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Very excited to delve into questions of the body - political, spiritual, philosophical, paranormal, and more - with literary icon Sinéad Gleeson. Sinéad is an author, editor, broadcaster, and Irish literary stalwart; her book of interconnected essays, Constellations is a bestseller here in Ireland, and about to make its way to America. It's a captivating book about blood, feminism, injury, ghosts, and health; all orbiting around the question: What does it mean to be a human who is, at least in part, a human body?
Sinéad and I talk
• creating our own anatomy books
• standing up to the Catholic church
• the law of correspondences
• the importance of constellations in the sky and in our bodies
• how medicine is patriarchal
• my ghost experiences and Sinéad's ghost experiences (and how we self-stigmatize them!)
• how ghosts are like good health
• health for athletes and porn performers
• the exploitation of pain and trauma as currency in the attention economy
• how being in touch with our bodies helps us be compassionate towards others
• More on Sinéad: While you'll have to wait a little longer to get Constellations if you're in the US, you can read Sinéad's anthologies now. The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers and The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland are both award-winning monumental achievements. Here's a good interview with Sinéad in the Irish Times.
• I talk about creating our own anatomy book (in sideways way) on many episodes of AEWCH, but it comes up in my conversation with Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore on AEWCH 57, and with David Shorter on AEWCH 20. I also discuss how our desires reveal a non-materialistic view of the body in the solo episode, AEWCH 34 - ARE BODIES OUR SELVES? or HOW SEX CONFRONTS MATERIALISM.
• Sinead O'Connor's Pope-tearing-up moment remains iconic and still can give chills of inspiration and intensity. Here it is.
• I mentioned Rachel Syme's brilliant thread in the intro (after Sinéad told me about it on the show). What I didn't go far enough to say in the intro is how Syme's comments were rightfully gendered to express the power of women standing up, bring creative, being inventive and inspiring.
• My own essay on health, healing, and illness, comprises the entirety of AEWCH 71. Check it out.
• A great short essay on the Christian Science movement's feminist roots is featured in Mitch Horowitz's book, Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation. Also, Mitch was the guest on AEWCH 30!
• Sinéad mentions Leslie Jamison's excellent book of essays, The Empathy Exams, and also Jamison's essay "Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain." And she also gives a shout out to the dotMD conference in Galway, which looks absolutely brilliant.
• My essay on my ex boyfriend beating me up is "If You Ever Did Write Something About Me, I'd Want It To Be About Love"
• Oops, I have O-, not O+! Sinéad was, of course right, and I totally bloodsplained to her.
• My wonderful, dead friend, Jake Campbell died on May 24th. Here's a photo of him below. And you can also read my very short eulogy to him.
• The psychoanalytic question of whether or not "the woman" exists is a much deeper and more profound question that it suggests at first offense. There's an entire book about it by Paul Verhaeghe, Does the Woman Exist?: From Freud's Hysteric to Lacan's Feminine.
• Darwin's Worms: On Life Stories and Death Stories by Adam Phillips has been a guiding light in my thinking. It's profound and incredible. Also, see my AEWCH 8 with mortician Caitlin Doughty, subtitled Death Is Your Project.
Until next time, folks, get in touch with your body