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Memory is A running theme 

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Katy Somerville is Dia's collaborator for memoir work. Somerville is also co-editor & Art Director for Cream Scene Carnival Magazine. 

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Stack of Books

Prose is Poetry - always 

Dia VanGunten focuses on intimate, character-centered storytelling. Sometimes that character is herself.

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Notebook

Memoir & Poetry

Cartoon Archetypes 

In The Mood Magazine

I was shook when my grandfather told me that I was just a temporary VanGunten, doomed to lose the name, as one misplaces a toy. Around this time, I became obsessed with Smurfette. The other Smurfs have names-attributes: Brainy, Brawny, or Jokey. What is the special thing about Smurfette? Her gender. She’s the only female Smurf. The very nature of “the feminine” is isolation. I learned this over and over, from Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Lady Havisham, and Tinkerbell, who had a little cage where she’d go to pout when Peter ignored her.

Twin Binge 

In The Mood / TV mag

I’m an evil twin—greedy, jealous, stark-raving mad, and cold-blooded homicidal. I mean, maybe. Vanishing Twin Syndrome is not uncommon. In 20% of multiple pregnancies, twins can’t agree on the allocation of resources.

Keeper of The Magic 8 Ball

Anthology

The world has gotta wise up and get weirder. We need surrealism and psychedelics, dada and magical realism. If we harness humanity’s weirdness, we can stretch the strictures of reality and overturn the status quo. This is my hope, as the Editor-in-Chief for an online magazine that focuses on outsider art.

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Aftershaft

Cream Scene Carnival

The sun pours over his shoulders and his red-gold brows fill with sparkles. I'm so small still, I can barely count forward, but I get that he’s taking me into a land of light and numbers. He stitches an eye into the middle of my head. He sews feathers into my back.

Maraschino Catshow  

Outlander

A pastel record played on a Fisher-Price turntable. Puff the Magic Dragon. The basement smelled of damp concrete and old carpet, but I wasn’t down there long. He called from the living room: “Front and center!” It was Dad’s shorthand for “No yellin’ questions from the basement!” I trudged up the stairs and through three rooms. The TV was just a few feet from his outstretched legs. "Change the channel, will ya?" I turned the dial until he settled on a caper. Goldie Hawn & Chevy Chase. He pointed to the porch, and I retrieved the paper. 

 

“Dad, you need a robot dog like George Jetson. Maybe like a few robots.”

 

“Nah, I have you kids.”

Run Amok Press

Not far from Lake Erie, like a suburb of Detroit, there’s Toledo; a city so alluring that Jamie Farr was willing to crossdress if it meant the military might ship him home. Or so he claimed. Toledo was just an excuse for Klinger to indulge a love of silky nighties. 

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Tunnel

Bewebbed 

Outlander - Incognito 

Without the Web, you wouldn’t know I want a real doll, but one that’s pastel, like an alien, and also, obviously, a strap-on, so I can show my extraterrestrial guest a good time.

Cookie Mueller, Enclosed By Squares

Cream Scene Carnival

Enclosed by Squares.

And rectangles,
Wooden coffins lowered into the dirt, 
Father, brother
Hard heads, block heads.

Broken Wing

Coming Anthology 

On top of Gram’s piano, there was a lace doily. A ceramic bird sat atop three eggs. I stole her from the gold nest and returned her later....with a broken wing. A teacher asked after my limp and I couldn’t say that I was always in pain. I didn’t think that was an option.  I hadn’t learned words like acute or chronic. Only actual owies will justify complaints. Also what is a limp? I blamed blackberry brambles; stuck in a bush, I had to eek my way out. (It had happened to me once so I knew it was a real ordeal.)

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Roses Welder

Floral energy

Dipity Literary 

I leap from bed to seize the dress! All winter it hung on the wall, a work of art: black chiffon exploding with resplendent roses; red & pinks. The perfect floral pattern: riotous rose garden, gone to seed, or the brothel’s flocked wallpaper in an old western. Matte lipstick matches the filmy silk scarf, blood red and long enough to die like Isadora Duncan.

Weirdos  

Dipity Literary

On our first date, he offers a beribboned bouquet. 

 

Proteas. 

 

I nuzzle their fuzzy guts.


Points for thoughtfulness, cleverness, awareness.

Spring Anthology 

Nickie plants seeds. It's kind of her thing. 

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After the Party

Grocery Lists Are Art

Outlander

I want the mango mochi that I eat when I visit Nickie. They taste like sunshine, chewy cold discs of orange Hawaii. Did I tell you that the mangos hang from trees at the side of the highway? One day, Nickie did a crazy U-turn because she spotted Pickled-Mango Guy. Did I tell you about the mango mascarpone pizza? Did I tell you that while I was there last, I was terribly not okay because I knew I was coming home to chaos?

Secret To A Long Fabulist Marriage

Deadbeat Poets

Print

In the teeth of memory, he whispers., "What are you wearing?" After midnight, with a half-finished chapter, I’m wearing a laptop. More writer than woman, my answer is only half sexy: beaver-eyed below the waist, three pistachio shells in my sports bra.

Like Margaret Mead, I'm fat with memory. 

Towards A Unified Science of Consciousness Conference

Gender & Embodiment Conference 

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Burning Rose

Floral energy

A Thousand Flowers - A Collection of Poetry

 

Print 

I do an awkward jig, crack a joke: “Fancy meeting you here. It’s been forever.”

 

With urgency, as though I’m wrong, Iris rushes: 


“Just last night you wore your dress, the whole ensemble, billowing scarf and cat eye glasses. You knelt to plant roses and they exploded, growing wild in hyperspeed, bright pink and taking over. Technicolor cartoon roses, undulating multidimensional fractals growing across time and space. Into the future.”

Weirdos  

A Thousand Flowers - A Collection of Poetry

 

Print

“I told her you’re a full on weirdo so 

the florist offered me the muppets.”

 

I kiss the flower, open wide

Dipity Literary

I send her flowers with perfect v's. She blows me a kiss - it departs from her round yellow face. 

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Blinds

Dreams Do Come True 

Dreams In Hiding Anthology 

Print

Over breakfast, I wouldn't shut up about my marvelous, MAGICAL dream where a semi truck delivered loads of cosmetics and other pharmacy sundries. Right to my door! Beep beep beep. The truck backed up! My parents laughed because that did not qualify as magical. "You got what? A giant box of deodorant?" Potent symbolism bubbled up from my adolescent subconscious. Puberty was about to pop. A big red zit. Every Saturday morning, I walked to Westhaven Drugs to spend my allowance. I can still recall the smell: trapper keeper candy bar nail polish jelly bracelets. I walked home with purpose  - with purchase! I always bought a glossy magazine. So no wonder I won YM magazine’s Dream Prom Essay Contest.

Lazy Like Buttrer

The San Diego 

 

She wore a floral dress, a yellow dress, a dress that was lazy like butter so there. 

Fox Theater 

Blue Bob - Anthology of Grit lit Incited By Bob Dylan 

Print

Book by Cowboy Jamboree Press

In my mind, a zaftig moon is a shining spoon and we’re in a permissive mood, but poetry tinkers with memory. Okay, a crescent, a thin sliver of light in a Detroit alleyway. A parked bus hummed and steamed. In the plume of 7 foxtails, we were hoping to get lucky.The kitsunian name of the place - theater of the mythic trickster - is crucial.  We peered at a doorway: rectangle outlined in red. Two roadies took a cigarette break. A lighter flamed. We pressed our bodies to the chain link fence. Psst. Can you let us in? We’re old friends. They raised dubious eyebrows and double checked before they met us at the gate.

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Amplifier and Guitar

Contact

Kinda Weird Mag

Print / London

Over breakfast, I wouldn't shut up about my marvelous, MAGICAL dream where a semi truck delivered loads of cosmetics and other pharmacy sundries. Right to my door! Beep beep beep. The truck backed up! My parents laughed because that did not qualify as magical. "You got what? A giant box of deodorant?" Potent symbolism bubbled up from my adolescent subconscious. Puberty was about to pop. A big red zit. Every Saturday morning, I walked to Westhaven Drugs to spend my allowance. I can still recall the smell: trapper keeper candy bar nail polish jelly bracelets. I walked home with purpose  - with purchase! I always bought a glossy magazine. So no wonder I won YM magazine’s Dream Prom Essay Contest.

Geraldine 

Cream Scene Carnival

 

Song 

Geraldine, they all love you,

Ya give em something to talk about, 

But you don't mind, oh no, 

You're too busy being Geraldine. 

Cream Scene Carnival

Song

I ran away with a silly cartoon, and it was a blast, but we only got about a mile and a half. Steam rollers laid him flat and we had to inflate him again.

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Piles of Books

Trickster In Twelve Churches 

Outlander

A tiny box....Canjilon, New Mexico. In my memory, it's mixed up with the post office, another tiny box. I have decorated it with a steeple and stained glass; a toy or a Christmas decoration that lights up from the inside. “Town” was one curving mountain road with a teeny post office and a tiny church.  I pointed from a moving car. What’s thaaaat? My parents said the church was called “crutch” and it wasn’t for us. Like Taco Bell, both with bells; one was gonna be greasy and not real Mexican food, the other was gonna teach me about hell. Dad had already detailed the whole Santa scam, yet he hoped to hide the devil. He didn’t know I’d been to vist the round log cabin where Paula made hot chocolate and read to me from the bible. When I tell Mom about the licking flames, she cries. If they were gonna feed me shit, Taco Bell would be better.

Penis Envy

Cream Scene Carnival

I dreamed I was bowling with Hedy Lamarr, and we looked real cute dressed up like teddies, dyked out in dungarees and tied with neckerchiefs, but we were skeeved by the shoes. We were about to bail when we spotted Gram Parsons in his Pill Popper nudie suit. He was illuminated by the cigarette machine, glowing green, so we knew he was back from the dead. I could’ve inquired about my Dad, but I wanted to look cool in front of Hedy, so I name-dropped Lester Bangs. The pills on Parson’s suit were wiggling like bugs, and the bastard kept eating them. Okay, I admit it; I was checking out his package. Parsons looked at me dead center, and diagnosed me as a Freudian. In front of Hedy!

He said, “You’re no teddy, you’re a dandy.”

En Caul

Solstice Lit

Print

Self is essentially unstable. There is no fixed point of being. Time isn’t linear and “personality” is a process. Identity is a turning wheel, a tilting windmill. It’s dutch tulips and portuguese fishes. As far as I know. The Greeks think I’m Greek. I tell them I’m from the Azores and they clap their hands. That settles that. The semen of seamen! I don't spit into a tube because I want that clap to be true -- a lie in the sunshine. Coming off the train in Piraeus, we smelled strawberries. It’s been years since a strawberry smelled like itself. We buy them and shiver. The sun is setting and a winter wind is whipping off the water.

 

Greece is cold in December. 

 

Life is bundled memories. Brain is the turtle that holds up the whole world. How many selves have I been already, just in this one single life? My story is 1000 stories.

 

These stories can be told thousands of ways.

 

Heroes and villains are trading cards, easily swapped.

Find more of Dia in 
Pink Zombie Rose.

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