Lately I’ve been looking at a lot of my Facebook memories, and being amazed at how oblivious we all were to what life would look like just one year later.  Large groups closely gathered around tables, no masks, sharing pizza, and laughing.  So much laughing.  It will be interesting to see the memories as March approaches, and the gradual realization of what we would be getting ourselves into.

Boy, did we have no earthly idea.

📷 rodney smith, Ps by galen cundiff.

This episode is almost like a throwback, although instead of a year earlier, it’s about four months earlier (although it almost feels like a year).  Right in the earlier stages of COVID-19, the new concept of “social distancing”, some folks choosing to wear face masks – before it was a requirement, and self-quarantine.

And this is what Barbie Angell was in the beginnings of.  She was self-quarantining before it was cool.  We chatted back in early April, when I was busting out a group of four interviews from North Carolina to share with you.  This was early on, when there were 20,000 deaths from the disease (as opposed to today’s 149,000), and 516,000 cases (as opposed to 4.3 million).  It was pretty scary then, but oh how clueless we were what we were getting into.

And if that weren’t enough, George Floyd had yet to be killed (for a $20 bill), and his death had yet to spark the largest string of protests that would solidify ‘Black Lives Matter’ as the largest civil rights movement in the history of this country.

So yeah.  April.  Those were the days….?

📷 jude lally

I SAY ALL THAT TO SAY THIS!

Barbie and I obviously didn’t get to chat about the real issues happening in our world right now, in this moment, in July, 2020, when this episode is released – the many important and relevant things that are taking this country (and this world) by storm.  We did, however, talk about a lot of really good things, though.  Important things.  Things like currency, and the exchange that happens between artist and receiver, why we do the things we do as artists, and how hard it is to put a dollar sign on it. Plus all the parts of our lives that lead us in the direction of our art, the beginnings of that relationship between us and the art that comes from us, and the events that shape us, and mold us into who we are.

📷 rodney smith

And that’s the other thing I want to mention.  Barbie has not had the easiest ride on this bus.  Over her life she has experienced significant amounts of physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual violence at the hands of multiple people.  It’s a topic that is hard to talk about for most, but Barbie has come to a place where not talking about it has become more of a burden than keeping it to herself.

📷 rodney smith

And this is why there is a bit of a content advisory here.  This episode does include some pretty open and raw discussions and descriptions of psychological, emotional, and sexual violence.  If this topic is difficult in a way that you just simply have no space for right now, then this episode may not be for you.  I will say though, Barbie has been a pretty bright light on many darkened paths for those who have had this kind of violence done to them.  The way she creates her poetry, her art, and her style is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and I had a great time chatting with her about it.

Barbie has a hard time promoting herself, so I will do it for her.  You can support her incredible artistry by becoming a supporter on Patreon, buying her book, Roasting Questions (She said it was at Malaprops in Asheville, but I couldn’t find a link to it.  Feel free to call them up and ask, if you want to keep it local), or simply throwing a little cash in the ol’ Paypal.  It helps to make a starving artist a little less starving.  And please check out her Blog! You will find lots of cool things to keep you occupied, including the amazing story and poem about Sheila Shine that we chat about at length.

credit: our voice

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