This is Danielle Paradis! A fellow writer and Grant MacEwan graduate, I met Dani when we were working on creating a nude calendar at our school. She writes, reviews, works on her Masters, and was the lead organizer for this year’s Slut Walk in Edmonton. Here, Dani talks about her life of writing, schooling, slut walking, and nail art!
1. Tell me about yourself.
I have a day job doing project coordinating of educational materials related to various trades. I am in school too, taking my Master of Arts in Learning Technology. I love reading. I review a lot of books on sex. Coming up soon I have a review for Violet Blue’s “The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Sex Toys” and will be giving away a copy of the book on my blog. I like knitting too. And hula hooping.
2. What do you write about? What’s your favourite topic, genre, and avenue? What motivates your writing?
Oh a wide range of things! I write about current events, political musings, and intersectional feminism. I write about fashion and beauty. I also write some poetry and fiction. Like every other writer out there I would like to write a novel but I honestly don’t know what I would write about. I have one that I started about 8 years ago (!) In high school but I sort of lost interest.
3. You give voice to many sensitive subjects. What is your biggest struggle when writing a controversial article?
Yes I do end up writing about some sensitive topics. My biggest struggle is the argument. I write to bring awareness to issues where there are still a lot of misconceptions like sexual violence. Sometimes when writing the struggle comes from knowing what is going to happen when the article gets published some topics really bring out the dissenters and everyone expects you to have time to personally address their arguments.
4. You recently took part in Edmonton’s Slut Walk. Can you briefly explain what this is and why it’s important to you?
I was the lead organizer for this year’s slut walk. The movement began when a police officer said some less-than-sensitive remarks about how women should dress in order not to be victimized. Now every SW is slightly different because it conforms to the perspective of the organizer and the needs of the community. I participate because I and many women I know have experiences of sexual violence often without any hope of justice. I’ve been assaulted and never went to the police. A part of the stigma was highlighted by the remarks of the Toronto cop–women are blamed for their sexual assault. We’re scrutinized for behaviour and any hint of sexuality. Society needs to learn that the only person we should blame for rape are the rapists.
5. What advice can you give to aspiring writers?
Go to events where there will be other writers! So much of the time people assume writing is about isolation, but it doesn’t have to be the entirety. A part of getting your foot in the door is to actually know other writers and editors. New media is more social than its predecessors social media is now mandatory. Sure, there are some writers like David Sedaris who are able to get by shunning all technology but the vast majority of us have to get out there to make our voices known.
I also read a lot about writing. “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser is one of my favourites, and I also like Stephen King’s “On Writing” and “Danse Macabre”. “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg is also worth checking out.
6. What’s in the works for you in the near future?
I’m just beginning writing my thesis right now. It is on Open Textbooks. I’m very interested in how technology and education intersect with one another and the ways in which we can enhance society through education. I’m going to keep writing too of course. I’m going to an Open Education conference in November that I am pretty excited about.
7. How do you keep your life playful & brilliant?
Whew boy. Um this can be a challenge when you are writing about dark topics. My friends on Twitter always help with a few pictures of bunnies and a good cat video here and there. In real life I try to go outside and go for walks I find myself cooped up in doors between work and study a lot. I travel when I can. We went to San Francisco and Seattle last year those were two great cities. I don’t think that I am particularly playful I have a pretty serious streak but I mindfully try to lighten up at least occasionally.
Nail art is fun I used to paint but I don’t have a lot of time to do that now. It was mostly water colors. I live in a small space so nail art allows me to still be creative.
8. Anything else you want to add?!
You know when they tell you to write everyday? It is true. Write and read every single day if you want to be a writer. After awhile it becomes a habit. Writing really isn’t that glamorous. You learn to face a lot of rejection. Keep pitching and you’ll get there.
More From Dani!
Thanks Dani! I love Stephen King’s “On Writing” too. I was skeptical at first because of his horror niche, but it was so beautifully written. You can find more from Danielle Paradis on twitter!