The Intimacy of Legal Tender with Christian McEwen

Community Connection

Aug 28

You would not believe some of the stories I have heard about money! Tales of trauma and triumph, of love and loss. Money is mundane, yet offers profound insights into the human condition. As you will hear in today’s conversation, incredible breakthroughs and realizations happen when people share their money stories. People discover their humanity through hearing the authentic stories of money that are too often hidden by shame.

“Money-Wise Women” guest Christian McEwen is an author who has interviewed over fifty women about their money stories. Legal Tender: Women and the Secret Life of Money is her compilation of these tales into a ground-breaking play. These stories challenge the assumptions we have about other people’s money situations, including the fears, traumas, and breakthroughs.

One part of the interview that hit me with a thud was when Christian explains, “Many people lie about their generosity because they don’t want to be seen as Lady Bountiful. Women conceal their true wealth from each other to have greater control over it.”

Discussing money is a powerful portal that brings greater understanding to the human condition. Empathy and compassion are developed when we hear of other people’s struggles. Stories that dissolve shame evoke generosity in people.

Christian shares one particularly moving story about a woman’s divorce and the fate of her diamond ring. Through such intimate stories, Legal Tender challenges people to evaluate what really matters in their own lives. Mainstream education teaches that value is exclusively measured by monetary appraisal of your assets and that success is purely financial. This conversation shatters those conventional beliefs and offers a fascinating view into women and their relationship with money.

Listen to this episode and hear how we are bringing the heart into money and humanity into the economy.

Christian McEwen is a writer, educator, workshop facilitator, and cultural activist. Since leaving New York City twenty years ago, she has edited two anthologies and produced a video documentary, Tomboys!, and a play, Legal Tender: Women and the Secret Life of Money. Her book, World Enough and Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down (2011), is now in its sixth printing and is also available in an audio format. Her most recent collection, Sparks from the Anvil: The Smith College Poetry Interviews, appeared in spring 2015. Christian grew up in the Borders of Scotland and now lives in western Massachusetts.




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