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Rahne Alexander, Featured Author Interview for Audacious Women: An Anthology

HRM's Audacious Women: An Anthology is now released to readers and the public, and we are pleased to share some illuminating thoughts from our contributors about how they view "audacious women," their contributions to the anthology, and what they are working on now. Today's featured author is Rahne Alexander, who wrote an inspired creative non-fiction piece in the anthology that explores image, identity, and falling down as well as standing back up.

How do you personally define an "audacious woman" and what role do you feel audacious women play in the world? What role have they played for you personally? Tell us an anecdote, a brief fact, or a true story.

This is a little hard to define beyond “unafraid to speak her mind.” An audacious woman is a moment in time, really. I think that most people I know might agree that I’m audacious, but I wasn’t always audacious, and I wasn’t always a woman either.

I remember reaching this moment sometime in my second year of college, in which I was doing my reading for one of my feminist theory classes, when it dawned on me that I were in the unique position to choose to become a woman — to run headlong into everything that that word meant in 1988 — that I also had the ability to choose to become a decidedly feminist woman. I was vibing with all this truly radical feminist thought — Sonia Johnson, Valerie Solanas, Shulamith Firestone, the Combahee River Collective. I didn’t even know in that moment if I even had the capacity for such audacity, but that realization gave me a goal. I felt the world open up in a way that I could not have conceived previously. Audacious women saved my life. 

What are your work's favorite themes when working with female characters/subjects?

I’m really interested in the power of the mundane and the ordinary, and so it’s those things that compel me in narrative work. Revolutionary work happens on all fronts, and even the most audacious women need to sleep and eat and walk the dog and go to the dentist — and all of these can be sites of solace and comfort, but they can also be sites of conflict and revolution. Everyone looks good in a glamor shot, but I’m interested in those images that end up on the cutting room floor.   

Who is your favorite female character in art or literature and why?

I feel like I could give you a different answer for this question every day! There was recently a version of Judith, the beheader of Holofernes; a version by Gentileschi that I’d never seen before. The painting caught me off guard and I was a little tipsy, which meant that I openly wept in front of that painting for several minutes in full view of the guards. Judith’s story means so much to me, and especially as she’s seen through the eyes of Artemisia Gentileschi. 

Can you speak to your piece/s in the anthology and what inspired it/them? 

The last few years I’ve advised a number of clients as develop alt text for their legacy digital images and start to implement policies and practices, and that always brings up questions about what’s important about describing a photograph, or a piece of art — particularly an image that simply defies one’s capacity for description. 

There are so many moments of my life that I wish had been photographed or filmed. I am clumsy and I think it has to look really funny when I fall down. I wish I could see what everyone else sees when I do. One root of this piece is about capturing those falling moments. Another root is that I never ask for photos with celebrities when I meet them, so there are no photos. This piece is an attempt to rectify this, to visualize important moments that I wish had been captured.  

What are you working on right now that lights you up?  Who are you reading that does the same?

I’m at the start of a new phase of my art career, so at the moment I’ve got a number of new projects starting — I’m creating a new band, I’m developing a new two-person gallery exhibition, my blog has a new direction, and I’m beginning to paint again. After a fallow period, I’m finally excited about the work I’m doing. 

I’ve just read Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s memoir Touching the Art and Temim Fruchter’s novel City of Laughter, both of which are stunning, transformative, and beautiful books. 

Rahne Alexander is an intermedia artist and writer.  Her essay collection, Heretic to Housewife, won the 2019 OutWrite Nonfiction Chapbook Prize. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her spouse and their cats, Laverne and Shirley. 


To read work from this awesome contributor in the Audacious Women: An Anthology--and more exciting work that explores the complexity of women in life and literature, get your copy now! Every purchased copy keeps the lights on for small presses doing great things! Thanks for reading!

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