7 Minutes in Book Heaven with Tristan Taormino and A Part of the Heart Can’t Be Eaten

Welcome to our Summer of Book Love series!

Every Tuesday this summer we will feature new episodes of 7 Minutes in Book Heaven which has your next summer read! New episodes of This Queer Book Saved My Life! drop this September.

Today we meet Tristan Taormino and their new memoir: A Part of the Heart Can’t Be Eaten.

What’s it about? Sex educator, filmmaker, and podcast host Tristan Taormino shares her coming-of-age story, revealing how her radical sexuality and unconventional career grew out of an extraordinary queer father-daughter relationship. Tristan’s world began to fall apart when her dad was diagnosed with AIDS. After a series of devastating events, she moved to the messy, glorious world of 1990s New York City. In the midst of grief and depression, she helped change queer sexual subculture with her zine Pucker Up, her infamous The Village Voice column, and her editorship of legendary lesbian porn magazine On Our Backs. After the publication of her first book, The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, Tristan followed her own path that marked the beginning of her work as a trailblazing feminist pornographer.

Releasing in September 2023, you can pre-order through Duke University Press!

Connect with Tristan Taormino

Website: tristantaormino.com
Instagram: @tristantaormino
Twitter: @tristantaormino
Facebook: facebook.com/tristantaormino

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Quatrefoil Library

Quatrefoil has created a curated lending library made up of the books featured on our podcast! If you can’t buy these books, then borrow them! Link: https://libbyapp.com/library/quatrefoil/curated-1404336/page-1

Credits

Host/Founder: J.P. Der Boghossian
Executive Producer: Jim Pounds
Associate Producers: Archie Arnold, Natalie Cruz, Paul Kaefer, Nicole Olila, Joe Perazzo, Bill Shay, and Sean Smith
Patreon Subscribers: Stephen D., Thomas Michna, and Gary Nygaard.

Transcript

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J.P. Der Boghossian:
Welcome to 7 Minutes in Book Heaven. My name is J.P. Der Boghossian. I’m an essayist, Lambda Literary Fellow, and founder of the Queer Armenian Library. And this is the podcast where I interview LGBTQ authors about the new books they have coming out for us to love and to cuddle up with. This is part of our Summer of Book Love series. Every Tuesday, for the rest of the summer we have your next book to read at the beach, or the pool, or in your bedroom next to the air conditioner. New episodes of This Queer Book Saved My Life! return on September 18! But today I’m joined by Tristan Taormino to discuss her new book, A Part of the Heart Can’t Be Eaten, a memoir. Hello, Tristan.

Tristan Taormino:
Hey, thanks for having me.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Absolutely, I’m really looking forward to learning more about you and hearing more about your memoir. So how our podcast works, I have seven questions for Tristan and we’re going to spend seven minutes in this virtual studio talking about a part of the heart can’t be eaten. We’ll also getting to know more about the amazing writer and podcaster who is Tristan Taormino. Tristan, are you ready?

Tristan Taormino:
Mm-hmm.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Okay, the timer is all set, so here we go. Question number one, please describe a part of the heart can’t be eaten as if you’re sharing it with your celebrity crush and telling us who that special person is.

Tristan Taormino:
Okay, I wanna pick a couple if that’s okay.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Oh yeah, go for it.

Tristan Taormino:
My celebrity crush is Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, who I think are so hot and of course I’d want them together for a threesome. What I’d say to them is This book is the real story of me coming of age and growing up with a gay dad, then coming out as queer myself. My father’s story from his unpublished memoir is woven into mine. So you can see two generations of queer people and the challenges we faced and our joys and our failures. It’s got all the things that you really expect from a memoir. betrayal, family, activism, dominance and submission, anal sex, lesbian porn, and a gangbang. Now, you may think you know me, and so I’m assuming here that like Megan and Nick have read my work or listened to my podcast or seen all my films, but I really did go to places that I’ve never gone before. Just PS, there is no woodworking in the book, but it’s worth a read nonetheless.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
I can’t wait for Megan and Nick to listen to this and then give us their feedback because that’s going to be amazing. They’re the best episodes from Parks and Rec. I just absolutely love them as well. So yes. Okay. Question number two, what is a sentence from a novel or an essay or a poem or another book that every time you read it, it gives you all the feels?

Tristan Taormino:
Okay, this book is by Buddhist nun Pema Chodran, titled The Places That Scare You. So you just heard about all my interests and you may not know that also Buddhism is one of my interests, which maybe you don’t think goes with the lesbian porn, but it seems to fit perfectly for me. And the quote is, “Only when we know your own darkness can we be present with the darkness of others.”

J.P. Der Boghossian:
All of her books are just so amazing and… some amazing, amazing thoughts in there. And that one,

Tristan Taormino:
You’re a fan! I’m a huge fan!

J.P. Der Boghossian:
yeah, yeah. And I haven’t heard that one yet, but I’m shook. Uh, that one feels exactly like something that she would write. And I’m going to be sitting with that one for awhile. So thank you for sharing that with us. Okay. Question number three, what do you feel is the best sentence you’ve ever written?

Tristan Taormino:
Can I do two?

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Oh yeah.

Tristan Taormino:
Okay, because I keep doing these things of twos, but it’s sort of, I don’t know why. Okay, the first one is from my coming out story, which was published a billion years ago. And it is, “Every day it is the girls that get called sir that make me catch my breath. The girls with strong jaws that buckle my knees. who make me want to lie down for them.” So that’s about my love of butches, of course. But I also think the opening line of my new memoir is pretty great. And I had it sort of hanging around in my brain for a really long time. It was like one of the first things I wrote and I kept it. So the opening line of my book is, “I was conceived in a moment of queer love and confusion.”

J.P. Der Boghossian:
I like both of those. I see why it would be hard to pick between the two. Those are really two good sentences.

Tristan Taormino:
Thanks.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Okay, question number four. What’s the best romantic scene you’ve ever read?

Tristan Taormino:
I like this question because I think people who know that I write about filthy sex might think I can’t also be romantic. And that’s a false binary, people. I can be a super romantic when I want to be. The scene is from a book called S Slash He by Minnie Bruce Pratt, where she writes about her life with her partner, the late great. Leslie Feinberg.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Hmm.

Tristan Taormino:
Minnie Bruce has this ability to sort of pull out the sensual of their everyday life together and theirs to me seemed like this great love affair. The scene is about the first time they met when Minnie was at a dyke bar actually on a date with someone else. She notices Leslie and Leslie locks eyes with her and there is this burst of electricity. And Mini Bruce writes something like, what was I doing all these years? Oh, I was waiting for you to look at me just once.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Hmm

Tristan Taormino:
I

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Wow.

Tristan Taormino:
just love that electricity piece. I feel like I’ve felt that with people and it’s such an intense feeling.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
It is so romantic and sexy and I am gonna do a plug for This Queer Book Saved My Life. Anybody who loves Leslie Feinberg or for some reason you haven’t read Leslie, we have an episode in season one about Stone Butch Blues. The guest is Suyane Olivera. Definitely check it out and definitely check out Minnie’s book as well. We’re gonna keep trucking along here. Question number five, what are your favorite scents or smells to write about?

Tristan Taormino:
The smell that lingers on your face after it’s been buried in a vulva. It’s musky, briny, smoky, and completely unique to that person.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Imagine that’s a lot! Okay, question number six. What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever got?

Tristan Taormino:
This came pretty early in my career. Lots of people told me that my first book should not be the one that I wrote, which was the ultimate guide to anal sex for women. They basically said, you’re gonna get pigeonholed as the anal sex girl, and you’re never gonna be able to write anything again. And that didn’t happen, but it also did a little bit. Now when the media wants to talk about anal sex, they have to come to me because I’m the anal sex girl.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Interesting, interesting. That is a dichotomy. False binary, as we said earlier.

Tristan Taormino:
Another false binary, yes.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Absolutely. Okay, well our last question, question number seven, promote yourself. How do we order your book? How do we follow you on the social?

Tristan Taormino:
You can order my book at dukeupress.edu, bookshop.org, Amazon, wherever you get books, except possibly in Florida, where I’m just anxiously waiting for my book to be banned. I am at TristanTaramino on Instagram and Twitter. I’m most active on Instagram. I’ve also got a website, tristantaramino.com. Hopefully you can sort of take a stab at spelling my name and it’ll come up in Google.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Thank you for that. And would it be a badge of honor if your book was banned in Florida?

Tristan Taormino:
Well, so the thing I think that’s really interesting is that there are some books that are simply queer, you know, coming of age stories, people questioning their gender, and the right wants to call them pornographic and filthy, and you know, our children should never sort of lay eyes on them. My book, which is queer, is also pornographic and filthy, actually. So I’m assuming that if they read it and they think those other things are bad, their heads are just gonna fucking explode.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Yeah. And maybe we need them to explode and then we’ll have queer friendly progressive politics in Florida. Ha.

Tristan Taormino:
Absolutely. Absolutely.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Okay, we can live and dream, right? All right. Well, that is all the time that we have. Thank you so much, Tristan. This has been really fun.

Tristan Taormino:
Thanks, thanks so much.

J.P. Der Boghossian:
Well, thanks everyone for listening today. This podcast is Executive Produced by Jim Pounds. Our Associate Producers are Archie Arnold, Natalie Cruz, Paul Kaefer, Nicole Ollila, Joe Perazzo, Bill Shea, and Sean Smith.

Visit our Bookshop to buy the books featured on our podcasts as well as to browse new collections specifically curated by me. thisqueerbook.com/bookshop We’re @thisqueerbook on Facebook and Instagram. I’m also @jp_derboghossian on TikTok where I tok about LGBTQ books! Be here next Tuesday for the next in our Summer of Book Love series. Until then, see you queers and allies in the bookstores.

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