Pin It

Reclaiming the Past 

by Sheri Boggs

Say you're the adopted daughter of not only a celebrity, but one of Hollywood's most notorious icons. Say you also wrote not only a book, but a lurid memoir that simultaneously exposed your abusive mom while spawning the recovery movement of the '80s and '90s. Say your book became not only a movie but a terrifying, campy film starring Faye Dunaway and featuring one of the most unusual taglines ("No more wire hangers") in movie history. You could continue to try to ride your famous name, maybe duking it out in the acting trenches of New York or L.A. You could pull a Liza Minelli and become the darling of drag queens and tabloid publishers everywhere. Or you could just move to North Idaho, keep writing books and invent a life more satisfying than anything you've ever had before.

Christina Crawford, author of Mommie Dearest (as well as four other books) has done just that. She lives on 10 acres near Tensed and handles special events promotion for the Coeur d'Alene Casino. When not booking the likes of Joan Jett or John Michael Montgomery for the casino, Crawford has the time and space in which to take on a project like her latest book, Daughters of the Inquisition -- a harrowing history of women's experiences during the period of the Inquisition.

"My initial curiosity about the Inquisition comes from the fact that I've always been involved with issues of social justice, from before the time I wrote Mommie Dearest and beyond," Crawford explains. "And as I learned more about the Inquisition, I discovered that it was the greatest incident of social injustice in history."

Daughters of the Inquisition is Crawford's exhaustively researched foray into 700 years of church-and-state-condoned persecution of women. She describes how the Catholic Church's drive to stamp out heresy was also intended to dispense with matriarchal cultures and -- in particular -- to rob women of their land and any other forms of material wealth. In the process, Crawford writes, families were destroyed, women were systematically broken and a new gender imbalance emerged in which men were considered legally, intellectually, politically and physically superior to women (with most women being relegated to near-chattel status). But because history -- as it is so often said -- is written by the victors, most people don't know about the other side of the story.

"If one envisions split-screen technology in TV, if you envision the story of humanity, only one side had a picture," she says. "But in researching these older, goddess-worshipping societies that existed before the Inquisition, there is so much there for us as a modern society to learn. These societies can serve as models for peaceful, ecologically sound existence. Take farming, for instance. There were civilizations that would often live in the same place for 10,000 years, and they knew things about farming that we don't even know. They could farm the same plot of land for several thousand years, whereas now we engage in the massive use of industrial strength fertilizers and pesticides and even then can only farm a piece of land for about 50 years."

While Crawford's body of work points to a lifelong journey of healing (she is also the author of No Safe Place: The Legacy of Family Violence), she also understands that in many ways -- and especially within the historical context -- you can't go home again.

"We can't go back, I know that," she says. "But what these societies hold for us is a different way of being on this Earth. For so long we've always assumed that violence is just intrinsic to human nature. My hope is that if we can think outside our current socialization, a book like this might generate a national dialogue."

Although Crawford pursued acting for a while (in both New York and L.A.), it was a visit to a friend in Spokane more than 10 years ago that set her on her current course. Driving around the area, she fell in love with North Idaho and moved here permanently in the early 1990s. She continues to volunteer her skills for various social justice organizations and also runs her own small press (Seven Springs, which published Daughters of the Inquisition). She also says that she has no intention of leaving her gig at the casino to return to the stage.

"I love my work," she says. "The process of writing is so solitary, that my job is actually great fun. Any desire I have for performing is really satisfied by the public side of my job. I like my eclectic life here. I love that I can go from mowing the yard to speaking to a thousand people at a convention."

Publication date: 04/29/04

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Crash > Click > Cash
  • Crash > Click > Cash

    Lawyers and chiropractors already have your name, your address and the police report from your car accident — and they want you to hire them
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Starting Small
  • Starting Small

    A village of tiny houses in Spokane Valley could serve as a model for fighting homelessness in the region
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Drastic Action
  • Drastic Action

    Spokane among seven school districts sued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction; plus, trio of police-chief finalists are in town
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Sheri Boggs


    From puppies to a new James Bond adventure, there are tons of great reads this season
    • Dec 3, 2015
  • Beer and Branding in PDX

    • Sep 15, 2005
  • Rural Revolution

    All the farms I remember from growing up in North Idaho and Eastern Washington were not what you'd call stylish. In fact, what I do remember are blocky sofas covered in that ubiquitous mauve upholstery, copper Jell-O molds lining the kitche
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Lane Ends Ahead

    Spokane wants to improve a mile-long section of Monroe — but that means taking away two lanes
    • Jul 7, 2016
  • Too Smart for School

    What happens when a 12-year-old prodigy tries to go to college in Spokane?
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

green zone



election 2016

trail mix

Readers also liked…

  • The <i>Real</i> Rachel Dolezal
  • The Real Rachel Dolezal

    The story goes far beyond just a white woman portraying herself as black
    • Jun 17, 2015
  • A New Voice
  • A New Voice

    The Black Lens, continues Spokane's long tradition of African-American publications
    • Jan 21, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation