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Desert Lady Diaries

Nov 20, 2018

Susan Rukeyser describes herself as 'difficult company at the cookie swap'. She's aware that she doesn't like the things your supposed to like and talks about the things you're not supposed to talk about. Which is why, after growing up in Connecticut, it was so hard to find her people living in places like Georgia and Texas.
About eight years ago, visiting family in Los Angeles, Susan decided to see what was east of the city and drove to Desert Hot Springs. She found out there was 'some kind of park' in a place called Joshua Tree and took a drive up. In this episode, she describes getting high as a kite on the sunshine and the place just feeling like 'home'.  But, with a son in a good school in Georgia, it would be eight years before Susan could make the leap to make it her home. In the meantime, she'd make short trips out, basking in that sunshine, living like a local and re-opening her creativity. When she did finally move, the first day she drove up to her new home, a chuckwala greeted her, but, was never to be seen again.
Moving here knowing no one - like more of us than you might think - Susan was grateful to find a poetry reading event at a local bookstore on Facebook. She showed up that evening and left feeling she had met her people.
The idea for her book, 'Feckless Cunt: A Feminist Anthology' was borne of Samatha Bee using the term to insult the sitting president's daughter. Susan felt she had lots of feelings, but no words, around the state of our nation and put a call out to her network of writer friends to contribute. That was June, 2018. The months after that were full of choosing the works and formatting for self-publishing. In September 2018, Susan was arranging for open readings of the book in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, here at home in Joshua Tree and in the Hudson Valley of upstate New York - very near where Susan had operated a used bookstore in nearby Kingston years before. It felt like she'd come full circle.
Susan is also the author of 'Not on File, Only Dying' and a chapbook, produced by local Joshua Tree Space Cowboy Books, called 'Swap/Meet'.