Leigh Knauz

I may be a nerd, but I’m not always a couch potato! I love gliding around at top speed on my skates when I’ve been able to sign up for the local recreational roller derby league. It teaches me to challenge myself and overcome fear head-on in a friendly, supportive environment. Long nature walks are another way I keep moving, bonding with my partner, thinking over plans, questions, and creative ideas, keeping in sync with the rhythm of the changing seasons, and reminding oneself of the ecosystem outside of human-made structures like offices and apartments. We try to separate ourselves from it, but we and the wild world will always be linked. As it thrives so do we and nature walks are a great way to remember that, plus spending time with the natural world is an important part of my spirituality. Foreign language and culture are things I love studying too. I’ve spoken French since I was very young, and I believe that learning more than your own first language helps you to be a better communicator. Learning foreign languages and reading about global news are habits I’d recommend to anyone. After all, we are part of both our own countries and the world at large! Communication and creativity infuse a lot of what I do. From cooking for family and friends to my interest in fashion, pop culture, music, visual arts (like painting and photography), and of course writing, teaching, and presenting on the radio, all of my hobbies and work are about expression, connection, or bringing knowledge and beauty to everyday life.

My totem animals are the black serval cat, rabbits, and orcas. Servals are intelligent, sensitive, rare, strong despite their delicate appearance, a little unusual, sometimes overlooked, and they’re small for big cats and I’m a pretty short person so I suppose I relate. .I also relate to rabbits for similar reasons. They’re delicate and soft but can pack a fierce kick and a speedy getaway, plus they are very protective of each other, empathic, a little neurotic, gentle though careful and taking time to build trust, appreciative of affection and community but definitely needing some alone time to recharge. All of these are traits I definitely connect strongly with.

Finally, orcas impressively have better-developed emotional centers in their brains than we humans do! I firmly believe emotional awareness is essential to being a good person even if it isn’t easy sometimes. Orcas also practice altruism, especially when looking out for the safety of calves and elders. I hold mutual aid, sharing when possible, and generosity as well as standing up for those in vulnerable positions as some of my most cherished values, so definitely there’s kinship with this totem on that level. Orcas are also strategic collaborative hunters, and while I can enjoy operating individually, I to generally like collaborating. After all, there’s nothing like putting the diverse skills of a team together and developing ideas using everybody’s strengths. It definitely keeps my creative fire going and morale alive. Of course, I did grow up with pet rabbits and loved the movie “Free Willy” so much when I was a kid that I actually went to visit Keiko, the orca playing Willy, at the Oregon Coast Aquarium before his historic release, so I’m sure that influences my choices too. My partner Emma and I have a very sweet, very pretty, and sometimes ditzy cat named Penny Rosa. We call her Pen-Pen or Princess Penny Rosa the Perpetually Perplexed. You might see us around (often with the Princess Penny herself in tow) if you visit Minneapolis, so please say hello and feel free to give Penny a head scratch if you spot us while in the area. You can also check out the Facebook page for the radio show I work on, KFAI 90.3’s Shadow Planet. I’m also planning to start a podcast and writing workshop with my partner, so stay tuned and do feel free to look up your friendly neighborhood spooky cookie for nerdy, nature-loving, always-scribbling-in-a-notebook dorkiness! I’m always glad to talk about CST, writing, art projects, or languages. Movies are another way to my heart, so if you’re a fellow cinephile we will probably get along nicely. Hope you enjoy CST, and wish you lots of adventure, creativity, and joy!

  • Name: Leigh Knauz
  • Nickname: Leigh
  • Favorite Hobby: Spending Time with my Partner and Cat
  • Favorite Game: Bioshock
  • Favorite Childhood Story: Tamera Pierce, Roald Dahl, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Abi
  • Favorite Candy: Sour Patch Watermelon
  • Biggest Pet Peeve: Rude People
  • Spirit Animal: Orca
  • Favorite color: Aqua
  • Favorite Quote:No Day, But Today, Jonathan Larson, I belong in the woods and have always done so. Pelle Ohlin

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    Roller Derby

    It challenges me to try new things and face fears in a safe, comfortable environment plus derby skaters tend to be a very open-minded and fun group to hang out with.

  • Writing, Drawing, Painting

    Expression, healing, communication: writing and art is everything for me!

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    Reading & Watching Movies

    Traveling without moving an inch, reading and watching movies can be relaxing or adrenaline-pumping, and it’s inspiring for other art, plus learning how the works are crafted is fascinating!

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    Playing Harp & Piano

    For heights and depths no words can reach, music is the soul’s own speech’

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    Learning Guitar

    It’s a great way to bond with my partner who’s already great at guitar.

  • Foreign languages

    Healthy brain workout, plus it helps in communicating with people from around the world!

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    Working in Radio

    An art form often forgotten, but with a wide audience, radio is a great way to preserve an iconic craft and share passions with the world. Plus it’s great performance practice!