Updated: Sep 10, 2021
They say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. But there will come a time when you're fresh out of honey, and the vinegar is flooding from your tear ducts, not to mention your sweat glands, and you know to your very core that if you don't open up your mouth and set it free, it will drown you from within. In those moments, it's time to get loud. But not just loud. Loud and effective. In this episode, black female performance poet laureate Stacy Dyson, author of Lovely and Suffering and Follow Me On This, joins me to talk about her journey from polite, if occasionally snarky, poetess, to the phenomenal force to be reckoned with she has finally allowed herself to inhabit. Learn more at: https://saintwinterraines.com/
2:00 - Getting loud & effective
9:00 - The little things that get us through
11:00 - With right comes responsibility
15:30 - Breonna's Song
20:00 - If you don't see color, you don't see me
35:00 - Nobody wants your qualified apology
Adrienne MacIain 0:03
Hey everyone, welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. I'm your hostess Dr. Adrienne MacIain. And today we're here with Stacy Dyson, please introduce yourself.
Stacy Dyson 0:13
Well, hi, everybody. I am a black female performance poet. And that clarification is mandatory. Because all of those classifications are necessary to the way I breathe. I write and perform my own original poetry. I've been doing this for, oh, gosh, I've been doing performance for at least 40 years. But I've been a poet since I was five. And I'm about to be 63. So for a minute, I've been doing this for a minute. Chat books and CDs. The latest book is called Lovely and Suffering, we'll talk about that later. I've got another manuscript, Follow Me On This, on the way. The symbol description is: no husband, no kids, no cats. That about covers everything else.
Adrienne MacIain 1:16
So you're just as single as can be.
Stacy Dyson 1:19
I'm trying. Well, I mean, single has bad--even now in the supposedly liberated times, hahaha--has that pejorative ring to it. I am unencumbered.
Adrienne MacIain 1:35
Stacy Dyson 1:37
By choice. How long that's gonna last, who knows? I might be married by the end of the year. My horoscope says I'm getting married by the end of the year.
Adrienne MacIain 1:46
Stacy Dyson 1:47
Yeah, my horoscope is full of... never mind. This is roughly along the lines of: Sure, I could be pregnant, but you would need three wise man and a star and East. I mean...
Adrienne MacIain 2:02
Exactly. Yes. So my dear, what is the story the world isn't getting?
Stacy Dyson 2:15
There are so many stories the world isn't getting. A big one they're not getting is that women, and women of color, specifically, are through. We're done. You know, this, the whole stereotype of the angry black woman, you know, whatever. Yeah, that's no longer something that we're trying to stay away from. It's like, mmhmm, yeah, we're pissed. And we want to talk about it, and we're not gonna be quiet about it. And then just women worldwide, I think, are finally discovering that their voices do actually have power. They're the ones telling their stories now, not handing them over to other people to dilute or manage or whatever.
Adrienne MacIain 3:02
And why is that important?
Stacy Dyson 3:04
Because nobody is going to tell our stories but us. Not the right way.
Adrienne MacIain 3:09
Not the right way.
Stacy Dyson 3:11
And not in the time they need to be told. You know, there's a whole generation of younger women who are coming up saying: Wait a minute, we see it's not working. Why aren't you talking about it? Because we need to know how to talk about it. So this is a--how shall I say?--a mission of care, I guess. A mandate of care, I should say. If we don't keep talking, having now discovered that we can do it, and that we have to do it, if we don't keep that up, The Handmaid's Tale is looking like a real possibility.
Adrienne MacIain 3:54
Yep. So that said, tell us a little bit more about your journey. How have you come to this place of: I'm done. I'm just going to tell it like it is?
Stacy Dyson 4:12
Because for a lot of years, I didn't, or I cloaked it. You know, there's a... my generation is the generation of: this is how you act in public, because people are watching; this is how you speak, because people are listening. This is how, this is how, this is how, and you better... behave, speak whatever, that way. I understand it. And I actually applaud it: this was the way that black parents, certainly my parents, kept us safe. If you're not sticking out, if you're polite, if you're soft voiced, if you're you know doing all that, and so most of my career has been dedicated to: tell the truth, but keep it diplomatic. Keep it, you know, relatively soft, a few zingers in there for the people who are actually paying attention. And then Idiot Boy got elected. And I, you know, I just, I literally sat down and had this conversation with myself, about what you're doing isn't gonna work anymore. You have got the things that you have been keeping bottled up, you have to say, because, you know, I mean, I, I'm not going to say that I wasn't writing good poetry. I was not going to say that I wasn't doing really good performances, because I was, but there was always that little bit of me that was kind of holding back. And so when I hit 60, I told my housemate "Well, the filters are off haha." The only filter that really dropped, that I really just permanently laid to rest was this: Stop being afraid of how people are going to perceive you. And you know, that always-be-reasonable, always-be-diplomatic... Again, I get the reason for that. I applaud it. But it very much got to the point where it wasn't working. And then, as I say, when Idiot Boy got into office, and I saw the things that were happening, I got scared. Yeah, like, I cannot afford to keep doing this. Like, okay, then it went up a level. Like, that's... that's it. I'm done. I cannot, WE cannot afford to NOT be known as angry, to not be known as... you know, there's loud, and there's loud and effective. I just wanted to be loud and effective. And people who know me, who have known me for years, are like, "Okay, who are you?" Retinal scan, flash some ID, because this is not the person that we know. They always knew I was capable of this. And quite honestly, I think if the pandemic had not come along, I probably would have gotten to this point a lot more slowly. I didn't have the luxury of time.
Adrienne MacIain 7:40
Stacy Dyson 7:43
And I was in pain. I mean, any thinking, feeling person for the last year and a half, seeing what's been going on with women with communities of color, with the LGBT community, all of those folks, has been in pain. Here's the breakdown: I would be absolutely useless on the street protesting. Okay? I have arthritis. I just, I can't move that fast. Okay. That's, that's the pure, you know, that's the breakdown on that. And so when the protests were going on, you know, and then the pandemic was going on, I also have autoimmune so I couldn't be out, you know, outing and 'bouting amongst whoever. And that really bothered me, on a whole lot of different levels. And then, again, another conversation, what is it that you do best in the world? Do that! So once I, as much as I hate the phrase, put my head in that space, then it was like, oh, okay. Yes, this. I can do this. I can do well, and this I can make an effect with, which is you know what got me... I'm not going to say through the pandemic, cuz big news, for those of you who don't know, it's not over yet.
Adrienne MacIain 9:13
It's still happening!
Stacy Dyson 9:16
It got me through that first part of the pandemic, that and a housemate who understands when to leave me alone. And the other thing that got me through, because there are little things, I think a lot of us dependent on little things. When you've lived your entire life on stage, not being on stage will kill you. I was losing my mind. I really was, and so my housemate bless her heart, got to see all this, and so finally she said, you know what, the front yard's big enough, so we invited like eight people over eight, nine people over, social distance, masks. There was a dedicated little space for me like seven feet away from everybody else. So, you know, she made me a little stage area, and she put me back into live performance. It is the only thing that kept me from losing my entire mind. That, and figuring out that I could have my groceries delivered. So...
Adrienne MacIain 10:26
The little things.
Stacy Dyson 10:27
Well, yeah. And, you know, I'm being facetious to a point, but I think a lot of people discovered it was the little things that were helping them hang on. Because let's not kid ourselves. This was not a year and a half of yes, I'm living through it. This was a year and a half of I am hanging on through this. So those little things, you know, the grocery deliver the deliveries, yeah. The being able to do some sort of live performance. The knowing that there was a book coming out of this, that there had to be, for me, a book coming out of this. Yeah.
Adrienne MacIain 11:12
Tell me about that. Why did there have to be a book coming out of this?
Stacy Dyson 11:17
Because again, I can't be out in the street. You know, I can't, I mean, I can't climb a ladder and get on the roof with a microphone. My knee and my ankle would never put up with it. You know, practicalities? And again, I've been doing this before, this is what I am best at in the world. I grew up with, ringing in my ears: with right comes responsibility. Okay, I got given this, I did not wake up one morning and say, "I want to be a poet," nobody in their right mind does that. God gave this to me, I do not have the right to not use it for its best effect. I have a responsibility to make sure that the words get out there. I don't get to just write it and keep it for myself in a little file somewhere for rainy days. So there was that. I also knew that if I didn't write what I was feeling, I was going to spontaneously combust. There were days when all I did was cry. There were days where I was just, everything I had just ached. There were days when I was Major League just overwhelmed by everything that was happening that we're supposed to be past. Okay. Breonna Taylor died almost two years ago. I'm still crying. When I think about her, the abject, in-your-face: no, this country is not yours realization. That hurt. It really did. Because that's not what I was raised thinking. I say in one of my poems: the fairy stories are our birthright, basically. The ones about everybody's equal, and the ones about you're going to be judged by the content of your character, not the color of your skin, my generation was raised on all that stuff. And a lot of us, including me, for a long time, believed it. The last four years, and especially the last year and a half just went rrrrip, haha, guess what? And that's a really hard thing to take, and an even harder thing to accept. But it came to a point where I didn't have a choice. It was right there in front of me. It was--
Adrienne MacIain 14:11
2020 was for a lot of people the year of clear vision, of seeing things as they are.
Stacy Dyson 14:17
And that's painful. That's always painful. So it's like okay, so you got this pain, you got this angst, you know, you've got the days where you're crying. You got all this stuff that you've been thinking. What is it exactly you were planning on doing? Do what you do, poet it, talk about it, let other people hear and see it. Because you know you're not the only one feeling this and you're not the only one who's up to now been... afraid is good: afraid to say it. There are poems that I write now that I know are gonna piss people off in the worst possible way. I'm okay with that. I never really much cared for what-- the running joke used to be: there are three people in the universe whose opinions I care about, and you're not on the list.
Adrienne MacIain 15:15
Would you be willing to give us an example?
Stacy Dyson 15:22
Of a poem?
Adrienne MacIain 15:23
Stacy Dyson 15:24
Sure. Um, let's see. I don't want to do Breonna's song, because I will cry. And, well shoot, because I would cry, then I need to do it, and the poem needs to be heard anyway.
Twenty-seven erased by eight equals blood on Daniel Cameron's hands
Twenty-seven erased by eight equals no more dreaming and still no justice even now
Twenty-seven erased by eight only equals more struggle and rest in power, and I know that mothers' tears falling century down century did not keep you safe
I am sorry that our soft voices and white gloved hands and choir singing are not enough to keep you safe
Sorry that trying to fit into this tapestry
Sacrificing to fit into this supposedly sweet and welcoming tapestry
Was not enough
Our not being angry was not enough to keep you breathing
And I don't know what you had planned for your birthday
But I do know that you were a woman
Not a symbol
I know that sometime, you must have fussed with your hair, fussed with your man, fussed about your job
got loud witchyer girls
got out in the streets singin' and swingin' and in blingin'
so you could forget about your day laid up in the bed some days watching the rain
I know that as a black woman, there were some days you couldn't take it anymore
Felt like you couldn't see one more horror
But you stayed in the game
Went back the next day, did your job
There were days when you just got tired of being a black woman
Because that's what black women do
That's what and who we are
We did everything we were supposed to
We trusted, and prayed, and held our heads up, and made way out of no way
We took it, we worked with it, we held on, held it down, did the work, held it down, held it together, held on and on and on
While the country, this place
Did every wicked thing it could to tear us apart
We did everything we could
Used every way we know, every day and night living the way we are supposed to live to save our children and it still wasn't enough
Our holding it down, fighting the system, setting streets on fire, soft words, bowed heads, white gloves, swallowed humiliations, and words and tears and songs and suffering
The way we have been told we need to live our entire lives
You were still not safe
You were our daughter
Our little sister
No, not our mother
Never anyone's mother
We tried everything
You died anyway
Right now you are on your way to becoming an icon
Your name will go down as a martyr to the cause
I am truly sorry for that
Because no one deserves such a hellish honor
Twenty-seven erased by eight should not equal political expedience, cover ups, lies, does not justify or explain the dirt they tried to bury you with
Twenty-seven erased by eight and wrong and a mother who will never sleep again because her baby sleeps too young and forever
Why? For what?
All she wanted, all anyone ever wants, is to be human
Flawed, and free, and human
Flawed, and alive, and free
Adrienne MacIain 19:36
Thank you. Thank you for that.
So how has this experience changed you? You said earlier that the one filter you've decided to leave off permanently is caring what other people think.
Stacy Dyson 19:55
Well, you know again, family legend has it that I stopped caring about what other people thought when I was six. So, you know, because this, again, this is not a profession that anybody wakes up in the morning says, You know what? I'm gonna be a poet. Okay? People used to be committed in the last century for, you know, saying things like that. Lord knows my mother was not amused. And so there's always been that. I'm going to do what I want, regardless. But in terms of my voice, it's always been, okay, you can get more people to the table if you are calm, and diplomatic, and, you know, patient and, okay. And that started slipping a little bit. And I, the older I got, the more impatient I got with people who just would not say what they needed to say. But I also recognize that the quickest way to alienate somebody is just to get up in their face and scream at them. Nobody learns anything that way. So I went along, you know, being calm and patient and, you know, doing all that stuff. And then, like I said, the streets turned to fire. And I didn't have a choice anymore. I had to change. What is the Darwinian thing about adaptation? And that's fine. But that takes forever, and I didn't have forever. I personally in me, for me, was looking and seeing, you know, I how shall I say, the changes that I saw were too small, and not far reaching enough. The the performative nonsense that went on and still goes on, in the name of why, yes, we are all the same. No, we're not. And I've, you know, I was getting tired of conversations about, you know, we're all the same. No, we're not. We should all be treated the same. Absolutely. We should all have the same rights. Absolutely. We are not the same. And there are, I wrote a couple of poems that addressed that, but one of the things that I was posting before any of the poems came about was: if you don't see color, you don't see me. That's why, when you ask in introduction, you know, who are you, I'm a black woman. It makes a difference. First of all, it's not like I can pass. Okay, this is not, it's kinda obvious, you know, right here. If you, if you're looking dead at me, and you're saying, "I don't see color," then that just means I'm invisible to you. And that level of disrespect, that level of disregarding who somebody is, just because it's convenient for you to say, oh, there's only--I've had people say this to me so often--there's only one race, the human race. Get away from me. Okay. Go sit in the corner somewhere and think about what you did bad. Okay, but stay away from me. That soothing syrup that people have said to themselves until they think it's going to work on everybody else? On my good days, I call that being disingenuous. My bad days, I call it hypocrisy. I had a lot of bad days last year.
Adrienne MacIain 24:07
I have always felt like you can't actually change anyone's mind. That's not actually a thing that is possible. People change their own minds when their hearts change. And I think--
Stacy Dyson 24:20
I think as a poet, it's part of my job to make sure people change their minds. Words, if you use 'em right, will do that. Do you have to hit their hearts first? Sure. Absolutely. You know, so you know, you bring them in with with foolishness, like chocolate blues. Some little ditty of a poem I wrote about you know, it was okay if I lost my man, but I better not lose my Nestle's crunch. Cuz you know, people have priorities. So yeah, there's I mean, you can't walk in heavy-handed right from the start again, if you jump into somebody's face and start screaming, nobody hears anything. And that's not to say you can't be angry, indignant, whatever. But you got to get them there first, you know Whoopi Goldberg has in, is it sister act? It's either sister act one or two. I can't remember, where she tells Mother Superior: "You got to get the butts in the seats." If you want change, you got to get the butts in the seats. I'm relatively adept at doing that.
Adrienne MacIain 25:38
Yeah. Well, where I was going with that is not really the whole, you know, catch more flies with honey than vinegar thing, I was thinking more: when we can show people our pain, and they actually can empathize. That's a really powerful shift.
Stacy Dyson 25:57
Adrienne MacIain 25:58
When they can actually see it and feel it with you. And I think that's part of-- we have silenced that pain for so long, and said: we don't want to hear it. We don't want to see it. We don't want to talk about your pain. Like: get over it.
Stacy Dyson 26:13
I've had people tell me, you know, I really I hate it whenever somebody says I really love your poetry. I know what's coming. I really love it, BUT... You're clearly--they always say clearly--you're clearly not a victim, you know, and in your poetry you come off as a victim. Yeah.
Adrienne MacIain 26:33
Excuse me? Because you know my life?
Stacy Dyson 26:40
And I'm always kind of set to say, what voice... I am not in the conquerors position, here. Okay? If you are being subordinated by another structure, another person another, whatever it is, then you are by definition, the victim. That doesn't mean that you're not fighting, it doesn't mean you're not protesting. It's just that you're a victim. That's all there is to it. And so for people to tell me stop acting like a victim or stop thinking like, writing like a victim? I don't even talk to those people. Yeah, I just smile, you know, wander gently away, and you know, curse them out in my head. I was I was raised, you know, I, in one of my poems, I say I was well born well bred. And so the, the stuff that I say in my head, if God really does does get you for not just the stuff you think, say the stuff that you think I'm going down. I am in so much trouble. I will get up to the pearly gates and St. Peter will look at my at my accounting and go "Okay, this is good. This is good. Really good. Oh, wait a minute. Here's the whole list of the things that you were thinking. And I won't even get ushered into hell, okay. The trap door will just open under my... and I'll punch straight down. So the strategy is, you know, as you say, to let people know: yes, I hurt. But! There's that magic but. But this is WHY. Okay. If you're going to say, if you're going to acknowledge that I am in pain, it doesn't stop there. Because this is not about your comfort level. So I get to say, I have to say, "Yes, I hurt and you have to hear why I hurt." Because not giving me that... How shall I-- I'm not going to say... your not giving me that space, not allowing me that is, again, a nod to your convenience, to your comfort, which is what got me into the situation in the first place. So you know, I had somebody write to me, now this is this is someone that I've known for 20 years maybe. And at one time we were really, really close, and the only reason the friendship sort of went back burner was because I just wasn't in proximity. I moved And you know, we would shout out to each other on Facebook and wave hi, you know, that sort of nonsense, for the entire time. Time that, all of this stuff with the protests and Breonna Taylor, and Ahmad and Floyd and all that, I didn't hear a word from this person. You know, other friends were writing, and god bless them for it, checking on me, "Are you okay? You want to talk about this? Are you in a safe...?" You know, just... Nothing from this person. The day after the scandal about the Vogue cover for Kamala Harris came out? That's when she reached out to me and said, "Can you explain this to me?" And I said, "Why are you asking?" You know, this was all via text message. I said, "Why are you asking me?" And she comes back with? "Well, I know you've always been interested in women's causes. And, you know, protecting, you know, protecting women. And I'm like, "What?" And so I wrote back to her and I said, "No, why are you asking me?" She said, "Why? I'm asking a lot of my friends and you just, you know, happened to be on the list." Okay, sure. So I said, "I gotta tell you right now I'm feeling like your available black friend. And that's who you want to talk to." And she got very, very upset and much to my chagrin, I didn't care. Like, how dare you. And there's, there's actually a line in one of the poems in the book that says, "What really happened was I stopped being your available Negro." So that whole sense of, "Well, I would explain it, or I would understand if you would just, you know, explain it to me, if you would just teach me this." You know, what, take your pearls, and clutch them somewhere else. I don't have time for this. I just dealt, because it's been 400 years of me trying to explain this to you. If you haven't gotten it by now, then we really need to stop talking. And you need to go and read a book or something. You know, watch the documentary. I told, there was one young woman who had posted something. Oh, gosh, I, I don't know her, but I had been reading her other posts. And I know she didn't mean that the way she wrote it. She, she didn't. So I wrote to her. And I said, "This might be seen as..." And she wrote back this heartfelt apology and said, I'm really sorry. You know, this is, she's not from this country. She's from Switzerland.
Adrienne MacIain 32:51
Stacy Dyson 32:53
She said: "I don't understand. How do I get past it?" So I said, "You read. And you ask us. And if you find somebody like me who's willing to talk to you about it, then you call them up. Here's my number." So she called, we had a nice two hour conversation about the way things move, and have been, and are happening in this country. That, as far as I'm concerned, is the responsibility. But you know, then again, it comes straight from, if I say I'm in pain, and you're really interested in figuring out what's going on, then you have to let me talk about it. And if you have contributed to that pain, then you got to take it. Yeah, I'm not going to and that was the that was the big thing that changed the writing voice. Like, you got to take it and I'm not going to apologize for it. Now there's there's a whole suite of poems in the new book called "Karen, Your Mommy Done Left the Building." Because after a while you get tired of holding people's hands and wiping their noses. Yeah, 400 years is a long time to do that. Yeah, 62 years. Well, I haven't been doing it since I was born. It just feels that way. So you know, we'll split a little difference here. 50 years is too long to be doing that.
Adrienne MacIain 34:32
Absolutely. I always like to use the analogy, when I wrote my book Enough, I'm speaking about abuse. And this crosses a lot of different areas. But let's say somebody stepped on your toe. Right? They didn't see it. They just, they stepped on your toe. The fact that they didn't see your toe that they did not intend to step on your toe does not negate your pain.
Stacy Dyson 35:00
Adrienne MacIain 35:01
And if you say to them, "Hey, you stepped on my toe," so that they know like, hey, my toe is here, please don't step on it again, and they get mad at you, and say "You shouldn't have been standing there," or "you have no right to come at me with your anger, I didn't even know your toe was there!" That's abuse. That's called emotional abuse. And you don't have to put up with that.
Stacy Dyson 35:27
You know, it's what we used to call in my house a qualified apology. No, like, I you know, I had some little boy, that some I was I was at a school what we used to quaintly call reformatories, I used to do a lot of work with with that population. And I was doing a show and at the workshop, I can, you know, people say, you know, well, you have to treat these different populations differently. No, you don't, you know, I treat all these kids like they were my, you know, these, this is an all boys unit. You know, these are all my, you know, 11 year old nephews. Okay. And so, some lowboy popped off with something, and I answered him back, as I tend to do. And so he called me a bitch. So I threw him out of class. So I'm sitting in the teachers lounge, you know, later on, sitting-- for those of you, incidentally, who are not teachers, if you go into schools, when you have a break, don't go sit off by yourself somewhere, go sit in the teachers lounge, because that's where you find out where all the bodies are buried. You find out the culture of the school, you find out how the school works, you find out, as a reboot, you know, saying, who's zoomin' who, I mean, you find out everything. So I'm sitting the teachers lounge, and here comes boyfriend, and he has, you know, the hand of the law in the form of my liaison on his shoulder. And he looks at me, and with every, you know, I mean, it's like the words were being just like, carved in stone and dragged from his throat. And he says, In this exact tone, "I'm sorry." And I just looked at him. And I'm like, I don't feel like playing today. So I said, "Sorry, for what?" Because when my nephews were little, it's always, I don't want to hear I'm sorry, I want to hear why you're sorry. You know, what did you do bad? You know, that whole thing? He said, "I'm sorry, I called you that name." Now, I know what he's expecting. And I know because I know the culture of the school that I'm supposed to, like, be the grown up here and say, "Well, thank you for owning up to that. I accept your apology, da-da, yeah, whatever. I said, I wouldn't play in that day. So I said, "I was just doing my job. And you made it personal. And unpleasant. Why?" "Well, I was just having a really bad day," you know, again, by script, "I was having a bad day, and I wasn't being responsible for my dadadada." And I just looked at him and said, "You know what, in my house, that's what we call a qualified apology. And you're really only making it because you have to. And so no, I don't accept your apology. Thanks for coming by." And he had this look on his face like but, but she's supposed to say it's okay. And... no. So that: I hurt you, because I victimized you, because I oppressed you, because I was having a bad day, is a qualified apology. I don't want to hear it. "I didn't understand because nobody has explained to me." Yeah, that's different. Okay, let me explain it to you. You know, "I didn't hear what you were saying because I don't know whatever language of the heart that happened to be." Mellow, I can fly with all of that. You know, I tell people there are two kinds of ignorance. You're ignorant because you don't know, or you're ignorant because you don't care. One is curable, the other one isn't.
Adrienne MacIain 39:28
Yeah. Well, this is about the time when I like to transition into doing this little exercise that I enjoy. So if you would like to play along, you can close your eyes, take a deep breath, and as you breathe in, bring colored light into your body and just tell me what color it is.
Stacy Dyson 39:53
Well, it's colors.
Adrienne MacIain 39:54
Nice. What do you got?
Stacy Dyson 39:56
I got corals and flushed reds and blues, blue greens and TEALS.
Adrienne MacIain 40:06
Ooh, that sounds gorgeous. Okay, give me another one: breathe in and see what you get.
Stacy Dyson 40:16
Sand white and burnt gold.
Adrienne MacIain 40:18
Okay, fabulous. Alright, keep your eyes closed for a moment and I'm going to kind of wave my magic wand over here, and when I do that, everything that you deeply desire will come to pass, right here, right now, and I want you to tell me the first thing that you see in this new ideal reality. Magic wand waved.
Stacy Dyson 40:39
Magic wand waved. Okay, Antonio Banderas is not here so...
Adrienne MacIain 40:44
What?? It didn't work!
Stacy Dyson 40:47
I think probably your magic wand needs a reboot right there. Everything that I want in the world... I want every kid in the world to not go hungry today. I want... you know what, let's stop saying "I want." In my new reality, no kid goes hungry. Never goes hungry ever. Ever. Everybody actually is treated the same legally and everything else. Every country in the world is run by a woman. Well, you know, we'll let the guys do what they can do. But the big decisions are coming from all the big decisions are coming from women. Personally, I have enough money to set up foundations for all of my nieces and nephews, to buy houses in at least six different countries, and fund... there's about 50 charities I would like to fund to the tune of about you know 5, 10 mil apiece.
Adrienne MacIain 42:07
So I want you to see one of those houses. Just pick one. Tell me what it looks like.
Stacy Dyson 42:17
This one is in Italy. Oh in the middle of rolling in and waving fields of grapes most widely. grapes and grain. There is a road that winds and curves not too much because I tend to get motion sick, down to some form of water. I gotta have water. There are at least at least three different levels. And gate house, what they use, a gardener's cottage, as such. The gardener's cottage is for when I have people over, they get the house, I go into the gardeners cottage.
Adrienne MacIain 43:19
Stacy Dyson 43:22
Lots of dogs. I had dogs all the time I was growing up and I haven't had one for years and I really wanted a dog, so at least five is good. A stable. A riding stable. And somewhere on the property is a meeting place, training space, conference hall sort of thing. So I can fly all of my art buddies in, you know. Oh, and the helipad!
Adrienne MacIain 44:07
Gotta have the helipad.
Stacy Dyson 44:08
Gotta have the helipad, because I will always spend six months of the year there. The other six months, I will be flying all over. I don't want a private plane, I think that's too much. Just go ahead, you know, I just need a helicopter to get me to the airport. I'll take commercial flight. I'm not proud. Alright, I'll be in first class damn it though, cuz coach is a pain, I really don't like flying coach. And I'll be performing. So for six months out of the year, I'm running around and performing, and then the other six months, I will be at my villa.
Adrienne MacIain 44:47
I want you to see yourself on stage now. And there's someone in the audience and you can see that you've just broke them open. You know that moment
Stacy Dyson 45:00
Adrienne MacIain 45:02
And, and they come up to you afterwards. And what do they say to you?
Stacy Dyson 45:09
This has happened more times than I can count. And normally they don't say anything. They cry, they just cry. Or they hug me. Or they do both at the same time. If they are, if they're capable of speech, it's usually just say, "That's me," or "How did you know?" Or, "That was amazing," or, you know, that sort of thing. There's not a performance poet on the face of the planet, who hasn't gotten somebody who walks up to them and says, "How did you know?" You know, speaking about whatever point it was, I have a poem on that I wrote years ago, on a woman who's leaving a domestic abuse situation. I have yet to do that poem where some woman doesn't walk up to me, look me dead in the eye and say, "That's my story. How did you know?" So it's, it gets interesting. I had an apprentice, who-- the light side of that is: I had an apprentice who wrote upon about taking Spanish classes, and the teacher keeps her after one class and says, "I'm really curious, you know, why are you taking Spanish?" And her answer in the poem is, "So that I can understand the songs that my husband is singing into my unborn baby, every night, into my, next to my belly," a beautiful, beautiful piece. Okay, so, and I witnessed this twice, I witnessed this twice now. So you know, she gets off stage and she goes, we were in a wine bar for that particular reading. And she orders a glass of wine. And this woman comes sailing up turns and almost knocks the wine glass hovering. "What's the matter with you? You know, you're pregnant. Don't you know about Fetal Alcohol..." and proceeds to lecture on fetal alcohol syndrome, to my apprentice, and they're going "Wait, it's just a poem. I'm not pregnant!" This woman's not hearing it. You know, she... Power of the word. Okay, right. Um, she did this, the same poem, at some, you know, you work coffee houses and bars and everything else. So she, we were at this bar, and she had done the poem, she gets off stage and she's outside and she's smoking. Same thing. Somebody comes, knocks the cigarette out of her hand and gives her a look. Ages ago, I had a poem. I still have it. I haven't done it lately, about a woman who's explaining why she's a hooker. Okay, the beginning of the poem is: I ain't no hooker, I ain't no pro. I'm a ho. And she breaks down, you know, why she's that. And I had done that for a show, for a senior high school. Okay. And so the teacher--this was back in the days when, you know, all the students wrote you, thank you notes. And I'm reading the thank you notes. And this one little boy just leaps off the page. I mean, it's like, I'm sorry, you know, you're really good. And you're really talented. And how could you possibly sell yourself? You know, you shouldn't be living that kind of life, you could make a living, you know, being a poet. You're really, really good at this and, and half of me is just madly offended, and the other half of me was like, wow, I really did my job. Oh, my gosh, and I, you know, I took great pride, and still do, in answering every single thank you. And so I wrote him back and I'm like, "Sugar. I'm flattered. But no, this is not my life. It was just a poem."
Adrienne MacIain 48:53
Oh my gosh. Okay. I'm gonna take you back in one more time here. Okay. You're gonna find a place on this property that you never discovered before. It feels a little bit magical. It's like, Wow, I didn't even know that was here. Okay, I want you to see it for me and tell me what you see.
Stacy Dyson 49:17
Okay, um, that's, that's easy. The minute you said it, it's like, I know this place. A lot of green and gold. Some dabbling? Not even dabbling. Now you get those those like streams of sunlight. And it's, it's very quiet. And I can hear water somewhere water is a big thing with me. I hear water moving somewhere. Not a waterfall. Nothing that active stream or something stream or creek or something. And something tells me inside: this is the safest place on your property This is where you come when you're freaked, unhappy, whatever. I know this place because something in me knows that place.
Adrienne MacIain 50:10
What can you smell there?
Stacy Dyson 50:14
Ideally, because I love the scent, roses. I don't see any, but I can smell them. I smell roses, and I smell various flower scents with just a hint is a little hint of lavender. somewhere. Lavender is more likely in this place. But the big thing is that overhead, there's this the canopy of trees as such, but it only extends halfway. If I look over this way, I know that when it gets dark, I'll be able to see all the stars and they'll be this close to my face. Yeah, babe, I got this mapped out, okay?
Adrienne MacIain 51:03
Oh yeah you do!
Stacy Dyson 51:04
I've been thinking about this for a little while.
Adrienne MacIain 51:06
I Love it. Gorgeous. Love that. Well, let's wrap right there. And why don't you tell the wonderful people at home two things. First: What would you like them, if nothing else, to walk away with from what you said today?
Stacy Dyson 51:27
Don't be afraid to open your mouth. Regardless of what's going to happen, if you have something that is burning to get out? And you know it. It's going to hurt. Yes. You're going to fall in scrape your knees. Absolutely. Do it anyway.
Adrienne MacIain 51:46
Do it anyway. And where can they find you?
Stacy Dyson 51:52
They can find me. Unless, you know, they're coming to my house...
Adrienne MacIain 51:59
Where can I find your books?
Stacy Dyson 52:01
Thank you, thank you for clarifying! They can find me online. Lovely and Suffering. Let me actually, you know, Sierra will love me for this, of course, let me hold up the book right here. This is Lovely and Suffering. Sierra did the cover. I'm gonna brag on her. So this, you can find it just about anywhere right now, it's in wide release. So Barnes and Noble, bookshop.org, Amazon, Target, for heaven's sakes. If you want an autographed copy of the book, then you go to my website, which is www.stwinterraines.com. Or you can hit me up on Facebook, Jesus knows I'm always on Facebook. So if you send me an item that says, I saw you on this podcast, and I really want your book, then, you know, I, I am not one of those people who lets their emails pile up. I have a thing about that. So if you write to me and say, I saw you on the podcast, I will answer you. If you want to speak to me, just say I'd love to speak to you in person, let me know that, I'll send you my phone number.
Adrienne MacIain 53:16
Stacy Dyson 53:18
Art has to be, and artists have to be, accessible. And if you if you heard something or saw something that you liked, then I'm honored. I'm flattered. I'd love to hear from you. On the other hand, as I say in my concerts, if you didn't, I don't need to hear about it.
Adrienne MacIain 53:41
Absolutely. Yeah. And I want to say if you have you know, your favorite local bookstore, like an indie bookstore, just ask them to order it.
Stacy Dyson 53:50
Yes, they can. I have a friend who walk into some, you know, little bookstore somewhere in Vermont or something and ordered it. And I guess she'll get it by the end of the week or something like that. So yeah, independent bookstores anywhere. I said, All you got to do is ask.
Adrienne MacIain 54:11
Yep. Well, thank you so much, this has been really wonderful.
Stacy Dyson 54:15
Thank you, this was a blast!
Adrienne MacIain 54:16
Yay! I hope you'll come back and let us know how things are going.
Stacy Dyson 54:20
Adrienne MacIain 54:21
All right. Thank you.
Stacy Dyson 54:23