GDI Interview: Em Bowen

When you aren’t working hard for KPI, what are your favorite ways to find joy?

I have come to love spending time in my body and intellect as a major source of joy. Favorite ways to find joy include but are not limited to: running, weight-lifting, learning new movement skills, and playing in general. Joy catches me by surprise often–most often in moments of trying new things, reading/writing/learning, visiting new places, or whenever I’m feeling grateful.

You mentioned being interested in body/ somatic work, where does this inspiration come from and how has getting in tune with your body been helpful or supportive to you and your well-being? 

I had the privilege of having been raised in a family that really valued movement detached from competitive sports, more so movement for movement’s sake. Of course, this same family and society at large also told me stories about bodies and my body in particular that were not stories that I wanted to believe. It’s taken me my adult life to understand what that has meant for me. In part, I’ve spent time with people who felt at home in their bodies and I wanted to feel that too. It’s also true that my own journey has been both complicated and gifted by my experience of being a trans/middle space person. The major lesson I continue to learn by spending time in my body is that the body has its own wisdom and form of knowledge. I believe that some way forward must take into account this innate knowledge and begin to value different epistemologies in general if we are to make it through this time we are living in.

What has been a new activity you’ve started doing since Shelter in Place? 

I’m sort of always endlessly getting into new things just as a way of being —I’d say it was a cross between riding my bike more or cocktail making.

Where do you pull your creative inspiration from?

Empty space. Time to wander mentally or physically. That’s usually where I find creative inspiration. 

Em Bowen (he/him/his, they/them) is the former Executive Director of the Tucson Poetry Festival, a PhD student at the College of Education at the University of Arizona, a bilingual Waldorf educator, a storyteller, a writer, an essayist, a poet and a person who thrives and is always changing (much as we all are, whether we realize it or not). Their work has been published in the Tucson Weekly, the Atlantic, Zocalo, Wild Gender, the Feminist Wire, and most recently live on the stand-up comic stages of Tucson. Em earned their MFA from Goddard College and is the former producer of the Tucson Gender Identity Project.