Thursday, July 10, 2008

Women Who Rock Day Four: Jolene Siana!

Whew, my crazy week keeps chugging along. Last night was doubly exciting because the absolutely amazing Lauren from Shooting Stars Magazine set it up so that I could do a phone interview with Mike Ness from Social Distortion for Shooting Stars!!!! Yeah it might be the coolest thing anyone has ever done for me... I feel like I should travel to where Lauren lives just to hug her! It gotta kinda pushed back though so I literally did the interview with Mike in the car on the way to my reading (my mom was driving), but still it was the coolest thing in the world to talk on the phone with one of my heroes for fifteen minutes. We talked books, tattoos, cars, and of course shooting stars. So it's gonna be a must-read issue of Shooting Stars. But you'll have to wait cause I can't transcribe it til I get home from tour!

So then I had my debut reading at Women and Children First bookstore in Chicago. This is the feminist bookstore my mother took me to for my sixteenth birthday, the ultimate gift for a Riot Grrrl and I've loved that store ever since. It was the perfect place to have my debut. And lots of people came! Strangers even! That was the most exciting part, especially the very sweet Maureen who was really emotional about the book and recommended this awesome band, Mr. Airplane Man to me. Also, this is pretty insane, they sold out of books! No stock for me to sign! I guess that just means I'll have to go back later ;) Only thing is we forgot to take pictures. *sigh* oh well. There will be pictures tonight at Beacon for sure. (101 Circle in Forest Park, if you are over 21 come party with me from 7 pm to ???)

I did promise you pink bangs photos though and you will find those along with all you ever wanted to know about my fashion sense on Melissa Walker's blog today. Some other links you might want to check out include an interview with me on the First Book Blog where you get to hear all about my cats, Nick Belardes' unique take on IWBYJR in this review, And Another Book Read's review, and Chelsie's review. Also, keep visiting Book Chic! Tonight, he'll post an interview with me and he's got an ongoing contest!

Now it is time to announce the winner of the fabulous Tamra Spivey's painting!!! People wanted this one really bad, but the random number chose.... *drumroll* Mrs. Rocker Grrrl on myspace as the winner of the painting!!!! Please myspace message me with your address so I can pass it on to Tamra!

Today's guest is someone I am so unbelievably excited about: Jolene Siana, author of Go Ask Ogre: Letters from a Deathrock Cutter! It's suitable that Jolene is coming to visit me here today and I am going to visit Melissa Walker because I met (in the online sense) Jolene through Melissa. I'm currently reading Go Ask Ogre and I feel very close to it because I was a teenage Skinny Puppy fan as well and totally had my goth/deathrock phase, and yes, I grappled with self-injury as a teen, too, so a lot of Jolene's emotions resonate so deeply with me. But I'll just let Jolene speak for herself because she did a great interview! Here she is as a teen with Milo of the Descendants (how freakin' cool is that!!!):

Go Ask Ogre is one of the most unique, intense, and not to mention beautifully designed books I've read in awhile. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Jolene: Well…when I was a teenager I began writing letters to Ogre (Kevin Ogilvie) from the band Skinny Puppy. I was drawn to him for various reasons. He looked interesting to me. I loved their music and his lyrics seemed to reflect what I was going through at the time. I was very depressed as I had lost my grandparents, parted ways with my best friend and broke up with my boyfriend all within a year. The letters that I wrote detailed everything from general adolescent frustration to my self-injury. I also used to decorate the envelopes and stationary because I thought that it would capture his attention but I honestly didn’t expect a reply. He did respond and I met him that year. He told me that he’d be my friend and encouraged my writing. I wrote to him over several years and would see him when he toured. He always treated me so kindly and was very brotherly and encouraging. He told me that one day he would return my letters and over a decade later he proved true to his word. He lost just about everything in his apartment but he held on to my letters, which is just so special to me.

When I got the letters back a friend of mine suggested that I should write a book and initially I was opposed to it. Not too many people knew that I had been a cutter or that my mother had been abusive to me. The material itself, although I’m really glad that I did write it, was pretty heavy. I definitely crossed some boundaries with my need for attention but I truly believe that he saw the bigger picture and knew that by writing things down, it was helping me to work through my issues. I spoke to Ogre about publishing the letters and he was very supportive. Even thought the book is more about me rather than Ogre, I would not have written it without his approval and blessing.

What you are working on now?

Jolene: I’m in the middle of shopping my book, “Do You Think He Likes Me?” It’s a prequel (more or less) to Go Ask Ogre. It’s about romantic relationships of someone who grew up in a fatherless home. It’s visual as well with artwork and illustrations and music also plays an important part as the backdrop. Music has always been so important to me.

And in the spirit of Women Who Rock week, will you share your most rock 'n' roll memory? This could be anything from a favorite concert to a moment where you felt like you were living like a rock star.

Jolene: In addition to writing to Ogre, I also wrote a handful of letters to Milo Aukerman of the Descendents. I got to spend some time with the band because during one of their stops they stayed at my friends house for the weekend. They were all so cool and fun to hang out with. I had the biggest crush on Milo. Not only was he this charismatic punk rock singer but he was just about to go back to school to study biochemistry and I totally admired him. I would tell him about growing up Toledo, Ohio and he would tell me that I had my whole life ahead of me and that I should definitely go to art school or do something creative.

It was about a year later when they toured again and actually played a show in Toledo. He was sitting on the back patio writing out the set list and as I walked by I asked him if they could play the song, “Hope”. During the show I was totally in shock when Milo announced the audience, “This song’s for Jolene”. It videotaped and you can see me freaking out off to the side. Me, with my black puffy hair looking at my friend with her platinum puffy hair saying, “Oh my god!!!” I was super thrilled because I was new to the Toledo scene and I felt like this made me look super cool in front of my punk rock peers!

Thanks to Jolene for sharing this insanely cool story! And Jolene is also giving away a copy of Go Ask Ogre!!!! Believe me, you want this book. So leave a comment between now and noon-ish tomorrow to enter!!!


Anonymous said...

I didn't think you could top yourself, but Jolene is the rockingest woman who rocks yet! My to-read list is getting insane.

Anonymous said...

Here's to punk/death-rock Midwest women who've made lovely things of their lives. Xoxo, k.

jolene siana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane said...

Stephanie, I was at your reading at Old School Records, and I just finished IWTBYJR this morning. It's an amazing book--the references to different bands, clubs, and cities made me very nostalgic and giddy, and the characters' stories were painful and relevant. I'm so pleased to see Forest Park in the book (where I live also), and I'm looking forward to your next book about Oak Park and suburbia.



Melissa Walker said...

Yay! I love hearing more and more from Jolene, even though I get to see her sometimes and she texted me while getting a manicure yesterday. It is totally punk rock to get a manicure, I think.

Anyway, great interview, and have a blast tonight at the party, Stephanie. I have Jolene's book, so don't enter me...

Liviania said...

That's a fabulous story! Now I need to digest it for a moment because the only thing I can up with is, "Wow."

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Annika, you would def love this book! And only two days until I see you, yay!!!

And thanks Katie!

And Jane, I am soooo glad you enjoyed the book. It was so lovely to meet you and your boyfriend (boyfriend? husband?) at Old School. I hope to see you guys out again. I love my fellow Forest Parkers!

Melissa, it is totally punk rock to get a manicure. I got one yesterday, too! Jolene rocks!

And Liviania, wow is pretty much it!

Lenore Appelhans said...

Omigosh that is too cool! Skinny Puppy rocks!!

Anonymous said...

sounds absolutely awesome... Australia is so far away from the awesomeness happening everywhere else...

jolene siana said...

About the manicure?
My toenails are glittery red and they make me smile!


Thanks so much everyone for the comments! The book will be personally inscribed AND come with a hand designed book mark.


Rachael Stein said...

ooh glittery red :D pretty

that was fun :D sorry i kinda missed a couple days in the celebration :( oops, but my brain gets forgetful. and i am here now!!! :D

Anonymous said...

im scott and go ask ogre rocks. its weird hearing about hte places i grew up in, in toledo in a book. its awsome. lol