Friday, November 29, 2019

Hiraeth: Going Home for the Holidays

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels
Thanksgiving was yesterday in the United States. For the next month we will live in a miasma of pine branches and things colored red and green. Snowy photographs with arms outstretched, hands around steaming mugs, and an endless number of cheery social invitations. We will live less in a physical realm of people, places, things, than in a collection of feelings and intentions. It is a time where nostalgia compels us to smile and laugh and engage. A time to grin and white knuckle your way through cringe-inducing family gatherings, hoping that Uncle So-And-So doesn't make his annual shitty joke about your gender. A time to cross your fingers and hope your mom doesn't poke at your body. The time of "hiraeth".


Hiraeth is a Welsh word that perfectly describes the month(s) of family-oriented winter holidays. It is a malaise, a homesickness for a home that you've lost or perhaps never existed. You may remember an article I wrote about being my family's Special - someone loved by people who also hate a certain part of you. Being in that position means that I never know exactly where I stand with my family, never know when a discussion will turn into an argument. I'm someone with a found family, a large and loving group of friends that I've gained in the 10 years since I moved with my husband to Chicago.

I feel lucky to have that. Many Specials don't have a physical found family. They are unmoored and searching, very often finding community across the globe via the internet. While that's just as valid and important as a family you can hold, I speak from experience that it doesn't feel the same. To me. In my experience. (Save your emails.)

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I find myself with the annual urge to return to my family for the holidays, to eat our food and watch our movies and tell our jokes and hug our people. It's an urge born out of nostalgia and social expectation, surely, but mostly I believe it is hiraeth. I think it is a part of me that doesn't want to believe that my childhood was a lie, that the smiling faces in old photographs represent a real place to which I can return. And, in a way, it isn't a lie. Those people existed. Those times happened. That was my reality...for a while. But, as a child, you only remember the rooms you were in and the conversations you had. Surely, the adults waited until we were outside muddying up our new clothes to discuss politics or gossip about the people in their lives who lived a life outside of the mainstream.

And perhaps there is something to the idea that our country and discourse have gotten more heated than before, but a big part of me doesn't believe that. I believe we've always been these people, but social media and current politics have allowed us all to be much more bold about our political, tribal identities.

Why go home? Why spend these days with family? Why take the chance that all that self-care you've done could evanesce under one withering look from an aunt or a shitty joke from a cousin? I can't speak for why others do it, but I can empathize based on why I do it. I go home when I can because there is a little blonde haired boy who loves his grandmother and misses him mom's cookies and wants to laugh with his dad while watching Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Subjective reality, rather than objective reality. The reality I remember is assuredly different than the reality that was, but...it doesn't make it less real. Does it?

For some, it is easy to dismiss hyperbolic social media posts that relay dread at impending holiday gatherings with family. For some, it's easy to say "if they make you so uncomfortable, don't go," but it's not that easy in practice. It's not easy to completely disregard that hiraeth, that not-wholly-definable need to return to a place and people that make up such an integral part of your identity. So, to those of you steeling yourself for a tenterhooks gathering with family, I just want to say... I get it. I get you. I get why you keep going back, and why you hug the people whose Facebook feeds are filled with memes that seem to disregard some part of your identity. Because no matter how old you get or how heated the politics, they sit at the center of your heart in a sepia-tinted photograph of remembrance. Going back is a high magic of liminal spaces and times out of time and places out of place.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Monday, November 25, 2019

Episode 131: Inciting Polly Lind's Riot

Episode 131 of Inciting A Riot: the Podcast is an interview with New Zealand Pagan artist Polly Lind! We discuss finding Paganism in the Southern Hemisphere, and how it differs from our practices in the north. We also talk cultural appropriation, making art, and doll penises.

Support this phenomenal independent Pagan artist by visiting her around the interwebs:

PollyLind.com
Instagram  @Pollylind
Twitter   @mistresspolly 
Facebook  Polly Lind Artist

Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!



Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Blog: IncitingARiot.com
FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Episode 130: Inciting Thorn Mooney's Riot

Episode 130 of Inciting A Riot: the Podcast is a delightful interview with author, blogger, and Gardnerian Priestess Thorn Mooney.
We not only discuss exploring Wicca, but Pagan gatekeeping, what it means to be a good ally, using your privilege, and dealing with the changing face of the Pagan community.
Find Thorn Mooney:
Twitter: @TarotSkeptic
Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!
Love and Lyte,
Fire Lyte
Blog: IncitingARiot.com
FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Episode 129: Inciting A Hallowed Riot (2019)


Samhain Special 2019

Music

O Death - Ralph Stanley
Sasha Sloan - Dancing with Your Ghost 
Sorciere - Alex Robshaw
Original Game - Alex Robshaw
Wolves - Down Like Silver
Hell - Squirrel Nut Zippers


Poems

after you died - Fire Lyte
The Seal Wife - Signe Pike (read by Ruth Colcombe of the Celtic Myth Podshow)

Stories

Vasilisa Prekrasnaya & Baba Yaga - folktale retold by Melissa Ivanco-Murray

Shallow Breaths - Fire Lyte


Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Blog: IncitingARiot.com
FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Episode 128: Inciting Aidan Wachter's Riot

Episode 128 of Inciting A Riot: the Podcast is a riveting interview with author, artist, and jeweler Aidan Wachter. We discuss his phenomenal first book, Six Ways, as well as what it means to be a Pagan, Artist, Pagan Artist, and interacting professionally with the Pagan community. 
Find out more about Aidan Wachter at AidanWachter.com.
Also, I discuss a bit about where I've been, why I took a hiatus, and the benefits of self-care.
Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!
Love and Lyte,
Fire Lyte
Blog: IncitingARiot.com
FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot

Friday, October 25, 2019

Hello from Anxietyville

If Instagram is to be believed, self-care involves cozy blankets and sappy romantic comedies and an excuse to take a lot of naps while wearing face masks. Or something. It's the version of self-care that I have indulged for years. It's a surface level of self-care. It's the kind of self-care that if you took one of those overly high definition photos of it you'd see all sorts of things lurking underneath. Which is why I've had to disappear for a bit.

When Inciting A Riot was first created 10 years ago, I'd made it a point to let my work speak for itself. I chose a cartoon illustration as an icon and used a made up parody name and created a wall. It was the first time I'd actively participated in building a wall between myself and others. You see I grew up an exposed nerve of a child, all tingling emotions constantly firing. Hoping like hell to feel accepted in a time and place that I recognize now was not built to accept me as I am. I could've used some walls and distance.

2016 was hard for me. Shocker. 2016 was hard for everyone. 2016 was the first time that I had to face the fact that bridges burn no matter how many years of repairing and fortifying them you've done. Your neighbors aren't your friends and don't have your best interests at heart. Family structures shattered over politics, I was out of work for 6 months, and I couldn't even rely on the community I'd built around the Riot because some folks decided it'd be a fun idea to get my various online accounts taken down over "real name policies". I lost trajectory personally, professionally, and online. And a new feeling crept in: anxiety.

The last 3 years have been a rollercoaster of futile coping mechanisms and realizing that all the fuzzy blankets and sappy movies and face masks weren't going to fix the things I was feeling. This past winter I was driving my husband's truck and it spun out on some ice and I became absolutely catatonic, spiraling through a series of emotions - What if this truck gets wrecked, how will I afford the repairs? If I have to drain what little savings I have, will I have to go back to driving Uber 18 hours a day? What if something happens to me? Can I afford my deductible? ...and so on.

I knew something was wrong.

There were other things. The unexpected loss of a pet, my husband ended up in the hospital with serious injuries, we ended up actually wrecking the truck on yet another patch of black ice...it felt like 2016 all over again. This time, however, I had some good friends in my life that said, "Go to therapy." (Really, it was some Elizabeth Gilbert lying on the floor and hearing the universe tell her to go back to bed shit, except...it involved a nice lady with a very fancy degree and a really squishy couch.)

I've been in therapy now for a few months. It's a journey. I don't know where the journey is going. I haven't had some major breakthrough or life altering realization. I'm showing up, I'm doing the work, and I'm recognizing that caring for myself is more than the superficial comforts and coping mechanisms that I clung to in order to keep from looking longer and harder at what was really bothering me. Part of that work meant slowing way down and deciding what was important.

I toyed with the idea of ending the podcast. I felt I was done, that I had nothing else of value to add. That the community had left Inciting A Riot behind, that I was never going to get back the audience or the status the show had attained. Then I realized that the only voice I should be listening to was my own, and I looked around and realized I wouldn't be the artist or writer or friend or husband I am today had I not been Fire Lyte for the last 10 years. So the Riot is continuing. I'm continuing.

New episodes are coming out soon, and I'm excited to get back to cultivating conversations, upsetting convention, and being part of a community that's been such a big part of my life.

So...that's where I've been. Hope you're still around.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Monday, March 11, 2019

Episode 127: Inciting A Professional Psychic Riot

Episode 127 of Inciting A Riot features an interview with professional psychic, author, and tarot adviser Courtney Weber.

We discuss what it means to be a psychic, charging for services, spotting a fraud, and dealing with stubborn clients. Don't worry, though, we also discuss the expectation for results and repeat clients, scientifically testing psychic claims, being proved wrong, and what it means to be a scrupulous psychic.

This special, unedited edition of Episode 127 also features a mock psychic hotline call. So, Patreon supporters, check your feed. I ask Courtney real questions about my real life and get real answers...just like if I called her phone line. You can judge for yourself how you think it goes. Did she draw only Death cards? Is the Tower looming over my future? Find out!

Find Courtney at:

CourtneyAWeber.com
ThatWitchLife.com
@TheCocoWitch

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!

Blog: IncitingARiot.com
FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Thoughts on loneliness



I’m 32. I have a great job. My boss likes me. I’ve been with my husband for almost 13 years. I have a blog people read. I have a podcast to which people listen. I have sold art in over a dozen countries. I’ve published a book that people like and that continues to sell regularly - maybe not in large quantities, but it sells. As you look at my life you might think I’m happy, fulfilled. But, like many of you out there, I’m dealing with something that people are only just now starting to discuss: loneliness. 

Some writers have attempted to blame the advent of social media. Others blame increasingly burdensome work schedules - smartphones mean that your office can always be found in your pocket for a late night request from the boss. Some folks blame pocket cultures - several write-ups last year dealt with loneliness in the aging LGBTQ community due to a number of factors. I don’t blame anyone or anything. I’m just...putting this out there to acknowledge it. To name it. 

The problem with getting older and maintaining an active, in-person social circle is...well...it’s due to everything I referenced above. People get busier as they advance in their respective careers, have children, buy homes that take them away from the neighborhood you used to share. You go from being able to share an evening cuppa a few times a week to seeing one another once a quarter if you’re lucky. Meet-ups to wander the aisles of an antique store or try out a new lunch spot or just drink a glass of wine on the back porch turn into text messages longing to do those things that turn into someone you forward memes to on Facebook. It’s sad. It’s a sad thing. It doesn’t feel like the death of a relationship(s) so much as it feels like you stuck your relationship in a food dehydrator and it’s getting really crispy. Slowly.

My problem with loneliness, though, then becomes the spiral of loneliness. If I turn to my friends, they think I’m guilt tripping them because our work schedules haven’t aligned in months to see one another. If I turn to my spouse, he’ll take it as an insult to our relationship. Turning to my parents is hard, because they see it all wrapped up in being gay and moving far from home and everything would be much better if I wised up, met the right girl, and moved back to Texas. I see their point. Well...I see the point of my friends and spouse. They’re there. They want to see me, too. My ideal relationship with my husband isn’t exactly coming home everyday to quietly unwind next to each other on the couch for an hour before it’s time to go to bed. So we don’t talk about it, because everyone realizes it’s happening and acknowledging it feels like an attack. 

And there’s no easy solve here. I have no tips for you. Making a community online only goes so far. It is only so fulfilling. 

But...being an adult in 2019 means it’s hard to add to that in-person social circle. I can’t make friends with my co-workers, because it’s 2019. Social media is mined by your employers on a regular basis to determine whether your Friday night outing meets with their standards of acceptable after hours behavior. Venting on Facebook or posting a picture on Instagram can get you fired if someone from work sees and complains to HR. So...I close myself off. I don’t go out on Friday night for end of week drinks with my co-workers. I don’t go to their parties when asked. I don’t engage in their celebrations or follow them on social media, because I’ve done it before and lost my job or lost out on advancement because of interpersonal relationships or social media. And because we spend a majority of our waking hours at work, it’s hard to meet people. Where do lonely adults go to meet other like-minded lonely adults? The wine aisle?

Every week as the weekend approaches I have these fantasies of what I’m going to do: sleep in on Saturday with my husband. Maybe cook breakfast, catch up on our DVR, and do a few chores around the house. Go to the gym with someone. Meet up with friends for a movie or drinks or take a train to the city for...I dunno...a concert? Walking along the lake? Going to the Green Mill Jazz club for their legendary poetry night? But everyone is busy, and I can never seem to line my schedule up with anyone, and oh my various gods do you have any idea how much laundry I have to do, and the city is far away, and going by myself isn’t any fun, but the person who is free doesn’t want to go do anything because they also had a long week and have their own obligations or spouse or pile of laundry that deserves their time. 

But have you seen this hilarious meme? 

Maybe if we talk about loneliness we’ll begin to break its spell over us. Maybe if we realize how lonely the other adults are we can stop pretending we’ve got our shit together, that it doesn’t bother us. Maybe we’ll all be a bit more willing to plan for one another...to prioritize one another, because texts and email forwards and social media can only fill our cup so much. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Monday, January 7, 2019

Book Review: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren



I’m a millennial gay man. This means I am old enough to remember when Will & Grace was revolutionary. When Brokeback Mountain was a movie that you had to sneak around to go see, and then cross your fingers and pray nobody saw you enter the theater so they wouldn’t ask your family why you were seeing that gay movie. I remember discovering the shelf of LGBTQ literature wayyyyy in the back of Hasting’s next to the books on sex and Wicca - that was, let’s face it, mostly collections of smut stories. I remember discovering gay movie culture. Movies about LGBTQ people, made by and for LGBTQ people. They were tiny, independent films that looked like someone had made them with a shaky personal camcorder purchased that morning from Circuit City and acted with the kind of stilted ability that told you these guys had only barely learned their lines. But they were my stories, and for good or for ill - as queer cinema has grown into some mainstream success - I needed them; I clung to them. So, when I say that I understand what it’s like to hold onto a bad or problematic story...I speak from experience. 

Now, with all that said, I’d like to talk about the absolute disaster that is Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. And, yes, there are spoilers. It’s a review. Get over it.

Autoboyography is the story of a bisexual culturally Jewish teenager named Tanner who - for reasons I’m still not quite clear on after 407 pages - falls in love with closeted gay Mormon publishing wunderkind Sebastian while in a class about writing novels where...you guessed it...Tanner writes about his love story with Sebastian. Wait...you might say...wait! Bisexual AND Jewish AND Gay AND Mormon AND they spend the entirety of the novel...WRITING A BOOK?! Does the book come with its own hashtag and instagram filter, because I STAN! At least, you might say that if you were exactly the audience at which the book is aimed. 

I spent so much of this book thinking that there was something off about the main characters. They didn’t feel as though they were based on humans; they felt like they were based on YA tropes and a passing obsession with an early 00s gay film.

Tanner, the bisexual guy, didn’t feel like an authentically bisexual human being. He felt like those problematic stereotypes about sex-crazed bisexuals that the bisexual community has spent a long time trying to combat became a person that was heavily influenced by a need to check off as many YA tropes as possible. Tanner is, apparently, an incredibly gifted writer that doesn’t believe in himself, but angels almost assuredly sing every time he sits down in front of his keyboard. His bisexuality is addressed in a way that the author(s) - we’ll get to them in a moment - must have patted themselves on the back extensively for doing, as he’s a 17 year old that has “always been out” and known he’s “into guys and girls” most of his adolescence. However, according to the book, he’s had sex with several girls without ever seeming to have developed a romantic connection with any of them. To be crude, he seems to have used women as a place to put his dick until the right guy comes along. 

There is in no more stark and problematic example of this than in the latter part of the novel where the main characters have their breakup - all YA romances must have a breakup moment - and Tanner runs off to have sex with the only female character in the book who isn’t related to either of the main characters: his “best friend” Autumn Summer Green. (If that isn’t the most...I mean...I can’t with this name.) It’s the most problematic sex scene I think I’ve seen in a book since...well...all the problems with consent found in 50 Shades of Gross. Autumn seems to exist to fill the gender-flipped role of “friend who is only hanging on as a friend because they hope you’ll some day realize they’re THE ONE for you”. If Tanner were a girl and Autumn a boy this scene would have readers screaming. 

This scene is exactly the kind of thing that bisexual people have been trying so hard to overcome - that bisexual people cannot control their genitals or their sexual urges and will absolutely sleep with someone else if they feel even the slightest bit sad. The other problematic trope that the book seems to...celebrate?...is the notion that bisexuals use one gender for sex and another for love. This is most commonly is found in the idea that bisexual girls would love to have a threesome with a girl or otherwise have sex with a girl...for her boyfriend/husband’s pleasure or to fill some sexual itch. This notion that you’re sexually open to pretty much anyone with a pulse, but that you can only romantically fall for one gender or the other isn’t the way that most bisexuals I know experience bisexuality, and it certainly isn’t a healthy way to have it portrayed. 

Tanner runs off and has sex with a girl who’d been waiting in the wings for him in an emotional fit, taking her virginity in the process, but then these authors seem to force Autumn to carry the emotional aftermath. She’s completely fine, and, in fact, attempts to make Tanner believe she was the one who wanted it the whole time. Then, when Sebastian finds out, these authors don’t let him process that in any way that resembles authenticity. 

For many gay men the idea of being left by a man for a woman is incredibly painful. It’s a source of a lot of biphobia in the LGBTQ community, with many gay men saying they simply wouldn’t date a bisexual man for this reason. This feeling is wrapped up in internalized homophobia, in pleasing families that would much rather you come home with an opposite sex partner than a same sex one, religious upbringing, and the - wrong - idea that if you could choose to be with a member of the opposite sex, why wouldn’t you? Life would be easier. Sebastian repeatedly inquires about the nature of Tanner’s relationship with Autumn, which makes the subsequent sexual betrayal even more painful to witness. The book makes half-hearted attempts in a smattering of scenes for Tanner to explain to Sebastian that he cannot choose who he falls in love with, but there is nothing in the book other than that bit of dialogue to support Tanner’s appeasement. 

Let’s talk about Sebastian. There once was a movie called Latter Days (2003). This book, and Sebastian explicitly, is exactly the kind of book/character you’d write if you saw Latter Days 50 times and then wrote a fanfic of Latter Days. Latter Days was about a closeted Mormon young man who, after meeting a magical out and proud guy, comes to a poignant realization that he can no longer hide who he is and comes out to his family leading to a suicide attempt and shunning by his family. Honestly, the only reason I think Sebastian doesn’t attempt suicide in the book is so the authors didn’t get sued for intellectual property theft. I don’t quite understand this fetish with closeted gay Mormon men, but it needs to stop being a thing. From Latter Days to Book of Mormon to The Falls...this territory is very, very well tread. Get a new trope. He has nothing resembling an authentic gay coming out experience that wasn’t directly cribbed from independent gay film tropes and then watered down to fit into this incredibly unrealistic YA novel. 

Sebastian is the hottest Mormon that ever wore a white button down and black tie. Sebastian wrote a hit novel in a class called “The Seminar” where super genius students crank out hit novels during their senior year of high school in Mormon Paradise. Sebastian has a lot of muscles and a great jawline, which Tanner would like you to know about. I can’t quite pinpoint what, exactly, about Sebastian is so intriguing to Tanner other than his muscles and jawline, but since they’re copying the plot to Latter Days the writers weren’t terribly concerned with making Sebastian a full human being. And there’s no excuse for this. It’s lazy. It doesn’t get a pass because it falls in the YA category. 

Other YA gay romance novels are somehow able to fully realize their characters, adding depth and pain and triumph to their stories. I’m thinking most specifically of What if it’s us, which was co-authored by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli. While that book didn’t give me the sparkly, Hollywood ending that I craved, it gave me a realistic portrayal of growing up queer. (And, oh look, one of the main characters is also Jewish; the other is Latinx. Somehow they were able to be fully realized beyond their literary tropes and societal stereotypes.) 

The problem comes down to bad writing. Let’s talk about the author, Christina Lauren. Or, rather, authors: Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. Christina and Lauren seem to be Nice White Ladies™️.



Nice White Ladies™️ are defined loosely as:


Are you a member of a marginalized community? Nice White Ladies™️ would love to let you know they are WOKE! They have read all the books, seen all the Netflix documentaries, and shared all those articles on Facebook about women writing letters to gay folks at Christmas that can’t go home to their families. They are here to SUPPORT YOU! Sure, their only personal experience with being gay/black/trans/immigrant/etc. is what they’ve read in their YA novels - that they’re TOTALLY ADDICTED TO - or seen on that latest heartbreaking viral YouTube video or their token coworker, but they feel they’ve got the general gist of what it’s like and they would like to tell you all about it in the next 407 pages. 

Tanner is bisexual and Jewish in a way that accurately reflects the kind of character that two Nice White Ladies™️ would craft after spending a decade ensconced in YA literature and never actually having met anyone who is bisexual or Jewish.  Coincidentally, Tanner is gay and closeted in much the same way you’d expect two Nice White Ladies™️ would craft a character after watching the movie Latter Days a few times and deciding they know what it’s like to be a gay kid in an extremely religious family where being gay might very well mean never speaking to your family again if you come out. These characters are surface level caricatures of plot devices that have long been played out in media of all types. They do nothing new with these tropes and stereotypes, and the few times they do engage with Tanner’s bisexuality or Sebastian’s coming out, it’s problematic. Why? Because it’s not based in lived experience, which is something you can only get by being part of a community. 

I’m not saying authors cannot write about communities or people that they do not belong to themselves, but that doing so must be done after serious research, investigation, and checking in with people in the community you’re writing about over and over and over again. I’m getting pretty tired of straight people being so fascinated with LGBTQ culture that they want to try it on, to be part of it. Love, Simon was great, but of course the male lead with straight, and the book it was based on was also written by a straight woman. Brokeback Mountain? Straight guys in gay roles. Dallas Buyer’s Club? The trans character was played by a cisgender man who won an Oscar and was lauded for his bravery in playing the role. 

There’s a reason Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians and Pose are doing so well and resonating with audiences of all types. It’s because when stories about a community are told by that community and supported with the same funding that would be given to straight, white, cisgender stories, they’re allowed to shine with an authenticity that doesn’t require you to have lived the experience in order to empathize with the experience. I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I remember early independent gay films from the late 90s/early 00s, because in many of those films - especially the ones with larger budgets - some of the actors were straight. Stephen Amell, notably, came from a really weird, but delicious supernatural LGBTQ soap opera style show called Dante’s Cove - his first film credit was actually Queer as Folk. But the community is pretty much done with letting straight people center themselves in our stories. As fun and endearing as those movies and tv shows were, there are layers of authenticity that just cannot be achieved by someone from outside, that hasn’t had to endure the complex series of emotions one must go through while coming out...or discovering that your worst fear of having your bisexual boyfriend have sex with his best girl friend and...maybe he’ll choose a heteronormative life because it’s easier, but I don’t have that option because I’m gay...but I get that bisexuality isn’t a choice...has been realized and then immediately being silenced by your bisexual boyfriend who assures you it wast just a one time thing that’ll never happen again. 

Seriously, Nice White Ladies ™️ need to stop deciding they love our culture so much that they want to try it on or tell our stories. 

Many reviews of this book are glowing. Why? Because in 2019 we still don’t have that much LGBTQ media, especially not media that’s aimed at younger audiences. They crave it the way I craved those silly independent films and TV shows of my latter teen years. I know the feeling. But, as an adult millennial gay I can tell you that upon reflection it is much better to have stories for us be created by us. This book is a problematic prime example of why. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Friday, January 4, 2019

Unexpectedly Witchy Programming

When people talk about representations of magic, “witchcraft”, Paganism, etc in media, they typically mean shows like Charmed or Sabrina or The Vampire Diaries. While those shows surely have bits of inspiring dialogue or flashy effects that might speak to us about the fun side of the craft, they don’t speak - to me - of an authentic reflection of my spirituality. Instead, when asked to name media that is both inspiring and authentic, I name shows you would probably laugh about. The below is a very likely incomplete list of the lesser known or unsuspectingly charming (get it?) shows I’ve come to love in recent months. 




The Good Witch - a Hallmark channel drama - has always been a stalwart of how I view the practice of magic. I’ve raved about this show for years. Cassie, the main character, is undoubtedly a witch, but her magic is more likely to resemble the kind you perform. You might carry a stone with you to ease tensions at work or school. You could cook up a dish to inspire confidence. The show sees her and her cousin perform summonings, break curses, move karma along, and overall live the kind of magical life that feels as close to an accurate depiction of everyday spellcraft as I can find in film or television. It’s Hallmark, so there’s plenty of cheese and easily resolved plotlines. Nobody is ever in grave danger - well, usually - and it exudes cisgender, heterosexual, wealthy white privilege. But, for what it is, it’s pretty great. 




Hilda is an animated show for kids and adults alike that premiered on Netflix in 2018. It is based on the hit graphic novels series by Luke Pearson, and it features a little girl named Hilda who promptly sets about teaching you and your child that the world is filled with spirits. While this is still a fantastical setting, it relies heavily on an exploration of Scandinavian folklore. So, if you’re a bit tired of the same retreading of Zeus’ sexual exploits or Thor’s giant...hammer, you’ll be delighted by this show. If you’re like me, you’ll keep the Wikipedia app on your phone while watching so you can look up all the various and wonderful beings Hilda and her friends encounter. 




On Amazon Prime there’s another kid’s program that I’ve become obsessed with called Just Add Magic. It is also based on a book by Cindy Callaghan. This show doesn’t have much in the way of flashy magic - though in some later episodes you’ll see time travel, magic gardens, and some other sparkly bits of CGI, but these are pretty tame and not part of the majority of episodes. It honestly inspired me to dig out my copy of Supermarket Magic by Michael Furie and get back to intentionally witchy cooking. The girls find a magic spellbook in the first episode that was once possessed by the main character’s grandmother. They use the recipes to do everything from finding lost pets to improving memory. I like it because the magic is a bit unpredictable. It takes work, doesn’t solve all your problems, and usually ends up just facilitating your mundane actions. (If you want a job, you’re not going to make Job Jell-O and have a job fall in your lap. You still need to go out and apply for jobs. You just might be more likely to get an offer quickly.)




The most recent addition to my OMG THAT IS SO MY KIND OF PAGANISM list of shows premiered 4 days ago on Netflix. It’s called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. HEAR ME OUT! It’s a show where a nice little Japanese lady comes into your home and teaches you how to keep your home neat and organized. (I SWEAR IT IS PAGAN-ISH...keep reading...stop rolling your eyes. ...put that tongue back in your mouth, too.) Kondo spent 5 years as an attendant maiden at a Shinto shrine, and the religion’s animism is apparent throughout the show. Before Kondo begins, she greets your home, and teaches everyone she meets how to appreciate the spirit and effort immanent in all the things in your life. If the events of this show are not an example of magic in action I cannot think of a show that is. Her clients discuss how the energy in their homes and personal spaces changes as they move through her method of tidying, which includes giving a heartfelt blessing to any items being discarded and a focus on keeping that which gives you joy. There are no flashy before and after photos. This is not a makeover show. There is no furniture budget or professional stagers. There is no judgement about what “tidy” looks like from one family to the next; it is simply a focus on joy and elevating energy. (It’s also incredibly inspiring if you’re like me and feel like decluttering and organizing your life is one of the most anxiety-inducing things you can do. It’s daunting.)


What are some unexpected sources of witchy or Pagan inspiration you’ve found in film or tv in the last year?


Love and Lyte, 


Fire Lyte

Monday, November 19, 2018

Episode 126: Inciting A Bad Tarot Riot







Episode 126 of Inciting A Riot: the Podcast is an interview with Matt Harris, whose hilarious memes about Tarot you’ve probably seen bouncing around social media over the last few months. We talk tarot, gatekeeping culture, and we spend a little time comparing decks. (Come on...I’m allowed one dirty tarot pun.)

For more of Matt, you can find him @BadTarotReader on Instagram or BadTarotReader.com.

Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!


Love and Lyte,


Fire Lyte


Blog: IncitingARiot.com

FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com

@IncitingARiot on Twitter

Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast

Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Episode 125: Inciting A Hallowed Riot (2018)



Blessed Samhain, Rioters! 

Music

Noe Venable - Feral
Cool to be a Witch - Alexian
The Dead South - In hell I’ll be in good company 
Melanie Martinez- Milk & Cookies
The High Price of Necromancy- Split Lip Rayfield
Shores of Avalon - Tina Malia
The Witch Song - Julie Felix
A Little Wicked - Valerie Broussard
Bartholomew - The Silent Comedy

Poems

The Moss of His Skin - Anne Sexton
Her Kind - Anne Sexton

Spells

To Be Rid of Anger - Valerie Worth - Crone’s Book of Magical Words
Water Divination - Gillian Kemp - The Good Spell Book

Knots of Chaos - Dorothy Morrison - Utterly Wicked

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Monday, October 22, 2018

Episode 124: Inciting Sarah Lawless' #MeToo Riot



Episode 124 of Inciting A Riot: the Podcast is a candid interview with Sarah Lawless, whose recent series of blogs and social media postings have brought the #MeToo conversation to the forefront of Pagan conversation. 

For legal reasons, we will not be discussing the details of Sarah's allegations, nor any specific occurrence mentioned therein. Rather, we will be focusing on the discussion of sexual assault, abuse, and impropriety in and around Pagan community spaces. 

Also, I would be remiss if I did not give a TRIGGER WARNING. This conversation is frank, honest, and blunt about Sarah's experience. If sexual assault, emotional abuse, abuse of power by leaders, or other related areas are triggers for you, you may want to skip this episode or put a support system in place for when and how you listen to it. 

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, abuse, or other related trauma, there are resources to help. 

The National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673)
Sexual Abuse Resources

Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!

Subscribe on iTunes 


https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/inciting-a-riot/id337689333?mt=2


Or Google Play


https://playmusic.app.goo.gl/?ibi=com.google.PlayMusic&isi=691797987&ius=googleplaymusic&apn=com.google.android.music&link=https://play.google.com/music/m/Ioklloy5zwmyha7j72qxnyoj3gy?t%3DInciting_A_Riot%26pcampaignid%3DMKT-na-all-co-pr-mu-pod-16


Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Blog: IncitingARiot.com
FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Episode 123: Inciting Mickie Mueller's Riot

Episode 123 of Inciting A Riot: the Podcast is a discussion with author, illustrator, and Pagan artisan Mickie Mueller. We celebrate the release of her latest book, Llewellyn's Little Book of Halloween, and talk about how to make your Samhain extra witchy. 


Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Blog: IncitingARiot.com
FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast

Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Episode 122: Inciting A Problematic Pagan Riot



Episode 122 of Inciting a Riot: the Podcast finds us discussing some of the recent expressions of problematic behavior in the Pagan community. Also, there are two interviews from Chicago's Pagan Pride. 

A trigger warning: the latter part of the show has a discussion of sexual misconduct inside the community. While it is by no means graphic, the topic is discussed. 

Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Blog: IncitingARiot.com

FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com

@IncitingARiot on Twitter

Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast

Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot