Problematic Badass Female Tropes EP 5: Mother Knows Best

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-5mx3q-af3453

A seven part series on the way a lot of seemingly badass women in our stories are undermined and not as badass as they seem. 

 

The Outrider podcast is hosted by me, Jason Quinn Malott. I have a BA in English and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. My first novel, The Evolution of Shadows, was published in 2009, and I began hosting the Outrider Podcast in 2013.

 

My co-host for this miniseries is Jenn Zuko. 

 

Jenn is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language; and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts.” She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ.

 

The music in the intro and outro is from the songs Choose an Adventure, and Break and Mend by Wichita based band, Cartwheel, off their new EP Best Days, and are used by permission of the copyright holder, Kristyn Chapman. You can get Cartwheel’s EP on Apple Music and Spotify. Visit them at www.cartwheel.band 


Problematic Badass Female Tropes EP 4: The Meaning of (His) Life

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-iv2fx-af344d

A seven part series on the way a lot of seemingly badass women in our stories are undermined and not as badass as they seem. 

 

The Outrider podcast is hosted by me, Jason Quinn Malott. I have a BA in English and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. My first novel, The Evolution of Shadows, was published in 2009, and I began hosting the Outrider Podcast in 2013.

 

My co-host for this miniseries is Jenn Zuko. 

 

Jenn is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language; and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts.” She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ.

 

The music in the intro and outro is from the songs Choose an Adventure, and Break and Mend by Wichita based band, Cartwheel, off their new EP Best Days, and are used by permission of the copyright holder, Kristyn Chapman. You can get Cartwheel’s EP on Apple Music and Spotify. Visit them at www.cartwheel.band 


Problematic Badass Female Tropes EP 3: Down The Rabbit Hole

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-eiajb-af343f

A seven part series on the way a lot of seemingly badass women in our stories are undermined and not as badass as they seem. 

 

The Outrider podcast is hosted by me, Jason Quinn Malott. I have a BA in English and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. My first novel, The Evolution of Shadows, was published in 2009, and I began hosting the Outrider Podcast in 2013.

 

My co-host for this miniseries is Jenn Zuko. 

 

Jenn is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language; and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts.” She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ.

 

The music in the intro and outro is from the songs Choose an Adventure, and Break and Mend by Wichita based band, Cartwheel, off their new EP Best Days, and are used by permission of the copyright holder, Kristyn Chapman. You can get Cartwheel’s EP on Apple Music and Spotify. Visit them at www.cartwheel.band 


Problematic Badass Female Tropes EP 2: The Wonder Woman

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-n7cqg-af3437

A seven part series on the way a lot of seemingly badass women in our stories are undermined and not as badass as they seem. 

 

The Outrider podcast is hosted by me, Jason Quinn Malott. I have a BA in English and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. My first novel, The Evolution of Shadows, was published in 2009, and I began hosting the Outrider Podcast in 2013.

 

My co-host for this miniseries is Jenn Zuko. 

 

Jenn is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language; and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts.” She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ.

 

The music in the intro and outro is from the songs Choose an Adventure, and Break and Mend by Wichita based band, Cartwheel, off their new EP Best Days, and are used by permission of the copyright holder, Kristyn Chapman. You can get Cartwheel’s EP on Apple Music and Spotify. Visit them at www.cartwheel.band 


First Saturday Report: May

Writing and Submitting
Inching closer to finishing The Poisoned Moon. This project has come to me in pieces over the years, and I’ve certainly approached it much differently than I have any of the previous ones. Normally, I do a little bit of “pre-writing” to feel out the characters, the scenario, and so on. Usually, an opening scene comes to me during that practice, and then I’m off and running. The pre-writing for this one dragged on and on, and the only things I liked were these weird, tonal pieces that were part narrative and part musings on the rift between faith and science, the past and the future.

My plots are always simple; there’s no villain, no world threatening crisis that only the protagonist can solve. It’s usually only people dealing with those personal failures and heartbreaks that plague all of us, and that sometimes make us hard to live with, and destructive of ourselves and the things around us. In this story, it’s about a lonely, religiously devout widower who meets a stripper who resembles his late wife so completely that he upends his entire life, and the life of the man his wife loved before him, in a presumptive attempt to save the stripper from herself.

I’ve got 66,900 words so far. Most of it coming from the pre-writing that has found its way into the story. Mostly I seem to be stitching the novel together like a quilt—creating a story thread to connect these semi-poetic riffs on mythology, faith, anthropology, space exploration, art, gender, the evolution of science, the moon, and love.

Podcast
The first episode of the Problematic Badass Female Tropes series is up. Episodes will land every Monday in May and most of June. You can get it straight from the source (Podbean) or on iTunes or Stitcher.

My producer, Heather, and I are working on getting some live shows set up this summer and into the fall. So, stay tuned.

Reading
After months of carting it around, I’ve finally started reading Jeff Talarigo’s In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees. It’s set in a Palestinian camp under constant watch by Isreali guards, and is part history, part magic realism.

I’ve also started reading Douglas Rushkoff’s new book Team Human. This one is a manifesto calling us to resist the isolating power of technology, and the algorithmic classification of our lives and actions online and reengage with our messy, beautiful, humanity before it’s too late. There’s also a website, podcast, etc.

Watching
Not much remarkable has been watched, although I was moved by Brené Brown’s Netflix special The Call to Courage. Very worth a watch.

Listening
Basically, all I’ve been listening to is my playlist for The Poisoned Moon. Which goes like this:
Homesick – The Cure
Particles – (feat. Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdottir) Olafur Arnalds
Falling Slowly – Marketa Irglova & Glen Hansard
Skinny Love – Bon Iver
Elephant – Jason Isbell
Signs – Bloc Party
JC – Sonic Youth
Lovecrimes – The Afghan Whigs
Decatur St. – The Twilight Singers
Fast Blood – Frightened Rabbit
Sunday – Bloc Party
Paper Thin Hotel – Greg Dulli
For Emma – Bon Iver
Brothers On a Hotel Bed – Death Cab for Cutie
Stars – Hum
Williamine – Ben Gibbard & Jay Farrar
Empire – Of Monsters and Men
Fair – Remy Zero
Suicide Machine – Hum
Hyperballad – The Twilight Singers
Why I Like The Robins – Hum
Keeping Warm – We Were Promised Jetpacks
Doldrums – Fear of Men
Say Something – A Great Big World
What Sarah Said – Death Cab for Cutie
I Hate It Too – Hum
Apollo – Hum

Random Thoughts
A lot of my time lately has been spent thinking about vulnerability, courage, the gap between wealth and empathy, the end of the world via climate suicide, middle age sexuality, the believability of a younger woman falling for an older man who doesn’t have money, why the most interesting women I’ve met lately have all been gay and if the reason so many straight women seem boring to me right now is because the ones I meet are all trying to be inoffensive to some perceived fragility in my masculinity. I’m also dwelling on toxic masculinity, art as a means of redemption, the appeal of celibacy, and what it means to be white in a society where that question is never actually addressed, but when it is, people think anyone pondering “whiteness” is a white supremacist and how that might be a barrier to a white person attempting to become “woke” to the very simple fact that it is white people’s ignorance of what it means to be white in a society where racism depends upon white people being blind to the structural, unspoken privilege of their own whiteness.

Sigh. there’s too much.


Problematic Badass Female Tropes EP 1: The Marion Effect

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-vw7fd-af342e

A seven part series on the way a lot of seemingly badass women in our stories are undermined and not as badass as they seem. 

 

The Outrider podcast is hosted by me, Jason Quinn Malott. I have a BA in English and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. My first novel, The Evolution of Shadows, was published in 2009, and I began hosting the Outrider Podcast in 2013.

 

My co-host for this miniseries is Jenn Zuko. 

 

Jenn is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language; and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts.” She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ.

 

The music in the intro and outro is from the songs Choose an Adventure, and Break and Mend by Wichita based band, Cartwheel, off their new EP Best Days, and are used by permission of the copyright holder, Kristyn Chapman. You can get Cartwheel’s EP on Apple Music and Spotify. Visit them at www.cartwheel.band 


First Saturday Report: April

Writing & Submitting:
Well, some good news. I had a short poem accepted for publication. It won’t appear until the fall of 2020, however, so, I’ll just leave it at that.

Still working away on The Poisoned Moon, and have nearly gotten back to the 50,000 word mark after cutting away over 11,000 words not long ago. Things I do when I realize I’ve written myself into a special corner of boring and impossible.

I’ve stopped sending out The Palace of Winds and Far Nineteen. I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s something wrong with those manuscripts that is impossible to fix.

Podcast:
Heather is plugging away at finishing up the latest miniseries on Problematic Badass Female Tropes. That should start dropping in the pod feed by the end of this month.

I’ve been working on coordinating another couple of live shows, but I’m not working too fast on it. I don’t want it to turn into another thing on my schedule that I’ll resent doing—especially now since this looks like it’ll be the “Spring of the day-job week long road trips.”

Reading:
Finishing up J. Robert Lennon’s Broken River. It’s quite good, so give it a shot.

I’ve been dipping into a collection of poems called The Chance of Home by Mark S. Burrows. I met him at a reading he gave a while back that was hosted by Friends University. He writes very quiet, thoughtful poems, that are deceptively simple. I like the effect. It reminds me of certain aspects of Japanese aesthetics that I was reading about a while ago. The transient, impermanent beauty of a single moment is something we often dismiss in our always on society and with our neon light flashing self-obsessive culture of personality.

I recently got a copy of the chapbook Constraint, by Delia Tramontina, and have been carrying it around in my bag along with Lennon’s book. Be prepared for a long wait to get a copy, if you order one. Delia and I go way back, and, of course, you can listen to us discuss James Joyce’s Ulysses on The Outrider Podcast, and, if you dig far enough back on the podbean site, you’ll uncover my conversation with her (but here’s a link episode 4!).

Watching:
With the Problematic Badass Female Tropes series coming out, it might be an interesting contrast to go see Captain Marvel, if you haven’t already. I went to see it and was pretty excited to see that it avoided (although sometimes narrowly) all of the tropes Jenn and I discussed. The two tropes it narrowly avoided falling into were The Wonder Woman, and Mother Knows Best.

I went on a Scrubs bender on Hulu last month. One thing that struck me was the representation of male friendship between Turk and J.D.. It’s very non-traditional.

Listening:
I recently picked up the EP “Best Days” by a Wichita band called Cartwheel. My show producer, Heather, turned me on to them, and we licensed the rights to use parts of two of Cartwheel’s songs for the intro/outro of the upcoming series of the podcast.

Also picked up the albums “Unravelling” and “The More I Sleep the Less I Dream” both by the band We Were Promised Jetpacks.

A few years ago, Marc Maron talked with Jason Isbell on WTF and I put down a note somewhere to get some of Isbell’s music. I put it off. Nearly forgot about it. Then Marc revisited his talk with Isbell during his monologues in the lead-up to his 1000th show (i’ve been behind on my WTF listening due to work related bullshit). So, I finally picked up Southeastern, which has the song Elephant on it and quickly added it to the playlist for the new project.

Random Thoughts:
I’m not sure how other writers are able to do it—that is, all of “it”—have a job and pay the bills, stay somewhat fit, have family and friends, meet obligations, and still write and submit and publish. I’m especially amazed at those single mother writers who manage to pull off some semblance of a writing life.

For me, there seems to always be some negotiation going on over what will or will not be sacrificed. There’s the have-to-dos, which are non-negotiable: I have to eat, do laundry, go to work, exercise, read, and write. It’s hard for me to write in a messy environment, and so I have to regularly clean the apartment—and yet I’ve not really cleaned the bathroom in months—just a few spot wipes and half-assed scrubs when it’s so gross I can’t stand it. I didn’t wash a beer glass I used for almost a month because it was the one dish I’d used that couldn’t be put in the dishwasher or else I’d wash away the logo printed on it. Twenty years ago, I could get up at 5am when the alarm went off and write. Now, I hit the snooze for a half hour to forty-five minutes because I can’t stand the thought of getting out of bed to face yet another day, which pinches my writing time, even though having written something first thing in the morning is the one thing that makes the rest of the day bearable. I come home to a pair of cats, and if it’s a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I’m right back out the door for a run knowing that I actually need to do more than just run. I should be doing some kind of weight training, but that would rob me of my Tuesday and Thursday nights as well.

There’s a bleakness to it all, especially when the easiest thing to sacrifice is my connection to other people, and my attempts to find a companion. All sorts of research points out that having close friends as we age protects us from illness. Maintaining relationships takes time, of course, but it can also crowd out time for other things even though I feel like it shouldn’t. Then there’s the time and energy it takes to find a companion, which is fundamentally discouraging—no matter where I might live.

It’s not unusual for me to get home at the end of the day and, maybe after squeezing in a run, to simply feed myself and sit there empty and stare at the TV to emotionally paralyzed to read, or write, or even follow up on personal emails or things I need to do for the podcast. It turns into a kind of aggressive waiting game to see when my body will simply give up trying to stay awake and if I can finish that glass of wine I poured or the beer I opened. And all the while I’m telling myself I should be doing something more productive.


An open letter to my brother

        I have a half brother I don’t know, and he’s about to turn 18. Our father died eight years ago and his mother decided that she didn’t want me or our sister in Will’s life at all. To her, I’m a bad influence because I’m too liberal, a non-Christian, and, I assume a host of other things that conservative evangelicals would think make me an instrument of—I don’t know—sin (?), vice (?), degradation or something (?). The devil? I don’t know.

        Our father wanted us to know each other, but with his death, Will’s mother got the final say and it’s not my place to force the issue. Except, now, Will’s technically old enough to make his own decisions about who he wants in his life.

        I hope he chooses to reach out, to talk to either me or Amber. The version of our father that Will knew during his first ten years, and the version that dad’s second wife saw and has reinforced in Will’s mind isn’t all there was to the man. Will probably only knows about his grandparents, Carl and Dorothy Malott from what our Aunt Helen has told him, which I don’t suspect to be much. Aunt Helen is one of the kindest people I know, and I’ve rarely, if ever, heard her say anything critical about anyone. In most cases, that’s a good thing, but getting a clear picture of someone means seeing their warts and scars, too.

        I would like to know my half brother. The invitation is open.

        
        


First Saturday Report: March

Writing & Submitting:
Still working away on the new project. After hacking out 11,000 words in order to get back to the point where I took the wrong turn, I’ve gotten back on the right (write?) track and nearly replaced all 11,000 with newer, better words.

There’s an old saying about writing that goes “The world doesn’t want you to write. It wants you to do the dishes, vacuum the floor, pick your nose, do the laundry—anything but write.” Lately, the world has been working overtime to make that point clear. My day job is insidiously demanding more than the allotted 40 hours of my time, and making me travel to various small midwestern cities — once, in a snow storm that turned what should have been a 2 hour drive home into a six hour drive.

Some days, I get home and, since I’ve spent the hour and half in the morning writing, then eight to nine hours at work on a computer, the last thing I want to do is sit down and look at a computer again. Sometimes I go for a run, have dinner, and then it’s time for bed. I live alone, except for the two cats (who don’t have thumbs so I can’t delegate chores to them), and so there’s always dishes to do, a toilet to clean, a floor to vacuum, laundry to do, groceries to buy, podcast stuff to do, and friendships to maintain (I don’t want to abandon my friends because close friends help you live longer and I still have a lot to do). So, things take longer to accomplish—for me anyway.

Podcast:
Recently finished the seven part Problematic Badass Female Tropes series with my friend, Jenn. It’s based off her seven essays on the same topic (read them here). Those will be out starting some time in April. She’s writing a series on Toxic Masculinity Tropes that we’ll talk about in the fall.

Lining up the plans for another Outrider Live show. We’re planning to record this one on April 6th. It’ll be the first one that is open to the public, so keep an eye out for the announcement and invite your friends. The poet will be Siobhan Scarry (book). Not sure who the musical performer will be yet.

Reading:
Finished Nick Lantz’s collection The Lightning that Strikes the Neighbors’ House. It’s a fantastic collection, most famous for having the poem “Portmanterrorism” in it, but there are many other fantastic and deep poems in it.

Started reading J. Robert Lennon’s novel Broken River. I like his first novel The Light of Falling Stars, but as things sometimes go with me, I lost track of him (and lost the book) and missed all his other novels until now. I’ll get caught up eventually.

Music:
My friend Stephen McClurg sent me some music recommendations, but I’ve not had time to follow up on them. I did, however, download “Flashback: The Best of the J. Geils Band.” It was one of the many cassettes I used to have back in the day, and I finally decided I needed to have Centerfold back in my collection (speaking of problematic things). I also picked up New Order’s Complete Music – basically a remix album of their Music Complete album. Sigh. I’m a sucker for New Order. And finally picked up The Frames album The Cost, which has their Academy Award winning song Falling Slowly on it (from the movie Once)

Watching:
Pretty much done with watching things that can’t be done in an hour or two. So no more binge watching TV shows. I did rewatch The Power of Myth with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers. It’s on Netflix, but I bought the series from iTunes. With the death of Marvel on Netflix I’m debating dumping all my streaming services. There’s some things I like to watch from time to time, but the truth is, I’m not terribly interested in very many of the Netflix offerings. I need to read more anyway.

Random Thoughts:
At work, they’re trying to get us to sign up for a health program through our employer offered insurance. We have to get a health screening and if we don’t meet the BMI and/or waist size requirements we have to complete a “health challenge.” Failing to do those things will incur a punitive surcharge (up to about $75 a month) on next year’s monthly paycheck deductions. You can do the screening with your doctor, rather than at the on-site screening, and there is a waiver your doctor can sign if you’re already on a plan with your doctor that will prevent the surcharge, but over all the thing is intrusive in a weird and creepy way.

One of the things you’re given if you have to do the health challenge is a digital, Wi-fi enabled scale that connects directly to the services’ website. You don’t have control over it. So, every day you step on the scale the insurance company and you challenge coach get your weight automatically. There’s also an app provided by the insurance company and cleared by corporate that can be linked to a fitness tracker — either your current tracker if you already have a compatible one, or you can buy one from the service.

Again, it feels way intrusive on the part of my employer and the insurance company . . . and it’s super ironic. One of the things the for-profit health insurance industry and their libertarian supporters say to oppose things like Medicare for all or universal single payer is that it’ll create this government nanny state that’ll take away your “freedom of choice” when it comes to how you live your life and what doctor you can go to. And yet, under the guise of “costs” to the employer and insurance company, it’s okay for the corporate nanny to put me on a diet with the fitness coach of their choice.

You might say, well, go work somewhere else. That’s not the point. Every company that offers health insurance will do things like this to “control costs” — you should read that phrase “control costs” as “maximize the CEOs annual income.” For profit health care isn’t about health care—it’s about profit—and we aren’t the beneficiaries, we’re the fucking resource and if we’re sick or faulty—the insurance companies will find a way to reject us or exclude us so that they can maximize income instead of spend money on our health care (which is a deduction from their balance sheet). Since the ACA prevents them from excluding on preexisting conditions anymore, they have to come up with ways to squeeze profit out of those people in poor health they now have to spend money on.

Our society is geared toward making us unhealthy. Our cities are designed for cars, not people. Our good jobs often demand we be sedentary for 40 to 60 hours a week. Our most affordable foods are hyper processed and drenched in high fructose corn syrup while our healthiest foods are expensive and often not easily accessible to people in poorer neighborhoods (read about food deserts).

If corporations are really worried about the cost of providing health insurance to their employees, and not just telling that to their employees to justify the Big Brother like monitoring of their health as a possible means to further exploit them for profit, then they should be supporting Medicare for all. But, of course, if we get Medicare for all and we aren’t dependent upon our employers to provide us health insurance some corporations might start losing employees and find it hard to keep employees because employer provided health insurance is one of the ways corporations manipulate people into become dependent upon the employer for more than a monthly salary.