Nancy Guppy Chats with Writer Rachel Kessler…On a Trampoline

By Nancy Guppy

September 26, 2014

Nancy Guppy bounces around with Seattle writer and performance artist Rachel Kessler

This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Image Credit: 

andrew vanasse

Known for witty performance art—as a roving retro secretary/improv poet in The Typing Explosion and a fake scientist/real poet in The Vis-à-Vis Society—Rachel Kessler is currently at work on a funny memoir, Christian Charm Workbook, about her religious upbringing and its impact on her understanding of womanhood. See her perform a slideshow from her book-in-progress at Hugo House (10/7, 7 p.m. Free.
LOCATION: The trampoline in Kessler’s Central District backyard, a sunny day in August
KESSLER’S DRINK: Americano, her fourth of the day

Nancy Guppy:
Finish this sentence: Rachel Kessler is…  
Rachel Kessler: A shy loudmouth.   

NG: What was it like being raised by self-professed Jesus freaks?    
RK: It was awesome. My childhood was really fun, and church was always really fun—you could bring your own tambourine and dance around.  

NG: Do you have a spiritual practice now?   
RK: I have my own private spiritual practice, but I don’t go to a church—I have issues with organized religion.  

NG: Christian Charm Workbook is a memoir—what’s it about?    
RK: It’s based on the title of a workbook I had in Sunday school about puberty. It’s stories about my experience growing up, being born again, being a teenage missionary, going to Bible college and then leaving all of that. And about failure and feeling like a hack.   

NG: Your book examines the intersection of puberty and spirituality. Explain.   
RK: I was always a sensitive, turned-up-really-high kid, but with the onset of puberty and all those hormones, I became even more wide open and sensitive to spiritual things.  

NG: What did you want to be when you were little?    
RK: A mouse or a veterinarian.  

NG: As an audience member, what turns you on?    
RK: Something where you don’t know if the performance is actually falling apart for real.

NG: Have you experienced an artistic high point?    
RK: Last summer [creative partner] Sierra Nelson and I were at Smoke Farm, and we were wearing these camouflage suits and doing an interpretive dance in a field, and I thought, “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever done and I am so happy!”  

NG: What will the audience experience at the Christian Charm Workbook performance?    
RK: Four of my favorite writers will do little slideshows, and I’ll do a slideshow presentation performance of one of the stories. There is definitely going to be cake and a sing-along.

Nancy Guppy showcases Seattle artists on her show, Art Zone (


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