T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 28218
posted 04-13-2006 09:31 PM
So Miz Scarlet,
From the bits and pieces you've dropped in your posts, it seems your professional and personal life has been very interesting. Is there anywhere you have posted a generic version of the entire story? I am interested in eventually working with social justice issues, and I'm always interested in the paths people have taken to get to interesting and effective careers.
Member # 28218
posted 04-13-2006 09:38 PM
Oh, and another question. I'm thinking of starting a chapter of WYSE on my campus (www.wyse.org). As someone who works with reproductive rights, do you happen to know anything about this organization? It sounds really great to me.
Member # 3
posted 04-13-2006 11:04 PM
I didn't know about that org, but thanks so much for pointing it out to me! That's likely a group we can also support/network with when the All Girl Army really gets rolling.
Per my stuff, on the more personal side, here's a not-so-brief rundown from another venue of mine: Heather spent the first portion of her childhood between Chicago, a van (beaded curtains and all) and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, due to her father's draft dodger status. She learned to read at twoish, and write shortly thereafter (albeit backwards), likely out of sheer boredom. Her mother (a young Irish-American Catholic finishing nursing school, who would later become an epidemiologist living in Wisconsin with her wonderfully funny female partner) worked, while her father (an Italian-American atheist well practiced in hippie subculture, who would essentially continue his life trying not to become too jaded over the world not having been changed by his efforts, despite too often being homeless) barely kept a loose rein on her at home. The motley crew moved back to the north side of Chicago several years later, her parents split, and Heather spent many years as the latchkey queen of her own kingdom, skipping from misadventure to misadventure, writing stories and singing songs, falling in love with The Rolling Stones and George Harrison rather precociously, and loved school to death, though her report cards frequently said -- year after year -- "Incredibly hard worker, very intelligent, very creative. Talks too much." It having been made poignantly clear that dance classes were no place for an overly social and coordination-compromised lass, Heather began taking music classes at a very early age, where she found (one of) her true calling(s). Her teachers in school quickly learned how not to call on her when an answer could be delivered musically -- the states and capitals often turned into a rather noisy and melodic affair when they forgot to be so cautious -- and gave up trying to teach their classes when it became clear Heather was going to run the show no matter what they did. Her family time was split between her mother's apartment with numerous wild and crazy nurses and her father's pad, with numerous wild and crazy surrogate big sisters in the guise of girlfriends. It was a bit unusual, but it suited Heather fairly well. Her junior high years were a conglomeration of academic achievement, boyfriends and girlfriends, dietary experiments, cigarette-smoking, musical enlightenment, mad crushes, general delinquency, and adventure, all of which usually began each day with early morning yoga sessions with her social studies teacher. Following a brief runaway foray in Manhattan, high school held trials and tribulations, certainly tragedies (a few too many tragedies, really, but they are not the stuff of which charming little bios are made), and a whole lot of changes, but picked up when she brushed off her knees and began at a fledgling performing arts school, majoring in music and creative writing, and working a bizarre variety of odd jobs to pay her tuition. There she studied opera and jazz vocals, classical piano, the history of folk music, composition, and American and English literature. There she informally studied bisexuality and human anatomy, age-disparate relationships, mosh pits and underage clubbing, the recreational use of certain chemical compounds, independent living when one is not legally independent, and various and sundry other subjects which were not on the official curriculum. She also began submitting her poetry to the public, winning a few awards and scoring a few public readings. Heather took a year off between high school and college to work for the Nuclear Weapons Freeze, sing on streetcorners, play with more chemical compounds, experiment with more forms of sexuality and relationships, raid thrift stores and dumpster dive, and figure out what the heck she was doing while saving up money for college. A year later, she entered a Socratic school in northern Illinois. There, she discovered Blake and found that erotic literature and sexuality could parade as an actual major, became the Earth Mama and resident folksinger and tarot reader of her tiny campus, went through the pool of sexual partners available in short order, taught developmentally disabled teens and adults on the side, studied her bum off, won lots of awards that really meant nothing in the long-run, and found out that a campus of less than 40-people in the middle of nowhere awfully fast, so moved back to Chicago and commuted to school. At the tail end of college and beyond, Heather took up work at a health food store while also working for an inner city organic sprout farm (yes, for real), and soon set into teaching. After a year of teaching in a suburban classroom full of depressed wealthy children and rather anal-retentive staffers, she created her own alternative, vegetarian Kindergarten and pre-kindergarten in the city, which she ran by the skin of her teeth for several years before entering into Montessori education training. During this time, she lived with a wonderful children's book illustrator 16 years her senior, and began writing again, after several years in hiatus, finding her work kept veering towards the sexual. After she sabotaged that relationship horribly, ran through a few destructive (but sometimes interesting) others, tried to teach on a stipend that'd barely manage to feed a dog while moonlighting with the sprouts on weekends, got screwed over royally and ended up penniless in a basement and discovered that one cannot write all night and then work two jobs during the day, she made up her mind to shift to writing and sexuality work full-time, as well as devoting herself full-time to her two (then) fledgling sites, Scarlet Letters and Scarleteen. The rest, as they say, is history. For now, anyway. Heather still works her duff off night and day with the sites and freelance work, barely scrapping out a living, but happy to be doing what she loves best. She now lives in an apartment in Minneapolis whose three flights of stairs make for an awfully nice gym, and where she is the resident caretaker and handychick. And she does what she can to bring her strange self, rather unusual upbringing, and fairly unorthodox views and priorities to the world in small enough doses that no one yet seems to have developed hives. Over the years, Heather hasn't changed much. She is still the latchkey queen of her own kingdom, reads and writes incessantly, gets mad crushes, smokes too many cigarettes, plays resident Earth Mama, runs from the anal-retentive throng, often starts her day with yoga or boxing, lives for a good dumpster dive, scraps out a living doing that which is most important to her though often pays little to nothing, and is an incredibly hard worker, who is one creative little smartypants. She still talks too much. That could use some updating, esp.considering my recent corss-country move and this wacky love o'my life thing that hapened in the last year.
Member # 27531
posted 04-15-2006 08:36 PM
Okay seriously, I've never read a more interesting bio. I like the repetition with variation at the end. Very, very Edgar Allan. :-)
Member # 27369
posted 04-16-2006 10:00 PM
Miz S, I stumbled across this randomly, and you officially have the coolest life ever. I feel like having such a wide range of experiences makes it easier to empathize with a wider group of people, and makes one alltogether more creative in general.
I think suburban life makes one close-minded and susceptible to prejudice simply because one does not know any better and has been socialized to remain in that environment. Like people always say that you can't go into certain neighborhoods of Philly because you'll get shot by gang members... but kids spend their whole lives there, but we don't see that because the stupid "local news" always tells us about a "teenage girl, raped and murdered in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, and now back to you, John, in the studio to show us how Folger's coffee really is the best part of waking up, and did you know Procter & Gamble is one of our leading corporate sponsors? BUY NOW!" And I'll stop there before I go on another rant. But yes, I am glad that you are here to make this site, because it really does help a lot of us.
Member # 3
posted 04-17-2006 02:33 PM
Ha, and that's just the stuff fit for public consumption.
It's certainly had some pretty serious lows, but I can easily say my life has never been boring, standard or limited per the kinds of people I've been around, places I've been, things I've done. And I hear you. You know, the very WORST stuff that has happened to me happened OUTSIDE inner-city environments. That isn't to say the bed stuff only happens in the burbs, at all (and there is something to be said for the guard we sometimes thoughtlessly let down when we think we're in a safer environ), but pinning crime and trauma on cities is just silly.
Member # 29534
posted 06-30-2006 07:27 PM
You did montessori!!!
My mom was a montessori teacher and I was raised on the method until about Gr8. It's probably less remarkable in the states, but here you say montessori and most people go "huh?" and that's a brilliant bio and a great life.
Member # 3
posted 07-01-2006 04:37 PM
Go Montessori kids, go!
(Bet you're a self-starter, then. )
Member # 29534
posted 07-11-2006 08:02 PM
Montessori All The Way!
Yeah, going into a regular school was way wierd! I now go to a small private school, and I live in a rather upper market area... so a lot of the kids in my class are of the immature whiny spoilt brat variety, which gets annoying, as does having to sit and wait for your work through a pointless 40 minute explanation of the same work you've done for the past week (especially when you are really bored and know its easy) and then have to put up with the whining about having to do actually do work. I mean, imagine kids at school actually working ! Tiresome, but it does teach one patience under very trying circumstances. Right now I'd just love to be out of the place and starting varsity (oops, I mean uni!) but hopefully I'll be there in one more year! It's also nice to know that there are others out there with just as weird backgrounds as me.