Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Introducing Body Memoir Politic: Looking (A Play)

Body Memoir Politic:


A Play in Ten Scenes


Jennifer Semple Siegel

© 2008


One pill makes you larger

And one pill makes you small

And the ones that Mother gives you

Don’t do anything at all.

Go ask Alice

When she’s 10 feet tall.

–Grace Slick, “White Rabbit”

Go to the website.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Jennifur: An Internet Baby

"Creating Baby Names, One Domain at a Time."


Question: What's the difference between a $xx,xxx domain and a $x domain?

Answer: one letter "e" morphed into "u."

Domaining is a crazy business that I still stumble around in, but one thing I have learned: one letter in a domain name can make a huge difference in its monetary value.

It's no secret among my friends: I would love to own, but unless I come into a large windfall and a willing seller, that will never happen. Moreover, the .dot-tv people are holding ransom for $500.00 a year. I would be willing to pay a one-time fee of $500.00, but I can't see paying that much yearly for what is basically a vanity domain.

Thanks to my parents, I'm fortunate in that I have a great first name that I love. Unfortunately, during the early 1970s, millions of parents also named their daughters "Jennifer," resulting in an annoying glut of rugrat Jennifers who eventually grew up and are now in their mid to late 30's and making their mark in the world.

And then there's Jennifer Lopez, Aniston, Garner, Love-Hewitt, etc., so the Jennifer domains, in all Top Level Domains (.com, .net, .org, etc.), are highly prized and priced.

So, as they say, "Get over it."

Back in August, I stumbled upon this article; some domain-savvy parents are selecting names based solely on domain availability. Being somewhat new at the domain game, I thought it was an amazing concept, for when I was growing up, parents wanted to name their children after parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. and/or a name that they liked.

But in an odd sort of way, wanting to give one's unborn child a solid web presence is a form of legacy and an act of love--we all want the best for our children, and the gift of a personalized domain is especially important these days and will probably be extremely important in the next 20-30 years and beyond.

Basically, if you don't have a web presence, you don't exist.

One hundred years from now, domain names may be passed down from one generation to the next, so might be willed from father to son or grandfather to grandson. More young women with personalized domains might decide to hang onto their birth names after they marry, and, perhaps, even pass their birth names (and domains) to their daughters and granddaughters.

It's definitely a brave new world.

So what's all this got to do with with this blog? Not a whole lot, except this: For the past few weeks, I have been kicking around the idea of writing an internet story or novella about a child who has been named "Jennifur" because this first-name dot-com domain was available.

I have already written Chapter 1; if you wish, you can see for yourself at

So now you know the full answer to the question posed at the beginning of this post: = $xx,xxx = $x

But perhaps my minor creative endeavors will help to build some traffic for

In any case, it will be a fun and interesting experiment in domain-building and writing rough-draft creative work directly on the web.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Horny Women at the Sewing Factory (Poem by Jennifer Semple Siegel)

One hundred years ago, some medical authorities warned that professional seamstresses were apt to become sexually aroused by the steady rhythm, hour after hour, of the sewing machine’s foot pedals.
–circa 1910-1920




The treadle gets them off

every time.

Treadle, treadle, treadle.

Those horny women


how rhythm never fails


Six kids,

one on the way.


Treadle, treadle, treadle...

Ecstasy: groaning

twelve hours a day.

Treadle, treadle, treadle...

One buck

for six days

of delight–

horny women stretching

like acrobats

to end of the month.

Treadle, treadle, treadle.

They come,

they’ll go

home to the stud

sunk into the sofa.

Arousal all day!

Pumping does it every time.

Horny women,

hot bodies–


–bobbing up and down,

pop-up dolls.

A chorus of

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!


six to six,


Orgasms all day,

every day.


horny nymphs never

need needling

for hemming,

hawing, hemming, hawing,








All sewn up





Hoary women

Copyright 2008 Jennifer Semple Siegel

Fourteen Women in Search of a Poet

(One hundred years ago, some medical authorities warned that professional seamstresses were apt to become sexually aroused by the steady rhythm, hour after hour, of the sewing machine’s foot pedals.*)


The above photograph, circa 1910-1920: fourteen horny women pose at their stations at a grubby sewing factory.


I once worked in a sewing factory--though I don’t recall becoming “sexually aroused.” I do remember being fired after one week of sewing misaligned baby sleepers, but arousal?

I don’t think so.

Winter 2004--still at work on my memoir. I set the photo aside and continue writing and then...


Must be the wind. Ignore it.

“Jennifer, listen to us!” A chorus of women.

Now I’m hearing voices?

“Who are you?”

“We’re the horny women from the sewing factory.”

Nice touch of irony.

“Go away. I’m busy.”

“We need a poet.” I feel a ghostly tap on my shoulder. “You!”

“Find someone else. I’m not a poet.”

Perhaps an occasional poet, one or two poems a year--I’d starve if I had to depend on my poetic abilities for a living.

“You must give us a voice.”

Most writers would feel honored to be chosen by fourteen ghosts for such important work, but I don’t need it right now: my memoir burns hot across the page--I mustn’t lose momentum.

“We need you.”

“Why me?”

“Because you know.”

No fair. It’s fourteen against one.

For the next two months, I swat my tormentors away, but they, buzzing, droning bees, always return, hovering and demanding that I act as their spokeswoman.

These misinterpreted women have argued well; not only were they accused of being horny on the job, but also had to endure having bromide dropped into their drinking water--to reign in that run-amok sexuality.

But that’s all in the past, right? Women have it so much better now...


January 2005: a ten-hour transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Philadelphia. I’m a temporary captive of U.S. Airways and a tight airline seat. No laptop, my memoir inaccessible kilobytes on a CD.

The women return. “Aha!” they smirk. “Gotcha!”

No escape. I dig out scrap paper and pen; somewhere over the Atlantic, I write a first, second, and third draft, opting for free verse, wordplay, humor, and satire. Once I've created several drafts, I’m hooked.

I must revise.

Three years later, fourteen unknown women, long dead, have finally found their collective voice. “Horny Women at the Sewing Factory” will find a home on this blog.

Next post. Promise.

As writers, how often have we lamented the insidious blank screen, the dreaded writer’s block? Inspiration is a gift, even when it drops in at inconvenient times, and shouldn’t be denied. Listening to my persistent muses has paid off: a rejuvenated writing life.

My momentum hasn’t suffered at all.

Next post: the poem.


*From: Cherokee Mental Health: 100 Years of Serving Iowan’s [sic]

My Agent Search is On!

The other day, after conducting some careful research (primarily to rule out the scammers, who run wild in this industry), I sent out some email queries to agents.
The research aspect is very important because a memoirist should not bother an agent who specializes in Science Fiction. Contrary to popular belief, email should NOT equal carelessness. I made sure to personalize my queries to each agent--thus, no mass, scattershot messages.
Later today, I will send out snail mail queries to agents who would prefer not to receive email queries. I don't want to say "older" agents because that would be stereotyping; I'm older, and I'm totally comfortable around email, blogging, and the internet in general. I even do a little html.
I see many arguments pro and con for accepting email queries--I have one email address that receives so much spam that I spend most of my time deleting lottery winnings notifications from El Gordo and frantic messages from Nigeria and Romania offering lucrative financial deals, which, should I accept, are guaranteed to wipe out my bank account. I can only imagine the crank emails agents must receive from disgruntled (and unstable) writers.
If available, I checked agents' websites; some are elaborate webpages with detailed instructions to prospective writers, accompanied by lists of client books; others are minimalist portal pages with the most basic of contact information.
Two of the agents I queried actually require email queries, but they specify precisely what to place in the subject line; I ask the same from my students, albeit with mixed success.
If I were an agent, I would probably be in this camp. Who needs all that paper around? It's easier to reply to an email than a letter.
I suppose that if an author did not follow the agent's email instructions, he/she would be zapped from the queue without a thought. It's a buyer's market, after all, and there isn't a shortage of writers wanting to be represented.
My experience so far has been surprisingly pleasant:
--Agent #1 sent me an immediate rejection reply but was exceedingly prompt and pleasant. My book wasn't right for her--just that simple. I appreciate her honesty; besides, I don't want someone who is lukewarm about my memoir to represent it. I responded with a polite and short Thank You. Even in 2008, courtesy has not gone out of style, and she did take the time to read my letter.
--Agent #2 agreed to read a sample of the book; I have learned not to read too much into that, but it's a nice start.
I haven't heard from the others yet, but of course I don't expect immediate answers. I may not receive any answers--such is the ephemeral nature of cyberspace.
What a far cry from last year when I sent a snail mail query (with SASE) to an up and coming agent at a major agency and received no response at all. It may be a buyer's market, but, still, what does it take to pop a form letter into the SASE with a polite "No Thanks"? That agent's name will always remain with me, albeit in a very negative way. If she/he does this to enough writers, he/she will earn an underground reputation as a baddie (No, I'm not going to name names).
In any case, I'll probably avoid that agency altogether.
Anyway, searching for an agent is just one aspect of my life right now; I'm currently at work on a novel, tentatively called ...And God Won; my protagonist is a 60-something woman whose husband has Alzheimer's. I also teach and am working on an internet startup.
If anyone is curious, Jane Godwin, the character, has her own webpage. I have some rough notes so far, but plan to get serious about diving into this project this summer.