A blog post about the PDX Leather Ever After Book Release
by Sossity Chiricuzio
Having long admired the writing and activism of Sassafras, and even longer enjoyed the mix of the study of human nature and magic that well written fairy tales offer, I was overjoyed at the chance to submit a story for “Leather Ever After”. I had a bit of an idea of what I wanted to write about, but I wasn’t exactly sure what would be the best fit. After perusing some of the classics, and some of the less known but sometimes more potent fairy tales, I was surprised to find myself considering the often done and Disney commodified “Cinderella”. I’m not the type of person to dream of princes and ballgowns and being swept away to live in a giant castle. If anything, I’m very proud of my peasant blood and working class background and non-traditional relationships … and that’s when I realized why it was the perfect tale for me to pervert.
Gender roles, the haves and have nots, the idealized couple scenario that is supposed to fulfill Cinderella once the prince chooses her … I couldn’t wait to flip it. I worked my way inside the story and began searching for cracks to let my story seep through … and there it was. Genderqueer heroine, class struggles, overcoming dysfunctional family, finding the way to self through the magic of a Sacred Whore, opportunities galore to challenge stereotypes and proscribed roles … a mission worth undertaking. And a mission it was – I’ve never worked so hard or researched so much for a story before. The structure of a fairy tale is particular and, I found, different than any I’d worked with before. I wrote and edited and researched and edited so more and slept on it and walked away from it and edited some more. It had it’s way with me, thoroughly. Like the best of scenes, it was challenging and rewarding, all at once.
Having this story accepted for publication was thrilling and such a validation, and if the story had ended there I’d have been content. However, just 2 nights ago we held the Portland book release for Leather Ever After, which was many lovely things, but personally, the most magical moment was when I read my story “Cinderfella” aloud to a diverse crowd of deviants, all gathered around respectful and appreciative, rain drumming down on the roof and the sound of collective intakes of breath, sighs of recognition and resonance, shifting in seats and murmurs of pleasure or surprise. My mama self gathered power like a well sunk down to the deep blue sea, and the story flowed forth, just as it meant to from the very beginning. It felt like the truest magic of a fairy tale, thick with possibilities, layered with truths, holding space for what has been as well as what could be – such a gift to be a part of that experience, and channel that story that wanted to be told …