Sister Spit’s New Generation of Queer Poets & Rebels: The Autostraddle Interview

Laneia: What’s your favorite weather?
Kirya: I like it hot.
Rhiannon: I actually really do like the fog in San Francisco. It’s just moody, and foggy weather can be an excuse to stay in and write: Well, it’s not sunny out, I better stay in and write a novel!
[Everyone laughs]
Kirya: Foggy weather just reminds me of middle school when I just wanted to slit my wrists.
[Unexplainable laughter from everyone ???]
Laneia: Awww, that’s terrible!
Rhiannon: That’s terrible!
Kirya: [laughing] It’s true, though!
Rhiannon: I like the fog! Everyone hates the wind, too, and I like the wind. I’m weird!

the creamsickleLaneia: Is your book, “The Creamsickle” part memoir? Or like…?
Rhiannon: I think when writing fiction you’re always going to draw from personal experience, but when I wrote it, I was creating characters. The main character, to me, is a character. I identify with things about her, but it definitely isn’t me.

Laneia: Ok, I guess that’s — wait! Can I ask you one more question.. ? … are you freezing?
Kirya: No! Yeah! [She’s answering my questions in reverse here. Don’t worry.]
Laneia: Has there been a moment on the tour — well it’s only been a week! [to Rhiannon] Did you go to Europe?
Rhiannon: Yeah.
Laneia: Well have you had a moment where — I guess in life, at all — where you think, “This is why I do this. This is why I’m writing. This is why I’m getting out there and talking to people.”
Rhiannon: I have that every show!
Laneia: That’s awesome!
Rhiannon: It just takes one person coming up to say, “I’ve never heard something like that before,” like, “I live in a small town.” Especially in Europe. Wow.
Laneia: Really?
Rhiannon: They’ve never heard stuff like this before, and if they’re really young, this is gonna stay with them for a long time. Maybe they’re gonna write, you know?

Kirya: I love performing. I felt really shitty today, really hungover.
Laneia: You did great!
Kirya: When I get on stage, something happens where a purpose takes over and you can feel, “this is what I’m meant to be doing.” I feel better on stage than anywhere else. But it’s also definitely about connecting with the audience. I have a piece about body hair–
Laneia: I watched it on your myspace. Fucking amazing. I loved it.
Kirya: Oh. Really? I usually do that piece when I’m not so hungover. [laughs]
Laneia: I was really hoping you were gonna do that one!
Kirya: Aw. How awesome! Well, at U of A there was another black femme with facial hair. It was just really cool to be like, “My sister!” [laughs]
Laneia: Yeah, like that moment.
Kirya: Yeah!

Laneia: I actually watched a lot of videos on your MySpace! I hadn’t read anything by either of you, so.
Rhiannon: I hate when you go to interviews and the people don’t even research.
Laneia: Are you kidding me? I had three interns on that sh*t!
[everyone laughs]
Laneia: I didn’t even know about this happening until Saturday.
Kirya: Oh wow!
Laneia: Yeah, and I was like, “I’m going. I’m doing an interview.”
Kirya: So is your website like local, or?
Laneia: No, it’s um, the girls that do… like the main team, is in New York.
Kirya: Ooooh.
Laneia: And then some of us are spread out all over. And I’m one of those.
Kirya: Cool. What’s the name again?
Laneia: Autostraddle dot com. Here, I can give you a carrrd. [gives card. so fresh, so clean.]
Them: Yeah!
Laneia: One of our main themes is that sh*t doesn’t have to be totally gay to be gay. And seeing yourself represented in the media, but in a positive way. Not like, the psycho lesbian killing her roommate or whatever.
Rhiannon: That’s why me and my friend did The Popsicle Project. It was wintertime, and we were like, “I want a website where I can go and look at hot queers!” So we were like, “Let’s take a bunch of pictures, and some other person in the wintertime, when they’re sad, and want to see some queers in the sunshine, looking cute–”
Kirya: I didn’t know that!
Rhiannon: Yeah!

rhiannon argo and tea by amos mac

credit Amos Mac

Kirya: When you were asking me about the reading list, for me I was thinking, I love when a book is not a queer book, but it’s IN THERE. Like “The Color Purple.” And I’ve discovered a lot of poets as an adult where you’ll stop in the middle of the book and ask, “Oh, she’s a lesbian?”
Laneia: My mom still, up until two years ago, didn’t realize that “Fried Green Tomatoes” was about–
Kirya: Oh! It’s SO GAY!
Laneia: –a lesbian! Right! And my mom’s like, “How do you know that, Laneia?” And I’m like, “Mother! She’s totally GAY!”

— Next Page–
Laneia Interviews Michelle Tea
“I think that there were a lot of people
who carried a lot of trauma from being queer,
so it was a real act of bravery to go out and to do this.”

Pages: 1 2 3 4See entire article on one page

Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

Laneia has written 930 articles for us.

26 Comments

    • thank you! i should send this to all future interview candidates so they know what’s up. so they’ll know that they shouldn’t expect to actually have time to answer the questions, you know? wheeee! um, but srsly, thank goodness we have interns b/c otherwise, OMG.

  1. Yay, Green! You’re so adorable. I would give my left *anything* to talk to Michelle Tea. They are coming to Chicago on Saturday to a small/independent bookstore right by my house. I was going to go to roller derby, but I think I may have to change my plans.
    ———————
    Since Michelle Tea mentioned poetry slams- the man credited with starting the poetry slam movement, Marc Smith (http://marckellysmith.com/ ), still actually runs open mics/poetry slams on Sunday nights at the Green Mill in Chicago. For anyone in the area who is interested, I highly recommend it. It’s a good mix of newbies, regulars and professionals.

    • i’m so glad you got tickets to the show! can’t wait to hear about it. they do different stuff in each city!

      i think there are poetry slams here, too, but of course i’ve never ever been. omg what would i wear to a poetry slam?? jeans, probs. yeah? jeans.

      • AMAZING. It was amazing. My only regret is not being able to go to the after party or sticking around long enough to catch Ariel Schrag not being busy so I could gush and get her to sign something like I did with Michelle Tea and Rhiannon Argo. Michelle said *this* article is amazing (of course I had to mention it!) and was hysterical adorable amazing. So was everyone. Ben was talking to me while we were hanging outside before the show (she had a cigarette, I had a decaf pumpkin spice latte) and I feel like a tool because in the dark/out of context I didn’t realize who she was until we went inside. To start her performance she threw off her coat to reveal a mesh dress over a bikini and started dancing to Lady Gaga. Then she yelled, ‘Is this all you think trannies can do? Cut your hair, sell MAC at the makeup counter and *this*?!’ We had a local Chicago poet, Carina Gia Farrero, in place of your AZ person, and the tour manager, Sarah Adams, showed one of her hysterical short films (‘Butthole Licking’), otherwise we had all the same people (reading slightly different things.) Oh, and special guest DJ SpinNikki played music before/after the show. I bought Kirya’s chap book, Black Chick, and Ariel Schrag’s choose-your-own-adventure. I’ve already got/am reading Rhiannon Argo’s book, and I own all of Michelle Tea’s stuff, obvs.

        • i read that entire comment w/out taking a pause/breath because that’s how i imagined you saying it. I’M SO GLAD YOU WENT ALL CAPS! <333 [and i'm glad/squealing that you talked to M.T. abt this articleeeeeeee!]

  2. “And I feel like I’m at a point now where I need to force myself to be who I want to be.” –I’m at the exact same point right now! I just need to jump in & allow things to be scary & exciting & beautiful & awkward. Autostraddle helps.

    This is really well done & I’ll definitely be looking to order some of their stuff!

  3. I got the opportunity to see Sister Spit in Orlando of all places in like 2002 or 2003? Michelle Tea read my favorite passage from my favorite chapter of my favorite book (at the time), “Valencia,” and then she signed a copy for me. Best night evar.

    Their tour comes to Brooklyn next Wednesday, for those in the NYC area who are intersted.

  4. This was magical Laneia! You were awesome… I am bummed and slightly embarrassed I’d never heard of Sister Spit until now being that I am a writer living in San Francisco! ugh totally sad. I have been lucky enough to see Beth Lisick and Rhiannon Argo read before buuuut still what an opportunity to have all of these wonderfully talented writers and women on stage at once! April Sister Spit shows here I come. Thank you for sharing this! made my day seriously

    • thank you!! i hope the tour comes back to phx in april because i’m already there. i bet SF is so full of queer poets and authors – you’re so lucky! i read a lot of interviews with SF-based authors leading up to this piece, and practically everyone talked about the need to get out of the SF “bubble”. and then these women said the same thing! do you ever feel that way? where do you go to escape the queerness?

  5. Firstly when you texted me and said you were gonna go to this I was really surprised and excited. There’s so many things in life that scare me that I have just chosen not to deal with, but the fear of interviewing people was one I knew I had to tackle head-on b/c the experience and the material can be so rewarding!

    This part reminded me of Why I Trust San Francisco: “I actually really do like the fog in San Francisco. It’s just moody, and foggy weather can be an excuse to stay in and write: Well, it’s not sunny out, I better stay in and write a novel!”

    The fact that this is even happening, touring, right now (as opposed to the 90’s when things were more economically prosporous) I think really means kickass things for ladies; that there’s a hunger to hear our voices, and to see people who are young and passionate who write, and want to share stories with each other an an audience.

    YAY LANEIA is all.

  6. How about eating a delicious dinner with them at a big table in your college dining hall while being the only seeming “hetero” when only one person, the girl sitting next to you, was lucky enough to know that you were a hopeless bisexual only out to two people?

    I raise my hand.

  7. In my city we have a fantastic and standing-room-only supported spoken word night, open to anyone. There is usually at least a couple of lesbians who perform during the open mic portion.

    I wonder if I started a an otherwise-inclined lady chapbook exchange on the internet, Autostraddle would want to hear about it?

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