On the surface, I may seem like a dog-crazy-animal-loving-fanatic, especially when it comes to pit bull terriers. I wear t-shirts that say, “I may seem nice, but if you mess with my dog I will break out a level of crazy that will make your nightmares seem like a happy place” and “I Kissed a Pit Bull and I Liked It.” I often post unsavory images of abused, neglected, and abandoned animals on my Facebook page. I may notice subtle looks of judgment or the occasional moment of frozen quiet when someone realizes that my wife and I are strict vegetarians, and we spend at least 50% of our daily lives fostering, rescuing, or supporting animal rescue groups, such as Pit Sisters, but that type of social marginalization doesn’t scare me.
In order to explicate my concept of the writer’s life and a writer’s relationship to writing, I have created an imagined conversation between Nicole Cooley, author of a book of poetry titled, The Afflicted Girls, and Rita Dove, who also wrote a novelistic collection of poetry called, Sonata Mulattica:
When Tough Girl, my alter ego, climbed out from the personal protective pod wielding a bag full of electrified wind, she initiated the process of reclaiming the original version of Andrea, “the other voice,” the poetic voice, which Octavio Paz extensively explores during his book The Other Voice. She helped me to gain composure while discovering the essence of who I really am, both a quiet poet and a vivacious activist.