When I started putting the Morbid book together, I had to make a lot of hard choices about what essays would go in. Some contributors gave me pieces for multiple issues, compounding the dilemma. Dana Fredsti was one of those.
Dana wrote about working with big cats, especially a tiger named Jasmine, at a feline rescue facility in Southern California. She wrote about learning to surf, which I find immensely morbid. She chased ghosts and pried into her childhood and talked about being a crazy cat lady.
Limiting myself to a single piece was difficult, but when I took my brain out of the equation and went with my emotional reaction, the answer became clear. I loved her story about dancing in the bikini bar. As she told the tale, she made herself vulnerable and funny and very, very real. I knew that girl. I might have been her, if my life had gone another direction. The character, drawn in the first person, approached archetypal.
The story became something of a lightning rod as I promoted the book last year. When I mentioned it on "guy-oriented" radio shows, interviewers couldn't see what might be morbid about choosing to take off your clothes in a roomful of strangers for a handful of crumpled dollar bills. In fact, the men I was talking to got defensive.
I think it's an important story, as political as anything I published in the magazine. I hope you enjoy Dana's reading of it at the Hypnodrome last October.
Causes Loren Rhoads Supports