Potter College News
Author Raechel Anne Jolie speaks about writing 'Rust Belt Femme'
- Wednesday, February 15th, 2023
On February 15, Raechel Anne Jolie will discuss their memoir, Rust Belt Femme, at 4:00 in FAC 189.
Jolie, who uses she/they pronouns, wrote Rust Belt Femme in 2020 but has been writing their whole life.
“I grew up thinking my future would involve writing; I’ve been writing short stories, poems, and filling up journals since I was probably eight years old. But because I grew up working class, I didn’t let myself daydream too much about a job that was so economically uncertain,” said Jolie.
Jolie’s memoir discusses the ways in which growing up in rural Ohio influenced Jolie into becoming who they are today. After working in academia for years, she decided to write about her experience.
“Another (less devastating) root of the book is that I got a palm reading in New Orleans and the psychic told me that I needed to get serious about whatever creative endeavor I’d been abandoning. I knew she was talking about writing. I started the intro to the memoir that summer, set it aside, didn’t get a job I thought I was going to get, then took it out again,” said Jolie.
Writing about personal experience can get difficult, especially when it comes to boundaries and Jolie has first-hand experience after writing this memoir.
“I let almost every person who is mentioned at length in the book read a draft before it was published, to get their consent. Still, there were some tough feelings that swirled around in my family after it was out in the world. Things are okay now, but memoir and creative nonfiction require a lot of interpersonal work. You have to determine your ethical boundaries, and there aren’t clear right answers to that,” said Jolie.
For now, Jolie is continuing to work on some editing and teaching with a book deal under way.
“It’s a more traditional nonfiction book interrogating contemporary debates around sex and gender, specifically in feminist and Left circles. I’m examining where there are splits regarding sex work, kink, hormones for trans youth, and other things I’m sad to see so much disagreement about in supposedly radical, liberation-focused spaces,” said Jolie.
To keep on a regular routine, they publish their newsletter, radical love letters, one to two times a week. Come and hear all about Jolie’s writing process and get to know them on Wednesday!
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