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Q and A

Feb 18, 2014; Tom Asks:

When will you publish more work?

Stacey answers:

You can read a new essay I wrote in the Spring 2014 issue of Willow Springs magazine.

Feb 05, 2014; Feelin' Darrow Asks:

What's your favorite Woody Allen movie?

Stacey answers:

Annie Hall, no question. It's fucking brilliant. Not that you asked, but I seriously doubt he molested his daughter.

Jan 30, 2014; Caul Shawdy Asks:

Stacey Richter: Where can I get some of that good stuff?

Stacey answers:

That's what I keep asking myself whenever I see that someone has a PET FOX: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AtP7au_Q9w

Give me one now!

Jan 29, 2014; Elizabeth Asks:

Will you be at AWP? I'll be working a table for Superstition Review and would love to meet you, Stacey!

Stacey answers:

No, I'm not going to AWP. I'd like to go sometime, but I'm waiting for someone to assure me that when I get there I will find a mess of cute guys who think I'm really sexy and cool because they like my writing--my writing--and thus fawn over me and make cow eyes and linger and stand too close and generally tempt me to what square people call "cheating" and "immorality" but what great artists call "inspiration."

In other words, I want to be treated like a male writer, then act like one.

Jan 29, 2014; Boob (Not a nickname for Asks:

The problem with your BLOG, Stacey, is there's not enough "boob talk" here. Let's talk BOOBS. Here's the thing: I am fascinated with boobs. Breasts. On a woman. (I don't care to see man-boobs, not even good ones.) Why? Help me. Why can't I stop looking at boobs? Thinking about them? What is wrong with the male gender, or at least me? If I meet a woman eventually I am going to wonder about her boobs. Every time. If she's a very old woman, I will wonder what her boobs were like when she was younger. I draw the line at under-agers. I don't think about their boobs. It makes me feel bad to begin to, and I say no to myself. But when that female person turns adult, and has been adult a while so you can forget the person was recently a non-adult, pretty soon I wonder about her boobs, and then I feel bad about it anyway, because come on, not long ago she was a kid for god's sake. Stacey, where do you draw the line between healthy male sexual feelings and a man being a perv? I don't want to be a perv. I can't help it if I am fixated on boobs. Several of my best memories in life are of boobs. (I like other parts too. Not as visually oriented though.) Stacey, as a woman, what do you make of men and boobs?

Stacey answers:

C'mon Boob, you can do better than that! Looking and thinking about breasts is not pervy. Taking baths with your mother until you're nineteen is pervy; installing a camera inside a toilet is pervy, but looking at boobs is pretty much part of being human. Girls like them! Babies are obsessed! So feel free to indulge in your interest (please use discretion at work), and while you're at it, try to cultivate some fun perversions that your lady can enjoy too--like shoes, rabbits, swing sets, and Nixon masks.

In the meantime, don't worry too much if every now and then, in a non-work environment, a woman asks you if you're looking at her boobs. Women do this because they're nice. They do it because they're smart and interesting and observant and funny and kind; they do it without judgement, to make you laugh, and because they know that having a nice rack is fun and they want to share the fun. Because everyone likes breasts.

Jan 14, 2014; Pickles Asks:

So, did Darren have any offers on the inscribed copy of your book? If so, how much?

Stacey answers:

It was in a used bookstore. A friend of mine bought it for his sister and took a picture of the inscription with his cell phone. It was probably about six dollars retail which means he got about three bucks in trade credit for it.

Jan 08, 2014; Darren Asks:

Sometimes screaming is good.

Stacey answers:

Especially when it's a scream of apology and includes taking me out to dinner and plying me with flattery.

Dec 31, 2013; littleshirlybeans Asks:

You lived in Oakland? I lived in Oakland, really close to the MacArthur BART near the freeway where the rats gave my cat fleas!!! I also lived near the Ashby BART in Berkeley. It was a little cleaner and a little safer. I lived next to chickens that enter my dreams at night.

Anyway, do you make New Years Resolutions? Mine is to remember birthdays in a timely manner. Posting on the person's Facebook page doesn't count. I have to remember with a card or package in the mail. I failed to fulfill this resolution this year. I am trying again in leu of making other more abstract, unobtainable resolutions.

Stacey answers:

I lived in a series of apartments near Telegraph and Alcatraz, which was as close to campus as I could get. I don't think it was possible to live near the MacArthur Bart then as a lone white girl--I'm not sure, but I think the flats were a lot more sketchy back then. Ashby was a little better. I had to walk to school though, so it was too far away for me. And the parking lot around the Ashby Bart was always extremely creepy, in my opinion. I'm not sure why--it was just a bad-feeling-place.

Sometimes I make resolutions but often I don't remember them. The best have been concrete, like your birthday resolution, which I predict is going to be excellent. It's not too big, it's possible, it's not hard to remember. I might use it myself next year. This year I'm making a resolution I made up for someone else (I give out resolutions, FYI). It is: whenever I feel like telling someone what to do (because I think they need unsolicited help or are so fucking stupid it is driving me crazy) instead of following this impulse I will say, "It's cool."

Dec 27, 2013; Just Wonderin' Asks:

Do you ever find your own books for sale in used bookstores? Does that bother you or make you feel rejected? Or is it just part of the deal?

Stacey answers:

It's just part of the deal. I buy used books myself, of course--it's the reading-cycle-of-life--and anyway, the more books you sell as an author, the more books end up being resold in used bookstores. So it's a sign of love.

The only time it makes me feel very, very sad and forlorn and bereft is when I find a book for sale that I signed, especially if it's book I gave to a beloved friend I've known for many years who, for instance, took the jacket photo of me on the ACTUAL BOOK FOR SALE. In a case like this, I would be tempted to post the inscribed page here in order to shame him, though that doesn't seem very nice. Probably, he lent the book to someone who later sold it. After all, even if he didn't want to keep it for sentimental reasons, he would probably want to keep it for professional ones. Probably he lost it, and is very, very sad about it himself.

To Darren, Love Stacey photo ToDarren_zps32db1eae.jpg

Dec 10, 2013; your name Mrs. Hicks Asks:

What do you think about the current, widespread misuse of the word "vagina"? It is a vulva, folks! Or pudendum! Or the labia majora, sometimes with a little peep of clit! Unless you are talking about some varieties of intercourse, childbirth, tampons, etc., the thing you are discussing is not a vagina. I know that a language belongs to its speakers. It can and should evolve as they see fit. This situation just seems different to me. By constantly misidentifying our complex, scented wonderlands, doesn't it reinforce the ignorance that has caused a variety of problems for our fellow women? The hole just isn't the whole thing.

Stacey answers:

I'm fine with "vagina" as a general term for what I like to refer to as "the region" (while making a wax-on/wax off motion above the lower abdomen). I take it as synecdoche rather than a misuse of language, and as a synecdoche it's a useful term: it includes the hole but is not restricted to it. What appeals to me is how this reflects a characteristic of the region: it can be indeterminate, nebulous, an experience rather than a collection of parts. If I were to say, "My vagina itches," I'd most likely be talking about the passage AND the vulva, but (and if you have a vagina you know this), I probably wouldn't be sure myself of the exact location of the problem; down there, sensation moves, it creeps, it's internal, external, infernal. Maybe it is the vagina itself; maybe there isn't an exact location.

You know, Mrs Hicks, I have no doubt that almost every woman could get specific if need be--for instance in a medical setting--and also more coy and general, for instance in a social setting (where a person might choose between terms like crotch, lady parts, landing strip, vajayjay, Petticoat Junction, tampon tunnel, camel toe, cha cha, front butt, putang, love cave, quiff, pink taco, or pussy, to name a few). Not only do people have different levels of ease when writing or talking about their bodies, they also have different levels of ease using language. Almost every object can be broken down into smaller units, but to use the specialized terms can feel pedantic and contrived. We say leaf rather than blade, petiole, base, midrib, vein, and margin--not because we don't love leaves but because it's easier and has a certain forthright clarity. Our ears and eyes apprehend a familiar word like leaf better than a word like petiole. The same goes for vagina and labia majora; even vulva is kind of an awkward, hulking word. What I'm saying is that some people who may be perfectly comfortable with their bodies may be uncomfortable with Latin.

That said, I want to add that I don't encounter "vagina" used in this general way very often--is it really current and widespread? Maybe I haven't been on the lookout for it. I googled it and the first thing that came up was this charming phrase: The vagina is a self-cleaning organ.

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