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We asked. You told.

Well it turns out Diana Ross, Bette Milder, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone, Whitney Houston, Maria Callas and Madonna are not the only female deities homosexuals worship.

Mary’s fans also have a vast array of literary divas that they call their own.

“Oh, Diva worship by homosexuals is such a cliché,” some may say, but I have seen enough framed Janet Jackson posters on the bedroom walls of 42 year-old men to know that some clichés are true.

“No Joan Didion,” was my only caveat, because she is such an easy mark.

Below are some snapshots of the responses:

Ten Literary Divas
MFK Fisher–diva de la cuisine
Toni Morrison–diva of the haunted soul

Flannery O’Connor–diva of brutishness
Carson McCullers–diva of sadness and longing
Alice Munro–diva of the past and of the future
Lorrie Moore–diva of birds and feathers
Jamaica Kincaid–diva of the bottom of the river
Mary Gaitskill–diva of despair
Joyce Carol Oates–diva of housework
Louise Erdrich–diva of reservations

Oh, and one bonus diva–
Joan Didion, because you can’t ask a bunch of lit queens to name
their divas, and not allow them to speak the name of the great
HER SELF–The diva of self-justification.

-Chris Wells

Before Toni Morrison and Terry McMillan, before Alice Walker and Audrey Lorde, there was Zora Neal Hurston. And by many accounts, this woman was a true diva, and a fashionable one, too.

Of the many accounts of her diva-like behavior, one struck most: At a 1921 literary awards dinner, Hurston strolled in late, and upon entering, yelled the name of her nominated piece. That piece, a play titled “Color Struck,” won second place that night, but, the story goes, because of that entrance, she was the buzz of the literary world for sometime.

But the ultimate proof is in her writing:

Springtime in Florida is not a matter of peeping violets or bursting buds merely. It is a riot of color in nature—glistening green leaves, pink, blue, purple, yellows blossoms that fairly stagger the visitor from north. The miles of hyacinths lie like an undulating carpet on the surface of the river and divide reluctantly when the slow-moving alligators push their way log-like across. The nights are white nights for the moon shines with dazzling splendor, or in the absence of that goddess, the soft darkness creeps down laden with innumerable scents. The heavy fragrance of magnolias mingled with the delicate sweetness of jasmine and wild roses.

- “John Redding Goes to Sea” 1921

During her career, she published four novels, an autobiography, two books of folklore, short stories, essays, articles and plays.

-Fritzroy Austin Sterling, Mary Editor at Large

Liz Renay! “ My Face for The World To See.”

Actually, I’m so ADD from the internet that like 1/2 of all Americans, I don’t read 1 book per year.

-Lady Bunny

Editor’s note: Liz Renay (1926-2007) was an insanely unconventional cult icon.
The Washington Post described her as “a gangster’s moll, ex-con, author, painter, stripper, Hollywood Boulevard streaker, actress and charm school instructor.” She was apparently working on a cook book when she died. Now that’s a resume!

Why bell hooks of course! She’s a compassionate, forward thinking, Buddhist practicing, fearless ambassador of integrated intellectual thinking and love meditations! She thankfully used her life as a curious and experienced woman of color to educate and remind us of our individual value to one another. Diva, I mean, diva personified.

-Bill Coleman

Stephen King. He was poor living in a trailer and working on his novel CARRIE. He didn’t have confidence to finish it. His wife, Tabitha, picked the manuscript out of the trashcan and said, “I like it, please finish it.” It went on to be a movie screenplay and put him on the map.

He really didn’t think that after hours of hammering that typewriter, this one idea would actually turn out the way it did.
To me, this is a Diva Moment…
He sort of changed from “pocket change” to “I can really show the world a thing or two.” after the CARRIE event.

-Timoth Gallagher

Editor’s note: I’d say his wife, Tabitha King, an accomplished writer in her own right, is the real diva in this anecdote. By pulling that dirty manuscript out of the trash she went from trailer park to champagne kisses and caviar dreams! Bye-Bye Wal-Mart! Hello Neiman Marcus! Good looking out sister!

James Baldwin…Genius.
If that answer does not suffice, then – Octavia Butler.
I am an Ol’ School Sci Fi geek, however Lady Butler mixed the magic and mystic with the spiritual, giving it historical context and soul. Her writings allowed for me to freely question ideas of religion, race, spirit, faith, love, and reality
.
-Gregory Caldwell

Toni Morrison

- Joseph Mole

Editor’s note: Well, we received over twenty votes for Toni Morrison. You guys really like her!

Margaret Atwood. She has that cold cold cold cold penetrating dissecting eye that is uniquely Canadian

-Frank

V.C Andrews. I mean didn’t all children born in the years 1969 to 1983 read the horny parts of “Flowers in the Attic”.

-Chuck

Editor’s note: I remember everyone passing this book around the lunch room in 8th grade. Page 131, or whatever, was earmarked because that was the scene when the brother and sister have sex. It was our middle school Tropic of Cancer. A lot of books were published by V.C Andrews long after she died, which leads me to believe her later books were written by some creepy family incest/ family intrigue loving haunted typewriter.

Literary Diva’s- Interesting. I would have to say Mama Sonia, Angela Jackson, Audre Lorde, and Cheryl Clarke.

-Raymond Berry

Lorrie Moore! I have a non- sexual crush on her. I want to be her gay bff. We could trade ironic asides and travel the Midwestern landscape together!

-Ted Rumford

Editor’s note: Favorite paragraph by Lorrie Moore:

‘And so she left Hollywood. Phoned her agent and apologized. Went home to Chicago, rented a room by the week at the Days Inn, drank sherry and grew a little plump. She let her life get dull–dull, but with Hostess cakes. There were moments bristling with deadness, when she looked out at her life and went “What?” Or worse “Wha-?” It had taken on the shape of a terrible mistake. She hadn’t been given the proper tools to make a real life with, she decided that was it. She’d been given a can of gravy and a hair brush and told, “There you go” She’d stood there for years, blinking and befuddled, brushing the can with the brush.’
-“Willing” 1998

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