Wednesday 3 August 2022

Mini-interview with Nicole J. LeBoeuf

We have a mini-interview with Nicole J. LeBoeuf, author of the poem “Reasonable Accommodations” in The Future Fire #62.

Illustration © 2022 Cécile Matthey
TFF: What does “Reasonable Accommodations” mean to you?

Nicole J. LeBoeuf: “What would a were-deer have to do to hold down a corporate job?” began as a light-hearted poetry prompt, but workplace accommodations are in no way a light-hearted subject. It's infuriating that so many of us have to contort ourselves to some arbitrary standard of professionalism, a standard that excludes disabilities and pregnancy and breast-feeding and non-white bodies and trans bodies and queer bodies and gender-nonconforming bodies—there are so many “wrong” ways to have a body! And those who deviate from that strict norm can only expect accommodations from their employer after jumping through an enormous set of hoops to adapt ourselves to a workplace that is hostile to their very existence. And then you're supposed to be so grateful for what scraps of consideration get tossed your way, and if your needs are still unmet, well, that's not your employer's responsibility, is it? So many people have it worse than you, and it's not like we're asking you to do anything your co-workers aren't, so suck it up, stop rocking the boat, stop complaining, stop acting like your situation is unique. That the "disability" being half-heartedly accommodated in the poem is unique speaks to how isolating the experience can be, how we're discouraged from making common cause with each other.

What is the most “punk” thing you've ever done or made?

NJL: Oh, that's easy. In 2012 I joined a roller derby league, and, ten years plus a pandemic later, I'm still at it. Flying around the rink on quad skates and slamming my body into my opponents is about as punk as anything in my life gets. For a female-presenting person in a misogynist world, it's revolutionary to be an athlete, to insist on valuing my body for what I can do with it rather than what it looks like. To wear a tank top and shorts without feeling obligated to shave, for goodness's sake! It's revolutionary to be part of a gender-inclusive sport, to share the track with other women, cis and trans, with non-binary individuals, with people of all identities and backgrounds and body types who just want to get together and play this absurd and bad-ass sport we've all come to love.

What are you working on next?

NJL: Mainly I've been scrambling to get my Patreon project, "Friday Fictionettes," caught up to its intended schedule. Otherwise, I'm working on--well, a lot of things, each of them at a different progress point and all of them giving me trouble. I bounce back and forth between them, which I'm told you're not supposed to do, but it's the only way I function. I've got to have somewhere to go when I get stuck. If the mermaid story is refusing to budge, I can jump to the superhero-who-sees-ghosts story, or the oak dryad poem, or the sentient architecture story cycle, see whether one of those other worlds has come together a little more while it was on the back-burner. I'm a big believer in back-burner time for recalcitrant stories.


Long before it rises in the evening,
the moon’s already full, has been for hours.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the stories or illustrations in this issue at

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