FAMILY PORTRAIT 2007
Gina Myers has tagged me for my first meme ever. I’m delighted to share five things about myself that you probably don’t know:
1. When I first moved to New York about nine years ago, I was on a guest list for an “exclusive” private party called, “The Bitches Lounge.” I frequented the scene on a regular basis for maybe a year and got to see the rich and famous up close. I danced a few feet away from Donatella Versace’s nose; I insulted Bill Maher by drunkenly insisting that he was “that actor”; watched Queen Latifah cause a stir, among other notables, etc. I’ve also attended other swank events that I no longer seem to be invited to, including a party at George Plimpton’s upper East side apartment, where I told Marisa Berenson she was hot and that I loved her, as well as sparring with Anthony Haden-Guest in the kitchen, literally, until our host intervened to make sure I was okay. Incidentally, Mr. Plimpton had enormous, gentle hands.
2. For a period in my adolescence, I was a hardcore born-again Christian. We’re talking a lust for churches where people are “touched by the Spirit” and then speak in tongues while doing a little jig, sometimes falling and writhing a bit at the end. Most churches were not radical enough for me then.
3. I was once arrested for “Loitering in front of a known crack house with the intent to purchase and use crack cocaine.” Yes, that’s a real charge, and yes, I was strip searched.
4. When I worked in a high risk Labor and Delivery Unit, the nurses came to trust me with duties that did not necessarily fall within my job description. One of those was to transport the ‘expired’ babies on weekend shifts to the unmanned morgue, where I had to place them in the refrigerator. I think the nurses were glad to be rid of the task, after exhaustively and diligently caring for the mothers and their families. Pardon any morbidity, but I have held many dead people in my hands, no small thing.
5. Health item: I am terribly myopic and have a hearing deficiency. I do not wear my glasses regularly and refuse contacts. The inadequate sight and sound combination often comes back to me in the form of, “Why didn’t you say hi to me yesterday? I was waving and calling to you from across the street/cafe/bar!” Others have simply written me off for ‘ignoring’ them.
I also have a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW) that I have consistently refused surgery for over the past few years. But that’s another story.
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Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.