She’s Your Dyke Aunty
I am a pilgrim but not of the Mayflower variety. I’m a snob, a “dyke by default,” and a literary pilgrim. When a writer fascinates me, I peregrinate on her behalf. I move toward her presence, memory and magic. That magic can be both good and bad.
Most fascinating writers belong to the she/her/hers and/or they/their/theirs variety.
He/his/hims often bore.
About a literary archetype, Hilton Als wrote, “Truman Capote became a woman in 1947, the year this photograph was taken…Truman Capote became a woman in 1947 just when ‘real’ women would not or could not. And the woman he became in this photograph — itself better written than Other Voices, Other Rooms — wanted to be fucked by you and by any idea of femininity that had fucked you up.”
Als further described Capote as an “aunty-man” and it was her Big Aunty Energy that seduced me when I saw it displayed on television. Capote couldn’t hide her herness and so she did us the favor of allowing us to bask in it and when I watched Capote banter with Important Men on nighttime talk shows, I understood her to be that thing called family.
There are children and then there are campy children and my childhood fascination with Capote, and Bette Davis, indicated which camp I fell into.
As a teen, I became…campier. The evidence? I shoplifted In Cold Blood. I found the non-fiction novel caked in bookstore dust and before slipping it into my bag, I told myself that the paperback deserved care. The store was subjecting it to neglect and that’s criminal. Social workers remove children from their homes for that. My bedroom would provide a better environment than the wire rack holding In Cold Blood hostage.
In bed, my eyes swept across Capote’s classic opening line: “The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there.’” As I said, I make pilgrimages and as a woman, I drove to Kansas to see its flatness, grain elevators, and cattle with my own eyes. They looked just as Capote described.
I make pilgrimages and I drove to Palm Springs, a town haunted by Capote’s ghost. She owned a home there that’s currently off the market. It last sold for about $1.1 million and I left Capote’s home alone. It was enough to visit her star, which appears along the city’s own walk of fame extending down Palm Canyon Drive, Tahquitz Canyon Way, La Plaza Court, and Museum Way. Below are photographs of the day trip taken to visit Capote’s star and the woman who appears in these photographs isn’t an aunty-man. She’s your dyke aunty and she neither wants to be fucked by you nor by any idea of femininity that has fucked you up.
The woman in these photographs is a dyke by default.
Myriam Gurba is the editor-in-chief of Tasteful Rude. She is also the author of the memoir Mean, a New York Times editors’ choice. O, the Oprah Magazine, ranked Mean as one of the best LGBTQ books of all time and Publishers’ Weekly describes Gurba as having a voice like no other. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Paris Review, TIME.com, and the Believer. Gurba has been known to call shitty writers pendejas and has no qualms about it. Along with Roberto Lovato and David Bowles, she co-founded Dignidad Literaria, a grassroots literary organization that seeks to revolutionize publishing.
Geoff Cordner was raised in Libya, western Canada, and Egypt. Geoff attended university in Austin, TX. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he enthusiastically photo-documented the early ‘80s punk music scene for various punk zines. In 1988 he went to Milan, for an intended six months stay that lasted for six years. While in Milan Geoff worked first as a fashion model and then as a fashion photographer. Geoff has also designed album covers, rock ‘n’ roll posters, and advertisements, all lending themselves to his unique vision as a photographer.
On the genre of portraiture, bestselling author Jerry Stahl notes, “Beyond his technical mastery, Cordner’s particular genius is the way in which he inspires trust in his subjects, often those for whom all trust has been betrayed. Whether it’s a smacked-out teenaged neo-punk or a sloe-eyed Hollywood hustler, Cordner goes beneath the ink and attitude to the damaged soul within.” www.geoffcordner.com