Julia Mallory

Julia Mallory

Founder, Black Mermaids

she/they

Spring 2022

Julia Mallory (@thejuliamallory) is a creative working in a range of medium from text to textiles. She is a six-time author, including two children’s books. Her latest book Survivor's Guilt, is an archive of survivorship that chronicles generational grief through photographs, poetry, and prose. In addition, they are the founder of the creative container, Black Mermaids (@blackmermaidsbrand), serves as the Senior Poetry Editor for Raising Mothers (@raisingmothers), and hosts the Stop Shrinking Socialcast.As a sought out speaker, panelist, and facilitator their work has been featured in various community settings, classrooms, colleges, and conferences. Their writing and artwork can be found in Barrelhouse, Second Skin Magazine, BLK Voices Magazine, the Black Speculative Arts Movement exhibition "Curating the End of the World: RED SPRING”, The Offing, Stellium Literary Magazine, MadameNoire and elsewhere. She has a Bachelor of Science from Elizabethtown College and completed her graduate studies at Eastern University. She is the mother of three children and lives in Southcentral Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.thejuliamallory.com

Tell us: what excites you about your work right now?

I am most excited about the opportunity to partner with other organizations and learn from the people in the spaces I am invited to. I delight when a newfound understanding occurs, and not to say it is privileged over wisdom that is marinating and has not yet found its way to the surface.

What feels rich and abundant in your work right now?

The opportunity for connection. And to try multiple creative approaches to this work.To know that I can bring in ritual, pop culture, music, literature, affirmation, movement etc. to convey and connect others with the transformative power of grief. The opportunity to expand the conversation of what it means to be a grief-aware with goal of creating a more grief-responsive society.

Who do you dedicate your work to?

To build on a quote from the poet June Jordan, my work is “dedicated to everybody scared as I used to be” of grief and to my ancestors that may have never had a chance to name their grief?

Who inspires you, who are you learning from, what books are you reading?

I’m learning from my ancestors. I’m learning from the many versions of myself that show up to remind me of things I need to remember or release. I learn a lot in the spaces that Jade T. Perry creates. I learn a lot from Toni Cade Bambara. I learn a lot from Dominique Matti, Hess Love, Amber Butts. I learn a lot from Kiese Laymon. I learn a lot from the podcasts Hoodoo Plant Mamas and Studio Noize. I am intrigued by Joy Tabernacle-KMT’s concept of Black Grief Time. I am forever building a stack of books beside my bed, which currently consists of a lot of publications on visual culture. Over the last month, I have been reading Daphne Brook’s husky book, Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound and just started the latest issue of SEEN, a joural produced by BlackStar Film Festival. Black creativity gives me so much.

How can people reading this support the work you are doing?

They can be open to learning more about their grief. They can attend one of my offerings with a loved one (learn more here). They can help spread the word.

What something you didn’t know, that now you understand differently with wellness?

In relationship to grief, I didn’t realize how ordinary grief can be while also existing in exceptional ways for certain communities. This is the tension I am consistently tending to in my work.

What is your own wellness practice? How do you find balance?

I am trying to locate the sense of agility I had prior to the pandemic. A few months ago, wrote down that I wanted my body to be as agile as my mind. I always say that even balance requires movement and I am trying to move more everyday. I find balance by recognizing over and over again what is not mine to carry or what I cannot carry alone.

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