The Woman Who Wrote about a Southern Scandal & Didn't Apologize: ROSEMARY DANIELL

Known for her provocative poetry and candid memoirs, you might think you know everything there is to know about The Secrets of the Zona Rosa author Rosemary Daniell. While she's been changing the landscape of women's writing, feminism, and truth telling since the 1970s, she still has secrets to bare. 

Here are 5 Naked Truths about the award-winning author in her own words: 

1. One thing people say to me more than most anything else is “I don’t see how you do it!” – meaning leading Zona Rosa writing workshops, reading manuscripts, coaching writers, keeping in touch with them, and writing my own books, plus the things I do because I like to, like cooking, reading, traveling, and taking naps or going to movies in the afternoon. But in truth, I’m not self-disciplined at all because I love everything I do – and if something comes up that I don’t love, I try to find a way not to do it!  Or, as someone wise said, “Love and discipline – are they all that different?”

2. People who read my first book of poems, A SEXUAL TOUR OF THE DEEP SOUTH, expected me to appear at readings dressed in leather and studs and carrying a straight razor. So while getting ready for the book tour for my first memoir, FATAL FLOWERS -- which I knew would also be controversial -- I decided to dress in a way that would contradict that image – a pink dress with cream lace collar, pink stilettos, a pink cowboy hat, plus my favorite Tea Rose cologne.

3. Everyone thinks I’m intrepid, but at first, I felt fear at writing so honestly; the night I signed the contract to write my first memoir, FATAL FLOWERS: ON SIN, SEX AND SUICIDE IN THE DEEP SOUTH, I dreamed that I would be shot, because I knew I planned to write the book in a totally honest way – but I also knew – given my values – that I had to do it that way, as in “feel the fear and do it anyway.”

4. They also think my life has been hard because of the things I describe in my books. But au contraire, I share African wild life photographer Peter Beard’s sentiment, after being crushed by an elephant, that “everything is an experience.” Also, my writing, plus my natural resiliency, has always healed and protected me.

5. I still sleep in the same four-poster maple bed I slept in with my baby sister Anne when she was five and I was ten, and I plan to sleep in it for the rest of my life. Right now, it’s covered in a beautiful handmade afghan featuring big pink cabbage roses, and above it is a pastel of a woman with her legs spread apart – not me, though she looks like me – done by internationally known (and now deceased) artist Walasse Ting, who, long ago, was my friend and lover in New York. A while back, when I got a new mattress, my downstairs neighbor said my old one should be preserved for posterity because of all the amazing things that had happened on it.

Rosemary's extras on love, life, and writing: 

When I was in a delicious wild period of my life, I was at a bar with a lover where I watched a couple in their what – 60s? 70s? – dancing to the jukebox, and I thought to myself, that’s how I want to be when I’m old. And now that I’m older myself, I still feel the same way.

In company, I’m a born journalist, always on and “interviewing,” and I love teaching, talking with, and learning from others; but my favorite place is inside my own head via writing – I’ve journaled and recorded my dreams for the past 50 years (or, on the other hand, inside the head of some other, brilliant person’s head via their writing).

Rosemary is Audacious! And she knows how to Be More Naked. 

Join Rosemary at the Annual Pajama Party for Grown-Up Girls With Smarts© Writers' Retreat at Tybee Island.