Complete the sentence, “Being a Leo is like…”
Natalie Eilbert: …It’s not like any one thing. A Leo collapses the metaphor, possesses her subjects as she is possessed of subjects. She doesn’t want to be like anything—but she wants all of it.
Carrie Lorig: … is like a) “Nope, you are a fake horse.” b) “Jolene, he’s real!”
Kristyn Dunnion: … is like running through a dry field with lit torches.
Kimberly King Parsons:
Colleen Louise Barry: ….the rainbow from a prism the sun makes, putting your face into it, feeling all of its colors on your skin, and then taking an impressive selfie. Wearing gold platform boots on the reg.
Isabel Balee: … is like every sentence starting with “I”
Stephon Lawrence: …always giving off a strong presence even when you’re not trying
Jen Sookfong Lee: …walking through life as if you were Alexis Carrington in Dynasty.
Dina Del Bucchia: …constantly thinking you’re a pop star.
Do you identify with your astrological sign? How?
KD: I am Leo, all the way, with a Gemini moon.
CL: I do. Surprise (!), I feel very proud to be a Leo / a bloodflower. I feel fierce and strong. I feel there’s a lot of room in my heart + body for feeling / experience / intensity. I feel a lot of openness and fidelity to thinking through who I am and who others are. I’m a fighter / very sweaty (srsly) / present / naturally warm.
CLB: I am a Leo sun and a Leo moon, and I really am a lionness through and through. The nurses said that when I was born ~ on the hottest August day on record in Upstate NY no less ~ that I was the loudest baby the hospital had ever seen. I never do anything halfway and I feel happiest when I’m giving something to the people I love. :
IB: Yes, to the degree that I’m ruled by my sun sign: I have always loved to be loved. I’m dynamic but impatient. It’s also important that I’m a Virgo rising, so it takes me a while to warm up to people.
SL: Definitely. I’m Leo sun and Capricorn moon. I feel very dynamic much of the time, but also grounded and calm. I also have big hair which is such a Leo thing!
KKP: Yes and no. I’m warm. I fall in love with everyone, want everyone to fall in love with me, and I still love everyone I’ve ever loved. I want to find the thing you think is wrong with you and love the fuck out of it. Also, I have poor impulse control and I mostly do what I feel like doing, which in this case means answering only this one question. And I covet the big Leo manes so many of you have, but sadly I’ve got this dandelion hair that just kind of floats around.
JSL: Hells yes! I’m a Leo and a Dragon (in the Chinese zodiac) and I really do have more firepower than I know what do with. I rage, love, and try hard at top speed at all times.
NE: I go back and forth, to be honest. When I was a girl, I obsessed over the X-Men character Rogue. She represented every aspect of what I wanted from selfhood, but part of her selfhood was torture. She could love and was capable of deep and bright and painful and bleeding love, but with any given touch of her flesh, she gave them an ounce of her killing. If she did not let go, or if they did not let go, she would swallow every aspect of their being except for their body—but she would contain the memory of their body. She would wake up screaming through their nightmares, or close her eyes and see a figure not from her past, but from another history entire. Early in my life, I understood this as the ultimate bargain. My desired entity was one condemned of touch that was also its reckoning weapon. I refute some of the power trips associated with Leos (I always see this latte-sipping, pencil-skirt-clad, wildhaired mogul storming down Fifth Avenue) because I don’t think it’s power that moves me in any fiery direction but the bulwarks of power, the shadow of the fire nobody thinks about enough to see. My house was destroyed by a fire as a girl and to thumb through my Rogue comics now (most were salvaged), you’ll still smell that redolent soot; you’ll leave black fingerprints behind, for example. In a way, it is how I impart my memory onto you. I think that’s what makes me a Leo, honestly.
DDB: Oh shit yes. I’m loud, angry, passionate, stupidly loyal, love attention and have a lot of hair. Also, lions are fucking cool!
How does being a Leo affect your writing life?
KD: It’s so hard to sit still.
CL: I will never compromise when it comes to writing / performing / exploring the work that feels important in my body / in the Earth / art. I will make the work I need to / regardless / and genuinely feel I owe that to myself, the page, the boiling forest. I feel this courage / urgency when I think through what I need and want to create. The physicality and sound and performance level of my work / what it takes to sort of give yourself to the intensity and emotional complexity of that.
CLB: Curiosity! I’m insatiable. And driven by the need to express myself in the clearest, most authentic way. I feel fearless when I write & make art.
IB: I react very quickly, which means deleting large chunks and making abrupt revisions as I go. Erasure is a large part of my practice – so perhaps, in Leo terms, writing is often a matter of instinct. In terms of how this process affects life, in the moment: I can’t be bothered while I’m writing. I get in the “zone” and become very protective of this space. I have extreme tunnel vision, I am hyper vigilant, and I place a great deal of weight on details.
SL: It takes me forever to get started without getting distracted. I write in bursts; everything comes to me at once. Like, even with this roundtable it took me forever to actually sit down and answer, and I probably won’t stop till it’s done. I’m either writing six different poems at the same time or I’m writing nothing at all. Lot’s of “I’s” & other self-reflective moves because I don’t like to speak for anyone other than myself.
JSL: I like to think my generosity helps a lot in creating fully formed characters, and I think my desire to perform helps when I have to promote my books. Otherwise, having to be alone all the time in order to create is a challenge. However, I also have a lot of drive and ambition, so I know that alone time is necessary.
NE: I don’t believe I will ever be as good as I want to be. The moment that a piece of mine is published, my first thought is, Really? My next move is always to reread the piece. It reads like old fruit. I have no pride in what I do the moment it receives a smidge of recognition. I had a poem accepted by a reputable outlet the other day and I spent most of the day crying, because I considered the poem a failure as suddenly as it was taken, and that the editor was made aware only of my sum total abilities, which are minimal at best. This is how I go about all of my writing. There is this ideal, it is attainable but only if I work so hard I bleed over my work. But no matter how hard I work, it never feels like I worked hard at all. I could spend all day writing, forget to eat, drink coffee, write and read and write and learn and write and read, and then sit down at night staring out the window, crippled by an overwhelming disappointment. When I recall what it was exactly I did all day, it feels like nothing at all. I suppose that has to do with my drive, my inexhaustible need for a supreme thing.
DDB: Being alone and writing is the only time I am really good at being alone, and even then, it’s hard. Because I love socializing and being around other people I focus a lot on the community aspect, love collaboration and of course events. I had a hard time getting published or even considered a writer until I started doing more readings and then it became about performance and things felt so much better.
What qualities in writing/reading are you drawn to?
KD: I’m really into well crafted sentences, ones that detonate on the page and set off little mind bombs.
CL: Length and intensity. Layers / textures. Kill your predecessors / Fuck your bored dad prayers + vague hopeful / recognizable endings. Challenge me to meet you / give me originality / your heart / something that heals the body. A sentence / a garland. Elena Ferrante talking about writing from the midst of “a dizzy spell, a whirling.” The book that couldn’t be written any other way / the book that teaches you something new about reading. Writing that fights to create more space in language / the page / yr heart.
CLB: I like to read direct, deceptively simple statements. I like language that burns with intensity.
IB: I like the feeling of wanting to hurl a book across the room because it’s so outrageous.
SL: I love writing that’s visually interesting. I love writing that’s genuine–it is what it is and isn’t trying to be something just for the sake (or popularity) of it. I hate boring shit. I hate woe-is-me yt boy shit.
JSL: Emotional connection and unexpected sentence construction.
KKP: I changed my mind–I’ll answer another one. I look for acoustics and sonic possibilities when I’m reading fiction, but I want it to come through a voice that isn’t overly mannered. Style, sure, but in the service of character. I want to read the first sentence of something and feel like: fuck.
NE: I have thought a ton about this lately. I read prose and poetry that inspire awe, or the ineffable, or this physical surge or swell. Language can and should be wielded, estranged, distorted. I like literature that demands to be read as multidimensional, that cannot be interpreted as any one thing. I resist the linear, the consumerism behind meaning. I want work that becomes itself and itself alone. Difficult is good. Confusion can be good. Confusion, as in with fusion, as in entangling oneself in a void, whether that void is your own, someone else’s, not one of any. I want to read the layers and layers of want, to brim with that confusion. “I don’t want something made,” Clarice Lispector writes, “but something still torturously made.” An ongoingness, a process, a damaged aperture. In Han Yujoo’s The Impossible Fairy Tale, she asks why parts of parts don’t have names. What is the name of your eye, the name of your elbow, the name of your thumb, the name of your femur? In asking this, Han reminds us that there is not one language to get, that we are still indebted to certain categorical imperatives. But this is exactly the kind of literature I want to read. I want to look at my toe, to see the absurdity then of all names, to break myself against those taxonomies until I or they or we become something else, in the fusion of all these multitudes. I have no idea if I answered a question.
DDB: I’d be lying if I didn’t say I am straight up into weird and funny stuff. That is what I want to read and write most of the time.
Are there habits (good or bad) you attribute to being a Leo?
KD: Yeah, I think a lot of Leos are natural leaders but many of us thrive on direct communication with others …. It’s not always easy to cultivate that in our social and professional circles.
CL: Being incredibly, incredibly competitive and obsessing about how I can be better / do better / make things better for others. Incredible, long winded + complex sense of persistence. That’s good / but I am too hard on myself + others. Having extremely high expectations of others / pushing them and myself w/ this total devotion has made me a great teacher and writer, but it’s not always what another being or a student needs from me + I’ve worked to be more aware of that. What Kristyn is saying about direct communication is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It makes Leos, with their big, passionate hearts and their determination to express themselves the urgent way they need to, great friends / if you can have that direct communication. It can be harder / I shut down sometimes if I can’t have that. I don’t trust a situation I can’t be present in / be honest in! And: writing answers that are TOO long! (I’m embarrassed!)
CLB: Could I ever just not be in charge?!? JESUS. Plus, I’m my own worst critic. I wish I depended less on the opinions of others to get me out of the moments when I feel especially low.
IB: Good habits: I like to put myself out there and see what the world is up to. Bad habits: I am sometimes overly invested in drama, which is classic leo.
SL: I’m with Isabel on this one, I love drama! Moreso the witnessing of it than being involved in any myself–which yeah, classic leo. I love being lazy but have this deep-set need to always be working hard at something, so I’m never really relaxed. 0 chill.
JSL: I’m constantly looking for attention and approval–from partners or friends or readers. This sucks because I would much rather be more internally confident. However, I’m a generous and loyal friend and give my heart freely to anyone who needs it.
NE: I get carried away in the wrong direction. I ramble. I meander. I make the wrong things appear. I desire, despite the failure and flaw of my creation, to be validated. I resist wanting that validation, and only want it more. This is how I am in relationships too. I want to be loved sometimes more than I am capable of love. I want to be victorious and when I am not victorious (whether professionally, in love, in my body), I experience a level of self-hatred that is difficult to express. I am very all-or-nothing, exist and survive on false binaries of good and bad, right and wrong. lol I’m a fucking mess of a human.
DDB: I know I can dominate situations and loudly proclaim my opinions on things and not consider the sensitivity of other people. I can go off on people, things, etc. It’s super rude and bad.
What survival tactics do you have to offer fellow Leos?
KD: I channel drama onto the page and the stage, not my personal life. I’m learning to be more selective about the people I choose to love, but I never want to be afraid to open my big, steadfast heart to the world; it’s what Leos do best. (also Big Love to these fine Leos with their incredibly sensitive survival tactics!)
CL: Protect your heart, be more compassionate with yourself + others, admit you’re wrong. Be critical / cautious of what excess means to you when you feel shitty about yourself.
CLB: DON’T APOLOGIZE FOR BEING YOU.
IB: Don’t be afraid to say no. Surround yourself with light.
SL: There’s no need to please everyone or say yes to everything or to do everything at once right now this second.
JSL: Slow down, enjoy the moment, own the room if you want to.
NE: If you can’t love yourself yet, try forgiving yourself. Also: It Is OK If Someone Doesn’t Like You As A Person. You Will Be Fine.
DDB: Listen to other people more often, but also DO NOT TONE DOWN YOUR GREATNESS!
What sign drives you crazy? Why?
CL: I don’t dislike any sign. I appreciate and get a lot out of being around people that are complexly themselves! However, I can be intimidated / and a LITTLE thrown by Scorpios (though the last couple years I’ve truly grown to love / feel safe with Scorpios here in ATL and elsewhere) and Capricorns. Capricorns (tho I love many, many Capricorns!!!!) can overwhelm me with their ability to put ambition / manifestation / career before everything else. There’s two things going on there. Capricorns make me feel like I’m not working hard enough, which *extremely nervous laughter* is a formidable source anxiety for me. I also feel a little confounded by the kind of ambition that borders on selfish or manipulative / that insists on success / material proof of a particular kind of recognizable success at all costs to the point that it can overtake the emotional / compassionate / porous side of ambition that I would argue Leos tend to insist on! But again, this is more of a point of curiosity / interest for me more than something that “drives me crazy.” I think Leos genuinely want people / signs to be who they are.
KD: I’ve always been surrounded by female Virgos … I love them, and also there is sometimes friction around in-direct communication, with this sign in particular. I think they might have a difficult time expressing their true desires, and hope other people will be able to figure it out on their own. Nobody wants the Wrath of Virgo. Nobody!
CLB: I don’t like anyone that can’t be direct, creative, passionate, YES people. I do not appreciate signs that can’t keep up with me energy-wise. But honestly, I can be friends with anybody! I think this is a Leo quality: we accept people at face value.
IB: I love all signs! I will say, there was a period in my life in which I was dating Aquarian after Aquarian and it was … exhausting.
SL: I have so many female scorpios in my life and I love them all even when they’re difficult. I love air signs even though they’re indecisive af. My natal chart said I have a romantic thing for Sagittarians and it didn’t lie!
JSL: Oh good lord. I have had so many issues with Scorpios as partners. I love them but they also never do what I want (LEOS MUST HAVE WHAT THEY WANT). I find Virgos tough also. So sensitive! I feel like I have to enclose them in a glass box just so they don’t freak out.
NE: I think I’m sign-blind? Whatever sign does the bare minimum in terms of effort and then expects cookies and gold stars for their efforts. I hate self-satisfaction. What sign is that?
DDB: I have too many friends and people I love of all signs. One isn’t more annoying than another to me. It really breaks down to individual assholes. Which actually seems very Leo to me. To focus your annoyance.
What sign do you love / couldn’t live without?
CL: Virgos. My bb is a Virgo. His Virgo-ness makes me feel seen and grounded. Virgos are intellectual, challenging, organized, and have a strong critical eye. I love that and need that. They are also really into comfort / koala feelings and that is, in my mind, perfectly paired with the Leo penchant for motherfucking luxury. Lol. I also love Libras, Tauruses. Sags (Elisabeth Workman, Cassandra Troyan) are my true, true writing match I think. The way Pisces discuss crying on social media / the line between the public + the private re: crying is rly important to me / something I value deeply.
KD: My biggest loves have been Aquarians. Sigh.
CLB: Sagittarians: my adventure buds, my creative sparks, my positive life-forces. Capricorns: my work dawgs, my practical check-ins, my steady rocks. Libras: my social bbs, my balancers, my light-filled people people.
IB: I love Aries. The two most important people in my life are both Aries, so I’m never bored.
SL: Other Leos tbh. I love being understood!
JSL: Other Leos! Three of my bestest friends are fabulous Leos. My son is a Gemini. He’s pretty great.
NE: Again, sign-blind. But I do love fellow Leos. Without intention, I tend to date Aries, Aquarius, and Capricorns. Go ahead and analyze that and get back to me.
What lyrics most describe a Leo?
KD: “That girl thinks she’s the Queen of the neighbourhood!” (Bikini Kill)
CL: “(Treat me like) Treat me like / (Treat me like) Treat me like / (Fire) Fire / (Fire) Fire / (Into the pain) Into the pain / (Into the pain) Into the pain” -Lion Babe
CLB: THIS WHOLE SONG by fire queen Betty Davis
IB: “Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? I don’t know” – Still Ill, the Smiths
SL: Everything about this song, dance, and wardrobe is v leo
JSL: “But I’m holding on for dear life / Won’t look down, won’t open my eyes / Keep my glass full until morning light.” Chandelier by Sia
NE: “I got that summertime, summertime sadness.” —LDR
DDB: A Leo might assume all songs are written with them in mind.
Famous Leos you adore?
CL: Natalie Eilbert, Emily Bronte, Kelin Loe, James Baldwin, John Ashbery, Viola Davis, Leo hair in general.
CLB: President Obama, Emily Bronte, John Ashbery.
NE: Oh my goodness! So many. Carrie Lorig, Mike Lala, Karina Vahitova (we have the same birthday—August 16), Tori Amos, Viola Davis, James Baldwin, Dorothy Parker, Melville, John Ashbery. If you are a Leo, I probably think you’re an icon. Madonna and I have the same birthday, but she said enough shady shit that she’s been persona non grata’d.
KD: Lucille Ball.
IB: I had to Google this. It turns out there’s a lot of shitty Leo celebrities and quite a few that I just don’t care about, like the guy from Guns n Roses, the dude who wrote the Star Spangled Banner, Billy Bob Thorton, and Napoleon. BUT, I’m relieved that there are / were some phenomenal famous Leos to even things out: Whitney Houston, James Baldwin, Louis Armstrong, and Lucille Ball.
SL: I didn’t feel like looking this up, but my favorite makeup artist/influencer Jackie Aina is a leo and I felt so alive when I found out.
JSL: Oh, I don’t know. Jennifer Lopez?
DDB: My birthday is shared with Lucille Ball and Andy Warhol and it’s fun to pretend I am their very unrealistic love child.
Common misconception about your sign?
KD: That we’re narcissistic jerks.
CL: I don’t think having the bravery to be yourself / continually challenge what it means to be yourself / to push others with empathy and compassion to meet you in that vibrating threshold / is “ego.” There’s a vulnerability in there that is stuck to my cliff heart. Reducing that to “theatricality” and “needing” to be the center of attention is really…I genuinely find it hurtful sometimes. Asking for respect / refusing to settle for less / isn’t egotistical!
CLB: We are not drama queen megalomaniac egoist tyrants. I don’t need attention and I actually shy away from it a lot; I think this is true of many Leos I know.
IB: That we are bounded by our egos, and that this constraint prevents us from realizing our full potential. Though I am deeply afraid of failure (working on it), my ego is the same engine which drives me to to keep failing — and to grow comfortable with failure — in order to see improvement in the long run.
SL: Vain drama queens who don’t care about anyone but themselves
JSL: That we’re driven only by a performative ego, are unable to give and receive real love, and need to be worshipped.
NE: Vain, power-hungry, aggressive leaders, drama queens. I guess. I don’t know.
DDB: That we’re extremely selfish and domineering and also that we’re driven by sex. Like, attention and sex are not the same, people. Attention alone is gratifying on its own special level. And with a big audience you can get a lot more people involved. Hahahaha!
What does “Peak Leo” mean to you?
KD: I really like how Carrie handled this one! Peak Leo equals amazing, massive hair, platform boots, and an extra bottle of whisky in the purse. FYI, we make excellent, generous lovers.
CL: drunk texts that demand / declare / scream things, CLEAR EYES / FULL HEARTS / CAN’T LOSE, hair that can’t be tamed, an ability to date several beautiful glitter angels at once, an ability to become extremely devoted to a glitter angel once you’ve found them (my bb!), exaggerating amounts / hand gestures / how much things cost / stories / how many people admire you to yourself / others, being aware that you’re exaggerating, replacing exaggeration with generosity, knowing you’re a trash baby / while also being completely convinced you’re the only one who can run / do project A, B, or C, the glory and the danger of excess, overwhelming emotions that are unbearable but also inspiring, possessing extreme dedication, loyalty, healing, kickboxing class, having at least 3 rescue animals, odd jewels / careful decoration, grace + sparkle in social situations / but only if you feel safe / like you can be you, hiking 100 miles with your charm and a 20 dollar tent, washing the blood off your shirt in the bathtub.
CLB: “Can I just second ALLLLLLL of the above from Carrie and Kristyn?” I type as I sip some rose in my vintage silk robe with gold glitter under my eyes (left over from last night) and my long long hair full and cascading down onto the computer keyboard
IB: Agree with everyone here! I would also like to add: royal colors. Deep purple, burgundy, gold, deep blue. Mmmm.
SL: Everything here! + buying a pink metallic glittery tote from Opening Ceremony to use as an “everyday tote”
JSL: All of this is so good! Peak Leo is always about walking into a room like I know I will own it. And standing in a bar, isolating one potential partner, and watching that person come talk to me with just the power of my hair and lipstick.
NE: Peak Leoing is an art for sure. It looks like broken hair ties and hair clusters all over my apartment because my hair is too big and thick for that high bun I need it to pile into for a big interview. It looks like bright red lipstick and plum lipstick and all of the current books I’m thinking about splayed belly-down like exquisite fish, notes written first delicately in margins and then frenzied and snarled across the printed lines. It means writing letters to people I love but not sending them, holding onto this secret exuberance as I carve that devotion. There is something about grit in here too, earthen excess that combines with a dazzling artifice, sand wedged under a purple acrylic nail maybe. There are people in my life that are wildly gone from my life that I feel utterly tethered to still. I never write them but I write of them. I have this sense that their goneness is a kind of gift, this whorl of absence a strength in my core. That also feels like a peak Leo to me, this sense of glowing presence in absence, the fusion participating with other fusions, to be effusive in our blood, in how we bleed to tell it to you.
DDB: Everyone else here has really nailed it. When I am dominating a room or preening in public or acting foolish on purpose, something that might be embarrassing to non-Leos, that to me is Peak Leo.
Compared to other humans,
how hard is it for you to get out of bed in the morning?
KD: We hunt when we have to.
CL: The first one up / first one at work / first one up the mountain / the feeling of early light / I have a lot of energy in the morning / Ugh, I’m such a first born.
CLB: I like to pamper myself in the morning. I like a long stretch, ya know ; )
IB: I jolt out of bed right away. I never hit snooze. To be fair, I put a lot of effort into sleep hygiene these days, so my body naturally wakes up after 7 hours. It’s a little freakish.
SL: I’ll stay in bed all day if you let me, but if I absolutely have to be somewhere early I’ll get there 30 minutes ahead of time. Like Kristyn said, “We hunt when we have to.”
NE: It is either very easy or very hard. I have my alarm set every day to go off at 7am, the vestige of my former life. I always wake up and do one thing. I’ll lift the nearest book by my bedside and read a sentence. I’ll wrap my hands around my feet and breathe into that space. Other times, I am crippled by a lack of meaning. I get out of bed soon after and attempt to carve meaning. This is a hard question to answer in how it might reflect my sign because I am severely depressed and don’t have health insurance, and so have been denied adequate consultation with clinics to get the medication I need to want to live, if that is even the goal. It affects my sleep as of late. I wake up stunned that I did so. Let me answer the question in how I might have a year ago, when I was a different kind of person: I wake up and exercise first thing, boil water for my french press, plunge coffee, shower, dress, pour coffee into a travel mug, and dash out the door. It used to be so calculated. Every step important and necessary. For example, it takes me thirty to forty minutes to run; when I return, I set a kettle to boil water as I stretch for ten minutes; I grind coffee and pour the boiling water into the pitcher; I shower for exactly five minutes fluctuating between cold and warm water because I hear that is good for the immune system and circulation; I plunge the french press down; I dress, and at this point if it is summer I am still sweaty from my run despite the shower; I look at myself once in the mirror but that’s all; I pour the coffee into a traveling mug and leave the house; I’m late to work anyway. What an afar feeling, to describe that now.
DDB: I jump out of bed like a firework and usually wake up before my alarm. Non-morning people hate my fucking guts because I immediately want to get to work or have fun or eat a million pastries. So annoying. I’m annoying.
Do you like celebrating your birthday? If so, what do you do?
CL: I’m interested to see how other Leos answer this question! I think the expected answer involves yachts and like, pouring champagne on you + the gorgeous glitter angel you’re making out with / all the bouquets of flowers or diamonds you’ve received. I LOVE THAT and I also never ever like to make a big deal of my birthday. I didn’t have birthday parties growing up and I’m a Cancer rising / Taurus moon / there’s a desire for intimacy and softer light in me / waves. However, indulging my desires for luxury and excess are nice on my birthday. I want a negroni this year, a blue dress with a different shape. My friends on a beautiful, floral porch / laughing.
KD: I was conceived at the Santa Claus Parade, so I have a primal connection to public displays of a good time. There should be costumes and vegan cake and glitter. I really like everyone to have fun. I love the drum corps!!
CLB: YES ! Ain’t no party like a Leo party!!!
IB: Yes. My favorite thing to do is catch up with old friends who still call on my birthday. I could spend all day talking on the phone and spending time with the people I love.
SL: I try to, but I get way too stressed about planning / worrying no one will show, so I skip it and just go out to dinner or something.
JSL: I like a party! Preferably with other Leos so we can tell each other how great we are.
NE: I do like a good party. But I’m turning thirty-one this year and am not excited at all about it. I don’t want to do anything (but of course I will). I want to be any age other than thirty-one. I always organize my own birthdays. I tell my people that I’m thinking of a small gathering of folks at a cocktail bar, but I’ve BCC’d like 80 people on that email invite. I love the royal quality one feels at a birthday party. Throughout the night, waves of people come and pay tribute to you, bring you cocktails you didn’t ask for but happily accept, adore you. I always want to present my hand like a debutante to my suitors and receive a bow and a kiss on the hand in preparation for the cotillion. In my mind that is all I’m ever doing. If you come to my birthday, I will remember the evening and your participation in that evening like we spent the night swimming in royal jelly garnished with herbes de provence.
DDB: Yes! I love my birthday and celebrating it. Summer birthdays as a kid are shit. Everyone is out of town and there’s no one top invite to a party. I never work on my birthday and take the day off to celebrate. I usually plan a day of activities. That could involve a brunch, patio drinks, a beach party, lots of eating at various locations, I mean the options are endless.
What do you say to people who don’t believe in astrology?
KD: Do we even talk to those people??
CL: Loyalty to rationality is so goddamn borrrrrringgggg and ! egotisical. There’s so many ways to organize and parse through information in this junk parade. Y not embrace it / feel something / give bodies and beings some room?
CLB: Have some fun, y’all
IB: The same thing I would say to militant atheists: why do you care so much about dispelling a belief or mythology if it works for someone else? Seems like a wasted effort. Also, just as Colleen put it, have some fun!
SL: lol okay *may or may not roll eyes*
JSL: Whatever. Go eat some more of your fibre-rich, practical breakfast and leave me alone.
NE: It’s actually really okay to me. It doesn’t bum me out. Everything we believe was delivered to us in an arbitrary manner. We wake up born when we didn’t even ask to be made in a body we didn’t choose with certain predispositions that aren’t ours and are raised on notions of belief or moral imperative and etiquette. I would never impugn someone for not believing in astrology. It literally doesn’t matter. I’m an atheist Jew but I allow myself momentary lapses of the spiritual. I love me a good Seder, a good Tarot reading, all the Chani Nicholas. It’s good fun and then we die. Whatever, dudes.
DDB: I don’t believe in a tonne of other shit, so whatever, man.
Kristyn Dunnion’s Tarry This Night is forthcoming with Arsenal Pulp Press September, 2017. The Dirt Chronicles was a Lambda Literary Award finalist and an ALA Over the Rainbow selection. This Leo lives in Toronto, and will be launching her new book in Montreal at Drawn & Quarterly on Wed Sept 27! www.kristyndunnion.com
Carrie Lorig is the author of The Pulp vs. The Throne (Artifice Books). Chapbooks include The Book of Repulsive Women (Essay Press), Reading as a Wildflower Activist (H_NGM_N), and NODS (Magic Helicopter). She lives in Atlanta with several animals and Nick Sturm, who made her a chapbook called ANCIENT LEO for her birthday.
Colleen Louise Barry is a Leo sun and Leo moon. She is a writer, artist, and the founder of Mount Analogue. Follow her on Instagram here: @colleenlouisebarry and here: @themountanalogue.
Isabel Balée was born and raised in New Orleans, has roots in Belém do Pará, Brazil, and currently lives in Oakland. Her work is forthcoming in Anomaly!, Ghost Proposal, and Littletell. You can find her at ibalee.tumblr.com. She is a Leo sun, Cancer moon, Virgo rising.
Stephon Lawrence is a Brooklyn born & based writer, and artist. She is a graduate of the MFA in Writing at Pratt Institute and is an editor of The Felt, a journal of otherworldly poetics. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Cosmonauts Avenue, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Glitter Mob, The Fem, and Fanzine. Her chapbook, NERVS, is available from Horse Less Press. Her microchap //GERMZ is available from Ghost City Press. Stephon spends her free time watching anime, yelling about white supremacy, and being real cute for the ‘gram. You can find her on twitter @nnohpetss & instagram @alphaheaux.
Writing by Kimberly King Parsons has been published or is forthcoming in Best Small Fictions 2017, Kenyon Review, Ninth Letter, New South, Black Warrior Review, The Towner, No Tokens, Joyland, Bookforum, and elsewhere. She lives in Portland, OR with a fish, a little lion, and a baby scorpion. Find her here.
Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised in Vancouver’s East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East, and Gentlemen of the Shade. Her poetry, fiction and articles have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Elle Canada, Hazlitt, Room, and Event. A popular CBC Radio One personality, Jen appears regularly as a contributor on The Next Chapter and is a frequent co-host of the Studio One Book Club. Jen teaches writing at The Writers’ Studio Online with Simon Fraser University.
Natalie Eilbert is the author of Indictus, winner of Noemi Press’s 2016 Poetry Contest, slated for publication in late 2017, as well as the debut poetry collection, Swan Feast (Bloof Books, 2015). She held the 2016 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellowship at University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Granta, The New Yorker, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, jubilat, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of The Atlas Review.
Dina Del Bucchia is an otter and dress enthusiast. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Coping with Emotions and Otters, Blind Items and Rom Com, written with her Can’t Lit podcast co-host Daniel Zomparelli. She is an editor of Poetry is Dead magazine and is the Artistic Director of the Real Vancouver Writers’ Series. Her short story collection, Don’t Tell Me What to Do, will be released in fall 2017 with Arsenal Pulp Press.