussion about the reality verses myth of sex work, sexual superpowers, boundaries, marginalization, and community.

This is an exciting podcast for me because I get to introduce two new characters and their super powers. I spent a lot of time combining sounds to create the perfect effects to bring these characters and their powers to life. I hope you enjoy it!

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

The story for this episode is a segment of The Wishing Dildo Part 1: It is said that the Wishing Dildo can grant any wish relating to sexuality or fertility, as long as that wish is consensual. Prince Hart sure hopes that is true as he and his friend, trickster Tala, embark on a quest for it. As they travel, they soon discover that sometimes the greatest adventure is the people you meet along the way.

Listen now!

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I am now releasing The Wishing Dildo in bite-sized chapters!

Summary: It is said that the Wishing Dildo can grant any wish relating to sexuality or fertility, as long as that wish is consensual. Prince Hart sure hopes that is true as he and his friend, trickster Tala, embark on a quest for it. As they travel, they soon discover that sometimes the greatest adventure is the people you meet along the way.

Note: This story contains some sexual humor.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

 

The Wishing Dildo Part 1: Six Companions

Chapter 1

Once upon a time in the peaceful Kingdom of Five Quadrants, located on the west side of the Fantastical Continent along the Green Ocean coast, there lived a cisgender prince named Hart. He was honest and strong, kind and generous, graceful and handsome, and he had skin like burnished mahogany, with hair black as jet. And though he had been showered with blessings, Prince Hart had a problem. You see, he was an asexual person who never wanted to have sex, but since he was the queen’s only child and heir, there was a lot of pressure on him to produce an heir of his own. Therefore, Prince Hart sought out a magical solution, and it was said that far to the south, in the Wandering Kingdom, three royal siblings had just the artifact he needed.

Ten years ago, these siblings had gone on a quest to a strange and magical land and returned with the Wishing Dildo, a powerful artifact that had the power to grant any wish relating to sexuality or fertility, as long as that wish was consensual. Once home, the siblings built a tall tower at the place where the Errant River meets the Stormy Sea and filled it with monsters and traps to protect their prize. When that was complete, they announced to the world that anyone desiring to win the Wishing Dildo must come to the Wandering Kingdom and prove their worth by passing three tests. Of course, it was expected that each person who wanted to attempt the tests would first honor the three royal siblings with gifts both valuable and rare.

Now, Prince Hart had a great friend who was a clever trans woman named Tala. Tala was exceedingly adventurous, and she had been to the Wandering Kingdom and seen the tall, domed tower that guarded the dildo for herself. Well, Tala was more than happy to tell Prince Hart everything she knew about it in enthusiastic detail, and when Prince Hart decided to travel to the Wandering Kingdom to attempt the tests himself, Tala immediately volunteered to go with him.

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Photograph of the Women’s March showing a street between tall gray buildings packed with people with signs. There is a rainbow flag backlit by the sun, a large sign depicting a uterus with boxing gloves, a poster saying “Refugees are welcome here,” and many other only partially legible signs.

Photograph of the Women’s March showing a street between tall gray buildings packed with people with signs. There is a rainbow flag back lit by the sun, a large sign depicting a uterus with boxing gloves, a poster saying “Refugees are welcome here,” and many other only partially legible signs.

Very excited to be releasing my first part b podcast episode of my new format! Check it out!

Today’s discussion with hesitant art activist Lector Josue Morales focuses on the topics of art and activism and how they intersect with disability, community, and race. In this conversation we challenge ourselves to expand our ideas about what activism is so that we can fully value the diverse kinds of activism that people are doing.

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I am so excited to share with you the beautiful image that Majin Roses  created to illustrate “Tala and Death’s Embrace!”

Tala stands holding a sheet of parchment with blurry numbers on it. Across from her Death, depicted as older woman with white hair, sits on a bed with her scythe casually draped over her shoulder. In the background is a fireplace with a golden fire burning in it.

Tala stands holding a sheet of parchment with blurry numbers on it. Across from her Death, depicted as older woman with white hair, sits on a bed with her scythe casually draped over her shoulder. In the background is a fireplace with a golden fire burning in it.

A zoom in on the score sheet that clearly shows numbers crossed out, added, moved, question marks, and a smiley face.

A zoom in on the score sheet that clearly shows numbers crossed out, added, moved, question marks, and a smiley face.

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Citrus Apple Bake

Photograph of a red and yellow Jonagold apple sitting on a pile of similar apples.

Photograph of a red and yellow Jonagold apple sitting on a pile of similar apples.

This tastes like delicious, sweet, flavorful pie filling but with a mild impact on blood sugar (probably medium to low glycemic). It is delicious warm, and perhaps even better cold. Once cooked, the flavor can improve over several days of refrigeration as the oils from the zest continue to be released.

Using a sweet variety of apples such as Fugi (not Granny Smith!) allows this to be a low (or even no) sugar added recipe. This is because this recipe uses the apples as the source of sweetness and then uses the lemon as the source of tartness, rather than using the apples as the source of tartness and then adding sugar for sweetness as happens in so many recipes. Apples are actually a low glycemic fruit with lots of soluble fiber making them a much healthier source of sweetness. The small amount of honey in this recipe is used primarily for its flavor and can be omitted if desired.

 

Ingredients

  • Zest, juice, and pulp from one large lemon
  • Zest, juice, and pulp from one medium to large orange
  • 1 Tbl honey (optional)
  • 8 to 10 apples (cored and chopped into quarter inch cubes)
  • Light dusting cinnamon

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