December 8th, 2016 was the Gross and Unlikable release party where yours truly had the chance to read my story “Belly-Full & Tender Loins.” The event featured us five women reading our horrified stories to a packed house at Whistle Stop Bar. Event reviewer, Marjani Moore, for Oracle Reviews wrote a fantastic piece up at their site. There, she reveals a few crushes and praise for all of those who spoke.
Oracle Reviews is a journal project of students at San Diego State University — the same type of journal project I worked on when I was a member for Parallaxed Journal (now disbanded) and that became the framework for the snazzy Black Lion Journal.
Black Candies: Gross and Unlikeable contains 28 bone-chilling stories written by a diverse collection of female authors from around the world. Some terrorize your imagination in the exact ways you would expect: hyper aggressive, visceral. Others elicit such a delicate exposé of horror that you might not notice it if you were not paying close attention. All of the stories in Gross and Unlikeable are dark, provocative, and scary as fuck. — Marjani Moore
Whistle Stop Bar was packed to the brim when I arrived. I invited a few people (mostly for moral support) that I hadn’t seen in a while. It helps to have some familiar faces in the audience (even if you can’t see them through the spotlight) that you know are there because you asked them to join. Calms the nerves.
Horror is a genre that has long underrepresented women/the non-male human. Guest editor Natanya Ann Pulley curated this anthology in a response to this lack of representation.
“I believe writing stories (like all art) is a political act. Whose story we tell, whose we share, and how we expect them to be handed to us is an engagement with truths.” — Natanya Ann Pulley
The release party on December 8th was only a snippet of what this anthology had to offer. Hanna Tawater, Jennifer Agpoon Manalili, Kayla Miller, Jennifer D. Corley, and myself shared the spotlight that night.
Marjani Moore writes that “everything about this night – from the art to the literature – was a little awkward, a little uncomfortable.” And it was true. The moments of awkwardness were an essential part, in my humble opinion, in making the night all about embracing discomfort. The thing is, a woman-identified individual embracing, becoming gross and unlikable through her words and her stories makes it so we are not defined by polite rigors of behavior; it makes it so that we are as free as our counterparts; not in a legitimizing way, but in an equitable one. It’s a display of unabashed, unforgiving power transmitted by some who have lived under shadows of non-stop judgement. If you haven’t done so already, take a peek at Oracle Review’s Event review; and take a look at the stories (and art) in Black Candies: Gross and Unlikable.
“But it shouldn’t be. Society has trained women to be clean, not gross – polite, not unlikeable. So when women like guest editor Natanya Ann Pulley thoughtfully curate a collection of raw, female driven horror, it proves that all things unsettling, weird, off, and dangerous have a natural place in dark fiction.” — Marjani Moore
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