Click the image to explore the Disaster Crimes series.

NOTICE:


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November 29, 2022

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy : A Modern Graphic Retelling of Little Women / Review


Today is Louisa May Alcott's birthday, so I wanted to share my review of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Modern Graphic Retelling of Little Women. Coincidentally, I read this book in November of last year. I loved it, so I want to share it with you here.

Image by Chrys Fey


MY REVIEW:

Utterly DELIGHTFUL.

Fans of Little Women who love remakes and modern takes on this classic story (and who won’t mind creative liberties) and who also want to see more diversity will enjoy this graphic novel.

Now, if you don’t like those things, you won’t like this book.

For me, there’s no such thing as "too diverse." I suppose when you’re used to an all-white cast, first for the book and then for every adaptation after that, it could be viewed as too much, but this is a modern retelling, and it has to look and feel modern, which means it can’t be an all-white or all-straight cast. None of the changes surprised me in the least.

The illustrations are so colorful and brought the characters to life. The entire time I was reading I kept thinking about how this version (with this title, obviously) should be made into a movie. Especially an animated one. Looking at you, Pixar!

My favorite character in this retelling (and for the first time ever) is Amy. She’s a ball of obnoxious fun. I love her. (Although she’s certainly not for everyone. I believe she’s supposed to be in sixth grade here, but she did seem a lot younger. I will say that.)

I loved this interracial, blended family in many ways more than the original family. There, I said it, and I am a HUGE fan of Little Women. You get the backstory for how their family formed when Jo’s white mom and Meg’s Black dad fall in love, and I was all for it.

There’s a lot of modern twists, including how their dad is over in the Middle East, but my favorite is  how Jo is a fierce feminist (which could be too much for some readers when several important, relevant topics are mentioned).

November 22, 2022

I Adopted A Turkey / Good Causes PART 9

 

For years I'd always wanted to “adopt” a turkey from Farm Sanctuary. And I mean I’ve wanted to do this since 2011, but had always been financially unable to. 

NOTE: The adoption is symbolic. The donation goes to the sanctuary where these birds live. 
From their website:  Farm Sanctuary fights the disastrous effects of animal agriculture on animals, the environment, social justice, and public health through rescue, education, and advocacy.

Last year, 2021, it was finally meant to be because one of the “spokesturkeys” was named Faye.

Faye, the turkey, is “The Explorer” with a curious and confident personality, and his favorite pastime is searching for snacks, which I respect. He was also sick as a baby, which as someone who has had her fair share of medical issues, I can relate.

So…I adopted him.

I mean, when your name is Chrys Fey, you have to adopt the turkey named Faye. ♥️


Meet Faye, the Broad Breasted White turkey:

I’m sorry but Faye is one handsome turkey. 💁‍♀️


Here's an article titled Faye and Friends: Survivors of Airline Cargo Disaster Find Refuge that talks about what he went through as a baby.

Farm Sanctuary's Adopt a Turkey Project is a seasonal program that runs from October - December. You can adopt Faye, too, or another turkey that you connect with. 

From their website: "Your one-time $35 donation helps Farm Sanctuary care for our rescued turkeys, protect others still in need, and raise awareness about the beautiful lives they lead when they’re allowed to live."

On Farm Sanctuary, you can adopt more than just turkeys before Thanksgiving, though. You can adopt all kinds of farm animals all year round, including cows, sheep, swans, ducks, pigs, donkeys, and goats.

Find the farm animal that speaks to you and make a symbolic adoption to help them and the sanctuary today.


Good Causes:

Causes and Donations - Books, Animals, and People / PART 1

Good Causes to Support / PART 2

I Donated My Hair / Good Causes PART 3

Stand Up To Cancer, Protect Trans Youth, Stand With Ukraine / PART 4

World Elephant Day / Good Causes PART 5

My Favorite Nature Documentaries / Good Causes PART 6

Lung Cancer Awareness Month (PART 7)

Homeless Care Packages / Good Causes PART 8




November 15, 2022

Homeless Care Packages / National Homelessness Awareness Month / Good Causes PART 8


November is National Homelessness Awareness Month


From November 12 - 20, it is Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week.


From Carpenter's Shelter's Website: Every year, hundreds of thousands of American families become homeless, including more than 1.6 million children.

For more details on homelessness check out: State of Homelessness: 2021 Edition, which does not account for the impact of COVID.


This year, I started to put together care packages for local homeless people.

From April 2022 to November 2022 I’ve handed out 11 care packages.

I was inspired to start doing this during my mom’s second hospitalization in April, in which she was in the hospital for nine days. She was at a hospital a bit farther from home that was located in an area where there are more homeless people. Many times I’d see homeless people at one specific intersection. One frequent visitor to that spot was a person with a prosthetic limb who I always wanted to help, but I’d never have cash on me. Or any money to spare in the bank.

I had recently finished reading Period Power by Nadia Okamoto. In the book she talks about the need for homeless people to have access to menstrual products like pads and tampons, how most shelters don't carry any in stock for those who’d need them, how menstruaters often don't bother to ask for pads or tampons out of shame for needing them, and the dangers if homeless or poor menstruaters don’t have menstrual products, like toxic shock syndrome from using a tampon (or pad) longer than is safe. 

NOTE: I discuss the book Period Power more, and other books like it, in this blog post: Body Literacy Book Recommendations

Seeing all the local homeless people after reading Period Power, and while my mom was in the hospital and I felt pretty powerless, gave me the idea to put together care packages for homeless people with whatever I already had on hand.

So, after driving home one night to get some sleep, before returning to the hospital early the next morning, I created a care package with pads and one with out. And everything was already right there in my home that I could spare (yes, even the pads because I now use reusable pads, which I highly recommend), even though I really didn't have much.

What’s funny is that the days after that, when I had care packages to give, all a sudden no one showed up at that intersection when I drove post, morning and evening, for several days. Then…wouldn’t you know it? The day my mom was discharged, the person with a prosthetic limb was there. I was able to deliver the care package while bringing my mom home. She'd seen this person a few times before when we were on the way to her radiation treatments, and she loved being a part of that brief moment.


The first care package I made and gave:

Content:

1 large roll of toilet paper

1 bottled water

I can of ginger ale

1 can of tuna

1 can of Vienna sausages

1 Pop-tart

1 cheese crackers snack

1 toothbrush*

1 mouth moisturizer*

1 small toothpaste*

November 08, 2022

Lung Cancer Awareness Month


November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.


Here's six important messages about lung cancer and cancer in general.

1) Lung cancer is the second most common cancer.

2) It’s the deadliest cancer according the American Cancer Society.

3) Although lung cancer is the deadliest AND second most common cancer, it’s the least funded, so please consider contributing to Lung Cancer Research Foundation this month and throughout the year. 💙

4) Not everyone who gets diagnosed with lung cancer was/is a smoker.

5) NO ONE deserves cancer.

6) Cancer FUCKING SUCKS!


THE DIAGNOSIS:

The fourth point is a common misconception that my mom and I HATE.

(Let me state again that no one deserves cancer, whether they smoke/d or not.)

Side Rant: Don’t even get me started on the "Tips From Former Smokers" commercials from the CDC that end with the statement, “You can quit.” Or the commercials from Tobacco Free Florida. Both of which depict ghastly outcomes of being a smoker, such includes lung cancer and chest tubes and oxygen tubing. Every time I see these commercials I want to scream.

When the tumor was first found in my mom's lung, every doctor we saw asked my mom, “How long were you a smoker?”

ASSUMING. 😠

Some even started with this false statement, “So, you were a smoker.”

Each time, and even now, we have to vehemently say, “No! She never smoked.”

When we first told her oncologist, and especially her pulmonologist (lung specialist), that she'd never smoked, I saw their surprise. And what angered me was that they pressed her, like “Really? Not even when you were a teen? What about years ago? Are you sure?” As if they were trying to catch her in a lie.

But I repeat: Not everyone who gets diagnosed with lung cancer was/is a smoker. So, right now, stop assuming anyone with lung cancer was/is a smoker. Doctors should know this, but doctors are imperfect and biased and like to stick with the facts they know to be true (most of the time).

They’d then ask if she was ever exposed to asbestos.

Answer: No.

Then finally they’d ask if she had been around a lot of secondhand smoke. My mom’s father was a heavy smoker. Upon hearing this, they’d say, “That must be it then.”

Here’s another reminder: If you’re a smoker, you’re not just putting yourself at risk. You’re putting everyone you smoke around at risk. One day, they may be diagnosed with lung cancer because of YOUR actions. If that’s not a HUGE reason to quit right there, then I don’t know what the fuck is.

Still…we’re not positive that’s where her cancer came from, although it is a possibility.

Another possibility is that her cancer stems from living on Air Force bases around the world.

My dad is an Air Force veteran. My family had been on Air Force bases in Okinawa, Japan; Michigan, and Florida (Patrick Air Force Base).

Years ago, I discovered that people who had lived on or near Patrick Air Force in Florida were being diagnosed with cancer at an increased rate because of the contamination problems at the base, but this is not an isolated occurrence. Military bases across the country and around the world have contaminated drinking water.

This is a problem that even the Pentagon has reported about (and has also attempted to cover up).

November 01, 2022

Native American Heritage Month Book Recommendations

 

November is National Native American Heritage Month.

To celebrate the beautiful Native American culture (and the differences from Nation to Nation and tribe to tribe), as well as Native American (Indigenous) characters and authors, I have created a short list of book recommendations for you. This is not an exhaustive list but rather a starting point.

While you're on my blog, hop on over to this important and informative article I posted last year: How To Respect and Support Indigenous Peoples

Enjoy!


*** NON-FICTION ***


White Magic

by Elissa Washuta

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: Throughout her life, Elissa Washuta has been surrounded by cheap facsimiles of Native spiritual tools and occult trends, "starter witch kits" of sage, rose quartz, and tarot cards packaged together in paper and plastic. Following a decade of abuse, addiction, PTSD, and heavy-duty drug treatment for a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder, she felt drawn to the real spirits and powers her dispossessed and discarded ancestors knew, while she undertook necessary work to find love and meaning.

In this collection of intertwined essays, she writes about land, heartbreak, and colonization, about life without the escape hatch of intoxication, and about how she became a powerful witch. She interlaces stories from her forebears with cultural artifacts from her own life--Twin Peaks, the Oregon Trail II video game, a Claymation Satan, a YouTube video of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham--to explore questions of cultural inheritance and the particular danger, as a Native woman, of relaxing into romantic love under colonial rule.


Crazy Brave

by Joy Harjo

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a haunting, visionary memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice.


*** YOUNG ADULT/ADULT ****


The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

by Zoraida Córdova 

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low, or why their matriarch won't ever leave their home in Four Rivers--not for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed into a ceiba tree, leaving them with more questions than answers.

Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings and powers. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea's line. Determined to save what's left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, her descendants travel to Ecuador--to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back.


Firekeeper's Daughter

by Angeline Boulley

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi's hockey team.

Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.

Now, as the deceptions--and deaths--keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she'll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she's ever known.


Hearts Unbroken

by Cynthia Leitich Smith


BLURB: When Louise Wolfe's first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It's her senior year, anyway, and she'd rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper's staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director's inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students -- especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou's little brother, who's playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey -- but as she's learned, "dating while Native" can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey's?


A Snake Falls to Earth

by Darcie Little Badger 

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She's always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.

Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he's been cast from home. He's found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.

Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli's best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven't been in centuries.

And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.


The Morrow Thieves

by Cherie Dimaline

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: Just when you think you have nothing left to lose, they come for your dreams.

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The Indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden - but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

October 11, 2022

Body Literacy Book Recommendations


Any narrative you were taught about periods from family, teachers, religious teachings, society, etc. that resulted in negative thoughts/feelings is worth unpacking, unlearning, and rewriting. It may be difficult, but it’ll be worth it. The content and resources I share below will aid with this. ❤ (Even those who were assigned male at birth need to unlearn that periods are evil and unclean, because they’re not.)


"IF PEOPLE REACT NEGATIVELY WHEN YOU DISCUSS PERIODS. THIS IS A SIGN THAT YOUR WORK IS NEEDED. USE THAT NEGATIVE ENERGY TO FUEL YOU. THE TTS MENSTRUAL MOVEMENT EXISTS ABOUT BECAUSE THERE IS SOMETHING BLOODY TIME WORTH FIGHTING FOR: EQUALITY. ANY PUSHBACK YOU RECEIVE IS EVIDENCE THAT EQUALITY DOESN'T YET EXIST" - Nadia Okamoto from Period Power: A Manifesto For The Menstrual Movement


In 2020 I was called to learn more about myself, my body, and, most of all, reconnect to my period. It started when I came across Lindsey Sara, a Womb Healing Guide, on Instagram under the handle @FlowWithYourFlow. I learned about yoni/pelvic steams from Lindsay. She now has a wonderful podcast on Spotify that she debuted this year called Wombspace.

Soon after, I found Gina Frances, a Womb Based Business Coach. Through her work, I discovered the inner seasons of the menstrual cycle. You can learn about the inner seasons in the free content below.

Free Menstrual Content from Gina:


If you're interested in going deeper, Gina has the Menstrual Magick Bundle for $33.00. One dollar from each sale will go to Bloody Good Period, a UK-based charity. Bloody Good Period fights for "menstrual equality and the rights of all people to bleed."
Around the same time, I found Rosie Rees, the owner of Yoni Pleasure Palace, a sex-positive business that sells crystal pleasure wands, yoni eggs, and more.

I signed up for Rosie Rees' The Golden Yoni Membership and consumed ALL the modules that had been shared before I joined, as well as the new modules. I was a member for several months before I canceled my membership because of financial stress, but being a member and everything I learned was well-worth the cost, which is now $40.00 per month. This membership was a turning point for me. I am so grateful for it and Rosie and all the experts she hosted.



ANNOUNCEMENT:

I will be taking part in Cyclical Alchemy, run by Gina Frances, for 8 powerful and transformative weeks, beginning November 1st, 2022. Gina will give us "the blueprint to run a Womb Based Business," which means working with our menstrual cycles, not against them as the patriarchy has taught us to do. Join me on this transformative journey! 
Use my affiliate link above and my 10% off discount code: WOMBLED10
Email me ChrysFey (at) yahoo (dot) com if you'd like to hear about my experiences working with Gina so far.

The first body literacy books I saw recommended were written by Lisa Lister. I bought them, loved them, and continued my journey with more books, like the ones below that were recommended by the amazing women I mentioned above as well as Amy Rushworth, an unapologetic life coach who I previously shouted-out in my post Money Mindset Book Recommendations + WEALTH DATES.


Before I get to the books, I want to share four of my Spotify playlists with you.


Inner Autumn

A playlist to vibe to while in your Inner Autumn (premenstrual phase or during the waxing moon). 


You can also check out the playlist on the Spotify app here and add it to your library by clicking the ❤️.


Inner Winter

A playlist to vibe to during your menstruation (while you bleed or during the new moon).


You can also check out the playlist on the Spotify app here and add it to your library by clicking the ❤️.


Inner Spring

A playlist to vibe to during your Inner Spring (your follicular phase, right after your period, or during the waning moon).


You can also check out the playlist on the Spotify app here and add it to your library by clicking the ❤️.


Inner Summer

A playlist to vibe to during your Inner Summer (while you ovulate or during the full moon). 


You can also check out the playlist on the Spotify app here and add it to your library by clicking the ❤️.



Now...about those books...


Body Literacy Book Recommendations 


Period Power: A Manifesto For The Menstrual Movement

by Nadia Okamoto

Image by Chrys Fey

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: Throughout history, periods have been hidden from the public. They're taboo. They're embarrassing. They're gross. And due to a crumbling or nonexistent national sex ed program, they are misunderstood. Because of these stigmas, a status quo has been established to exclude people who menstruate from the seat at the decision-making table, creating discriminations like the tampon tax, medicines that favor male biology, and more.

Period Power aims to explain what menstruation is, shed light on the stigmas and resulting biases, and create a strategy to end the silence and prompt conversation about periods.


Code Red

by Lisa Lister

Gratitude Challenge Image by Chrys Fey

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: Your period has power. Embrace your natural cycle, work with your hormones and connect to the innate feminine wisdom of your menstrual cycle.

Your period is way more than PMS, carb cravings and lady rage - it's actually a 4-part lady code that, once cracked, will uncover a series of monthly superpowers that can be used to enhance your relationships with others, build a better business, have incredible sex and create a 'bloody' amazing life.

Code Red, from the Creatrix of www.thesassyshe.com, Lisa Lister, is a call to action. A rallying cry that dares you to explore, navigate and most importantly, love your lady landscape.

You'll learn how to live and work in complete alignment with the rhythms of nature, the moon and your menstrual cycle, be inspired by insights from Wise + Wild Women like Meggan Watterson, Alexandra Pope and Uma Dinsmore Tuli, and gain access to easy-to-follow strategies and SHE Flow yoga practices. You'll be invited to connect with your true nature as a woman, tap into the transformational power of your innate feminine wisdom and use your menstrual cycle as an ever-unfolding map to crack your lady code.


Love Your Lady Landscape

by Lisa Lister

Gratitude Challenge Image by Chrys Fey

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: Love Your Lady Landscape is a healing journey through the terrain of what it is to be a woman. When a woman isn't in alignment with her feminine essence, she may experience exhaustion and overwhelm, lack sexual desire or passion for life, and generally feel out of sync.

In this book, Lisa Lister uses a myriad of tools and practices such as Earth based spirituality, shamanic teachings, movement and dance, and breath and sound work to teach women how to reconnect to their feminine wisdom in order to start rebalancing all aspects of their lives.

Based on Lisa's own 11-year journey of healing and reconnecting with her body, this book will help you:

- release guilt and shame from the past

- explore self-pleasure and sensuality

- understand, read, and connect with your body's signs and signals

- learn about your menstrual cycle and its connection with the rhythms of nature and the universe

- discover the sacred art of receiving

- express your creativity

- find your voice to communicate your needs, wants, and desires

Love Your Lady Landscape will move women into a fiercely loving and healing relationship with their body and will teach them how to use its cycles and signs to create a life of vitality, fulfillment, and creation.

October 04, 2022

Dear Stuck Writer / GIVEAWAY

 

Dear Stuck Writer,

Occasionally, people will say you’re only blocked because you’re not willing to set aside perfection, lower your creative standards, and create “crappy” art.

Pressure from wanting to write a best seller can certainly be one of the many causes of writer’s block, but it’s not the only one. Editing while you go, because you have the itch to make what you wrote perfect before moving on, can also cause a writer to get stuck. However, claiming those are the only reasons why a writer isn’t writing is inaccurate. Let alone to state that is the case for every writer. Not all blocks arrive because a writer has too high of standards.

People who suggest this will also say that when you try to avoid imperfection, you’re self-sabotaging, but you’re not blocked, because writer’s block is not real. All you have to do is accept that crappy art is part of the process.

The thing is, many writers accept that already. Many writers understand they will have days where their work is not their best, but they keep on going. And they understand the first draft will need a lot of work. However, accepting that and letting yourself create work that you know will need to be improved doesn’t mean you won’t experience any kind of block during the writing process (or during your writing career).

You do not owe ANYONE an explanation for why you are stuck.

You do not have to convince ANYONE that writer’s block is real.

No one else can define what you feel or what you are going through.

No one else can say what is or is not real FOR YOU.

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not blocked.

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong or not committed or not embracing imperfection in your art.

Nope.

You. And only you.



QUESTION: Are you stuck? I'm here to listen.







PRIZES: Signed paperback copy of Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer's Block, Depression, and Burnout, Keep Writing with Fey ceramic mug, "Write your own story" metal desk décor, and dice desk décor with sayings: do not quit, lunch time, be awesome, coffee break, work hard, stay focused.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


September 20, 2022

Honoring the Victims of the Salem Witch Trials

 

Christmas Day 2020, I was watching my favorite childhood Christmas movies and researching the Salem Witch Trials.


When I was at the library, I came across the witch section on a shelf of paranormal books in the children’s section. I checked out every book they had on witches. These four books. I wanted to see how they handled the subject. The only one I didn’t really like was the small one (Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer). At times, the author’s tone rubbed me the wrong way. The others were great, though: The Salem Witch Trials: A Primary Source History of the Witchcraft Trials in Salem, Massachusetts; The Salem Witch Trials by Michael Martin; and Creatures of Fantasy: Witches by Cynthia A. Roby.


On September 22, 1692, the last eight INNOCENT victims were hanged, which is why I am posting this on September 20th.

This post is about the Salem Witch Trials, and I am posting it to honor the nineteen people who were wrongly executed.

I also want to honor the THOUSANDS (40,000 - 60,000) INNOCENT people who were wrongly executed during the European Witch-Hunt that took place in western Germany, the Low Countries, France, northern Italy, and Switzerland that lasted more than 200 years.


EUROPEAN WITCH-HUNT:

Although this post focuses on the Salem Witch Trials, which is just a brief moment in the overall nightmare of witch-hunts, I still want to discuss the European Witch-Hunts.


MIDWIVES AND HEALERS:

Many of the women who were targeted and executed as witches were the wise women, healers, and midwives who used plant medicine (and were likely poor or considered peasants), and the Catholic Church didn't like their use of plant medicine one bit. [1]

The Church and the medical field were best buds, and the Church supported male physicians, not female healers.

Male physicians, who knew NOTHING about women, did not like that midwives and female healers were taking patients from them because those women knew their shit and the male physicians did not. So, the Church and male physicians teamed up to get rid of their competition; male physicians accused wise women of witchcraft.


DEVIL'S TEAT:

It's also known that women were accused of witchcraft for having a spot (birthmark/freckle) on their skin that was called the "Devil's Mark."

Oh, and let's not forget the "Devil's Teat." In The Malleus Maleficarum, a guide for finding witches, it was said that the clitoris was the "Devil's Teat," and any woman with one was a witch. 😂 No one had any clue about women's anatomies, so when one was found on a victim postmortem, it was deemed evil. [2

What I find interesting is that the jailer and his wife did the postmortem search. I wonder if his wife later looked to see if she had one and kept it a secret after she helped classify it as evil. Or did her husband ever notice it later? Not all clitoris' are the same size, but all vulvas have one.

To think that a unique part of a woman's anatomy that has no bodily function other than pleasure (which the Church definitely would've labeled sinful if they'd known), and has 8,000 nerve endings, double that of the phallus [3] was used to accuse women of being in league with the devil. (If male physicians knew their phalluses weren't as superior in comparison, they really would've felt emasculated). It's partly laughable, but also deeply horrifying. That truly goes to show you how powerful a woman's body is and how scared the Church and patriarchy are of a woman's pleasure and power. Then and now. *mic drop*


Before I move on, here's a little musical inspiration:


I'm A Witch Playlist

This isn’t just a playlist of songs with witchy vibes, but a playlist that’ll make you feel empowered in embracing the witch inside, because we all have a little witch in us.

NOTE: Although the victims weren't real witches, now-a-days people are taking back the word “witch” and claiming it for themselves. These people connect with nature, honor ancestors, work with plant medicine, seek knowledge, pass on wisdom, hone their intuition, nurturer the Earth, want to make the world a better place, celebrate the change of the seasons, live cyclically with their menstrual cycles or phases of the moon, and are open-minded. They may use Tarot cards and pendulums for guidance. They may use crystals and herbs for protection. They may use spells for manifestation. They are not evil. In fact, they are forces of good. Anyone can be a witch. Some may identify as Wiccan or Pagan or Jewish or Christian. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that you're being your AUTHENTIC SELF.

You can also check out the playlist on the Spotify app here and add it to your library by clicking the ❤️.


Salem Witch Trials:

I don't want to repeat info you likely know, so I’m sharing info you may not know. I'm also choosing not to talk about the accusers. This post isn't about those idiots. This post is about...


Dorothy Good:

Dorothy (Dorcas) Good was the youngest victim of the Salem Witch Trials. She was four years old. Her mother, Sarah Good, was also accused of witchcraft. Dorothy was interrogated. The nature of the interrogation is unknown. Were they gentle because she was a child or were they harsh because they thought she was evil? It doesn't matter. She admitted to being a witch, as any frightened child would, especially if they don’t understand what is happening.

At the age of five, she was sent to prison for almost nine months. Shackled. Unable to move her limbs, just her fingers. December 10th, 1692, she was released from prison, but the damage had been done. The abuse, neglect, and horrible conditions resulted in her mind deteriorating. She passed away not long after.

RIP Dorothy.


Sarah Good:

September 13, 2022

Latin American Heritage Month Book Recommendations

 

NOTE: This post was originally titled “Hispanic Heritage Month Book Recommendations,” but here’s why I changed it to “Latin American Heritage Month.” I recently learned it’s more accurate to say Latin American Heritage Month instead because of the fact that there’s 33 countries (and 15 territories) in Latin America and 448 spoken languages, with Spanish, Portuguese, and French being the main three, which really only makes up 1% of the spoken languages, the most being Indigenous languages. And “Hispanic” refers to only the Spanish-speaking countries/territories, of which there are only 20 countries and one territory. (Thanks to Eliana Chinea for this info.) So The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa, which I originally had on this post but removed because Brazil’s primary language is Portuguese, definitely belongs on this list, as well as so many others! We’re not limited to only Spanish-speaking countries, but all of Latin America. 👏 Which is definitely more inclusive and makes so much sense. ❤️


From September 15th to October 15th it is Latin American Heritage Month.

To celebrate the beautiful and colorful cultures that span many countries and territories of Latin America, as well as Latinx characters and authors, I have created a short list of book recommendations for you. This is not an exhaustive list but rather a starting point.

Enjoy!



BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS


A Taste of Sage

by Yaffa S. Santos

Dominican

Romance

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: Lumi Santana is a chef with the gift of synesthesia--she can perceive a person's emotions by tasting their cooking. Despite being raised by a single mother who taught her that dreams and true love were silly fairy tales, she takes a chance and puts her heart and savings into opening a fusion restaurant in Manhattan. The restaurant offers a mix of the Dominican cuisine she grew up with and other world cuisines that have been a source of culinary inspiration to her.

When Lumi's venture fails, she is forced to take a position as a sous chef at a staid French restaurant in midtown owned by Julien Dax, a celebrated chef known for his acid tongue and brilliant smile. Lumi and Julien don't get along in the kitchen and she secretly vows never to taste his cooking. Little does she know that her resolve doesn't stand a chance against his culinary prowess.

As Julien produces one delectable dish after another, Lumi can no longer resist his creations. She isn't prepared for the intense feelings that follow, throwing a curveball in her plan to move on as soon as possible. Plus, there's the matter of Esme, Julien's receptionist, who seems to always be near and watching. As the attraction between Lumi and Julien simmers, Lumi experiences a tragedy that not only complicates her professional plans, but her love life as well...


American Dreamer

by Adriana Herrera 

Dominican

LGBTQ+ Romance

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: For Nesto Vasquez, moving his Afro-Caribbean food truck from New York City to the wilds of Upstate New York is a huge gamble. If it works? He'll be a big fish in a little pond. If it doesn't? He'll have to give up the hustle and return to the day job he hates. He's got six months to make it happen--the last thing he needs is a distraction.

Jude Fuller is proud of the life he's built on the banks of Cayuga Lake. He has a job he loves and good friends. It's safe. It's quiet. And it's damn lonely. Until he tries Ithaca's most-talked-about new lunch spot and works up the courage to flirt with the handsome owner. Soon he can't get enough--of Nesto's food or of Nesto. For the first time in his life, Jude can finally taste the kind of happiness that's always been just out of reach.

An opportunity too good to pass up could mean a way to stay together and an incredible future for them both...if Nesto can remember happiness isn't always measured by business success. And if Jude can overcome his past and trust his man will never let him down.


American Sweethearts

by Adriana Herrera 

Dominican

Romance

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

BLURB: Juan Pablo Campos doesn't do regrets. He's living the dream as a physical therapist with his beloved New York Yankees. He has the best friends and family in the world and simply no time to dwell on what could've been.

Except when it comes to Priscilla, the childhood friend he's loved for what seems like forever.

New York City police detective Priscilla Gutierrez has never been afraid to go after what she wants. Second guessing herself isn't a thing she does. But lately, the once-clear vision she had for herself--her career, her relationships, her life--is no longer what she wants.

What she especially doesn't want is to be stuck on a private jet to the Dominican Republic with JuanPa, the one person who knows her better than anyone else.

By the end of a single week in paradise, the love/hate thing JuanPa and Pris have been doing for sixteen years has risen to epic proportions. No one can argue their connection is still there. And they can both finally admit--if only to themselves--they've always been a perfect match. The future they dreamed of together is still within reach...if they can just accept each other as they are.


CHECK OUT MORE IN THE DREAMERS SERIES:

Book 1: American Dreamer

Book 2: American Fairytale

Book 3: American Love Story

Book 4: American Sweethearts

Book 5: American Christmas


ALSO CHECK OUT ALL BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR:

ADRIANA HERRERA

September 06, 2022

Freedom Writers Diary / Book & Movie Chat

 

Freedom Writers Diary

Freedom Writers Diary
Image by Chrys Fey
Taken on a hospital room’s guest chair.

Zlata Filipovic:

One big difference between the book and the movie is that in the book, in real life, it wasn’t Miep Gies (who hid Anne Frank and her family) who the students wrote letters to and desperately wanted to fly to America and meet. It was Zlata Filipovic, author of Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo.


Zlata’s Diary
Image by Chrys Fey

They did meet Miep, but it was during a trip she was already taking to California. I believe they chose to make Anne Frank’s story more prominent in the movie and to replace Zlata with Miep because Anne Frank’s story is more well known, but they totally missed the opportunity to share Zlata’s story with more people. It was Zlata’s book that the students wrote about the most in their diary entries after they read it, and Zlata, herself, who they became friends with. If the movie had stuck with reality, more people would’ve learned about Sarajevo and a war that happened more recently.


The Freedom Writers see this book as the third leg of a relay race. Anne's story inspired Zlata, who has been hailed as the modern- day Anne Frank. Zlata then reciprocated by passing the baton to the Freedom Writers. We hope this book will inspire you to be the fourth leg of the race by encouraging you to pick up a pen and be a catalyst for change.

Teenagers Are Smart:

This book demonstrates just how intelligent teenagers are.

Teens are often looked down on as not knowing anything that happens in the world, not knowing about struggles and hardships, and being ignorant about…well, everything. But teens see. Teens know. Teens understand. Teens feel. And teenagers want to create change. Then and now. The diary entries reflect how deeply these students think and feel and dream. They have insight many adults wouldn’t believe they could possibly possess. (Which is true of many teenagers.)


Representation Matters:

In this book, students of every race and ethnicity are represented.

They share their life stories that include gang violence, domestic violence, molestation, death and murder, drug and alcohol use, and…more importantly their growth and the impact that Ms. G and reading and writing had on their lives. One student has dyslexia. Some students left countries before violence and wars could breakout. One has ADD, another is a lesbian. Ms. G’s class was full of representation on all spectrums…a realistic representation of America and the world.


No matter what race we are, what ethnic background, sexual orientation, or what views we may have, we are all human. Untor- tunately, not all humans see it that way.


Good And Bad Teachers:

This book also demonstrates the power of a teacher to build up a student or to tear a student down.

 Before Ms. G, her students had teachers who didn’t believe in them and made it plainly known, even voicing it to their faces. Not to mention how other teachers targeted Ms. G in order to stop her from doing the extraordinary things she was doing for those kids, because the other teachers didn’t believe her students deserved good books, a good education, a compassionate teacher, or a chance. They certainly didn’t believe her students had a future. They were racists AND prejudice. Sadly, there have always been teachers like this, who make kids feel worthless. These teachers make it difficult for the ones who truly care to shine. The mean/negative teachers forever scar students who are marginalized or deemed troubled or who simply don’t test well. The students’ experiences with nasty teachers shines a light on the educational system and how flawed it is, especially in underrepresented neighborhoods.

There is so much more in this book than the movie. The movie is a sliver of the book, so if you like the movie I highly recommend that you read this book and immerse yourself in these students’ lives, grief, hardships, and triumphs.


Addressing Goodreads Reviews:

I do want to address a couple of things that so many people discussed in their Goodreads reviews.


Edited Entries:

Many were upset that the entries had been edited and wondered how that went about (FYI: the students edited them their junior year after they’d grown as writers) and expressed their views that the entries didn’t feel authentic because they were edited and read as though they all had the same voice.

None of that bothered me. Right in the beginning of the book it says the students edited the entries themselves and within the diary entries it explains how they passed the typed copies to other students to edit, so I took that to mean that working on their entries and the entire process of getting the book ready for publication was treated like an assignment on editing, grammar, spelling, writing, etc. to help the students further hone their skills. These students were very proud of what they’d done and wanted to be proud of their published work, so I imagine they poured over their entries to get them as perfect as possible for publication and for people around the world to read. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. All writers do it. Yes, these are diary entries but there’s no rule that forbids writers to edit their diary entries or else they will not be authentic.

At the end of the day, I was surprised to see that I didn't have to substitute a word in my story just because I couldn't spell it. Thanks to spell check, now I feel like there are no limits or boundaries enclosing my ideas and feelings. Sitting in front of the monitor with my fingers on the keyboard makes me feel powerful in a way I never have before.


Teens Can Write!

One reviewer couldn’t believe fifteen to eighteen year olds could write that well, and I’m just like, “Really???” I started writing at the age of twelve. A lot of writers start writing around that age and mature and get better throughout their school years. I suppose if I shared content I wrote when I was twelve, that specific reviewer wouldn’t believe I’d written it at that young of an age.

In fact, I will…

The opening of the first novel I started at twelve (yes, a novel…I wrote three by the time I was eighteenth) was this: 

Deep in the black and purple night of the Unknown World came a voice. The voice spoke to all the humans in the Real World. It echoed in their dull, unmoving dreams, although no one would remember a single word, let alone a vowel spoken by this mysterious voice once it passed. Every night, the voice would say, “I live in a world you don’t see, you don’t know, and you don’t want to know...”

And that is unedited.


Similar Voices:

Only near the end of the book did I think the entries started to sound like their voices were similar, but, again, that didn’t anger me one bit. 

Also, the reason for the stories sounding similar, as well as numbering the entries, was to protect the students’ anonymity and save them from retribution.

Writers know that if you’re writing about a real person to change not only how the character looks but how they talk and act so that other people who know that person won’t be able to pick up on specific traits and know who you’re talking about. This is done in order to prevent possible legal repercussions. The students no doubt did the same to their entries to protect their identities. After all, they shared really tough and traumatic stories. Whatever they had to do to feel comfortable sharing their story and protect their identity was one thousand percent in their right to do. Again, this does not make their entries unauthentic. Their experiences and stories are real and true, and they were safe sharing them with the world to read, and later review on sites like Goodreads that didn’t exist back in 1999 when this book was first published.

The fact that the entries are numbered instead of using their names is also addressed in the beginning of the book.

To me, how the entries sound similar created a smoother reading experience because the entries flowed nicely as a whole (which is the point when you’re publishing a compilation of 145 diary entries from multiple people). However, entries were not without their own distinct style or word choice. And they were not emotionless, either. I got teary-eyed several times.


Ms. G:

Other reviewers wanted to know more about Ms. G’s tactics to get these students to trust her, as well as her resources. They don’t believe enough was shared in this book on that. Well, we get an entry by Ms. G at the beginning of each grade, which is how the book is formatted, but remember...this book isn’t really about her, but rather the students. That’s why we don’t read much about what things were like for her or how she accomplished what she did.

But if you want those answers so badly, you can read the two books she wrote and published that tackle those subjects: Teach with Your Heart: Lessons I Learned from the Freedom Writers by Erin Gruwell and Teaching Hope: Stories from the Freedom Writer Teachers and Erin Gruwell.


Good Causes to Support:

The Freedom Writers Foundation - From their website: “The Freedom Writers Foundation has impacted over 1,000,000 students with its Freedom Writers Methodology.”

“Your donation contributes to our Teacher Training Program, Outreach Program, and Scholarship Program. By pledging your support of this cause, you are making a difference in the lives of teachers and students around the world.”



August 23, 2022

My Favorite Nature Documentaries / Good Causes PART 6

 

MY TOP 10 FAVORITE NATURE & WILDLIFE DOCS


1. Serengeti 

Narrated by Lupita Nyong'o

Discovery Channel 

2019





2. Snow Chick: A Penguin's Tale

Narrated by Kate Winslet

BBC Earth

2015


Summar from IMDb: A chronicle of the birth and development of one penguin chick, born late and smaller than any of its fellow toddlers.





3. African Hunders

Narrated by Gillian Burke

IMDb

2017


My favorite stories had to do with Misfit, the lion cub.





4. My Octopus Teacher

Netflix

2020


You'll never think about Octopuses in the same way ever again. 



I bought this magnet from the hospital gift shop while my mom was a patient because it reminded me of My Octopus Teacher.

Octopus Magnet
Photo by Chrys Fey



5. Our Great National Parks

Narrated by Barrack Obama

Netflix

2022