Leo Weekly interviews Kelly Cogswell
LEO: Why write “Eating Fire” as a memoir?
Kelly Cogswell: “Eating Fire” is definitely a memoir, even if there aren’t any detox stories or gruesome child abuse. It’s more the coming-of-age variety, the transformation from ex-Southern Baptist poet into lesbian activist, journalist and all around trouble-maker. Initially, I just wanted to tell the story of the Lesbian Avengers, a direct action group I was part of in the ’90s. I was pissed that even though we spread all over the world and got featured in Newsweek, the Avengers had been all but forgotten. Nearly two-thirds of the book is about the rise and fall of the Avengers, and the rest about the adventure of starting an online magazine in pre-Twitter days and dealing with life as an immigrant during the years I lived in France.
LEO: Have you always had activism in your blood?
KC: I think I always had a very strong sense of right and wrong, but mostly I prefer to avoid conflict. Things have to be pretty serious for me to swing into action. Like, I never send food back in restaurants, no matter how crappy it is. And I only went to the first Avengers meeting to hang out with friends and meet girls!