ISSN 1551-8086
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   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Nicole Alexander
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Veronica An
   Amy Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   G.D. Anderson
   Zack Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Kevin Berger
   Lawrence Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Catherine Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   Leah Brown
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Adam Levon Brown
   Jason Sanford Brown
   zoey brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Tony Bush
   Zachary C. Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Dana Campbell
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Neil Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   HélÚne Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Terry Clark
   Phil Clark
   Terry Clark
   Darice Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Karen E. Cole
   Merrill Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Flavia Cosma
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J de Salvo
   J. de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   John Dorsey
   Marvin Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   t. joseph dunn
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Ron Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Sabrina Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amelie Frank
   Amélie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Vince Garofalo
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   David Harrington
   William Harris
   Matt Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Jessica Healy
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   Eric Howard
   Nate Howard
   David Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor D. Infante
   Victor Infante
   Augustus Invictus
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Alex Johnson
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Lois P. Jones
   Tao Jones
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gene Justice
   Gary Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Bernard Kennedy
   Raud Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Robert S King
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Ashley King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Julia Knobloch
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Wolf Larsen
   Kasandra Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Marie Lecrivain
   Anne Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Pete Lee
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
   Chris Mansell
   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
   John Marshall
   Agnes Marton
   Francis Masat
   Hyatt Mason
   Anthony Mason
   Lee Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   David McIntire
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Scott Miller
   Richard Lee Miller
   Robert John Miller
   Hany Haggag Abdl Mobdy
   Richard Modiano
   William Mohr
   Sonnet Mondal
   Jason Monios
   Leslie Monsour
   Amanda Montei
   Patrick Mooney
   Carl Moore
   Greggory Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
   A.J. Morelli
   Christopher Mulrooney
   Frank Mundo
   Barbara-Marie Mundt
   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Craig Murray
   Kristine Ong Muslim
   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Jason Neese
   Raghab Nepal
   Robbi Nester
   Mindy Nettifee
   Martina Reisz Newberry
   Beth Escott Newcomer
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   keith niles
   Dave Nordling
   Aire Celeste Norell
   Steve Norwood
   Laura Nye
   Toti O'Brien
   Charlotte O'Brien
   Suzanne O'Connell
   Katie O'Loughlin
   Peter O'Niell
   Tom O'Reilly
   Akor Emmanuel Oche
   A.J. Odasso
   Rita Odeh
   Kirsten Ogden
   Daniel Olivas
   Maurice Oliver
   Marc Olmstead
   Philip ONeil
   Nzingah Oniwosan
   Chika Onyenezi
   Nina Orlovskaya
   Sergio Ortiz
   David Ishaya Osu
   Scott Thomas Outlar
   Holly Painter
   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
   Helen Peterson
   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
   James G Piatt
   Rebecca Pierce
   Gareth Pike
   James Pinkerton
   Rob Plath
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   Adrian Potter
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   Shannon Prince
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   Hattie Quinn
   Octavio Quintanilla
   Beverly J. Raffaele
    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
   Steve Ramirez
   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
   Vishnu Rao
   Ingrid Rattay
   James Rauff
   Kasey Ray
   Bili Redd
   Brian Redfern
   Marie Rennard
   Luivette Resto
   E.W. Richardson
   John Richmond
   Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
   Kevin Ridgeway
   Lillian Ridgeway
   Dee Rimbaud
   Elijiah Rios
   Cat Risinger
   Ariel Robello
   Ebi Robert
   John D Robinson
   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
   Emily Rose
   Rina Rose
   Diana Rosen
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   Cody Rukasin
   Cody Rukasin
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   Maryann Russo
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   April Salzano
   Bryan Sanders
   Lisa Marie Sandoval
   Cecile Sarruf
    Sasparella
   Ethan Sassouni
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   Rati Saxena
   Iftekhar Sayeed
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   Carol Schwalberg
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   Sondra L. Scott
   Ken Scott
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   Justin Scupine
   LB Sedlacek
   Lisa Segal
   Anthony Seidman
   Anthony Seidman
   Oleg Semonov
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   John W Sexton
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   Dahn Shaulis
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   June Shiitake
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   Rishan Singh
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   Apryl Skies
   Knute Skinner
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   Ratpack Slim
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   Danielle Smith
   Clinton Smith
    smzang
   Kate Soto
   Ghetto Speare
   Jeanne Marie Spicuzza
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   Jan Steckel
   Julia Stein
   Eric Steineger
   Carl Stillwell
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   Alex Stolis
   Karr Stratynberg
   Kevin Stricke-9
   Keith Stump
   Daniel Suffian
   Annette Sugden
   J. C. Sullivan
   Dee Sunshine
   Mani Suri
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   John Talbird
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   Mark Taylor
   Allen Taylor
   Barbara A. Taylor
   Jonathan Taylor
   Paul Kareem Tayyar
   Alene Terzian
    The Unarmed Man
   A. Thiagarajan
   G. Murray Thomas
   Lynne Thompson
   David Thornbrugh
   Kari Thune
   Sarah Thursday
   Ilona Timoszuk
   Tim Tipton
    TJungle
   Chrys Tobey
    tolbert
   Imani Tolliver
   A. TOMIC
   Anthony Torchia
   Mary Torregrossa
   Zev Torres
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   Tri Tran
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   Alain Marcel Treadaway
   Pedro Trevino-Ramirez
   Ben Trigg
   Paul Tristram
   Maja Trochimczyk
    Troy
   The TruthHearse
   Tatiana Tulskaya
   Yelena and Roman Tunkel
   John Turi
   Danny Uebbing
   Amy Upham
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   Gene van Troyer
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   Brenda Varda
   Luis Rubio Vargas
   Carmen Vega
   Ms. Veronica
   Papa Vic
   Clee Villasor
   Ajise Vincent
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   Anca Vlasopolos
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   toren wallace
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   Denise R. Weuve
   Rev. Dave Wheeler
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   Nina Womack
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Tess. Lotta
August 2006
   

 

Blue-Eyed Cunt: Inga Muscio and Writing Autobiography Left of the Genre

Inga Muscio has been called many things. berfeminist, one moniker used by the press, reveals the discomfort she creates with her use of autobiography. The label is effective, though, because its use implies a fear of the outspoken female and, for this very reason, it tells the truth: Muscio is outspoken.


In her first book, Cunt: A Declaration of Independence (Seal Press 1989), Muscio invites readers into her head while she rips open the socialized sexism at the core of her world view. The wit and genuineness of her narrative creates intimacyreaders come to terms with the reality of oppressive social mores while Muscio enacts the confrontation. Shes like the big sister who stood in front of you while you dressed down the bully. This ability to invite shared space is a step away from the autobiography in its bestseller form, which often asserts a heroism that relies on transference. Theme is often imbedded in a reader response that includes envy of and admiration for a protagonist. A reader suspends personal experience in exchange for that of the author. Fed through Muscios point of view, the autobiographical voice encourages readers to trade in the heroic gaze for the possibility of personal experience.


Muscios inability to stick to literary rules has left many reviewers stymied by her voice. They appear not only insecure about her subject matter, but seem irritated by the failure to place her work within the confines of genre (or hierarchy). Her most recent book, Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil: My Life and Times in a Racist, Imperialist Society (Seal Press 2005), is such a thorn. Muscio tackles the learned response of white privilege by confronting the manufactured American historical memory that she was socialized to replicate. Her presence on the page reveals a wildly innovative writer and a skilled thinker. Muscios work has attracted a dedicated and growing audience. Once Cunt hit bookstores in 1998, readers launched Muscio into the lecture and reading circuit with bullet train speeda journey that has lasted from the 2002 release of an updated and expanded second edition of Cunt (Seal Press), to the present with Blue-Eyed Devil. Muscio is again writing while on tour, and, as evident in the following recent interview, may not be the hero of her busy life, but she is clearly its architect.



TL: I was first introduced to your work in the 1990s in The Stranger, a Seattle alternative weekly. When did you first start writing? Give me all the bio things you probably hate to answer.



IM: I started writing when I was a kid. Words fascinated me endlessly. Reading was (and remains) as much a part of my life as writing. The Random House Dictionary was often present at the family dinner table and I consulted it on my own in just general, daily life. I guess I decided to seriously become a writer not long after my younger brother was killed in a car accident. Writing was my deepest, quietest place, and when my brother died, I needed that shit bad. It was the only thing I trusted. My love could be snuffed, but no one could take writing away from me.

My brother died during my first year at The Evergreen State College [in Washington State]. Since I was pretty much unable to function on any social level and had ample opportunities to write, I spent the next few years learning every aspect of writing that I could think of. One of the things I really got into during this time was the interview. I was so filled with grief and got so fucking sick of living with my grief that I became obsessed with getting people to tell me their stories. So, when I graduated from Evergreen and moved to back to Seattle, it was just natural for me to find a newspaper that would publish my interviews. I worked for The Stranger for over a year before one of the editors, Christine Wenc, convinced me to write essays and articles. At that point, Id mostly enjoyed writing fiction, poetry and, of course, interviews. Writing non-fiction was a form of punishment to me. I associated it with school assignments. Odd as this may sound, it never occurred to me that non-fiction had personal creative merits. I mean, so many writers wrote nonfiction, I understood it contained creative merits, just not for me. It took me weeks to slog through non-fiction books. If reading one was a chore, writing one was perfectly unthinkable. I think maybe I never really wrote a long bio before because writing is, literally, my life. I dont have an impressive education, I havent won awards, I forget where I have been published in the past and I am still, to this day, kind of scared of nonfiction books. It seems like bios are always about accomplishments. My main accomplishment is that I figured out how to turn grief and other traumas into writing good books that people enjoy reading. It is also a big accomplishment to be alive, and writing is single-handedly responsible for keeping me that way.



TL: When I read Cunt, I remembered some of its contents from your columns in The Stranger. Were the columns intended as excerpts from the book, or did the book emerge from the columns?



IM: It happened like this: I quit working for The Stranger because I thought they sucked ass. In a fit of rage one day, I fired off this email telling them explicitly why and how they sucked ass. I was not very familiar with how email worked and I was in the habit of hitting the command + s keys to save my work. So, I fired off this scathing email and then I was going to think about whether or not I should really send this out to every employee. I hit command + s to save it, but command + s meant, uhm, send, and not save. That was an email signed, sealed, and delivered whether I liked it or not. In a daze, I walked home and took out hard copies of every article I had ever written and laid them all out on my kitchen floor. On the top of almost every page the word cunt stared at me. You see, this one time, I left out the o in count. Id gotten in the habit of writing word cunt instead of word count. I didnt realize the mistake until my editor asked me about it. I thought it was so hilarious that I started omitting my name and writing word cunt on all the hard copies I turned in each week. So, to sum up, I just quit the paper in a totally ungraceful way, I was pissed and sitting on my kitchen floor looking at all these articles with the word cunt on them, and I saw the book quite clearly. All the articles you mention were skeleton chapters. The bones of Cunt were sitting on my kitchen floor and I saw that my new job was to add a bunch of meat.



TL: When you began adding the meat, did you find that your writing process differed between writing journalism and creative writing? Tell me about the differences and/or similarities between your approaches to these forms.



IM: Well, like I mentioned a bit in the bio, writing fiction and nonfiction are entirely different processes. Writing on the computer is totally different than writing by hand, which is completely different from writing on a manual typewriter. Writing in my journal and writing book parts are completely different activities to meas different as baking cookies and snowboarding. Journalism and nonfiction book writing are somewhat related, but neither have anything remotely in common with writing down my dreams or a poem.


Ive talked to a lot of writers about their process and, thus far, I havent met anyone who makes the distinctions I make and vice versa. In a very small way, every author I know writes an outline before they write a bookif not an outline, then at least a table of contents. It is physically impossible for me to do this. First comes a title, and then I figure out what the book is by writing it. As I write, a table of contents starts to unfold. Outlines never happen. I could maybe now write an outline for Cunt, but it will be years before I could write one for Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil. I think this is what happens when you really get into something. Its like fractals and the mathematical impossibility of measuring a coastline. To me, a scientist is a scientist, but dang, a nuclear research physicist and a geographic biologist sure as fuck would take me to task on that statement. For that matter, an ancient Egyptian geographic biologist and a South Central Los Angeles geographic biologist could spend their entire lives listing the different processes involved in their respective fields. So, I am probably doing a shitty job of answering this question, but in order to tell you exactly how these processes differ, Im compelled to describe the borderline o.c.d. distinctions that I make in my head. Im not against doing that or anything, but it seems like it would be like listing intricate neuroses that would only be understood by other writers who have similar processes.



TL: Try this one: you reveal in Blue-Eyed Devil that many of its themes and ideas came from writing Cunt. First, tell me about what it was like to have one work pushing through while another was on your fingertips. How did you satisfy the urge to write Blue-Eyed Devilor did youin order to finish Cunt? You toured extensively on Cunt; how soon after its publication did you start work on Blue-Eyed Devil?



IM: You ask good questions, girl. Okay, let me think. Theres a chapter in Cunt called Acrimony of Cunts. Its about some of the ways women learn to hate on each other. So much of this learned acrimony is rooted in white supremacist racism, and white supremacist racism is such a huge, huge thing that I had a difficult time just sticking to the relatively small point of this chapter. At the time I was writing this chapter, I recognized what I can only describe as a huge spirit that had been with me all of my life. At the time, I saw that it had the power to completely sweep me away from finishing Cunt. So I made a deal with this spirit and I promised I would serve it if it would allow me to finish what I had begun. You know that song The Devil Went Down to Georgia?" It was one of my uplifting theme songs while I was working on Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil because after I had made the deal with the spirit while writing that chapter in Cunt, that spirit left me. This occurred during only that one chapter, not the whole book. Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil was always there in my life. It is the specter of white supremacist racism that influences pretty much every aspect of the culture I grew up in. The act of writing Cuntand specifically that one chapterled me to a place in my head where I was able to describe this specter in a way that was eventually discernable. After I made the deal with that spirit, it did not visit me again until I was planning the book tour for Cuntalmost a year after Cunt came out. So, I was touring and reading and thinking. Then I started doing a shitload of research and writing before I ever really started working on Blue-Eyed Devil in earnest. It was almost seven years before I finished writing it.



TL: The publisher comment for Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil reads, . . . it's Muscio's turn and she's taking it in order to hip the masses to the truth about the American history they think they know. Although clearly not as hip, I would describe your prose style as stylistically adventurous while the tone is conversational and intimate. Tell me about your prose stylein other words, what informs your narrative voice?



IM: You know that poem Desiderata [by Max Ehrmann]. Theres the lines that say, You are a child of the universe / no less than the trees and the stars; / you have a right to be here / And whether or not it is clear to you, / no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. My mom had this poem hanging in our kitchen and I read it the whole time I was growing up. It meant that Im like a cell on the face of the earth and so is everyone else. I could be either a beneficial cell in some way or I could be a pathogenic cell. But, either way, I am just this one cell. Obviously, I didnt want to be a pathogen, so I figured out a way that I could be beneficial. Of course, this is a total value judgment because there are millions of people in the world who would undoubtedly view my writing as quintessentially part of the problem. But, since I have a right to be here no less than the trees and the stars, like any aphid or ladybug, I do what instinctively feels best to me. I think that Ino more or less than any one else taking space on the planethave a place in the natural order of things. This is a huge preface to the answer of your question, but this is the fundamental perspective that informs my narrative voice. If I think what I think and write about it, then it must matter in some way or else I would never feel compelled to think what I think and write about it. This applies to every vocation, passion, and thought pattern in existence. Some are beneficial cells, some are pathogenic cells, and in my very, very limited scope of the universe, value judgments and all, I strive for the former.



TL: Yet, the literary hip of your prose style, as the publisher comment above suggests, provides a tremendous amount of authority for many readers. How do you feel about the hipster currency of your prose style and its influence on authorial credibility? Some might say it is the central device that establishes the authority of the narrative. Do you agree? Why or why not?



IM: If people identify with my words in certain ways then that is because, in the natural order of things, my thoughts resonate deeply with thoughts that many other folks have flitting around their consciousness. I think my words resonate deeply in many peoples hearts (whether negatively or positively) because they come from deep in my own heart.

My credibility lies in that authenticity and, I suppose, that translates into meaning; I have credibility with folks who are responsive to the authenticity of words, songs, and films that come from someones heart.



TL: Tell me about your choice to frame the subject matter of Cunt and Blue-Eyed Devil as autobiography. How would you explain your use of the hero or protagonist? Do you feel you cast yourself as the hero of the narrative? What do you feel separates your use of autobiography from the scripted forms found on many bestseller lists?



IM: I have tried to have heroes, but it always involves building someone up into a completely unrealistic identity that no human being could ever fulfill. Inga-as-hero just cracks me up. I mean, I smoke cigarettes and I cuss a lot. I am an asshole in so many ways it would be difficult to even narrow it down to a top ten list. That being said, I place myself as the hero insomuch as I believe everyone has the right to take up space on the planet, and since I seem to be a writer taking up space on the planet, then naturally (though I know this is inherently redundant), this is the medium through which I enact my right to take up space on the planet. Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil was thus named because it struck me as a humorous and possibly dubious homage to Malcolm X. His writing had a deep effect on me when I was young, and I turned to his thoughts many times in my life. It just seemed fitting to go off of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Thats how I came to the actual word autobiography and the title. The book itself, however, is about how deeply white supremacist racism resonates in my life, in the lives of everyone, regardless of a persons race. The only way I knew (and still know) to communicate this is through my own experience. It seemed oxymoronic to write about such a huge and deeply intimate reality with a purported, constructed objectivity. I have never been able to wrap my mind around the concept that personal and political can be eviscerated from one another.



TL: In The Dartmouth Review, contributor Andrew Grossman attacks the literary credibility of Cunt by criticizing what he calls your lone academic credential as an undergraduate. He reassures readers that the students of Dartmouth are applying his brand of rigorous intellectual standard when scrutinizing the work from what he calls the phallus brigadehis term for literature from a feminist movement that without questions of justice and equality to occupy it, finds itself at loose ends. Although Grossmans view of justice and inequality for women is embarrassingly dull for one paying such steep tuition, Id like you to respond to the academic credibility argument. Certainly Grossman fails to exemplify the evolved academic, but your work is controversial due to both theme and your use of autobiography: youve used personal narrative to take on socialized patriarchy in Cunt and socialized white privilege in Blue-Eyed Devilgasp! There are writers battling with this type of elitist thinking that might like to know how do you deal with such jaded and vindictive reviews? And, on the other hand, how does it feel to create a work that has such an impact on readers?



IM: That Andrew Grossman was such a coward. He showed up at all of my events and pretended to be interested. Soon after he wrote that stuff about me, Sister Spit had a show at Dartmouth. Sini Anderson and Michelle Tea made him the thematic butt of their jokes for the night and called him Andrew Little Gross Man. Your question kind of reminds me of how pissed off Sister Spit was at Andrew Little Gross Man. I know his words annoyed you for your own reasons, but I still feel kind of loved and cherished that he inspires such rancor in you. So, thanks for that. My initial response to Andrew Little Gross Mans review, or whatever its called, has served as a frame of reference for pretty much all kinds of academically couched ill will. Its cowardly. Im like, Meet me on neutral territory and lets go toe to toe Little Gross Man. Well both bring a camera and sound crew and meet in a parking lot. Ill debate your tired ass into profound unconsciousness. I mean, whats up with slinking around my events, asking me questions and taking notes, and then turning around and writing this scathing shit in the safe confines of a dorm room?



TL: Your response to elitism, in general, is bring it.



IM: I say, Bring it on you cowardly little bitch. Face me with your thoughts. Ill tear you up into bite sized rhetorical pieces. Ill go toe to toe with any of these fucking cowards. Im not well-educated. Its no surprise to me. I hated school until I got to Evergreenwhere I could design my own classes. I have no qualms with that judgment. It means nothing to me. Why? Because I am a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars, I have a right to be here. The Little Gross Men and Women are pathologically invested in the idea that only certain kinds of (white) people have the right to take up space on the planet, but my mom fucked any chance of that belief infiltrating my life when she hung that poem up in our kitchen. I get emails all the time from people who have never in their lives even considered reading a serious book, and tore through one of mine in a week. I get emails from folks with learning disabilities thanking me for inspiring them to read an entire book from cover to cover. No Ivy League education can hold a candle to that kind of shit. I am educated on my terms, and there is no honor that outshines an email from a 16 year old boy who stole Cunt from his sisters room, expecting to find some smut, and instead finds that he looks at the entire world in a completely different way. And then, on top of that, taking time out of his life to email me and thank me. This disconnect has followed me around since I first got published. The authorities at The Stranger could not understand why I was so popular with readers. They edged me out little by little, pooh-poohing the things I wrote about, shunning the space I took up in their paper, and meanwhile, readers never faltered in enjoying my writing. Ive learned to stick with my readers.



TL: It sounds like the writing life has had an incredible impact on you, Inga. How liberating is it to historicize your experience through your work as a nonfiction writer?




IM: Ive been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil, so it is difficult to pinpoint changes. Ive evolved as a writer, certainly, and my relationship with writing is, as ever, in flux. The writers, musicians, and artists that move me and educate me and inspire me to reach epiphanies are always those who come from a very personal and intimate place. That my writing might serve someone in this same way is humbling as fuckall, and, at the same time, also my ultimate intention. Its not so much that I find historicizing myself liberating, which I do, I do, but its more like in order for me to keep living on this planet and taking up space, I am compelled to speak my little tiny (beneficially cellular) truth that exists on an incomprehensible continuum of little tiny truths. Writing is how I cope and function, and it is not nearly as unhealthy or counterproductive as many such mechanisms. I feel humbled and blessed that me and writing found each other when I was so young. I would have been a junkie, sociopath, or suicidal if writing didnt take hold of me when it did. I guess the writing life is always changing me, but mostly it keeps me present and accounted for. This is also why I laugh at the cowardly Little Gross Mans in the world. I know words very well. I dont know a lot of things, but give me a noun, a verb, and an adjective and, together, well fuck some shit up.



You can find out more about Inga Muscio at http://www.ingalagringa.com.


copyright 2006 Tess. Lotta