Peace on Earth, Live Lit for All

Miss Spoken is billed as “lady live lit”. This is not entirely true, in that it’s true but it’s not all. When we started this series, it was never the intent to be exclusive. However, we do choose to highlight stories by those whose work we know is underrepresented. Women definitely fall into this category, but this not where it ends: queer, non-white, trans, poor, and non-cis experiences are still woefully underrepresented in the live lit world and beyond. We are not the exception. We’re working on it.

A big part of our series is not only featuring readers who don’t get that exposure, but giving their feelings and history weight. The themes we cover are often dismissed as frivolous at best, lies at worst. We want to hear about your everyday, your personal, your feelings, because it’s real and that’s vital. Equally important is having a space where you can comfortably talk about that, get the audience talking and thinking, and maybe make a little money in the process.

Jesus Rose, stop with the PSA and get to the point.

Recently, we reached out to a reader who identifies as non-binary. It made me stop and realize: Miss Spoken welcomes non-cis readers. If your voice doesn’t get a lot of play, we want to hear you. No, this doesn’t mean we’re going to start having male readers. If you’re a man, especially a straight, white, able-bodied man, you are well-represented in the world and can seek out the multitude of options currently available. You will find there are many. The atmosphere we’re trying to create is one where tales that don’t get top societal billing can be center stage – a safe space to perform and listen. We also like if you’re funny, but like falling somewhere traditional on the gender spectrum, that’s not a requirement.

But but but Rose, you just said “lady live lit”, right there at the top of this post.

I did. It’s catchier than “genders less-represented in the artistic canon live lit”. Also, it’s our show and we can do what we want.  Readers are chosen at our discretion. We think that makes the show great, and hope you agree.

Happy Holidays,

-Rose

Why This Non-Christian Loves Christmas

grinchWhile I sit in the lobby of my office building stealing Starbucks’ WiFi, I thought I’d tell you about my relationship with Christmas.

It probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that someone as non-religious and Agnostic as me would even celebrate this holiday.

But we were raised with it, albeit minus Santa Claus. Maybe my parents figured if we weren’t going to acknowledge baby Jesus, there was no reason to bring Santa into the mix either.

I was fine with this set up, having no idea that Christmas for many people involved church or the spirit of giving and the birth of Jesus CHRIST.

Instead, we had a tree and presents and got together with extended family to eat ham off of t.v. trays in someone’s small apartment.

Since there was no Santa, our gifts would often sit under the tree a week or two before the actual day, and my brother and I would sit and try to guess what they were by shape and weight. Maybe this seems unexciting, but I loved the built up anticipation.

I like Christmas music. Today I sat in my cubicle listening to oldies versions of carols on Spotify. Did you know they have a dozen or so different channels just for Christmas songs??

If it wasn’t offensive, I would decorate my space with red and green and maybe even wear a pair of reindeer antlers on Christmas Eve Day (because I’ll be here…)

My building has a huge tree and wreaths in the lobby. They’re adorned in blue, white and silver, as if to say “This is SORT OF Christmas because a tree is involved”.

It’s enough for me.

*Update* There was a quartet of cellos (high schoolers) in the lobby playing Christmas music and I sat and listened like a weirdo for fifteen minutes.

I get that in a time of increasing sensitivity to other cultures, religions and practices, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to tone down on all of the Christmas mania that consumes everything once the hangover of Thanksgiving wears off.

In most cases, I would gladly support this sort of political correctness.

But I love holiday inspired drinks, Christmas cookies, candy canes, and lights.

You guys, I sang in the madrigals in high school, dressing up in rented renaissance clothes singing carols a capella at nursing homes.

Voluntarily.

I also REALLY like giving presents. I’ve been financially strapped for awhile now, so this year I hope to at least get my immediate family gifts.

I LOVE THE MOVIE ELF. And A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Love Actually and Miracle on 34th Street.

Christmas makes me happy. It’s a sense memory of excitement and joy and yeah, I suppose being spoiled, not going to school, and wearing a dress to dinner.

I cling to those memories. Perhaps like The Grinch, my heart slowly shrinks and shrivels throughout the year, but grows and swells from the warmth of Christmas past.

I think gift giving has been watered down a lot because of online shopping and the ability for anyone to get anything at anytime. And in general, growing up and being able to buy myself things. Also, nothing seems all that special or unique unless it’s handmade. And sometimes it just feels gross to get more things. Things that take up space, that we don’t need, that seem excessive and unnecessary.

Christmas has toned down a lot at our house. One year we didn’t have a tree and I was surprised at how disappointed I was.

My mom bought a tiny one so there would be some sort of decoration. I want to put it up this year, but she’s afraid my kid will tear it down (which is a very valid fear.)

We stopped celebrating with my extended family after my grandmother died several years ago.

Some years it’s just been me and my parents. My brother and his fiancee don’t live in the state and I didn’t have a boyfriend for many years.

It felt really quiet and un-holiday like.

I hope we can resurrect some of the past now that my son is around to potentially take joy in the small transformation the house takes because of Christmas. I think he’ll get a kick out of tearing up wrapping paper and hopefully enjoying what’s inside (though it’s OK if he doesn’t.)

I suppose I want him to have experiences that turn into happy memories, so he’ll always have a little bit of nostalgia this time of year once he’s an adult. Even if I’m remembering things with rose tinted glasses, that’s OK with me.

-Carly

Sex Ed

Here’s a recording of our October 2015 show. The very spooky theme was Sex Ed. Readers included Kristin Mount, Kelly Connell, Julie Marchiano, and Kimberly Duncan.

-Rose