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, Art Young's Good Morning, 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.

Emily's debut chapbook Look Where She Points is available from Plan B Press.

Emily's second chapbook, Conversations with Beethoven and Bach, is available through Amazon.com.

She lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she is a mother of two, pet parent, data processor and adjunct English instructor.

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?