Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Interview with me in LargeinCharge 10th Year Celebration Issue

Raqui Hernandez is a big, beautiful, inspiring woman. She has come through some tough times and some dangerous times. Out of all this, she has managed to build LargeinCharge, an online magazine about exciting trends in Fat Positiveness.

And bless her, she has interviewed me for the current 10 year Celebration Issue. I will interview her at some point soon. I love interviewing fat positive activists.



Catching up with Frannie Zellman
Author of the Fatland Trilogy

Frannie Zellman author of the Fatland Trilogy
By: Raqui

Frannie Zellman was recommended to me by Peggy Howell, when I asked about interesting people who are doing great things in the plus sized community.  We were able to feature her and her book Fatland and Fat Poets Speak. Getting to know Frannie over the years has been a slow and nice process.  Since her first interview with LargeInCharge we have interacted through facebook and that has been a great way to share.  Frannie is a passionate person about all her beliefs, yet respectful of others thoughts as well.  Her writing takes you into a special place with that same passion she lives with.  This year we have been honored to have Frannie be a Cover Model of the Year Sponsor, we are so proud of all she has continued to accomplish with her writing and projects. 

Check out the Original Feature by clicking the cover below.
Issue #67 - October 2009
LargeInCharge.com: What is your name?
Frannie Zellman here J

LargeInCharge.com: Where are you from and what is your current Location?
From New York (city and suburbs) a long long time ago. But I have been in NJ now for eleven years. Have lived here in Cherry Hill, NJ for five years.

LargeInCharge.com:   When did you first appear in LargeInCharge Magazine?
I seem to remember being in LargeinCharge right around the time that FatLand (1): A Novel was published. That would be in 2009.

LargeInCharge.com: Please tell us why you were featured?
I was featured for writing FatLand: A Novel. FatLand presents a land in which fat people are rightful and proud citizens, a land where dieting/starvation and scales are forbidden.

LargeInCharge.com:  How did you feel when you appeared in LargeInCharge?
It was rather exciting to appear in a place which was fat friendly and positive.

LargeInCharge.com:  How do you feel now about being included in our special Decade editions?
It is just lovely to be able to honor your first ten years, and my first five years as a fat positive novelist.

LargeInCharge.com: How has your life and endeavors changed since your appearance? 
Since the appearance of FatLand, I have written FatLand (2): The Early Days, and have contributed to and edited two volumes of fat-positive poetry:  Fat Poets Speak 1:  Voices of the Fat Poets’ Society and our upcoming book (out in April), Fat Poets Speak 2:  Living and Loving Fatly. (Pearlsong Press, owned and managed by Peggy Elam, Ph.D., is the publisher of all books mentioned, and many many more fat positive books.)   So you could say that my writing and fat-positive goals have expanded since then (pun mostly not intended).

LargeInCharge.com:  What changes have you made to advance your career/business?
I have two blogs now, one for FatLand and one for Fat Poets Speak:  FrannieZellman.blogspot.com and fatpoetsspeak.blogspot.com

LargeInCharge.com: How long have you invested in your venture/career?
I have written poems since I was six. It is only within the last fifteen years that I have finally understood why I was writing and what I was writing about. I guess that my investment has been mostly emotional.

LargeInCharge.com:  Tell us about some of the most exciting events/occasions, you/your business have held/participated in.
I think one of the most exciting occasions had to be the formation of Fat Poets’ Society at the 2006 NAAFA Convention, when Mary Ray Worley decided that the people who were participating in my very first fat-celebratory and liberation Poetry workshop should join together in a society so that we could keep writing and keep in touch. This coming together produced the poems that later went into Fat Poets Speak: Voices of the Fat Poets’ Society in 2009, four months after the publication of my novel, FatLand.

LargeInCharge.com:  Have you been featured in any press, on tv, newspapers etc?
There was a newspaper article about me and about FatLand and Fat Poets Speak  (1) in a North New Jersey local paper in 2009.  That is the only newspaper article one I know about. I know that the NAAFA Newsletter has featured articles about FatLand and Fat Poets Speak, as well as poems by some of the poets in Fat Poets Speak. Some blogs have done so, as well.

LargeInCharge.com: What changes have you seen for plus sized people since your first appearance?
Actually, I think there have been some very exciting changes. We still have a long way to go, but there have been some very encouraging articles about Fat Acceptance and about HAES in places such as The New York Times and Huffington Post. I think people in general are starting to understand that fat is a kind of body, a descriptor, not a curse, and that fat people can be both happy and beautiful without changing their size. Fat Studies is now a respected discipline in universities. More and more people are writing novels and poems from a fat acceptance and fat positive perspective.

LargeInCharge.com: Are there any changes you had to make for your venture/career flourish?
The most important change I had to make was to realize that I had something unique to say and that I had the ability to say it in writing. Anything else –the blogs, the Facebook participation- pales in comparison.

LargeInCharge.com: What are some of the most important things you have learned through the years?
I think of the Jim Croce song, “The Hard Way Every Time.” However, if there is something to be learned here, it is not to put yourself into one particular place or niche, but to keep trying different ones if you don’t feel that a place or position or niche expresses what you want to say to the world. I feel that what one has to say and the way one says it will come together if one is writing what one was meant to write. I am not saying that FatLand and Fat Poets Speak contain the only things I have to write, but they do say what I consider as the most important things I have to say to the world about being fat and proud and not apologizing for it, but celebrating it. And just as importantly, one does not have to put anyone else down to celebrate one’s own shape and writing and talents.

LargeInCharge.com: How is your standing in the Plus Sized Community among the people?  Good feedback, negative feedback, learning lessons?
A few years earlier I tended to be impatient at times with people who are/were at different, mostly earlier stages of their fat acceptance journey. Tracey L. Thompson’s book Fatropolis (also published by Pearlsong Press) showed me that many people experience their fat shapes as victims, not only of hate and stigmatizing, but also of their own negative internalized images, before they become empowered. I appreciate her perspective more than I can say, and it has taught me that it is very necessary to be gentle and encouraging with people who are taking their first steps in Fat Acceptance and positivity. Rome was not built in a day! Fat pride must often be nurtured and constructed slowly, forgivingly, lovingly.

LargeInCharge.com: What would you say inspires you most in life?
The memory of my grandparents. They were people who were passionate about what they believed and fought hard for it. They fought for the rights of workers to have things like an eight hour day, weekends, paid time off, pensions, non-discrimination policies for women and minorities in hiring and on the job. When I think of them, I say, “The fight will go on.” Although some of their work and that of people like them has been eroded in the last thirty years because of psychopathically greedy wealth-worship(p)ers, I still cherish what they were and stood for, and their memory keeps me working  for Fat Acceptance and Fat Pride.

LargeInCharge.com:  Any new ventures you have planned for the future?
Not new, but I am greatly looking forward to finishing the third volume of the FatLand Trilogy.  However, I must say that there seem to be other books about FatLand and the Other Side/USA that want to be written. I don’t know if I would consider those books a venture, but they may start to comprise one if and when they are written.

LargeInCharge.com: What are your future goals?
I have wishes. I don’t know if they could be considered goals. I have this vision of a series of “safe houses” for fat people where they can go if they feel that they are being harassed and stigmatized by people in their own neighborhoods or locales.
Another wish:  A website devoted to FatLand. That may happen sooner than the first one J

LargeInCharge.com: What advice would you give to other people of size who might be interested in doing something simlar?
Don’t stop writing and don’t stop believing in what you write. And…read, read, read. Read Fat Acceptance books of all kinds, fiction and poetry and non-fiction, but just keep reading anything that interests you.  This will feed your dreams and visions, which in turn will feed your writing.

LargeInCharge.com: Describe yourself/ your company/org with one word.
Me:  Visionary
Fat Poets Speak (people and books):  Inspirational

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