In Memoriam: Spencer Walden

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Chivomengro lost one of our own recently, when Melissa “Spencer” Walden passed away earlier in October. Spencer was one of the first contributing editors of Chiv back in 2012. She was whip-smart and funny as hell. She wrote articles about androgyny, the hypocrisy of the legal system, and edited countless pieces. Spence helped Chiv get off the ground.

We looked back at some of her pitches as we’ve thought of her, and found they resonated with her trademark edgy wit. Rereading them, we realized they encapsulated Spencer as a writer – pushing boundaries, and challenging herself and our readers:

“I was thinking of writing a totally steamy, and totally borderline-mature mini drama…with a subtle awkwardly-comedic plot twist.” 

“Spend three days alone with no outside interaction, no speaking, no
electronics, and no clock. There will be three phases during my time in
isolation: a slight sensory deprivation/meditation phase to examine my
spiritual self, an artistic phase to examine my creative self, and an
exercise phase to examine my physical self. My goal is to see how much
progress I can make in these three phases without instant
gratification/affirmation from others. In other words, I want to see how
much motivation I can dig up completely on my own.”

Some of her editorial work included research—here’s a snippet from an email exchange between editors about an article addressing the double standard of body-hair in a gender divided culture:

“I tried my hardest to find a clip from the South Park episode “A Million Little Fibers,” starring Oprah Winfrey’s neglected minge.  If you haven’t seen it before, you’ve been terribly deprived. I urge you to locate the episode on Netflix or whatever video site and relish in the glory that is Oprah’s vagina.”

She was brilliantly candid and wonderfully vulgar and totally invested in writing down to the bare bones of truth and exposing both the ridiculous and sublime.

It’s stupid that she’s gone.

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