Whether it’s the food we eat, the creatures we care for, or the recognition that humans, too, are animals, the fact is that all animal fates are bound together. This means a devastating separation occurs when humans put themselves outside ways of being that look different from their own.

Conversations With Animals is a monthly conversation I host examining creatures, ecology, writing, film, music, art, science, and pop culture using three primary mediums: doodles, writing, and speech. I talk with a different guest each month through a free podcast available…lots of places:

Apple | Amazon | IHeartRadio | Spotify | YouTube | GooglePodcasts | RadioPublic

I explore the themes and creatures of that month’s conversation in an essay, released here, which accompanies the podcast on the final Friday of every month. You’ll hear a range of voices: film directors making documentaries from the point-of-view of a dog, musicians collaborating with whales, and activists leading global protests. All of that is free.

For paid subscribers, you get access to additional Wild Things. These take the form of bonus interviews, extra doodles, behind-the-scene deep dives into my archives, and reprints of my animal-themed literary work with process notes. All of that is released throughout the month. You also get access to a monthly Howl, which is a 20-30 minute meditation/movement practice guiding you to embody, imagine, and situate yourself within a defamiliarized perspective. Think guided visualizations up a New Mexico mountain as a jack rabbit or a clam surfacing on a beach for the very first time. These are seated, accessible practices that can be done almost anywhere.

Why do this?

For me it’s simple. Social change, creativity, and community are the core of my artistic practice. While my themes and tools are wide-ranging, I believe what unites my body of work is a sense of possibility. That by diving deep, in sometimes new, difficult, and even strange ways, we emerge with radical vision, and (hopefully) earned optimism.

What I hope for Conversations With Animals is to invite in those who are wanting a fresh way to talk about the idea of “the animal,” those who want to examine our relationships with the variety of life around us in disarming ways.

What kind of animal am I?

I am a Juliana—a writer, filmmaker, educator, and performer.

I am also a 200hr yoga instructor.

When I was six years old, I asked my family where the chicken on our table came from. When they told me, I stopped eating meat. Months later, my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness that led to a slow deterioration of his cognitive abilities and motor functions. What made him “human” seemed to disappear over night. My grief over the destruction of the land and animals accompanied that of me losing my father over seven years, planting the seed of a lifelong curiosity into alternate ways of sensing and being, what lives are protected and why, and how reverence for animal life is an essential part of liberation movements.

Born and raised in Nyack, New York, I now live in New York City where I teach writing at New York University and the City University of New York - John Jay College of Criminal Justice. A 2022-23 Susan Kamil Emerging Writer Fellow at The Center for Fiction, my work as an artist received supported by the innovative Creatives Rebuild New York program, a project of Tides Center with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

While studying English Literature & Languages and environmental studies at the University of Michigan, I received a Cowden Memorial Writing Fellowship and the Quinn Creative Writing Prize. A Publishing Fellow with the Los Angeles Review of Books at the University of Southern California, I was twice nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology. My essays, poetry, and stories have appeared or are forthcoming in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Entropy, The Breakwater Review, Irish Pages, The Atticus Review, Reckoning, The Establishment, Yemassee, among other publications. I was selected as a VIDA Fellow with Sundress Publications for my fiction and shortlisted by Rob Doyle for the Red Line Book Festival’s TU Dublin Short Story Competition.

Now featured in #metoo’s official Resource Library, I wrote/directed/produced the award-winning narrative web series, The University, which follows the bureaucratic failures of a university in the aftermath of a sexual assault on campus and exposes the barriers for seeking healing and justice. I was nominated by the International Academy of Web Television for Best Drama Writing for the project. The series won Best Web/Pilot at the Los Angeles Film Awards, touring film festivals, nonprofits, and college campuses. The project was selected for a screening with It’s On Us, a nonprofit founded under the Obama-Biden administration to organize students across the country on reforming campus policies. Educational screenings of the project are available through Films Media Group along with a free guidebook that students and organizers can use to create change on local campuses.

In 2018, I earned my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Rutgers University - Camden where I organized the Writers House Film Series and taught creative writing, environmental writing, and composition courses. As the former Chief Storyteller for the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center, I founded Writing With Hopper, Myths & Legends, and a series of workshops on Jo Nivison Hopper’s legacy: More Than a Muse. I also co-founded and curated a community-based film series, Rockland in Motion, in my former role as Media Specialist with Rivertown Film Society. I’ve worked for the Ecology Center, the Center for The Education of Women, The School of The New York Times, and the World Animal Awareness Society. 

Screenplays I’ve authored were selected for Script Summit, the Atlanta Film Festival, the Austin Revolution Film Festival, the Socially Relevant Film Festival, the Lady Filmmakers’s Festival, and advanced as productions in ScreenCraft’s Film Fund along with being featured on Girl Gaze and in Cinema Femme. I was selected as a Seconder Rounder for the Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition and advanced in the Sundance Episodic Lab for my pilot, Final Curtain Call. The script was developed with Stowe Story Labs as a Maven Screen Media Fellowship Finalist after which I directed a proof-of-concept short film of the same name, which premiered in 2022 at Cinema Village with the New York Shorts International Film Festival.

This is the third season of Conversations With Animals.

Welcome to the pack.

Subscribe to Conversations With Animals

A podcast hosted by Juliana examining our interconnection with animal lives. There's a letter, too. And some other wilds things.

People

Writer, professor, filmmaker, and performer. Host of Conversations With Animals. Also a 200hr yoga instructor.