Laurel Dickman is one of Rav's newest writers, and we couldn't be more excited to have her work featured here!
Welcome to #RavsWriters, an opportunity for you to get to know some of the outstanding human beings who fervently type to make Ravishly the awesome place it is.
2. Tell us about your family, or your cats, or your elaborate paper napkin collection.
I was born the only child of two very politically outspoken hippie public school teachers, and I haven't shut my trap since. I grew up with my childhood and young adult years split pretty evenly between St. Petersburg, Florida, and a once-rural area outside of Raleigh, North Carolina that has now been absorbed by suburban sprawl. Whilst living the rural country life, we stood out like sore thumbs — me being a purple-haired queer femme and my outspoken hippie father telling folks what he thought of their ubiquitous rebel flags. We retreated back to Florida when I was fifteen, where I did my best to assimilate into a crowd of like-minded music nerds and misfits.
I ran away to Portland, Oregon when I was 21 in order to be part of the hipster Never Never Land (and as an escape from the Land of the Dead). While I was in Portland, I found the fat liberation/body positive movement, gained knowledge and experience within the fashion industry, built my self-confidence for real instead of pretending, and met my fiancé after kissing a lot of frogs.
Now I live with my wonderful fella, along with our Maine Coon and Siamese cats, Dorian Gray and Mitts. We live up on a quiet hill (which I refer to as Mount Olympus) in the East Bay with an overgrown backyard and thick, San Francisco Bay fog that comes through almost every night.
3. When did you start writing? Why?
I started writing creatively as a little girl, probably around second grade. I continued writing into my teenage years until I lost ninety pages of a novel that I had been working on and was too heartbroken to continue (around the time that I was nineteen or twenty). I started again a couple of years ago, this time writing more in the way of essays and such. I fell in love once again, met the right folks who needed a regular contributor, and I've been able to make a career of it!
4. What do you like to do when you're not doing the thing you have to do?
My other love is plus-size fashion and creating more imagery of plus-sized and other marginalized folks. I work very closely with Suma Jane Dark, my creative partner, to create beautiful images of lesser-seen folks from a feminist gaze rather than a sexualized male gaze. There's so much pressure for plus-sized women and femmes to either be either super cutesy and twee or hyper-sexual... the world gives us such a virgin/whore complex. We don't have much room to exist and be seen for our strength, power, and the deep bonds between those who exist in big bodies. That's what we try to capture and center in our work together.
Aside from that stuff, I love music and going to shows with my fella, who is a drummer for the San Francisco-based psych rock band Young Elders. That was the first thing that really drew us together and has really bonded me to a lot of the closet folks in my life. I used to DJ as part of the duo Harold and Mod back in my hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida.
I'm also a total gourmand who hates the word "foodie." I love to cook and try new foods and cocktails. One of the things that I miss the most about having a larger space is being able to host dinner parties, which is one of my favorite things in the entire world to do.
5. What music do you love?
I love a LOT of music... from post-punk to hip-hop, indie to well-crafted pop, psych-jazz to alt-country, you'll find it in my collection.
Lately, I've been really gravitating toward Father John Misty, Shilpa Ray, Lizzo, Ibeyi, and Laura Marling. As for reliable favorites, I'm perpetually listening to Kate Bush, Neko Case, Toro y Moi, Talking Heads, Magnetic Fields, Anna Calvi, The Kinks, and Raphael Saadiq.
If you're on Spotify and an audiophile like I am, you should definitely follow me. I even made a playlist just for my Ravishly writer's profile which you can find right here! I kept it super simple: my username is Laurel Dickman, so it's easy for everyone to find me there, as well.
6. Favorite pizza topping.
My favorite meaty topping is sausage, but if I'm going vegetarian, it's mushrooms.
7. Favorite donut.
Boston cream or a buttermilk bar unless I'm in L.A. — all bets are off if I can make it to Donut Friend in Highland Park.
8. Last book you read.
Kim Gordon's Girl In A Band. I'm about to re-read Meaty by Samantha Irby... I can't wait for her new one to come out!
9. What's your sign?
I'm the second day of Aries (on the cusp of Pisces), with a Sagittarius moon and Libra rising. Yeah, I'm into that woo thing and consult my astrology/tarot queen The Mystical Sister regularly.
10. One word to describe you.