Sex, Religion, Politics, and Writing: Uncensored Interviews with the Authors and Artists of MLR Press

Deana C. Jamroz, interviewed by Sarah Black

Deana is's artist-in-residence. Her background includes advertising, PR, non-profit work, fanfic writing, and now computer-generated graphics. Things she loves (in no particular order): dogs, photography, humor, music, crossword puzzles, theater, convertible cars, movies, anything by Stephen Sondheim; native American anything (particularly Anasazi pottery), and really good Bordeaux wine.

Q: What do you remember about your first love?

A: He gave me a present. I liked it.

Q: This first-love present- what was it? How old were you? Was this love, or sex, too?

A: A ring with the Blessed Virgin Mary on it. I was 7. Jimmy Moore was 8. I've always loved older men.

Q: Oh, the BVM! That's almost as good as getting a prayer card. Whose David is sexier, Michelangelo's or Donatello's?

A: Donatello's (no horns).

Q: What books are on your bedside table right now? Any new authors or books you'd like to recommend?

A: A Kinky Friedman Oldie but Goodie: Spanking Watson. Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

Q: Since you're a Kinky fan, do you support his recent bid for the Kingdom of Texas? Would he make a good Gov'ner?

A: Yes, I did. I'm the proud owner of the Kinky Friedman talking doll. He's a good man with noble intentions, particularly where children and education are concerned. If the people of Texas elect him in the future, at least the kids will be able to read.

Q: And they'd have something decent to read, too. I think Elvis, Jesus, and Coca-Cola is still in print- That was the first book of his I ever read. Is music important to your creative process? Tell me about that.

A: Do you have a couple of years? Stephen Sondheims's written the musical score of my life. All that angst, longing, opportunities missed, or ones taken. When I'm doing artwork—or writing, for that matter—instrumental music centers me or sends me off on surprising tangents.

Q: Would you rather spend the weekend at the beach with Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, or Captain Jean-Luc Picard?

A: Depends. For character, intellect, intelligence, honor or to share a good bottle of wine as the sun sets somewhere exotic: JLP. For sex, love, lust, or all three, JTK.

Q: What do you think Jerry Falwell's first conversation with God was about?

A: I don't know about the first, but wouldn't the last be hysterical is he came face-to-face with Yahweh, the God of the Jews, and God said to him, "Are you in Big Trouble, boy-chik."

Q: I'm afraid Yahweh is going to say that to me, too. Not the boy-chik part. Favorite pirate?

A: Jean Lafitte

Q: Choose one of these men for an elegant dinner date, and tell me why 1) Gov. Bill Richardson, 2) Sen. John McCain, or 3) President Bill Clinton? What would you eat?

A: Bill Clinton. If I knew you better, I'd give you an amusing answer, but on this first pass, let's say little baby quail, because there's just something so... carnivorous about eating your meal—bones and all. Which, I'm sure, Bill Clinton would appreciate. (Damn, humor... she be a mistress bitch)

Q: Well, there's no question that is a table full of carnivores. Would you be more likely to read the winner of the National Book Award, The Edgar for Best Novel, or the Hugo for Best Novel? You have favorite Mystery or Sci-Fi authors?

A: The winner of the Edgar.

See Doris Goodwin (above) See Kinky Friedman (above)

If I can't be redundant, then Patricia Schultz (1000 Places to See Before You Die) and anything byAaron Elkins (Gideon Oliver)

Q: Which of your own books or artworks is your favorite? Was it the easiest or hardest?

A: A pair of posters I created specifically for an online charity auction. Once I saw the pieces in my mind's eye, they took surprisingly little time to actually execute. The experience made me understand the feeling of being inspired.

Q: Any suggestions you'd like to pass on to the Pope?

A: "White's not your color. Try something else."

Q: Best movie this year?

A: The Illusionist. I never saw the ending coming, and since I'm a Mensa-card carrying murder mystery junkie, that's saying something.

Q: Care to make a small wager concerning our next President?

A: Knowing the American public, it'll be Fred Thompson. Why? Everybody loved the movie DIEHARD II, and LAW and ORDER is on TV virtually every hour of the day. All that free publicity can't hurt.

Q: Since I read The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman, I've been fascinated by the idea of souls taking animal forms. If your soul took an animal form, what would it be?

A: Bear. A big, dancing one.

Q: About this dancing bear—is this a friendly bear, or are we talking Ursus Arctos Horribilis, the dreaded Grizzly?

A: This is Inuit-shaman dancing bear. Mythical, mystical, and lots of other Thesaurus M-words. Very friendly, joyous, in fact, unless riled to anger.