13. Using Our Voice & Our Hearts w/ Stephanie Renée Payne, Danielle Lee, & O Tomas Bell

Former guests Stephanie Renée Payne, Danielle Lee, and O Tomas Bell return for a sobering and powerful discussion about racism in America and the demonstrations taking place around the world protesting the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black Americans. We are incredibly grateful that they were willing to share their thoughts during a time of tremendous pain. Please listen to what they have to say.

Writing Remix stands in solidarity with everyone using their voice to combat racism and police brutality and to dismantle systems of oppression. Black lives are precious. Black lives matter. We invite you to visit this Anti-Racist Reading List created by our guests, which we will continue to update.

The featured artwork was created by Danielle’s son, Jack Lenihan. You can follow him on Instagram @JackLenihanArt.

Writers and Thinkers Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“We are socialized to divide…And that socialization is rooted in the capitalist structure of this country, which is on the backs of free labor…We’re always looking for the next slave.” -Stephanie Renée Payne

“You feel guilty as a mom that your children are safe, and I am saying to you THAT is oppression manifested.” @otomasbell

“Everyone holds a knowledge. But not everyone holds an experience.” -Stephanie Renée Payne

“We cannot get an understanding from the person who hits. We can only get an understanding from the person who feels the blow.” -Edward P. Jones

“We have to stop being polite about racism because racism is not polite.” @otomasbell

“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.” -Audre Lorde

“This is about hurting someone in the only place we have the power to, which is financially…We need to get attention because they don’t listen.” @dlitephul

“America was great because America had free labor for centuries. And now when you’re including these people, the only way to perpetuate the system…is to make sure you keep certain people at the bottom of the barrel so that the system can maintain itself.” @otomasbell

“[America] was built on a sense of wealth for the few by pressing down on the many.” -Stephanie Renée Payne

“The foundational elements of this country have stripped us all of our humanity…The unwitting prize of being able to hold wealth easily has hollowed the soul of America.” -Stephanie Renée Payne

“We have all been kept from our racial, our cultural, and our American ties. This is a systemic problem.” @dlitephul

“History–real history–in all of its ugliness, in all of its goodness too, needs to be shared. Not to guilt people. Not to victimize others. But for the purest intention of us being educated. Douglass knew that the secret to slavery was to withhold access to education.” @dlitephul

“Where words fail, behavior takes its spot…I don’t want you to feel guilty…I think you and I need to step into our power, into our knowledge, and forgive ourselves, and let that be our light post.” @dlitephul

“This is not a time for white guilt. White guilt is the reason why this has been perpetuated.” @otomasbell

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

“This is a wonderful opportunity to restructure, and we can do it person by person, conversation by conversation…by listening.” -Stephanie Renée Payne

“There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. This is how civilizations heal.” -Toni Morrison

“We can use our voice. We can use our hearts…Our humanity and our love is bigger than the construct of this country, which can be changed.” -Stephanie Renée Payne

“Visualize how you want to see society behave first. How do you imagine relationships between people of different backgrounds? …Envision it with intention…Create what [your] neighborhood or your community or world should look like. And then you can figure out how to speak to people, how to be heard.” @dlitephul

“There are other ways to protest. I protest in my classroom.” @dlitephul

“People need to look at protest from the ground up, not from the crowd out.” @dlitephul

“We have to cultivate a space in which I can honor my feelings without invalidating your experience, and you can honor your feelings without invalidating mine. And if we agree to disagree, that’s fine. But what we can’t do, based on that disagreement, is bring into law legislation that systemically perpetuates oppression. ” @otomasbell

“This is not a White issue or a Black issue. We all are being robbed of community because we’re buying into divisive narratives.” @otomasbell

“Toni Morrison said, ‘We speak, we write, we cry, we honor ourselves.’ There are so many ways of protest, but they are internal first.” -Stephanie Renée Payne

“I wish to be an American in America, because I am an American every place else. But in America, I’m an African American…I want to be an American in America. I want to know what that feels like.” @otomasbell

This episode was recorded on June 2. Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

12. Reassessing Assessment w/ Brent Chappelow

In Episode 12 we talk to Dr. Brent Chappelow of the USC Writing Program about writing about writing, grounding assignments in students’ personal experience and identity, shifting our focus away from grammar, reevaluating how we assess (and grade) student work, adopting a pedagogy of kindness, and bringing it back to the Greeks.

You can learn more about Brent here.

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“I think a lot of our students aren’t encouraged to come into the class knowing that they have important things to say.” @BChappelow

“If I’m not letting my students start with themselves…it’s not reflecting that process that I’m using in my own writing.” @BChappelow

“We can change our classes, but if we’re coming back to the same old thing to assess those students…we’re not really affecting meaningful change.” @BChappelow

“Grading student writing and assessing student writing are two very different things that we continue to conflate.” @BChappelow

“The more we de-emphasize grading and move away from giving grades, that’s where writing happens. That’s where risk happens.” @BChappelow

Please note: this episode was recorded on March 6. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

11. Playing & Going Deep w/ Mark Marino, part 2

In this follow-up to Episode 10, we reflect with Dr. Mark Marino on the shape of the semester and the challenges and opportunities presented by the move to remote learning. Once again, Mark thoughtfully (and hilariously) walks us through some of his creative strategies for navigating online spaces and illuminates what instructors can learn from collaborative role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and that defining educational text of our generation, Harry Potter.

After listening, be sure to check out the “Zoom Room” variety show, @quarantinecantina2020 on Instagram, and Mark’s “End of Class Message” to his students.

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“Here is another opportunity where I can be a positive force in my students’ lives. I can be a sympathetic force in my students’ lives…I can be more intentional about the whole thing.” @MCMarino_Kids

“So much of our class is based on what happens in the moment with co-presence…I’m kind of glad it’s hard to just magically change that.” @MCMarino_Kids

“The great dungeon masters know that your job is not to try to kill the adventurers, nor is it to serve them gold; it is to give them challenges in an environment where they feel comfortable and safe to try creatively to struggle with those challenges and then to come up with a solution that the person who gave them the challenge may never have thought of…I think there’s a lesson for us in there.” @MCMarino_Kids

“Is it worth continuing to rehearse the things that I was told were important, or is this an opportunity to rediscover the things I deeply know to be important?” @MCMarino_Kids

This episode was recorded on May 12. Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

10. Playing & Going Deep w/ Mark Marino, part 1

Episode 10 is the first episode in a two-part conversation with the king of portmanteaux and experimental teaching, Dr. Mark C. Marino (aka “Coach”) of the USC Writing Program.

In this first episode, which we recorded on March 9, we talk to Mark about some of his innovative writing activities and assignments–including online simulations (Netprov) and his infamous #SelfieClass–that prioritize creativity, improvisation, and play.

Mark is a writer and scholar of digital literature living in Los Angeles. He is the Director of Communication of the Electronic Literature Organization. His works include “Living Will,” “a show of hands,” and “Marginalia in the Library of Babel.” He was one of ten co-authors of 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 and is a collaborator with Jessica Pressman and Jeremy Douglass on Reading Project: A Collaborative Analysis of William Poundstone’s Project for Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit}.  He is currently working with his two children on a series of interactive children’s stories entitled Mrs. Wobbles and the Tangerine House. He is an Associate Professor (Teaching) at the University of Southern California where he directs the Humanities and Critical Code Studies (HaCCS) Lab.  

You can learn more about Mark at markcmarino.com.

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“A lot of my teaching has been informed by the fact that I know that these students are required to take these classes…I try to open up these spaces with the notion that we’re going to play.” @MCMarino_Kids

“I realized selfies could be a way to get through students’ defenses, whatever they may be, against introspection and self-reflection about the way they perform identity.” @MCMarino_Kids

“The writing context is changing…Technology is changing our relationship to writing…I like to see what else is possible.” @MCMarino_Kids

“If you think about [writing] from the point of view of something that you love to do rather than something you have to do, how does that change things?” @MCMarino_Kids

Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

9. Restyling Academic Discourse w/ Laura Lisabeth

In our ninth episode, we talk to Dr. Laura Lisabeth about developing critical pedagogy in a digital space, using social media for academic writing, getting mad at standardized English, and empowering our students to utilize different discourses.

NB: this episode was recorded on April 28. In the first few minutes, we discuss some pandemic-related issues, including hospitals and deaths. If you want to skip that part, jump to 6:12.

(Finally, if you’re wondering what happens around the 54-minute mark, take a look at the screenshot above.)

Laura is a Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University where she teaches undergraduate academic writing and professional writing, and a graduate writing seminar. Her research is a historiography that focuses on Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. She looks at the ways the book has participated in and often driven a culture of pundit-sourced White linguistic style in education, constructed through twentieth century literacies that still resonate in the teaching of writing, including the detached parodic style of E.B. White and the early New Yorker, the universalizing narratives of The Book-of-the-Month Club, the monocultural, monolinguistic prescriptions of the National Defense Education Act and the commercial interests of the educational publishing industry. These historically entrenched dispositions toward literacy fail to recognize the range of cultural knowledges and languages that arrive in our classrooms, keeping Strunk and White style a perennial text on syllabi. Her most recent publication can be found in the Anti-Oppressive Composition issue of Radical Teacher (fall 2019): “White Fears of Dispossession: Dreyer’s English, The Elements of Style, and the Racial Mapping of English Discourse.”

You can follow Laura on Twitter @lauralhny.

Texts Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“These aspirational, middlebrow pieces of 20th literacy [like The Elements of Style] that are still with us are very much connected to systemic racism, the white supremacy of academic language and academic discourse.” @lauralhny

“I want students to be a little bit mad…I try to encourage students to think about injustice and inequity and how language is a part of that.” @lauralhny

“Some of the most successful classes that I’ve had are the ones where I was able to have the Instagram essay be the final assignment…Social media is great academic writing.” @lauralhny

“The problem is that it’s trying to mimic a real classroom, and it’s not. How can we do this better? How can we take advantage of the affordances [of online learning]?” @lauralhny

Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

8. Writing Bad w/ Alejandro Escudé

Episode 8 runs the gamut! We talk to award-winning poet and teacher Alejandro Escudé about learning from your idols (and meditating with Gary Snyder!), finding inspiration in urban environments and current events, transitioning to remote and hybrid forms of learning, taking risks in your work, being mindful of audience and context in a digital world, and giving yourself permission to write badly.

Texts Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“Whether the poem is good or not, I send it.” -Alejandro Escudé

“Nothing is real right now.” -Alejandro Escudé

“It’s up to poets to say, ‘We’re not letting you off the hook.'” -Alejandro Escudé

“My personality online is a lamb. I save all of my wolf stuff for my writing.” -Alejandro Escudé

Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

7. Erasing [ ] w/ Erik Fuhrer

In our seventh episode we talk to poet, artist, and educator Erik Fuhrer about erasure poetry and collage, the embodied nature of writing, and ethically incorporating other authors and texts into our work.

You can learn more about Erik on his website and follow him on Twitter @ErikFuhrer.

Texts Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“There is something I think to be said about…paying attention to your body when it comes time to write…Finding the rhythm.”

Erik Fuhrer

“I’m interested in the ways that, especially in erasure but in any kind of poem, intention and randomness overlap or intersect.”

Erik Fuhrer

“The world is sliding its back toward Bethlehem, and we are the rough beast, and the falcon is the reason we are still looking.”

Erik Fuhrer

Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are occasional audio issues. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

6. Redefining Productivity w/ O Tomas Bell

We resume our series on living, teaching, and creating during COVID-19 with words of wisdom from the brilliant O Tomas Bell. In this episode, we talk about redefining productivity, reframing our creative process, and finding inspiration in our current circumstances to make positive changes in our lives.

Tomas is a Certified Life, Communication and Wellness Coach offering “you focused” coaching services as well as creative focused coaching. A creative himself, Tomas actively balances his coaching career with his entertainment career by providing audio, music, and voice-over services. You can find Tomas on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are occasional audio issues. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

“I think the part that people often forget in terms of their own productivity is their emotional connection to that activity…Being productive now is not about the product. It’s about the process…We could make this a complete negative. Or we can reframe and explore and discover the positives.”

O Tomas Bell

“I’m not a big fan of beating yourself up. I am a big fan of learning the lesson…It’s about making a conscious choice to do things differently in the future.”

O Tomas Bell

“You can be isolated physically, but you do not have to be isolated socially…Don’t let your physical isolation disconnect you from the world.”

O Tomas Bell

5. Changing the Conversation w/ Mandy Hobmeier

We’re taking a break from the current moment to return to a conversation we recorded before the pandemic.

In this episode, we talk to Fulbright Scholar Dr. Mandy Hobmeier about engaging in research that inspires us, changing the conversation around multilingual writing, and finding fulfillment in mentoring and volunteer work.

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“[Our research] has to feel authentic to us. I couldn’t engage with the research just because I felt like I had to. I needed it to feel actually inspired.”

Mandy Hobmeier

“This was always the biggest concern…How do we respond to grammar-based issues? Everybody’s always concerned with that the most, and I was more interested in changing the conversation around that.”

Mandy Hobmeier

“Now we’re getting to a point where there’s so much nuance to language identity…It’s much more diversified than we’re even aware of. So there’s so much opportunity for a multi-faceted approach to the writing that we’re doing, but a lot of the approaches we’re taking are limiting that.”

Mandy Hobmeier

Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod

4. Healing through Language w/ Aimee Herman

Episode 4 continues our special series on teaching and writing during COVID-19. In this episode we talk to novelist, poet, and professor Aimee Herman about coping with anxiety during this particularly stressful time, caring for our students and ourselves, and finding solace in language. You can learn more about Aimee here.

Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are some slight audio issues, especially at the beginning of the episode.

Texts mentioned in the episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“[Online teaching] feels like this weird movie; you know, we’ve got our headphones on like we’re playing a video game together, and that game’s called Learning.”

Aimee Herman

“This is a hard time for teachers…Little do [students] know that them being there is what’s keeping me going…I think for us as teachers we need to be as patient as we can be right now, mindful that not everybody’s circumstance is the same.”

Aimee Herman

“Language always has an important role in day-to-day life, whether we’re going through a pandemic like this or we’re not. Words are one way in which we can create bridges toward each other and create these alphabetical band-aids to make us feel as though, okay I can get through this hour, I can get through this day…Language is going to save us, in every way.”

Aimee Herman
Serious podcasting in progress

Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.