Complete the sentence, “Being an Aries is like…”
Madeleine Maillet: Waking up and realizing today is the day you’re going on a trip and you haven’t packed our bought your ticket yet but you DGAF you’re just excited you’ll be seeing things you haven’t seen before…
Dorothea Lasky: A constantly shifting planet that unfortunately has to make room for all of the other planets out there!
Chelsea Bieker: Wearing a gold spandex jumpsuit everywhere in your mind and sometimes IRL.
Beyza Ozer: i’m forever on fire, but in a good way? i think?
Marwa Helal: constantly alternating between:
Talin Tahajian: Running down an alleyway that’s opening wider and wider into a field of poppies. But it is also twisting and turning everywhere.
Caroline Belle Stewart: Shooting headfirst into a burning ball of garbage.
Aria Aber: …wearing Britney’s fiery red overall in her Oops, I did it Again video, while hitting yourself with a torch. Or waking up while sliding down an impossible and infinite highway on rollerblades without brakes. Or feeling like a wife of all the volcanoes… and yes, often I am also shooting headfirst into many things ablaze.
Do you identify with your astrological sign? How
Dorothea Lasky: I definitely do, and I think that I am happiest when I am busy and productive and starting new projects (and definitely never finishing them). I love relationships and ideas that are brand new and that is when I feel most alive–and most Aries. That being said, I have a Scorpio moon and I feel like a Scorpio a lot, especially internally. I can be extremely sensitive and I hold lifelong grudges. Also, once my Aries obsessive nature has kicked in and I have truly fallen for something or someone, I feel that way for seemingly forever, with undeniable (and undeniably crazy) concentration.
Talin Tahajian: I’m still learning what it means to be an Aries. My Aquarius moon and Scorpio ascendant make a lot more sense to me. I feel those in my bones. Aries feels more like a small bird who perches on top of all that who maybe I don’t know very well. She’s always flitting around but also pecking at me. I know Aries is meant to be a ram but my Aries is a little ram-bird. I’m so stubborn and obsessive, though. The ram-bird claws at me.
Marwa Helal: Definitely. I am a first born; my nickname since childhood has been Mars, the planet that rules our sign; born on 4/2 and Mars being the fourth planet from the sun, and second smallest in the solar system, feels like a small cosmic poem. I’m a natural leader but my Pisces moon lets my Aries sun/Leo rising know when to have a seat.
Madeleine Maillet: Yes, I had to stop smoking because I would just do it all day long. I am a child of fire: neurotic, busy, and extremely proud. If I didn’t have a Libra moon I would never know when to shut up.
Chelsea Bieker: I really do. I’ve been addicted to AstroPoets—thank you Dorothea!—for awhile now and whenever I read the Aries posts I’m like YES that’s so me. (If you haven’t followed AstroPoets on Twitter do it right now.) I’m actually so excited Dorothea is contributing to this—I really just want to read what she says. I think as an Aries I have to always keep my ego in check. I don’t know if you fellow Aries have this issue, but it’s like my ego can get out of control but I’m simultaneously battling self-doubt all the time. It’s a real mindfuck. I’m not good enough, I’m not good enough, I’m so good! I’m so good!
beyza ozer: it’s difficult for me to figure it out because i’m an aries/taurus cusp. it feels like i’m split between two signs that both have so much pull and so much power. i definitely identify with both aries and taurus, but i don’t think i know which parts of me are which. i feel the need to stay busy constantly, but my stubbornness can get in the way of me learning how or when to quit something that doesn’t deserve my attention. i’m EXTREMELY obsessive, and this can get weird because my obsessiveness can be confused with my passion. being alone terrifies me, i think about space 24/7, etc.
Caroline Belle Stewart: I’m right on the Pisces cusp, born on the first day of spring (LOL @ spring) but I feel peak Aries. I think that is because I am loud, argumentative, anxious…um my sheets are red, I flush a lot, I am into lighting things on fire. One Aries trait I read about long ago is that we are prone to health issues with our heads (because we are always ramming things with our horns!). That ominously stuck with me, and I always wondered how that would pan out — and then I got an MRI and now I know!!! #brainlesions
Chelsea Bieker: Caroline, that’s so interesting–I have so many migraines and headaches. Now I know why.
Aria Aber: I am definitely an Aries, but my Leo rising contributes to a doubled up load of flames in my chart so that I feel like I am on fire 24/7. The overarching presence of my ruling planet Mars is also undeniable, even if I do not want to admit it. I am prone to starting fights and anger issues, a true warrior Ares (Aries / Aria). From an early age on I could feel the horns growing on my head, esp. when my stubbornness ended up hitting my head hard against all kinds of walls (which goes both ways–I will fight for my cause, and never give up, occasionally breaking the wall 🙂 ) But I also enjoy the frolicking energy that comes along with being the child of the zodiac, the beginner of things.
How does being an Aries affect your writing life?
Dorothea Lasky: I think it is good to be an Aries poet, because I never have writer’s block. I feel an endless stream of ideas and words, if I just take a silent moment to tap into them. It also affects my ability to archive my work. I tend to have half-lines everywhere on random scraps of paper and on my phone and things aren’t always organized correctly for me to save many poems in lots of cases. It’s probably all for the best anyway!
Madeleine Maillet: Getting lost in my writing. Being willing to let my writing lose its form. These are assets and also drawbacks.
beyza ozer: lately writing for me has been hard, but when i do feel like i have something to write, it happens in the oddest places. while i’m walking in the snow, eating a bagel, on the elliptical. i think my life is in a state of flux right now, and it really affects my writing in a way that isn’t good or bad, it’s just happening when it allows itself to happen.
Caroline Belle Stewart: My stories are all about overheated women who go around fucking or wanting to fuck everyone, and I’m constantly angry when I’m writing them.
Marwa Helal: I think my Pisces moon is the actual writer, while the Aries sun is its manager handling submissions, signing contracts, and Leo rising is what you see when I’m doing a reading — it handles all social activities while Pisces moon takes notes and the creative cycle repeats itself. My Aries sun does love a good freewrite tho. ? Aries is also attracted to/protector of life in all of its beautiful variations, so there’s no end to feeling inspiration. I also feel it’s worth mentioning that we are warriors and those Aries of us who write are usually “righting” not just writing… I often wish I could use a sword instead of a pen, that comes through in my work though.
Chelsea Bieker: I relate to what Dorothea said about never having writer’s block and having a seeming infinite thought stream to tap into, which I see as an asset. Also, I think I’ve always felt a drive to write because I wanted pain to mean something. I wanted the traumatic affecting experiences I’ve had to eventually have a positive meaning and worth, and writing was my natural way into that. To me it’s a real fear that I could live my life and pain will ultimately amount to nothing. When I write I can see it right there on the page—a tactile object I can hold that seems to quell my ever raging heart for a even a few minutes. As an Aries, I think I probe my characters in the same way I wish someone would probe me, or maybe it mirrors how I like to be with other people—in vulnerable positions of connection and confession. The older I get the more this seems to manifest in my work and less with every random person I meet, which is more energizing and less exhausting.
Talin Tahajian: I really like what Marwa is saying about the respective administrative and artistic roles of her signs. I think my Aquarius moon writes and my ram-bird should be the editor but isn’t. But maybe my ram-bird pushes and prods me to write in the first place. I’m very bad at heavily editing or changing my work once it’s all on the page. The poem that was in Cosmonauts Avenue really comes from this: I wrote it in a very high tower full of books and started crying halfway through and the very next day I submitted what remained of it, after all that, without even catching a typo.
Aria Aber: An Aries’s natural inclination towards the extreme (amplified in my Leo / Aries case) leads to a fearlessness in terms of subject matter and experiment, or so I am lead to believe. I adore Marwa’s response so much–often I feel like I’m using a sword instead of a pen, that there’s a lot of fighting involved in my “righting…,” for better or worse. Either way, I think the Aries habit of haphazardly starting things, as Dorothea mentioned above, is both fruitful and deadening for my writing, because I too have a million unfinished projects, an entire collection of beginnings for poems, notebooks brimming with scraps and ideas and lines and phrases, iPhone notes and Word documents filled with endless revisions and variations of poems and ghosts of poems and skeletons of poems. The editor in me is probably my Capricorn moon, who cuts the crap and seines the bodies out of the dark and messy sewer system.
Jane Dykema: I have a hard time finishing things if I have an idea how they’ll end. If I’ve thought it, I feel like I’ve already written it. I have to be a little afraid while I’m writing of where things are going and my ability to take them there.
What qualities in writing/reading are you drawn to
Dorothea Lasky: I think because I am an Aries and I love performance I am most attracted to the performance of language in both reading and writing. Perhaps this is why I am drawn to poetry and am a poet–as poetry is the most performative you can get. The next step after poetry is the visual, the absolute performance, I guess. All this to say, when I am reading or writing new work I pay close attention to form and to sound, more than I pay attention to the content of what is being written or the “meaning.”
Talin Tahajian: I’m an Aries so my attention needs to be held or I’ll just go pushing ahead to the next thing. The best way a poem can do this is by describing something in a way it’s never been described before. I recently saw an academic denounce the power of comparing things that have never been compared for the sake of newness and I disagree. The efficacy of comparison as a methodology (for description, explanation, or anything else) is always burning, I think. In a generative way.
Caroline Belle Stewart: I am with Dorothea on sound and performance. Now I get to attribute that to being Aries! Maybe Aries is also why I like intense fiery language and intense fiery subject matter — like sex, mental illness, and birds of prey.
Chelsea Bieker: I always want to know the dirtiest details possible. If it seems like a book or piece of writing is holding back the dirt, I’m not interested. I feel similar in friendships. I want to know everything all the time. So I’m really interested in first person accounts of women characters generally, that have a sense of confession and relentless observation of others and their surroundings. I love writing that doesn’t look away. Writing that’s not too poised. Cruddy by Lynda Barry is this way to me, Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter, Farewell Navigator by Leni Zumas, Tampa by Alissa Nutting, White Oleander by Janet Fitch. And then all the Southern gothic queens—Dorothy Alison, Flannery O’Connor, Annie Proulx.
Marwa Helal: Vernacular, vernacular, vernacular; innovative syntax; disruptive enjambments; creating new forms; the element of surprise; anything that changes my mind; or when I can recognize another’s genius in their work.
Aria Aber: I am most drawn to subversion of language in all its rules, or for detecting the oddities within its system of rules and highlighting them. I want duende, the axe, I want to be broken open. I want poetry to wake up the language we’re sleeping in.
beyza ozer: as long as my attention is kept by the first few poems, i’m all in. lately i’ve been trying to only read work by POC, queer, trans, and other marginalized writers. i think this has been able to restore my hope in humanity as well.
Jane Dykema: I like first-person, strong-voiced weirdos, love stories, categoryless relationships, people thinking they’re crazy but they’re not, people thinking they’re crazy and they are.
Are there habits (good or bad) you attribute to being an Aries
Dorothea Lasky: My good habits include that Aries otherworldy drive, which allows me to work past points of exhaustion and mood. I wouldn’t ever call it ambition, just determination to do something well. My bad habits relate closely to this, as probably the worst Aries part of my personality is my extreme obsessiveness. Once I am fixated on something, it’s hard for me to be chill about it and this is a source of my major anxiety and anger problems.
Talin Tahajian: I think the part of me that obsessively checks and clocks things is the ram-bird. The ram-bird worries about all my friends all the time. This might seem out of character for an Aries but it has to do with neurotic instinct and rigidity.
Caroline Belle Stewart: The Aries is a compulsive masturbator, very motivated, with a terribly cruel laugh, dives deep into her work sometimes at the expense of others, passionate yet organized in everything she does — even around the house! — cannot be tamed, very articulate, can set enemies on fire with her eyes, goes everywhere in a Volvo (Mars symbol, boys), makes a great employer but a terrible employee (#leaders am I right??), and all her cutting boards are stained with pomegranate flesh, blood and red wine.
Marwa Helal: Aries is a starter, so the biggest struggle for me was learning how to finish projects or commit to them. Otherwise, Aries is a doer and I can rely on my to do lists to break my work into small pieces and get them out of my computer or notebook.
Chelsea Bieker: I have no doubt in my abilities to get shit done (good). Spend too much time obsessing and worrying about outcomes I can’t control (bad).
Aria Aber: I agree with everything Caroline said. Preach. The only attribute I occasionally mourn about my Aries self is the stubbornness of mind, that deep urge and determination to win, which ultimately stems from a solid and loud ego.
Madeleine Maillet: Yes, Caroline, we are compulsive masturbators, and have other fine small motor skills, such as ✍️and giving hand massages.
beyza ozer: we’re probably too neurotic about things like time and commitments and productivity but who fucking cares.
Jane Dykema: My roommate, Ryan, often told me I was the laziest piece of shit he’s ever known. I think Aries enters in at my total confidence in being loved regardless.
What survival tactics do you have to offer fellow Aries
Dorothea Lasky: Always take a step back before you speak. Because we very rarely mean what we say in the moment. Or we definitely may mean it, but we will regret it later most likely. Try not to let others rush you and make you nervous and do things without thinking–which is what we are prone to do, of course.
Caroline Belle Stewart: Don’t smoke because you will either burn your house down or give yourself an autoimmune disease that worsens your Aries situation.
Jane Dykema: That’s my house Caroline’s talking about.
Marwa Helal: I concur with Caroline. When I was in Paris a couple of years ago, I chain smoked a pack of cloves, (because you can smoke everywhere there) and spent the night thinking I was dying as my entire body went numb from the anesthetic chemical eugenol contained in them. ://// Also, don’t play with fire. You have to be intentional with those flames.
Chelsea Bieker: Paying to cry in front of a counselor on a weekly basis is the best money I’ve ever spent.
Talin Tahajian: Why are we all pyromaniacs? Be careful with yourself.
Aria Aber: …what is there left to say? Stay close to the fire extinguisher at house parties.
beyza ozer: turn that fire into words & fuck yeah.
What sign drives you crazy? Why?
Dorothea Lasky: I have a few Capricorn friends I love, but generally the manipulative and self-righteous combination in that sign drives me nuts. I don’t like how they walk around with this air that they own everything. To an Aries, that means they are challenging us and I have to stop myself often from flipping out on them. Of course, when I really like a Capricorn, these same qualities attract me to them with extreme intensity. Another sign? I have a million air signs in my life, especially Geminis and some Libras (I wish I had more Aquarians around me actually), and while by now, I get them and love/accept them, they can make me upset if I don’t steel myself often from their changeable emotions and the mean things they say. They tie me in knots and although as an Aries, I am supposed to like this excitement it really just erodes at my spirit after a while. That being said, when it’s good, it’s great, like a fresh breeze on my flames. Otherwise, Scorpios get to me because I want them around me at all times and they never like me as much as I like them. They drive me crazy in the best ways, except after they reject me (which they always do eventually), and then they make me the saddest.
Madeleine Maillet: My sister is a Capricorn and before we were able to deny ourselves (before we were mature) all we did was fight.
Chelsea Bieker: I don’t know if I have a single sign that makes me crazy, but I will say my most tumultuous breakup was with a Gemini.
Talin Tahajian: Scorpio scorpio scorpio scorpio scorpio
Caroline Belle Stewart: Ha ha ha! Aries!
Marwa Helal: Aries men. ? Yea, you.
Aria Aber: Libras just seem impenetrable to me, but I also have a problem with Capricorns.
beyza ozer: literally everyone is trash so i don’t have a great answer for this question.
What sign do you love / couldn’t live without?
Dorothea Lasky: To be honest, I don’t know that I have found this sign yet. I always end up with a lot of Scorpio friends. I get along usually with Sagittarians, but usually up until a point. It’s hard for me to not get along with an Aquarius. I’d love to have more Leos in my life, too. But I am not sure if there is one sign that feels like home to me. I blame the competing forces of my sun and moon.
Madeleine Maillet: My longest standing friendships have been with Sag’s and Leo’s cause I love to bask in the sun. But I have sought out Pisces for their empathy and awareness. They love to talk like I do, and their depth of feeling is inspiring. It’s my Dad’s sign, so it probably helps that because of this I never take my Pisces’ friends moodiness personally. Aquarius’, of course, are visionaries. Naturally, I find their androgyny and systemic thinking to be beguiling because my Aries’ sun values originality and drive above all else. When it comes to Scorpios, I’m with Dorothea. Because Aries’ are not about tact, I see in their unyielding nature only conviction and will. Even their secrecy and jealousy add to their charm, because I see their endless willingness to question the world and themselves and also their energy for talking and fucking and jogging and taking up smoking and quitting smoking and writing and reading, and I’m like whatever, it’s a burden, being twice born, they more than merit their foibles and vices. I am also insecure about how much my Scorpio friends like me, just yesterday I sent a Scorpio an email with the subject, I miss you so I hope you miss me too.
Caroline Belle Stewart: Libra and Aquarius have played major roles in my life. My college boyfriend and then my post-college boyfriend were Aquarius, and then my gradschool roommate/BFF as well as my gradschool boyfriend were Libra. I have spent nearly 10 years living with one Aquarius or Libra or another. Wait also my BFF from kindergarten is Libra. Hey guys!!!!! Now I’m looking at the zodiac. Libra and Aquarius bookend three other personally meaningful signs — Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Capricorn — that are held by people I am deeply in love with (and my mom). So basically if you were born in a fall or winter month, I am or have been in love with you. I don’t know anything about these cold-weather signs, but I will hazard a guess that they are artistic, balanced, and venomous, and this is why I’m so in love with them. Now my Virgo high school BFF is freaking because I left out Virgo, and I also need to throw a bone to a couple Taurus BFFs (and my sis). Hey guys!!!!! Lol sorry dad, you are an Aries.
Marwa Helal: Leo
Talin Tahajian: Some Pisces have kept me alive, I think. But both my mom and my sister are Geminis and I have such a deep love for and understanding of that sign, even more than my own signs.
Chelsea Bieker: Cancers. Both my most intense, long-standing friendships are with cancers. I often feel that we balance each other really well, and I feel a sense of deep understanding with them I’ve never had with another sign. With both of these friends I can let all my true Aries colors show and feel totally understood and accepted—for the good and the really really ugly. One of the friends I made in childhood, and one in adulthood. I’d say my adulthood friend who’s a cancer must know me from another life. My daughter is a Leo, so I’ll say Leo, too. She’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.
Aria Aber: Leo, Pisces, Scorpio, Gemini, Sagittarius, fellow Aries. I love my Cancers too. Apparently I love all of them!
beyza ozer: i got a tattoo with the pisces constellation for my mom so i guess i’m stuck with pisces forever. i’ll also say taurus because i’m a cuspie.
⚡️ What lyrics most describe an Aries? ⚡️
I want your ugly
I want your disease
I want your everything
As long as it’s free
I want your love
I want your love
(“Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga)
Caroline Belle Stewart:
Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me if it’s just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you away
Dream on, dream on, dream on,
Dream yourself a dream come true
Dream on, dream on, dream on,
Dream until your dreams come true
Dream on, dream on, dream on,
Dream on, dream on,
Dream on, dream on, ah
(“Dream On,” Aerosmith)
When I heard Kelis sing “Bossy” for the first time over ten years ago, I was driving around Fresno in my broke down Chevy Malibu smoking a Marlboro Menthol Light 100 and thought, Did I write this song? Not sure what this says about me…
I’m the first girl to scream on a track
I switched up the beat of the drum
That’s right I brought all the boys to the yard
And that’s right, I’m the one that’s tattooed on his arm
I’m the chick y’all love to hate
I’m the chick that’s raised the stake
Marwa Helal: Yes, Chelsea! Same. Also…
“i’m goin in and ima go hard” and “i do what i do and you do what you can do about it…” [mar]weezy
Touch if you will my stomach
Feel how it trembles inside
You’ve got the butterflies all tied up
Don’t make me chase you
Even doves have pride
How can you just leave me standing?
Alone in a world so cold? (World so cold)
Maybe I’m just too demanding
Maybe I’m just like my father too bold…
(“When Doves Cry”, Prince)
Let me pick through the empty dirt
And the rotten wood and the shoddy work
Cause I’m interested, and our carpenter is so elegant at placing splinters
Right beneath my nails, where I cannot dig them out
But the same briars from your ribs are the tinder in my father’s house
And I know, I know, I know, I know
I know myself better than anybody else
And you’re gonna run
You’re gonna run when you find out who I am
–– Everybody Does by Julien Baker
Famous Aries you adore?
Dorothea Lasky: I’ve always felt most kindred with Mariah Carey. That is also because she and I share the same birthday (3/27) and we both have Scorpio moons/Sagittarius risings.
Madeleine Maillet: Maya Angelou and Hans Christian Anderson, ???.
Chelsea Bieker: Flannery O’Connor, born a day before me. She’s a forever hero. Non-famous Aries: my own husband. He’s on the opposite end of Aries, closer to Taurus, and I’m closer to Pisces. If someone wants to analyze the potential success of our marriage I’m way open to that.
Caroline Belle Stewart: Just read on the internet that Aerosmith is an Aries.
Jane Dykema: http://www.famousbirthdays.com/astrology/aries.html
Marwa Helal: Hans Christian Andersen (we share the same birthday), Maya Angelou forever, and Jackie Chan.
Talin Tahajian: Chance is an Aries—
Aria Aber: Maya Angelou. And Leonora Carrington, with whom I share my birthday.
beyza ozer: sarah michelle gellar bc buffy.
Common misconception about your sign?
Dorothea Lasky: That we are brutes with these blunt emotions and blind anger. That’s true if you aren’t really paying attention. We are actually very subtle and nerdy and sensitive to others’ feelings. We don’t actually want to hurt anyone ever and are basically gentle. I think though whoever thinks Aries crave attention all day long is entirely correct. It’s not that Aries want to be smothered, but we definitely want the option to be noticed and adored every. single. moment. Anything less is just depressing.
Jane Dykema: We’re a bit bullheaded, right? But I spend a lot of time thinking about all the things I’ve done wrong. But, now that I think about it, not changing. So rather than blindly charging forward, I do a lot of reflection and inaction.
Caroline Belle Stewart: I agree with what Jane is saying about reflecting without acting. Inaction and reception are the opposite of the Aries stereotype. That we could think AND just sit there seems unfathomable. Dorothea mentioned never having writer’s block, but consider me blocked!
Chelsea Bieker: That we’re a bit emotionally cold/all stubborn with no soft. But truly I’m very sensitive and care for others so deeply it actually hurts and messes with my sleep.
Madeleine Maillet: I agree with Dottie, hell yes we love to witness others’ interest in our mesmerizing selves, then again we are never given credit for our deep and abiding curiosity about the inner most selves of our friends and families, our acquaintances, and even strangers. I spend my whole commute eavesdropping, people are fascinating, much more interesting than music.
☀️ What does “Peak Aries” mean to you? ☀️
Or, saying exactly what you’re thinking.
Caroline Belle Stewart:
Chelsea Bieker: LOL Madeleine–YES!
Dorothea Lasky: I can’t top this gif! Although Kanye is just so Gemini to me, it’s hard for me to forget that. Sagittarius moon though! So, he’s got the fire.
Marwa Helal: Madeleine got it! Also:
⛓ Compared to other humans,
how hard is it for you to get out of bed in the morning? ⛓
Dorothea Lasky: Not hard at all! Especially if I have something to work on or do where I can perform or make something.
Caroline Belle Stewart: I do not easily wake up before dawn, but neither will you find me in bed after 7:30am, no matter what I have done the night before.
Jane Dykema: Can’t get up, which is a real heartache in winter in New England when the sun sets at 3:30 pm. One needs daylight to not lose one’s mind.
Marwa Helal: Why would it be difficult when there is coffee? :))))
Chelsea Bieker: My sleep is so messed up after having a child that I don’t know what normal is anymore. Something happened to me hormonally that has forever changed my sleep and made it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. So it can feel pretty hard, though when I’m at my best I love getting up early. I also think living in Portland has ruined my sleep because it’s so so rare to wake up with the sun most months of the year. Is there a scientific thing that fire signs need lots of light? That would explain a lot.
Madeleine Maillet: Sleep is my religion and dreams are my inspiration. I don’t have a hard time getting out of bed so much as I feel safe and free there, more so than any other place. Before I started copywriting for money and publishing my stories and poems, I did 100% of my writing in bed. This may also come from growing up in a working class town, a part of me felt it was ok to nurture this dream of becoming a writer so long as it was relegated to an unserious and unstudious space. On Sundays, I spend the whole day in bed reading.
Aria Aber: Oh, it depends. When I’m “normal,” it’s easy and I jump out of bed if I had my good night’s sleep. Yet, one of my favorite rituals of the day is to make my morning coffee with my milk frother (best investment ever, highly recommend it), and to break the fast of the night and enjoy having made it out of bed before the sun has set.
Do you like celebrating your birthday? If so, what do you do?
Madeleine Maillet: Not since I was 22. I love to be the centre of attention, then resent it as soon as it starts to feel like a job. It’s my contrary way.
Chelsea Bieker: Generally I never do much for my birthday, but this year I’m turning 30 and figured it would feel good to have some attention. I’ve purchased a metallic gold bodysuit and summoned about 10 or so girlfriends to take a burlesque dance class with me where, according to the site, we will learn the “perfect STRIP.” Then we’re going to have dinner where I really hope everyone goes around the table and reports a favorite memory they have with me. I really love attention and ceremony and days having special meaning, so this year I’m taking matters into my own hands.
Dorothea Lasky: I would! But no one currently in my life ever celebrates it (sob sob), so I tend to pretend it isn’t happening so as to not get sad about that and/or make any (ahem, air/fire) signs feel uncomfortable. I really like birthday cake. And duh, I love getting presents. Someday I’ll have more water signs in my life and there will be parties.
Talin Tahajian: I’m living in the UK right now and my birthday is technically the next day there (April the 13th) because of the time difference, but even with two chances my friends still have to drag me out for it. I love going to other people’s parties but never organize my own.
Caroline Belle Stewart: I hate celebrating my birthday! It seems like March 21st always comes around right at the worst time. Usually Spring Break, after some unspeakable personal catastrophe, and the beautiful snow has melted but the migrating birds aren’t back yet — and fucking summer is around the corner. But every so often I have a joint party or awkward Worcester bar-date with Jane and that makes it better! Jane remember when I got you that snowy owl card in Cape Cod for your birthday and you left it on the table at the bar and the waitress ran out after us with it? You probably don’t remember. But I do! Because I always thought you’d secretly meant to leave it there.
Jane Dykema: I have that treasured card on my bulletin board. Love celebrating my birthday, all birthdays. I think everyone should make a great big goddamn deal about their birthdays. Maybe I’m misremembering but I feel like I’m often eating Chinese food with Caroline around then.
Marwa Helal: Having a birthday that’s so early in the month, it always comes up as a surprise, so I feel neutral about celebrating it. My favorite thing as a kid was having my birthday coincide with Easter and coloring eggs.
Aria Aber: Because I always thought I was the center of the universe, I was obsessed with celebrating my birthday until a couple of years ago. It was a truly torturous time for my family and friends, who knew they were obliged to make me feel flawless and special for the entire day. What a brat. Not sure what kind of problem that signified, but I’ve grown out of it. I’ve moved around so much that my closest friends are all scattered across the globe, so the geographical conditions impede my ideal birthday festivity.
☂️ What do you say to people who don’t believe in astrology? ☂️
beyza ozer: why?
Dorothea Lasky: That’s cool, but you are definitely missing out on something major.
Caroline Belle Stewart: Yeah yeah, neither do I. Astrology is total bullshit. But tarot on the other hand — now that’s the hard sciences.
Marwa Helal: Fine, then you aren’t made of star stuff. ?
Chelsea Bieker: What’s your sign?
Aria Aber: Agreed with Madeleine.
Talin Tahajian: Don’t be mean
Dorothea Lasky is the author of five books of poetry, the forthcoming, Milk (Wave Books, 2018), as well as ROME (W.W. Norton/Liveright). She is the co-editor of Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry (McSweeney’s) and several chapbooks, including Poetry is Not a Project (Ugly Duckling Presse). Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, co-directs Columbia Artist/Teachers, and lives in New York City.
Caroline Belle Stewart’s stories can be found in Fairy Tale Review, Black Warrior Review, Quarterly West, Hobart, No Tokens, and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook “Husbandly Things” (Factory Hollow Press) and co-author of a deck of narrative birding flashcards called “Mast Year: A Mystical Field Guide” (Mount Analogue Press). A recipient of a fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, she lives in Northampton, MA.
Marwa Helal is a poet and journalist. Her work appears in Apogee, Hyperallergic, the Offing, Poets & Writers, the Recluse, Winter Tangerine and elsewhere. She is the author of Invasive species (Nightboat Books) and the winner of BOMB Magazine’s Biennial 2016 Poetry Contest. Helal has been awarded fellowships from Poets House, Brooklyn Poets, and Cave Canem. Born in Al Mansurah, Egypt, Helal currently lives and teaches in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in creative writing from the New School and her BA in journalism and international studies from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Chelsea Bieker’s fiction and non-fiction has been published in The Cincinnati Review, The Normal School, No Tokens, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Elephants, The Collagist, The Portland Review, Portland Monthly, Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine, and others. She is a recipient of a MacDowell Colony fellowship and is at work on a novel set in California’s Central Valley. Currently she lives in Portland, Oregon with her Aries husband and Leo daughter where she teaches writing and works as a professional online dating profile writer.
Talin Tahajian grew up near Boston. Her poetry has recently appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, Best New Poets 2014 & 2016, Passages North, Columbia Poetry Review, and Washington Square Review. She’s the author of two chapbooks, The smallest thing on Earth (Bloom Books, 2017) and Start with dead things (Midnight City Books, 2015), a split chapbook with Joshua Young. She edits poetry for the Adroit Journal, and is currently a student at the University of Cambridge, where she studies English literature.
beyza ozer is a queer/trans/Muslim writer living in Chicago. beyza’s work has appeared in & is forthcoming from The Offing, Pinwheel, Vinyl, Nightblock, Columbia Poetry Review, Shabby Doll House, & the anthology SUBJECT TO CHANGE: TRANS POETRY & CONVERSATION. beyza is the author of FAIL BETTER (fog machine 2017) & I DON’T MEAN TO REDSHIFT (Maudlin House 2016). They are deputy director of social media at YesYes Books. beyza works at Women & Children First, one of the last feminist bookstores in the country, & interns at the Poetry Foundation.
Jane Dykema’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Electric Literature, Big Big Wednesday, Cosmonauts Avenue, the anthology, Cover Stories, and elsewhere. She’s a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow and her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She holds an MFA from UMass Amherst and teaches writing at Clark University and Grub Street.
Aria Aber was born to Afghan parents in Germany. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Best British Poetry, Reservoir Journal, Wasafiri, Prelude, Connotation Press and others. She has received fellowships and prizes from Kundiman, MIEL, Wasafiri. She is currently a Writers in Public Schools fellow at NYU, where is an MFA candidate in poetry.
Madeleine Maillet is a writer and translator living in Montréal. Her work has appeared in No Tokens, Matrix, Hobarts and has been anthologized in The Journey Prize Stories. She is also the fiction editor of Cosmonauts Avenue.