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In this short story by Megan Savage, The Seamstress asks her fiance The Wolfboy for a big favor, and has to accept the consequences that result. As people all over the world are forced to make choices with profound consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Seamstress Loves The Wolfboy is a opportunity to consider the choices we make for love. This is the first audio fiction episode from More Devotedly podcast. Narration by Rosalie Purvis, music, sound design, and production by Douglas Detrick, illustration by Lettie Jane Rennekamp.

Illustration by Lettie Jane Rennekamp.
Illustration by Lettie Jane Rennekamp.

Episode Transcript

Douglas Detrick: Welcome to More Devotedly, a podcast for people who see the arts as a force for positive progressive change. I’m Douglas Detrick. This is Volume III, episode 4.

As people all over the world are forced to make choices with profound consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Seamstress Loves The Wolfboy is an opportunity to consider the choices we make for love. This is the first piece of fiction I’ve produced for the podcast, and I’m really excited for you to hear it. There’s a brief interview with the author so be sure to stick around for that. 

Without further ado, here is The Seamstress Loves The Wolfboy, by Megan Savage, narrated by Rosalie Purvis, an illustration by Lettie Jane Rennekamp that you can see on our website, and music by yours truly.

Here’s the story.

The Seamstress Loves The Wolfboy

Narration by Rosalie Purvis:

Pivot: Leaving the needle in the fabric, turn the material being stitched in a new direction.  This is done when stitching around a corner.

–   Simplicity Sewing Book, Simplicity Patterns Co. Inc., 1965

         The month before the seamstress is scheduled to marry the Wolf Boy, she becomes unbearably curious about the man beneath the hair.  Although her love for the Wolf Boy is built on a foundation of two souls keeping pleasant company regardless of physical appearances, the truth is, the seamstress deals in material goods, makes her livelihood trading in visual commodities, and that is how she finds herself, sitting next to the Wolf Boy on their train ride to Chicago, where he will meet her family, running her fingers through the hair on the back of his hand, and imagining how she might ask him to shave, only once, not forever, for the sake of her love.

         “Do you remember the night you asked me to marry you?” she asks.  Outside the window, the Midwest rolls by, cornfield upon cornfield, blanched by winter.

         The Wolf Boy turns to her.  His eyes, which she has always thought resembled bits of amber, faintly glowing, in the dark cave of his face, today strike her as being more like a dog’s, watery and full of need.  “How could I forget?” he effuses.  “The lights of the big top never looked so magical as when you said yes.”

         “Well, do you remember how you asked me?”

         “Down on one knee, of course, in the middle of the ring.” His eyes crinkle as he speaks.  His fine, aristocratic nose crinkles too, soft black hair shifting across the bridge, while his pink smile stretches warmly, fully, across his human face.  “I had you paraded out on the back of an elephant, you jewel of a woman who hides like a pomegranate seed underneath the fruit’s rough skin.”

         The seamstress blushes and tugs the seam of her skirt over her hip’s full rise, pats it down, and then smoothes her own frizzed hair into place.  She asks again, “do you remember what you said?”

         The wolf boy shakes his great, soft head.  “I only remember you never looked so beautiful as the moment you said yes, when I knew you were mine for eternity.”

The seamstress sighs and wonders how she will ever express, to someone whose life never resembled anything remotely utilitarian, a need she considers at heart immensely practical.  Back in Arizona, in her sewing room bedroom, she stitches through mornings and afternoons.   She sews sequins and rick-rack onto cheap cotton and nylon from the remainder bins at Bolt of Blue.  She stitches under windows that puncture paneled walls with rectangles of open space.  She stitches through thin light that filters onto her fabric

 It’s true, what her fiancé says.  She removes herself from glory.  Her costumes outfit trapeze artists and strong men, tumblers and even a bear, but her own life is calloused from the back end of the needle.

What drew her to the Wolf Boy in the first place was the fact that he didn’t hide, even though he was ugly, so much uglier than she.  His soul, she felt, was a beautiful bird.  

Now she cannot get the bird to alight.  

She searches for her image reflected in his eye“You asked me if I ever thought I could marry someone as strange as you.”

The Wolf Boy feigns incredulity, sends a searching gaze around the train as if to spot the person she’s mistaken him for. “I?  Strange?”  His action draws attention to himself again.  A boy across the aisle gapes, an all-day sucker hanging from his mouth.  The seamstress notices and sticks her tongue out.

“Do you remember in that story, that O’Henry story,” she tries.  “That couple about to be married?  How they want to do something so, beautiful, for each other that they changed themselves completely?  Remember?  She sells her hair, her long lustrous hair, to buy him a watch-chain and he sells his watch, his antique heirloom watch, to buy her a brush?”

“I don’t remember, no, but all right.”

“It’s just, I want to know the man I’m marrying.”

“I’m not connecting the dots.”

“It would be a big thing, I’m asking, a wedding present.”

“You want a brush?  For your beautiful hair”  The Wolf Boy’s leans his head towards her, reaches his hands into her scalp so that she tingles.  Behind him, out the window, a factory releases sooty clouds into the sky.  

Everything darkens then lightens as land rolls by again.  It begins to snow and the train windows blur with condensation.  

The Seamstress exhales but cannot see her breath.

“I want to see what you look like,” she says.  “Under the hair.  Just once, not forever.  I love you as you are.  You know that I do.  I love you more than anyone I’ve ever known.  And it’s because of that, I want to see you.”

He looks away, presses his face to the window.  When he turns back the hair on his right cheek is damp.  “You want me to shave before I meet your parents so they are not embarrassed of me.”

“No, no.” 

His body stiffens, recedes slightly from her side.

“Whenever you want,” she says, “after.  Just once.”

“Let me think about it.”

They fall silent.  

She takes his hand into hers, places it on her lap.  As has become her habit, she draws the hair on the back of his hand around her fingers, begins weaving it into tiny braids.

When he does it, it surprises her.  That evening they dined with her parents, ate the roast chicken her mother prepared.  She left the Wolf Boy talking with her father, telling tales of his childhood in Mexico, how he moved to the city from his rural farm when the drought killed everyone’s maize, how he lived with his family in a shantytown until the circus came to call.  He speaks in vagueries, focusing on the here and now.  She has learned what he is leaving out. 

In bed, she read Andersen’s fables, and fell asleep dreaming of the talking nightingales who sing like tiny glass bells.  When she awakens in the middle of the night, it is to a man sneaking into her bed.  An unfamiliar man, skin soft as pureed pumpkin.  She feels the ridges of his face in the dark, kisses his soft soft lips.  She feels her own skin vibrate with an unfamiliar charge.  She allows herself to be entered by this stranger, calmly accepts that this is the last time she will ever love a normal man again.

The next morning they go to the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  In the car, her parents compliment her on the fine features of her mate, ask whether he plans to have his hair surgically removed.  

“I love your daughter,” is all the Wolf Boy will say.

They watch the floats drift down the avenue, wind through skyscrapers icy and foreboding.  A turkey with a pilgrim hat bounces along in a ridiculous red vest.  The wind picks up, and they pull their wool coats tight around their bodies, huddle together for warmth.  “You’ll love Arizona,” she tells her parents, “when you come for the wedding.  So much more temperate.”  

The spectacle of the parade is much larger than the modest circus where the seamstress makes her living, but she likes her little spectacle better.  “You are more interesting than all of this,” she tells her fiancé, slipping her bare hand into his already-stubbling palm.  

“I forgot to ask,” she adds, “can I keep the hair?”

He sneezes on the train ride back, once and then again, and then many times, wetly.  By the time they hit Utah, he’s feverish.  He looks blemished, like a spayed dog shaved for surgery, patchy hair covering his face and arms.  He shivers and sweats by turns, and though the train is packed with passengers voyaging home, they have several seats to themselves. She lays his coat on him, lays hers.  She places the bag of hair under his head as a pillow.  She asks for blankets, more blankets, anything to keep him warm.  

The train attendants bring coffee, tea, excuses to stay awhile in his presence, bring home stories of the freak on the train.

“I’m sorry,” she tells him again and again.  “It’s all my fault.  Please, don’t die because of me.  Please don’t die because of my love.”  

She doesn’t think he’ll really die, but part of her can’t help believing it.  Isn’t it the way these stories end?  Tragically?  With the heroine realizing it wasn’t pleasant companionship all along, that it was unforgettable, undeniable, passionate soul-splitting love.

When they arrive back in Arizona, he is hospitalized.  The doctors say it’s pneumonia.  Reporters flood the hospital, their flashbulbs turning the Wolf Boy’s patchy skin a ghostly blue. The circus goes on — his brother, the Wolf Man, takes over his role.

She is beading an elephant’s headdress in her room.  The bag of the Wolf Boy’s hair sits beside her on her sewing table, a talisman.  Outside the desert expands in all directions; Saguaro cacti poke up between brushy sage and a plant that reminds her of thyme that grew on her doorstep when she was young, thyme her mother rubbed on the buttered skin of roasters, cold days when the whole house smelled of chicken.  She allows herself a lapse into reverie, remembers the assailable illnesses of childhood, the cool washcloths her mother placed on her forehead when she was sick, the Jell-o molds she served, the sweaters she knitted.

Underlining: A linking which is an integral part of a garment and used to keep a skirt or dress from stretching or sagging out of shape, or to accent the shape of a garment.

–   Simplicity Sewing Book, Simplicity Patterns Co. Inc., 1965

The sweaters she knitted.  The seamstress reaches over to open the bag of hair. 

The hair is long, supple.  As she reaches in to grab handfuls she is surprised by the scent of her lover, warm and musky.  Virile.  She dumps the bag onto the table, stares at the hair for a moment, then calls a friend who owns a spinning wheel.

         The suit she makes is a burnished gold.  She must weave in the fur of her friend’s three golden retrievers for it to be large enough.   The suit feels a little like the cowhide shoes she has seen women wear to cocktail parties.  It’s smooth, soft but textured, and smells the same smell that came out of the bag.  

The weaving and the sewing take her three days straight, and when she is done she marches herself right over to the hospital with the suit cradled under her arm like an injured animal.

         Even though it is the middle of the night, the nurse allows her to see the Wolf Boy.  She slips the jacket over his shoulders and he sighs, relaxes into it.  She rubs her hands over him, all over him, coaxing the warmth out.  

“You are so beautiful,” she says.  “Let me tell you the story about how you asked me to marry you.”  And she does.  The seamstress crouches beside her love and tells him story after story, all the stories she can remember about the wonderful things he has done for her. 

The time he cooked her arroz con huevo at four a.m. so she would get out of bed to watch the sunrise.  The time he bought an icebox worth of ice and crushed it all and had a snowball fight with her in the middle of July because she’d been in Arizona for five years and she missed Chicago, and winter, and snow.  The time he blessed her with the secret of his childhood, his first circus, a prison, where they locked him up so he would surprise the crowds.  

The time he rode her in on an elephant to the circus because he thought she was as beautiful as a pomegranate seed, even though she swears he was wrong.  The time he shaved his whole body for her, because she wanted to know the man she would marry before she went to the altar, even though if she hadn’t been so stupid, she would have realized she had known everything all along.

That night his fever breaks.  When he wakes the next morning, his hair is less patchy, more lustrous.  He is confused, pets the jacket he is wearing, rubs his hands along the thighs of his pants.

“Do you ever think,” she asks, “that you could marry someone as weak as I?”

         Later, when the Wolf-Boy is balding and the seamstress is plump, she will sit her children down in front of her big black steam trunk where she keeps everything that has ever mattered to her.  She will push aside her mother’s embroidery, she will push aside her father’s Bible and she will pull out the hair-suit and the photograph of their wedding.  She will hand around to each of the children a sprig of the thyme she wore in her hair.  And she will say, “thank my lucky stars my dears, thank my lucky stars, he laughed.”

^^^^^

Megan and I had this conversation after we finished producing the story. 

Interview with Megan Savage

Megan Savage

Part 1

Douglas: When we first talked you were walking your dog and, and the phone connection kept cutting out on us. Kind of the rest of the process we, we did just by trading emails. Um, and then you brought in, your friend Rosalie, which was really wonderful and I’m so glad that she was able to, do this really fast project that we put together here.

Megan: Me too! And thank you for being so open to that. And intuitive and communicative and your sense of what the work needed. And that was such an exciting process for me. But having  a project to work on that wasn’t, you know. Sourdough bread, but it was still making a thing and it was doing so collaboratively and it was something I was invested in and, and cared about. It gave me a place to sort of put some of that existential dread and hope and, um, yeah, it was really nurturing.

Douglas: Good. Well, I’m really glad to hear it. It’s been a super fun project for me. And it is the first time that I’ve done any fiction on this podcast and I’m kind of hoping that there will be some like kind of different kinds of stories that we’re able to do in the future. I think this has been a fun learning experience. Like I’ve done a lot of new things. just like with everything else, lots of new things, even on just the tiny little slice of the world, which is this podcast. 

And so I asked you, do you have a piece that you’ve already written? Because I kinda wanted to do this fast, do you have a piece that you’ve already written that you feel is kind of put in a new, interesting context by this situation that we’re in. And so you came up with a story that seamstress loves the Wolf boy, and I wanted to ask you, why did you pick that story?

Megan: Well, I think, you know, the most obvious connection is illness. The very first thing I was thinking about was, this story was on my mind because it involved literal illness. But I also had just workshopped it with Lara (Messersmith-Glavin). We were in a writing group together and I pulled it out. I think, I’d been reading another of my a workshop, group members’ stories that involved fables.

And, uh, this story was on my mind. I also happen to be teaching children’s lit now. And I think, you know, when you’re in a time of crisis, when you’re in a time of trauma, we often as humans go back to the stories we heard when we were young. We go back to some of those sort of origin stories, creation myths, the things that helped us not sort through and make meaning in the world.

And so I think that’s partly why I went back to these stories. This is before I’d even spoken to you, or Laura had, referred me to you, but I brought these out to share with my writing group, I think, because I was also working on some pieces related to the, the death of a dear friend of mine, um, who passed away from brain tumor several years ago. And it was just that such heavy work, you know, and not that these stories aren’t heavy too, but there’s, something really essential and boiled down about them. 

The story is part of this series called stitches, which, involves this sort of archetypal seamstress figure. Landing in different moments in time and eras and narratives. And it’s both the same character in different characters. Um, but you know, with some of the same essential elements experiencing different things. And I think, you know, that sort of poetic reworking and remixing allows me to kind of examine. Some of those core aspects of the world. 

I just was talking to, um, my children’s lit students, virtually talking, posting on the discussion board. We’ve been discussing fairytales this week, and, we’ve been talking a lot about, how much to sanitize fairytales when you share them with students. Because of course, a lot of the original fairy tales, the Perot and Grimms versions that are attempts to capture the oral history way back, you know, the early versions that were told have a real darkness to them. And then they got cleaned up and sanitized over the years. And then they’ve sort of been, the darkness has been recovered recently. And so  I was thinking about that process of sort of moving from oral history to text and what of the darkness gets left in and what of it gets left out and how that relates to sort of these core truths about our lives. 

And, I was reminded of this quote from Karen Armstrong’s book, a short history of myth. She says, “we are meaning seeking creatures. Dogs, as far as we know, do not agonize about the canine condition, worry about the plight of dogs and other parts of the world, or try to see their lives from a different  perspective, but human beings fall easily into despair. And from the very beginning, we invented stories that enabled us to place our lives in a larger setting that revealed an underlying pattern and gave us a sense that against all the depressing and chaotic evidence to the contrary, life had meaning and value.”

And anyway, this is a very long-winded way of saying for me, you know, this story as tight as it is to some of the kind of core themes of fairy tale and mythology, and you know, even just the idea of the archetype of the seamstress, like making clothes, making material goods, that are essential aspects of life. Those were, I think, kind of fundamental ingredients and meaning making that I was drawn to go back to during this time.

Part 2 

Douglas: I think you said more than 10 years that, okay, that you wrote this piece. That idea of going back and looking at something and, you know, just because of the way things are right now, reading them differently and thinking and feeling about them differently than, than you did before.

In the story we don’t have like an epidemiological, analysis of just how the Wolf boy gets sick and why. And, you know, I think maybe two months ago I would have, maybe I would have read that as something that was just a little bit more, flippant or, or childish maybe. When we read it today, in the light of everything that we’ve seen with the pandemic going on, that kind of mystery and that kind of, capriciousness of this illness where it just kind of comes out of nowhere.

And, you know, it’s not that he took any big risks that he would have considered a big risk before,  at least not from a health perspective. Right. He probably had other reasons that he felt it was risky to do that. So when I read it now it makes a lot of sense that this is a disease that , doesn’t really have a clear rhyme or reason, and it kind of just comes out of nowhere and, you know, has a huge negative effect on his life.

Do you feel differently about this story reading it again these days? 

Megan: I do. And I think that’s a really interesting and, profound question. I’m a very symbolic thinker. And I think when I wrote the story, I was very interested in the way his literal illness comes after a kind of symbolic gesture, as a sort of sacrificial gesture that he makes for her and, whether or not you read his illness as coming from him literally catching cold because you know, he, he didn’t have as much body heat and he was vulnerable to contracting an illness. 

Or whether you read it as a sort of symbolic, sort of a magical ramification of the sacrifice that he makes for her in the sense that she asks him to do this thing, which I think of her as a humble person, as someone who has not asked for a lot in her life.  There’s this kind of private need she has to see him and in seeing him to sort of see herself and to recognize what they are together. And so, you know, the consequence of his granting this wish is his illness.  For me and I, think something that’s still relevant now is this sense of aftermath of, you know, what we deal with this and the way that we kind of create these narratives. So, you know, in their relationship, this act will always be tied to illness and his illness will always be tied to this act. And it becomes a kind of foundational story about their relationship and what happens next really matters to me. 

So, back to the question of, in this time, I think that one of the strangest things is, you know, there’s so much that’s indeterminant right now, in terms of the illness, in terms of the political state of our country, in terms of, people’s economic realities in terms of what the shape and, um, containers and rituals of our daily lives look like. And that’s, you know, for people who are currently dealing with the illness and people who are dealing with, illnesses that are not the illness, you know, but serious chronic illnesses. my mother’s dealing with breast cancer right now, for example, in the middle of this situation.

It’s defining our stories. So I think all of us are having uncertainty about what’s to come. And yet we know we’re sort of living this moment of kind of foundational myth, right? So whatever is happening in our lives right now is always going to be kind of tied inextricably to this, this phrase that is driving me nuts, but I keep hearing everywhere, you know, “the time of the virus.”

Part 3

Douglas:  I think if it would apply to both of them, but certainly to the Wolf boy. Because of the way his, body is,  he’s kind of put into this other world where he is very dependent on people. The reason I’m thinking about that is because there’s that, that power dynamic, where he’s really locked into this job, to me has some really interesting parallels with, you know, these people that we’re calling essential employees now. 

Who are locked into these, positions where are at various levels of risk and depending on the type of work they’re doing. I mean, I think that just that idea of this person who has had the least amount of kind of agency in, in the world that they live in, in the story, he’s the one that gets sick. And just that, that link between powerlessness and, and, you know, from that economic perspective and to illness is quite strong in this pandemic that we’re going through right now. And it’s one of the terrible things that,  existed just as much before the pandemic started. But now we’re seeing how deep, how powerful it still is, as a really awful negative force in our society. Does that ring true for you?  

Megan: Yeah, it does. It’s a fascinating reading. I hadn’t thought about it in exactly that way, but you know, what I will say is that I’m very cognizant of the Wolf boy as someone who has been exploited in his life and who has, sort of adapted around that role and adopted, his persona, you know, the way in the conversation he has with the seamstress on the train about O’Henry was, she asks him, you can see he has this sort of grandiosity in his manner. And that is in some ways a false front, right? It’s, it’s the way that he has, become resilient and allowed himself to feel a certain kind of agency in a situation where he is consistently, you know, displayed and taken advantage of.

And we get this little hint of, of his past that he has been sort of imprisoned. And, you know, this seems, just know some of that, but she doesn’t know all of it. And so, you know, this, this question that she asks him, which is, it’s, it’s very hard for her to ask, and it’s a brave question, and it’s something about her fundamental need, and she’s not asking him to exploit him.

Right. And yet, and yet she is asking him for something that is. An echo for him of this kind of past experience he’s had of, of bullying and of, exploitation and imprisonment. So this is a long way around, back to your question, but I think that, you know, I probably don’t have. The language to express this as clearly as you are.

And I hope some of the listeners will maybe make some of these connections themselves, but I think that there’s definitely something to be said about heroism and  the way our culture has kind of created a spectacle around the essential workers. I mean, there’s the seven o’clock cheering for the healthcare workers, the signs, those things are wonderful, right?

But they’re not substantive policy change. They’re not providing PPE. They’re not, meanwhile, health care workers are being furloughed and there are all kinds of, you know, material reasons that the people who are in, not just the healthcare workers, but all of it, you know, the grocery workers and essential employees are putting their bodies on the line for other people.

And the Wolfboy does this in this story, very literally and the Seamstress, is asking something that she certainly is not perceiving as exploitation. I mean, she knows it’s a sacrifice, but she has not lived his life, and she cannot feel in her bones the sacrifice that he’s making for her and the reality of what that means based on his, you know, lived experience, his material, cultural, you know, context of his very body and, and the way he’s been ostracized for his otherness. And I think there’s definitely many parallels that could be drawn if we had more time to talk. Um, and again, you know, I hope other people will, will think that through more than I have. But it is interesting to see the echoes as you raise them. 

Part 4

Douglas: to bring this conversation to an end. I’ll say that it was a lot of fun to, set some music to the story. And, and thanks so much to Rosalie and her, you know, wonderful reading of it. And being a champ, getting it to us so quickly. 

Megan: Yes. Thank you, Rosalie. And can I thank Lettie Jane Rennekamp too for her beautiful illustration that she allowed us to use. I felt like, you know, this was just such a beautiful moment with Rosalie jumping in and doing such sensitive and nuanced narration and then you coming in and really, I would never have imagined the kind of percussive and vocal elements that you incorporated. And they were just right and they made me feel like you and Rosalie both made me feel like the story was sort of alive in a new way that was outside myself and just as a writer, that was pretty thrilling.

And then being able to see, like going back to a drawing she had done. Some time ago and saying, Hey, I see the story in that picture. Yeah. That’s what gives me a lot of hope in this time and a lot of joy. 

Douglas: Well, thank you so much for the kind words. I appreciate that. And also, you know, it was a  joyful process for me to go through it.

And, which is great  because of everything we’ve been talking about with, you know, this parallel between the Wolf boy and these essential workers, you know, all these people that are working in meat processing plants that are now thrust into this position, being forced back to work, whether it’s safe or not, and it’s not, you know, they never would have been considered heros before,  but they kind of are thrust into that now in a certain way, but at the same time, they’re still not, just like before, they’re not, receiving any kind of proportional reward for this risk that they are being forced to take. And, and quite the opposite.

You know, the Republican party is talking about making, granting complete immunity to Any employer that forces them to come back to work and if they get sick, which is just, I don’t know, it makes me incredibly angry. And I hope that it plays out in a more humane way than, than what Mitch McConnell has been suggesting so far.

But, I hope that for the listeners of the story it’s a bit of a diversion. Yes. But at the same time, it’s also an opportunity to kind of look a different way at our situation right now. And you know, to think about sacrifices that people are being asked to make right now and to honor that. You know, hopefully we can look at that in a way that it has mean something important for, for us kind of now and, and in the future, hopefully as well. 

Megan: Thank you so much for that thought.

You know, I agree with you so much, especially about the sense that even though this is a story that uses sort of magical elements, I am really trying to defamiliarize you know, some of the fundamental aspects of our society, including what care it looks like, what sacrifice looks like. Right. We see each other and how we care for each other, both inner crisis and afterwards, and how that becomes part of our narrative.

And I think we should be asking these questions right now. And you know, and I hope they become tied to questions of policy and actual, you know, material change. The story isn’t just, escapism even though there are fantastical elements. I’m hoping that people will use this and, and then it will sort of shift their perspective enough that they might actually do something.   

Douglas: it’s been really fun to talk to you. I’m glad we got to add this conversation after the story and because it comes after the story, you don’t have to worry about spoiling it for anybody. So if they, if they’ve made it this far…

Megan: Definitely, and if they’ve made it this far I’m going to give a personal and sincere thank you to every one of them. 

Douglas: Yeah, exactly. Alright, thank you so much, Megan. we’ll talk to you later.

Megan: It’s been such a pleasure.

^^^^^

Douglas: Thanks so much to Megan Savage, to Rosalie Purvis, to Lettie Jane Rennekamp and to everyone else who has made this podcast possible. 

If you like what you hear, please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, and please rate and review the show so other listeners can join us on this journey. You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and you join our email list at our website, moredevotedly.com. 

^^^^^

Megan Savage is a multi-genre writer living in Portland, Oregon. She was a featured reader at the 2020 Portland Poetry Festival, and her poetry is forthcoming in Plainsongs.  Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have previously appeared in Spork, Subtropics, Barn Owl Review, and Blunderbuss; and she has been nominated twice for Best New American Voices. Her writing has been adapted for performance by, among others, international performing arts collective Chaepani. She holds a BA from Bard College, and MA and MFA degrees from Indiana University, where she served as Fiction Editor of Indiana Review. Currently, she teaches writing at Portland Community College.

Rosalie Purvis is a freelance director and performer from Amsterdam and New York City. Most recently, she joined Kolkata-based international performing arts collective Chaepani and together they have performed at various national borders. She has narrated and performed (in English and Dutch and various accents/characters) for several books, podcasts and radio episodes including Tom X. Chao’s Peculiar Utterance of the Day and James David Jacobs’ narration of the Nutcracker. She holds a BA from Bard College and an MFA in theater from Brooklyn College. She is currently completing her Phd at Cornell University in the Performing and Media Arts Department. 

Lettie Jane Rennekamp (Photo by Anya Chibis)

Lettie Jane Rennekamp, is an artist working in Portland, Oregon by way of Kentucky.

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