Episode 32 - Domi J. Shoemaker

Domi J. Shoemaker is the creator and curator of the legendary Burnt Tongue reading series in Portland, Oregon which features some of the best writers in the region and highlights Tom Spanbauer's Dangerous Writing groups. Domi recently received their MFA from Pacific University and is also an integral part of the creative team for Lidia Yuknavitch's Corporeal Writing workshops. 

Domi is also a gender-fluid, differently-abled, ball of wonder and spark and bite. They do not fit easily into any one box. Domi forces us to look as much at ourselves as we do at them for the answers to who we are and who we can be in a world that is often obsessed with forcing us into categories it can easily understand, manipulate and control. 

Mostly, Domi loves to write. And Domi loves it when you write. As long as it is honest. And good. They celebrate the craft as much as they do the transparency. Domi believes that writing holds the power to help us reinvent ourselves in ways that give us the control, give us the dignity, give us the reigns of our own becoming. We are so proud to know them. In this conversation, we talk about pronouns, Lidia the badass,  "throwing like a boy," and about how Joseph Campbell gave them a template for exploring their own emerging self.

Episode 28 - Tom Spanbauer

What can a single human being hope to achieve in one lifetime? How do know our lives have mattered? Is it in the work we do, the people we touch, the love we allow ourselves to experience? To write about an authentic life, to write dangerously, is to strip away the artifice and the pretense and get to the bloody, sinewy truth of it all. The rhythm we chase is that of our own songline: a beating heart, a sideways glance, an empty seat at the dinner table. All reveal the same spaces of fragility and transformation which make us who we are. But what is left when the scales fall away and some honest fiction or another has birthed a new version of ourselves into the world? Well, Tom Spanbauer is. 

Tom Spanbauer is the critically acclaimed author and founder of Dangerous Writing. As a writer he has explored issues of race, of sexual identity, of how we make a family for ourselves in order to surmount the limitations of the families into which we are born.

His five  published novels Faraway PlacesThe Man Who Fell In Love With The MoonIn The City Of Shy HuntersNow Is The Hour, and I Loved You More (Hawthorne Books, April 2014), are notable for their combination of a fresh and lyrical prose style with solid storytelling.

As a teacher his innovative approach combines close attention to language with a large-hearted openness to what he calls 'the sore place'--that place within each of us that is the source for stories that no one else can tell. His introductory workshop is an underground legend among emerging writers in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The community of writers that has formed around him is dedicated to the proposition that "Fiction is the lie that tells the truth truer."

Tom lives, writes, and teaches in Portland Oregon.

This episode is a love letter to a writer who has shown us how to stand strong in our own fragility.  We hope you are encouraged to read Tom's work and to dive deep into the fabric of your own becoming. 

(This interview was originally recorded as part of the Mt Hood Community College Mouths of Others Literary Reading series.)