Jody A. Forrester was born and raised in Los Angeles during the uneasy Fifties and tumultuous Sixties. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the Sonora Review, Two Hawks Quarterly, WriteRoom, Dreamers Writing, Citroen Review, Gazelle and several others. A story received an honorable mention in the Anderbo/Open City Competition (2009) and another story was featured in the 6th Annual Emerging Voices Group Show (2010) in Los Angeles.
A retired chiropractor, Jody received a MFA from Bennington College in 2010. She lives in Venice, California, with her husband, John Schneider, a classical musician.
What motivated you to write your memoir?
The time of my life that my memoir revolves around has long haunted me, and I’ve often wondered what drew me to its circumstances. By looking back to my earliest years, I’ve been able to understand myself with greater intelligence, and achieve a sense of peace with the decisions that I had made.
What urges you to write?
To untangle meaningful stories so that I can gain a deeper understanding of myself and those close to me.
How many books have you written?
One, though I’ve also written many short stories and personal essays.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
Writing this book and finding a supportive publisher.
What advice would you give a young writer trying to get published?
Persist – there is a publisher out there for you.
What inspires you when you hit writer’s block?
I no longer try to push past because that makes me feel even worse. I’ve come to understand that sometimes my brain just needs a rest, or that something is brewing subconsciously that needs time to emerge. Occasionally, just to keep the juices flowing, I go back to short stories and personal essays previously written and go deeper in revision.
It is 1969 and Jody A. Forrester is in her late teens, transitioning from sixties love child to pacifist anti-Vietnam War activist to an ardent revolutionary. Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary revolves around her three years in the Revolutionary Union, a Communist organization advocating armed overthrow of the ruling class. In readiness for the uprising, she sleeps with two rifles underneath her bed.
One of millions protesting the war, what sets Jody apart her from her peers is her decision to join a group espousing Mao Tse Tung’s ideology of class war. But why? How does she come to embrace violence as the only solution to the inequities inherent in a capitalist empire? To answer that question, Jody goes into her past, and in the process comes to realize that what she always thought of as political is also deeply personal.
More than a coming-of-age story, this memoir tells the more universal truths about seeking a sense of belonging not found in her family with themes of shame, pride, secrecy, self-valuation, and self-acceptance explored in context of the culture and politics of that volatile period in American history.
“Evocative, compelling, terrifying, sad, and ultimately triumphant. A classic coming-of-age narrative about a woman who seeks a sense of belonging that she doesn’t find in her family or her body.” – Emily Rapp Black, Poster Child: A Memoir