Riot Woman with Marlee Grace

I’m so excited to share this conversation with Marlee Grace with all of you. Marlee is a dancer, writer, podcaster, creative advisor, and the author of the book How to Not Always Be Working. She also runs Center, an artist residency and creative space in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She will be leading a dance and writing workshop entitled Composition + Practice in the Catskills May 17 to 19, 2019.

I first met Marlee in 2013 when she was just beginning her shop Have Company in Grand Rapids in Michigan. She discovered my book Grow, a field guide for success and sustainability for DIY creatives, and reached out about carrying it in the shop. She went on to build a very successful shop and artist residency selling creative, handmade goods. I reconnected with Marlee early this year over Instagram (of course) and was thrilled to find how she’s grown as a creative and uses her many platforms to create, as she puts it “containers for people to empower themselves.”

Much of her work is centered improvisation, self-reflection, healing, growing, and charting new paths for yourself, all themes that have come into my life strongly over the past month. In this episode we talk about her recent tour with her long-time friend Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee; the power of zines and DIY in a digital era; and how to disconnect (including her great IGTV video “Don’t Let the App Get You Down”); the necessary shift from Do It Yourself to Do It Together; surviving capitalism and valuing yourself in order to be generous to others; the importance of ritual and finding harmony between many interests; and reaching beyond punk in order to bring your work and values to a wider audience.

Marlee also discusses inspiration from people like Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, Dori Midnight, Mary Evans of Spirit Speak, and adrienne maree brown’s book Emergent Strategy.

On a personal note, I have spent the past five weeks starting to re-build my life after a fire destroyed my home in Sunset Park, Brooklyn in early April. My building was home to about 50 other families, including many with elderly relatives and small children living there. Fortunately everyone was safe, but many of us (including me) lost our pets and the majority of our belongings. If you would like to support our community, especially those who were without insurance, please consider donating to the 44th Street Fire Community Fund. Every bit helps! Funds will be distributed equally to building residents and are being administrated by our local, non-profit Business Improvement District. Thank you to all who have supported and for all the support you have shown me so far!

This episode features the song “Half Lie” by Taleen Kali. Riot Woman artwork and logo by Aurora Lady. Listen and subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Eleanor Whitney