A Tribute to All Feminerds (Thank you for your patience)
I’ve had a weird couple of weeks and a lot has been on my mind. Thoughts and emotions have kind of spilled into one another during this time and it has affected all my projects at once including this blog entry and our current podcast episode interviewing Emily Goss. Being an artist myself, my brain doesn’t always work like others do so I’m going to attempt to explain my point for this blog entry and how it pertains to the work we do here at The Feminerd Files, and why positive representation in media is so important to us and why we choose to support people like Emily Goss in the first place. Please bear with me on this journey through my thought process.
We had a delightful time speaking with Emily Goss about her films, “Snapshots” and “Painting Anna” and getting to learn more about her as an actress. She works hard and is very intuitive when it comes to positive representation both in front of and behind the camera. I had already found these two films to be very influential personally, but hearing her speak more in depth about them and her process made me appreciate them and her as an actress even more. I’ll be transparent about our process as podcasters as well. I really love our podcast channel and getting the opportunity to speak with a wide range of artists who passionately create media with positive representation into the world. However, it is always a learning process and no matter how many times we test out the equipment in preparation for a recording, something always goes awry. It’s the frustrating, albeit humorous, part of the adventure. On this particular day, my mic failed and we couldn’t get it to work properly in time. We went ahead with the interview and was still able to get the rest of the audio (Emily’s and Joy’s) to work. I know everyone has been waiting eagerly to listen to this episode (us included!), but it has taken us longer than usual to edit it due to my mic failure. Basically, I had to re-listen to the interview several times and make notes of every time I spoke or laughed, etc. Then I had to separately record myself giving those same responses into a working mic this time. Of course I had to re-record myself several times due to stumbling over my words or trying to make my responses sound like a natural conversation and not like reading lines off a page. So, a 50 minute interview has ended up taking me 7 hours just to re-record my own f*ck ups before I could even send it to poor Monica to edit. This, is what I imagine doing voice over work must be like (something I had once been interested in learning how to do). I must say it’s tedious and exhausting so I now have the upmost respect for voice over actors (Emily Goss also does those impeccably too).
In the time between now and then, a lot has happened in my life that has had an unexpected effect on well, everything it seems. We’re in the middle of a pandemic still and that has had a strange effect on me in various ways. First, if it wasn’t for this pandemic, I probably wouldn’t have even taken the time to find “Snapshots” or “Painting Anna” to watch or even known about Emily Goss as an actress. This podcast interview wouldn’t exist and I’d be on my couch quietly passing the time as usual. However, as you read from my last blog, these films affected me in different ways and something changed for me. Up until then, I had been reluctantly “content” with my life’s work as an art teacher who helps others find their creativity while mostly ignoring it in myself. This past year I tried to change that a bit by making a promise to myself to find time to create my own work more often and to face my fears that had been limiting me to only make work I felt comfortable making already. I had made some strides in that direction, but hadn’t fully taken the plunge yet. Then I watched, “Painting Anna.” Crap, I wasn’t expecting to feel so moved by it artistically. It really struck a chord in me as an artist struggling with some of the same concepts featured in the film. Needless to say it has stuck in my mind ever since and something started to change in me that I couldn’t quite understand or explain. I became restless and I didn’t know why.
In addition to this, school has begun again and I needed to get back to my teaching life. It’s something that usually came naturally and didn’t bother me much at the end of my summer break. However, this year is obviously extremely different. This year we are returning to school amidst a pandemic and as much as I’d like to say schools are prepared for it, that is not the case. Trying to learn all the new safety protocols has been overwhelming enough, but it was when it had been strongly recommended that teachers consider getting their affairs in order “just in case” that I started to become even more restless. Almost every day I have received an email from some “future planning” company offering to help me with my will. When I went to my local bookstore to pick up a few books, there was a table display of “Back to School” items and one of them was a do-it-yourself will planner. They even gave me my educator’s discount when I purchased it. I know this is practical and necessary to do, but it has me contemplating my own mortality and questioning my life choices. As if all this isn’t already enough to deal with, I’m also turning 40 next year and can feel my midlife crisis slowly arising. I continued to feel restless.
All of this started me wondering what my legacy was. Who was I and what did I have to show for it? What had I spent my time on during my life thus far? Here’s what I came to realize: I am an artist and I have been since before I could speak. From the moment my tiny fingers could grip a crayon, I was drawing everywhere I could. Art is at the core of my being. It’s in my bones. I can’t live without it. It’s my air that I need to breathe. Without it, my life would stop being meaningful. I am also a teacher. I am very good at seeing the artistic gifts in others and supporting their creativity. I love helping others discover their creative potential. It gives me purpose. However, there’s a fine line between spending all your creative energy supporting other’s talents and not practicing your own. I’ve been stuck in that mode for many years now. Before this year, I couldn’t remember the last time I picked up a paint brush or a pen and made art that was actually of me and not for my students. Just like the plant you forget to keep watering, my creativity began to wither and I just stopped making my own art entirely. That’s why “Painting Anna” hit me so hard unexpectedly. It was the reminder that the artist in me is still inside me and needed to be given life again. A change had begun inside me and I became restless as a result. I needed to make some changes in my life and so I entered my dormant studio and started drawing until my hand cramped up and my fingers bled. I drew through the night and into the day until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. I hadn’t created art to this magnitude since college. Whatever day and time it was next, I looked at my drawings in a daze and couldn’t believe what came from my own hands. Things I had never had the guts to draw before, but now I had. The artist in me was still there even after all this time. That day I made a second promise to myself that I wasn’t going to let my creativity hide like that again. It seems silly that all this happened after watching a movie randomly online, but it did. It has shown me that inspiration can come from anywhere and at any time in your life. For me, it was “Painting Anna.” For you it could be something entirely different.
I am also a queer woman and a feminist and it has been a long journey for me to learn what that truly means. Here at The Feminerd Files, we get passionate about positive representation in media and especially in “nerd culture.” It was the inspiration for the creation of The Feminerd Files a few years ago. We each have a story to tell about what it was like growing up without seeing ourselves represented in media. For me, it was in comics. I loved reading comics and my favorite place to hang out as a kid was the local comic book store. However, I was the only girl there and every time I went in, boys would tell me that I didn’t belong there. Comics and superheroes were boys and for boys. I wasn’t invited. Whenever I looked at female characters in comics, I never saw myself. They were tall, thin, and sexy in tight fitting costumes that barely covered their bodies. They were mostly white and always straight. Where were the girls like me? Sadly, it’s taken us a long time as diverse queer women to find a place at the table and carve out our own stories from our own perspectives. That’s why positive representation matters so much to us. It’s our stories. That’s why we spend so much of our time and energy and money supporting the people who represent us and who fight for our stories to be told (like Emily Goss). We need them to help tell our stories and keep kicking in doors that have been previously closed off to us. I cannot say it enough, “REPRESENTATION MATTERS!” It’s something we all can contribute to. Whatever your talents are in your life, find a way to use it to further the cause and tell YOUR stories too. Whether you’re an actress, or a filmmaker, or a writer, or a musician, or an artist, whatever it may be, tell your stories. Put your art out into the world. Be the representation we are starving for. Change the culture. Open doors. Support each other. That’s what we strive for here at The Feminerd Files. It’s who we are and it’s our legacy.
While we continue to fight the good fight and also fight faulty equipment while editing our podcast interview with Emily Goss, we have taken the time to watch more of her work and our respect for her increases each time we find something else she’s been a part of. We recently happened upon this short video she wrote, directed, and voiced (Is there anything she can’t do?!?!) and the teacher in me can’t help but recognize the talent she has. She may not be well known yet, but she will be. I have no doubt about that. Her time is coming. Support her, please. Support those who represent us and support each other. Keep fighting and keep creating.
For those of you who need to hear this. I hope it makes you feel restless too.
Thank you for your patience. We’ll have this episode up soon. In the meantime, here’s where you can find some of her work and support it:
“Snapshots” is available on Amazon Prime and Tubi for free (with commercials)
“Painting Anna” is available on Amazon Prime for free
“The House of Pine Street” is available on Amazon Prime for free
“Jane and Emma” is available on Amazon Prime for free
“Twelfth Night” is available to rent on Amazon Prime for $2.99
“Seasons of Love” is available to rent on Tello for $6.99 (we also recommend supporting their streaming service for $6.99/month)
“Where The Others Are” (an interactive theatre experience) is available for purchase on Vimeo for $16 (cost supports the theatre production that was cut short due to COVID-19)
“Dating In Place” an OML web series will be available in September. LIKE/FOLLOW @datinginplace on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook
“In Another Room” A narrative horror podcast premieres on August 10th on Spotify and anywhere you listen to podcasts
“Habit” a new short film will be available soon. Check out habitshortfilm.com and FOLLOW on Instagram @habitshortfilm
Emily Goss will be a featured guest at ClexaCon 2021 will be in Las Vegas, dates tbd. We’ll be there too, join us! LIKE/FOLLOW @clexacon on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook