Bio

Emily Vieweg, MFA is a poet and playwright originally from St. Louis, Missouri. Her work has been published in Foliate Oak, The Voices Project, Northern Eclecta, Red Weather Literary Magazine, Soundings Review and more. Her one-act play Atomic Lounge was performed in Chicago at the 25th Annual Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Theatre Festival in 2013. She lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she is a mother of two, pet parent, data processor and adjunct English instructor.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Go Fund Me - Post-MFA Creative Writing Teaching Certificate - RESIDENCY



Hello!

I am thrilled to say that I have been accepted into the Post-MFA Creative Writing Teaching Certificate program at Antioch University in Los Angeles! 

This is a low-residency program, meaning that I only have to be on campus twice in a year for ten days. I have applied for financial aid and scholarships, and have been offered a Fellowship for tuition! I am looking for help to fund travel to LA. 

I've already reached out to couchsurfing.com and airbnb locations for lodging, so that will hopefully be taken care of on my own - what I need help with is airfare. 

If I book today, the lowest price is about $350 round trip from Fargo, ND to Los Angeles, CA. (I've never been to LA!) So I'm not sure what the airfare will be like when I actually book on November 1.

If everyone who sees this donates one dollar ($1.00), I will be able to fund the travel to California. One dollar from each of my contacts is all I need - will you help me get there? 

The Post-MFA Teaching Certificate program is going to help me learn how to effectively teach Creative Writing and English Composition classes at the college level. 
I have found my passion in teaching, now I need to learn how to do it! 

 If I am unable to raise at least $500 before October 31, 2016, I will cancel the campaign and refund all donations - so there's no risk. 

 Thank you so much for helping me achieve my dream of teaching the next generation of writers.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A white voice has something to say about privilege.

My children were born white, so they have privilege. It was not my predetermined intention to bring white children into the world, it just so happens that my children are white because their fathers are also white.
Race has never been a required concern for me, and for that I apologize. I apologize for not realizing that race does matter. I was raised to treat everyone with respect, regardless of race or color or religion. So in that sense, a person's humanity is what I base a friendship on - the idea of race or color as a qualification for friendship was not on my list of requirements.
I do not know the fears a family shares with their blackness or brownness, because I was born white.
I do not have to fear for my son's well-being driving in the "good" part of town wearing a hoodie, because he is white.
I do not understand the struggles of my brothers and sisters of color - and I do not pretend to understand. Theirs is a struggle for equality that has been in process for generations.
My struggle for equality is different.
I am a woman.
I am a white woman.
I am a white LGBTQ woman.
The difference between myself and others is that I can hide my difference and jump back into the closet any time I want/need to. I am lucky.
I am a mother first. When that teenager was sobbing over the death of his father, all I wanted to do was dive through that television and comfort him, because I saw a child. A grieving child who now holds fear in his heart about the people who are supposed to protect us...
Protect US - ALL OF US... Not just white us.
A personal note to Cameron Sterling:
Dear Cameron,
Please, child, please know that I am mourning with you - I am crying with you. I do not know you, but I love you. I wish there was something we could do to bring your father back and this was all just a bad dream... I wish. We cannot do anything to bring him back, and I am so desperately sorry for your loss. Your loss is irrefutably unfair.

For what it's worth, my heart is with you, your family, your mother, and your community. 
Do not try to be strong right now.
Weep, mourn, and surround yourself with people who love you and who can be strong for you.
There are hundreds of thousands of us, mourning your loss.
I wish for peace in your heart, sweet boy.
All my thoughts, heart and love to you during this time and forever more,
Emily Vieweg, Mother of Two, Fargo, ND.
I am so afraid of where this all could go. So afraid that this civil war that has been brewing for generations will implode and consume us as a civilization.
I never imagined that my children would have to live in a world full of hatred and fear. Granted, my children, being white, do not fear the same people that their friends of color fear. I hope I can teach my children to use their privilege to help communicate the injustices of this world - to use their privilege not to holler their own needs - but the needs of other voices that must be heard.
I fear for us. I fear for the families of everyone gunned in recent days, months and years. I fear for the children of law enforcement who will now be targeted just because of their parent's profession. I have friends and family on both sides of this issue. I have cousins and their children who are multi-racial. I have friends who put on a uniform and badge every day. Honest, lawful officers who want to keep citizens safe. So who do I choose to support? My black cousins or my officer friends? Perhaps my naivete is the reason I believe it is possible to choose both.
Just because I love my black family members does not mean I disregard the lives of officers lost. Just because I mourn for my police officer friends does not mean that I disrespect the lives of my black cousins.
Hopefully we can work together to heal the pain - but I don't know if it will happen in my lifetime...
I am so afraid for all of our children.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hate is a Disease

Hate stems from fear, which stems from misunderstanding which stems from miscommunication which stems from not listening which stems from not being heard yourself.... which stems from fear...

I am afraid of the future in a country with Trump in the White House.
While I am afraid, I do not hate him - I despise his tactics, his views, his opinions - but I do not hate the man - I do not know the man...

Hate is a disease.

Many diseases spread through interaction with others. Hate spreads not just through speech, but also through actions.

Hate is a lack of communication.

Communication is two-way. One person speaks, the other listens, and if he does not understand, must ask questions in order to understand.

Hate is a lack of understanding.

Not just the lack of understanding, but the lack of the desire to understand. The lack of the desire to understand stems from fear... of being misunderstood, or just walked over.

All behavior is communication.

Life is full of communication, of fear, of doubt, of anger and frustration - people are angry, and anger is healthy, it means that people have voices and want to share them. The problem comes with the messages spewed because of anger - because of the frustration, and because of the pain someone has in his or her heart.

I have anger towards intolerance and injustice. I have anger towards those people who hold hatred in their hearts instead of listening and asking questions. We cannot help each other by screaming and yelling the loudest - no one can hear anyone else if everyone is screaming - understanding only comes from listening.
Unfortunately, not everyone wants to understand. I suppose I am naive, or maybe just a wishful thinker - but our future is in our own hands. I am a single mother of two children - both of whom would be considered "losers" by one of the candidates for President of the United States - simply because they were born having special needs.
My children are my world - and when someone in search for power is demeaning to my children and people like my children, I not only become angry, I become sad. I am alive because of my children. My children make me who I am, and I'll be damned if someone tells me they are not worth the air they breathe - just because they were born different.

If people in power do not listen to the public, we will not survive as a society. The USA is a laughingstock across the world. The way we are allowing our leaders to treat us is demented. Some of us are speaking out and trying to fight - but the only way to fight hatred is with love - but hate pays better. That's why hate wins.

This is shameful. What are we teaching our children by allowing the media to spin reports? When did reporting the truth become more difficult? Do people even care about the truth anymore? I doubt it - look at the popular TV these days - the days of the family sitcom have been replaced by scripted "reality" tv. These people are teaching our children that fake is better than real... that being someone else is better than being yourself... that being beautiful on the outside will get you anything you want - especially attention.

I fear for my children. My son is finishing his junior year in high school and I fear for his adulthood. My daughter is entering preschool and I fear for her childhood. I can only protect them for so long, soon they will be online and pursued by hateful individuals and stalked by celebrity and the idea of being popular...

My optimism is still there - I hope for a better future for my children, but right now I am just afraid - afraid that we are making futures impossible for our children. I do not want to have to teach my children to fear before trusting...  I miss the innocence of my childhood. I wish my children could live in that time. A time when guns in school were not the norm - a time when being called to Room 202 to pick up your detention slip was not a positive - a time when kids talked to each other instead of texted...  we have done this to our children... we have made it possible for our children to become plugged in...

I suppose I've rambled on enough.

Hate is a disease - it is contagious - it is dangerous - and it is here, all around us. Shoved down our throat with words, but more so with actions.
Fight Hate.
Embrace Care.
Embrace Concern.
Embrace Communication.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Desire for Nothing

I am struggling to find time to write, even though I have so many ideas scrambling through my head, I need some spare time to sit and just be quiet and write.
Then I find myself watching another episode of CSI Miami and it's almost 1am but I just can't seem to relax enough to go upstairs for bed.
We've been in the new house for a couple weeks now but it's still so new - still not "home" yet. Moving twice in six months - first from my shared apartment to my parents' house - then from my parents' house to my new rental home...
The kids are adjusting fine - it's me that has issues.

This is supposed to be my blog about writing - but since my work is inspired by real-life moments and feelings, this post fits.

Lounging on my new-to-me sofa last night I just kept watching TV. I wanted to move, wanted to get up and create something - but my desire for nothing overcame that.

A Desire For Nothing.
Good title.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

LGBTQ Rights are Human Rights

Today as I flitted through my Twitter and Facebook announcements, I realized what happened in
North Carolina and how it affects my LBGTQ brothers and sisters.
What happened? The North Carolina Legislature passed a bill that would permit legal discrimination.
North Carolina has made it a law to allow discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

The only protected classes recognized by the state will be race, color, national origin and biological sex.

Shameful.

So now what?
I personally cannot travel to North Carolina and protest for my brothers and sisters, however I urge anyone who has some vacation time coming or free time to share the outrage and horrible mistreatment of our brothers and sisters.

This means businesses in North Carolina may refuse service to anyone who is openly (or just inferred) LGBTQ. An apartment complex may turn away a family with two dads because they do not agree with the lifestyle. (That same apartment complex may also turn away a single parent family, a group of unrelated people, or a person on state assistance).

It is my understanding that this bill started with a reference to a "bathroom bill" where people must use a public restroom that aligns with a person's sex assigned at birth (hence, Men's Room for penises, Women's Room for vaginas).

If people are so worried about what is in another's pants, perhaps they must look at themselves and wonder why so many who are looking for smaller government are seeking more laws to invade privacy.

If I must, I will reassure those legislators in North Carolina that they are comfortable in the men's room. I will sit outside and ask each and every person, "Do you identify as male? Yes? Prove it. Oh, you're a man, but I can't be sure - I need you to show me. No? then you must use the women's room. Wait! If you seek to use the women's restroom you must prove that you are a woman. You will need to prove it and show me. Wait, you mean that's an invasion of your privacy? But you just passed this bill that says we may assure you are indeed male if you wish to use the male facilities. Thank you. Now you are under arrest for indecent exposure."

It seems silly, but perhaps this is the type of action that needs to take place in order to make the point.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Open the Door...

I have always known that I was different from others, but I couldn't understand why. When I was growing up I thought everyone grew up in a loving, encouraging household with parents who cared about what the kids did after school and made them do homework and had rules. Whenever my sister and I were in a difficult situation (booze, smoking, whatever) - we could always say, "You know what my parents will do when they find out?" and our friends would say, "Oooh, yeah. don't do this stuff."

My eyes opened to the unequalness of our society when I was in college. Before that I noticed things like racism and hatred and bullying, but I was ignorant to things that didn't involve me at all.

In college I went to a conference in Des Moines. It was a Gay Pride event, and I was supporting a friend who has just come out to me. In my naivete I compared it to AA - how we don't go around saying, "Hi my name is Emily and I'm an alcoholic" - so why would someone announce to the world, "Hi my name is Emily and I'm gay." Being so blunt seemed like making a big deal - I didn't care if someone was gay or not, it was a non-issue for me. I didn't care, it didn't matter - you're my friend - if you're gay, straight, bi, trans, queer, black, white, asian, native american - I didn't pay attention to those things. Now that I am older (pushing 40), I see that by not noticing those things, or at least, not taking those things into consideration, that I was denying the very makeup of a person.

With the recent political upheavals happening in our country, the very lifeline of our humanity is in jeopardy. I cannot sit back and say, "that doesn't affect me." I will not sit back and say, "well he's just being a jerk."

What is happening is wrong. Hatred is being spewed between families, we are in the midst of a great disaster - our melting pot is going to boil over and everyone must take a stand.

People say that "those foreigners are taking away our jobs."
Not quite - the business owners are sending our jobs overseas for monetary gain. A worker in the US must earn at least minimum wage. Send the same job to a developing country, the wage is drastically reduced - thus making more money for the company. Don't like it? Boycott the company - do not blame people in another country for stealing anything - They didn't take it. It was offered to them.

People say that "whites don't understand being black in America."
You're right, I don't. I am a white woman with two white children. I don't have to warn my son about profiling, to make sure he wears a cardigan instead of a hoodie to school, to stop immediately and put his hands up if someone yells, "YOU THERE" and don't fight it. My son is not in danger of being shot just for walking down the street in a sweatshirt and jeans.
I don't know what it's like to be called the N word and spit on and denied entrance to a restaurant just because of my skin color. I don't understand how to tame a gorgeous mane of curly hair - and I also don't know if I'm being offensive to you - if I am, please tell me so we can have a discussion and I can learn something.

People say "what do you care, you're one of THEM."
I'm one of who? The Whites? The people who invaded this land to claim it for England?
No, I'm not one of THEM. I am me. I was raised to treat every single human being with honor and dignity, regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, belief system, gender identity, sexual preference... I am pained when I hear that someone has been killed, regardless of the circumstances. I am pained when a child is disowned for being gay or bi or trans, because if one cannot be safe at home, where can they possibly be safe?
I'm not one of THEM. I am one of US.

Do I understand your struggle? No, I do not understand your struggle. I understand mine. So let's talk about your life and your struggle, because how can I know anything if you don't let me in? How can there be any kind of communication without give-and-take? I'll start...

My name is Emily.
I am a single mother of two.
My son is sixteen and my daughter is three.
I have never been married.
I was diagnosed with BiPolar at age 29.
I had my son before I finished college and he was 9 months old when I graduated.
15 years later I earned my Master of Fine Arts Degree.
I work a full time job and a part time teaching job.
Sometimes I receive child support but I have learned to not count on it.
I was sexually assaulted at 18 and self-medicated with booze.

I just opened the door.
I just shared some very intimate information.
Will you knock, enter and share with me?


Thursday, March 10, 2016

My newest publication and the inspiration behind it.

Hello, everyone.
I am pleased to promote my newest poem Thoughts on an Appalachian Waltz that has been published in The Notebook #5: Women and the Land.
You can learn more about The Grassroots Women Project here.

Thoughts on an Appalachian Waltz was inspired by a piece of music, Appalachia Waltz, by Mark O'Connor. While listening to this piece of music on a random Sunday afternoon, pictures of a lifestyle came into my head and I started writing.

In my head I saw a man wandering through the fields with his scythe, standing on the top of a hill, looking across his land with tears in his eyes. I wondered what could possibly have caused this man to grieve so, in such lush countryside, and then I saw it. Across the way, near the trees at the edge of his property, was a gravestone. No names, no dates, just "loving wife and mother" etched onto the stone.

Soon his older children come, dressed in their Sunday clothes, the oldest boy carries a small grain sack with flowers sewn in. These five men carry the package down the hill to the gravesite, where I see another son digging.

As the men attempt to keep their strength, the oldest lowers the package into the freshly-dug grave. I see blonde hair peeking out.

I see geese, cows, a mule and chickens gathering at the top of the hill, as if they know someone dear is now gone.

As I sit here listening to my inspiration, I see the scene explicitly. Listen to O'Connor's work. What do you see?