Angelina Jolie’s announcement today that she had surgery to remove her ovaries hit home for me. I have a family history of cancer much like the actor’s: My grandmother had breast cancer, one of her daughters died of colon cancer, and her other daughter — my mom — has been fighting serous cervical cancer for four years. I had also found out recently that the “cancer markers” in my blood were elevated. This news, as well as Mom’s recent relapse, had me thinking about my own mortality in a way I have been fortunate never to have done before. Jolie’s brave example of prophylactic surgery (she had a double mastectomy two years ago) can not be underestimated; it helped shape my own resolve to get rid of these body parts, should it turn out I have inherited a cancer gene. If Angie doesn’t need boobs, neither do I!
Unlike Jolie, I am lucky: I found out just last week that I have tested negative for the BRCA “cancer” gene. I’m not completely in the clear, but I’m breathing a lot freer. And I’m so grateful that a woman of Jolie’s public stature is stirring public discourse about women’s health. She helped steel my resolve to get tested in the first place, showing me that a positive result is not a death sentence but a piece of information that could save my life. She is totally my Hero of the Week. All hail Angelina Jolie, long live Angelina Jolie!
Mom, you’re my hero for life.
Evelyn McDonnell, Tracie Morris, and Alice Bag
Tracie Morris and Alice Bag had never met before they joined me for “The F Word Vol. II” panel last night. And yet the pieces they presented — Tracie’s improvised exegesis of 1950s Hollywood femininity and Alice’s excerpts from her memoir Violence Girl — complemented each other fiercely. It was an emotional night at the Orange County Museum of Art, with an attentive audience of second-, third-, and no-wave feminists.
Following is an approximation of the remarks I made to launch the panel. Continue reading
Wall of handbills at Alien She
Tonight is the night: Join writers Alicia Armendaiz (aka Alice Bag), Tracie Morris and moi for The F Word Vol. II panel at the Orange County Museum of Art. Book signing, food truck, and screening of a video of the original F Word panel — including GB Jones, Sha-Key, Erin Smith, Jean Smith, Tinuviel, Kathleen Hanna, Chin-a Pannacione, Tracie and me — starts at 6. Panel at 7 in the museum auditorium. And don’t forget to check out the Alien She show of Riot Grrrl inspired art, including the wall of handbills pictured here.
The OC Weekly gave a nice plug of my F Word event with writers Tracie Morris and Alice Bag on Friday. The event is truly going to be the (F) bomb! Although I have to clarify: Alice was not on the original panel. I wish she had been!
I’m honored and excited to be presenting one of my favorite poets from my old New York days, Tracie Morris, at LMU on March 12. If you can’t come Thursday, come see us Friday at the Orange County Museum of Art. Since her slam champ days at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Tracie has studied and nurtured her craft. She’s now a professor at Pratt Institute.