I’m still not 100% happy with the pictures. Luckily I have an artist friend who has some free time to drive down from Youngstown and take some photos. Last night at dinner I got some great advice from fellow poets. It’s your book, you have to be happy with it. Don’t feel like you have to do anything any way but yours. The popular photo is the last one, but I’m not thrilled with it. I think I can do better. And since I will probably have a lot of books around, I want to make sure I’m stunning. As Reb says, you won’t always be hot. Act now. And it will mean more knowing that Billy took the pictures---he’s going to be a famous artist one day and I’ll be able to say I knew him when we were just kids who talked big in a loft that no longer exists in Youngstown.
Last night we (see the No Tell in Church post) all read sexy poems in church and said words that don’t usually get said in church. My word was pussy. And I know people are cringing now, just that I said it, wrote it, and used it in a poem. My mom said that wasn’t one of her favorites. My father would say it’s not what a professional poet would do. And while I agree most of the time that one should use tact and think of her reputation, I think about what would happen if we stopped writing what was real to us and if we always thought of the censor before the writing. What I learned from a panel of erotic and sexual writing at AWP was that sex is real and it should be talked about and written about. No, I’m not going to start writing sex poems or sex scenes and certainly not here---I am a nice Jewish girl after all, though one who feels comfortable saying the p word every once in a while. Though not too much. Notice the P and not the word here J. Some of my favorite lines from my students’ work are peppered with these words: when making love turns to fucking, I ask (blank) if she’s been S-L-U-Tin’ it up, (blank) drinks a 40 and (blank) writes a poem. It’s empowering to be able to say these things and it makes writing (and life) real.
After the reading, I was too hot and bothered to do work so I watched a whole bunch of #1 Single starring Lisa Loeb who everyone says I look like: she still rocks pigtails at 37 and so I know I can still get away with it. Today I’m going to wear them to yoga and the orthodontist. And I’m not going to care how old people think I am or if I’m acting my age. Today I’m keepin’ it real.