Judy Hogan

“I Manage Quite a Bit of Mischief.”

Interviewed by Virginia Ewing Hudson, March 2019

VH:  What was your life like before you got involved in the women’s movement? 

JH:  Unlike many women whom I got to know later, I had never felt like being a woman was going to stop me or hinder me in any way. From age 7, I became socially aware. My mother, however, who influenced me a lot in my childhood, had been in the university in the thirties and was part of that earlier women’s movement. For instance, they had many organizations in her college that fostered women.

At seven I was in bed with rheumatic fever and I learned to write little stories. I was schooled at home that year, and my mother was the secretary of the YWCA on the University of Oklahoma campus. Norman, OK,  where the university was, was a “sundown” town, and Negroes, as they were called then, could not stay in town after dark. There was no place for them to get a drink of water or go to the bathroom. 

She brought two Negro women home  at lunchtime from the University of Oklahoma, who were attending a YWCA meeting. They were from the black college, Langston. When they left to go back to the meeting, I asked her why she had brought them home.  She said because they could only go to the bathroom at our home, and I was very shocked.  I said, “That’s bad, that’s terrible.” My mother said, “Well, you could write to the mayor.” I did and we sent the letter. I don’t think he paid much attention.

As time went on, I became even more interested in what happened to black people. We lived in Jacksonville, Florida, for a while and my father, a Congregational minister, was part of the Urban League. Ministers would come to our house to  talk secretly about how to help the black people toward justice. We didn’t really have black people living near us in Jacksonville or Norman. When I went to college at the University of Oklahoma and started my freshman year in 1955, we had the first black student there, and I got acquainted with her. I also belonged to the YMCA/YWCA, on campus, and we worked on race relations. 

VH:  What is the YWCA, what does that stand for?

JH:  Young Women’s Christian Association. and YMCA was Young Men’s Christian Association. Actually, my grandfather had gone to China with the Young Men’s Christian Association, and mother was always active in the YWCA. I went to several regional conferences with the Y, and then I went to the national conference at Miami University in Ohio. I was an officer. Some of us stayed over, and I fell in love with a young black man from Petersburg, Virginia, who went to Virginia State University.

VH:  What year was this around?

JH:   By then it was 1957.  It was after the Supreme Court desegregation decision in 1954, but the whole South was in turmoil. People were trying to stop the integration of schools and lunch counters and so forth. In 1960 they had the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro. Even in the late 50s there was a lot going on. Eventually after a long silence, John Crawley wrote that he would give me up because it was too difficult to live in the South as an interracial couple. By then, I’d fallen in love with somebody else.

I had a good academic career at the University of Oklahoma, graduating Cum Laude in 1959, and then I left for New York City. I wanted to be a writer. I went to Indiana University that fall with a Woodrow Wilson fellowship, and not too many women had those then. Love was more on my mind than classics and literature at that point. I didn’t finish my classes in the spring of that year, 1960. One professor told me that a steamroller was going to roll over me. That was the first time I had that said to me.

Later when I was fighting corruption with commissioners in my county, somebody else told me the steamroller was going to get me. So far I haven’t been steamrolled. After leaving Indiana University, I lived in NYC, and got married to a musician. After I left him, in 1964, I went to Berkeley to major in Classics. I got a job typing  for a professor, and I had a little girl by then. I was divorced from my first husband.

There was a lot of unrest around the voting situation for blacks in the south. A lot of Berkeley students had been there over the summer. They had a protest and they wanted the students not to go to class. They had been sitting on the steps of the administration building and they were carried out and put in jail. But I wanted to go to class. And I did. My friends were much more worried about all these things, but I was trying to get a PhD. At Berkeley I did slowly get radicalized, because I saw tear gas squads forming to go back and tear gas all the kids in downtown Berkeley around the campus.

From Berkeley, by that time I had a new husband, and we went to Evanston, Illinois. There was unrest on these campuses back then in the late 60’s. Northwestern had it and we lived across the street. I remember I took coffee down to the kids who were protesting. And I ended up in North Carolina. And after a short time, I got divorced again. And lived in subsidized housing for poor people in a largely black complex in Chapel Hill. It was integrated. We were only one of two white families. I learned a lot more then about what black people go through on their home base. A lot of them were not happy to see me when they came home from work. Some of their kids were very hard on my son Tim.

By then I was doing a poetry magazine. Hyperion, with Paul Foreman, a friend who was in Berkeley. We were publishing anti-war poetry. Along about 1973 we went to the national convention of small presses and small magazines in New Orleans. The whole family went.  I now had three kids and a husband. We camped across the Bayou from New Orleans on a campground that had mosquitos so bad that when we got home we had to dive into our tent and stay there, or we’d have been eaten alive.

But that’s when I met my first feminists. They were starting to be active in the country in the early 70’s and late 60’s. I didn’t feel that I was part of that. I had never felt the need of a special organization to fight for my rights. I learned when I went to the conference that the feminists had already been pushing at the conference for babysitting for mothers, and to hold a separate meeting for all the women. And they were extremely supportive of me with my baby. My youngest was a year old at the time.

VH:  You were a natural feminist, but 1973 was your introduction to feminism as organized women.

JH:   The feminists at the conference were mostly publishing. There was KNOW, Inc in Pittsburgh and Anne Pride led them. She was a leading feminist and also the leading feminist publisher. There was also a librarian from Brooklyn and some other people who were pushing the feminist agenda in this national small press association. (Committee of Small Magazine Editors and Publishers) And these women were very supportive of me. They held my baby during a poetry reading. They were so supportive. I made good friends with them, particularly with Anne Pride.

When we all got back home Anne Pride published reviews of my books in her magazine. They used humor. One of their books was called I’m Running Away From Home, But I’m Afraid To Cross The Street. I became good friends with other feminists out there around the country. In 1974 we had another COSMEP meeting on the West Coast, and I had run for office. We had seven people on our board, and the one who got the most votes from all the small presses would be the chair, and I came in third. 

We were trying to get more organized – the small presses – and get more distribution, but some of the guys just wanted to share stories. They weren’t interested in getting organized. The guy who came in first was John Bennett. He walked out before the meeting was over, and the next guy, who came in second, Hugh Fox, said he was going to Europe that year. So, that left me. I met with the two other women, Anne Pride  and Mary MacArthur. They were on the board, too.

We three women met to see what we could do on the board about distribution. The men, at least some of the men, had gotten quite shaken. Because we had a separate meeting, they called us the feminist conspiracy. They had to get the votes of some other people on the board, so I was only acting chair at first, but I ended up being the chairperson. It was not easy, because there was one guy who wrote me such hostile letters that I used to let them sit and steam before I opened them. Al Winans was his name. And at one point in one letter he said that I was powerful like Hitler and “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

VH:  He thought you were too powerful.

JH:  I didn’t like to be called Hitler, but I ignored him as much as I could.  When he came to meetings, he took tranquilizers, but when he got home, he let it go. We had a mid-winter meeting in Durham and the seven board members and our staff person came. It went fine. I guess he was on tranquilizers. In the meantime, we did get a National Endowment grant to buy a vehicle to do distribution, so we bought an old library van. It came from Minnesota and was absolutely worn out. We got a driver and we sent him to truck driving school. We got him to drive it, and the first thing that happened was that the engine went out.

I used to go to the post office to get mechanic consultation. I remember once asking the postmaster – if you are driving along, and there’s black smoke coming out, what does that mean? He said it means you burned up the engine.

VH:  This bus was specifically for delivering small press publications?

JH:  Yes, all over the country was our hope.

VH:  And the small presses were publishing under-heard voices? 

JH:  These books were already in print. Most were published books that the large publishers wouldn’t touch. These small presses were sending us the books to carry on the van. And we got the COSMEP Book Van painted a beautiful Carolina blue. It was all ready to go, and the Carrboro postmaster helped me understand it was not my fault or the driver’s fault if the engine burned up. It was the truck company’s fault.

I had to go to the truck company and argue, and they weren’t used to having a 35-year-old woman argue with them. The brakes went, everything went. When we finally got it running and another driver – the first one got tired and quit – he got it to Charleston for the Spoleto Festival, and that was it. Our attempt at distribution didn’t work very well. 

VH:  Did that lead up to the Carolina Wren Press?

JH:  Yes, I was working on the magazine Hyperion with my friend Paul Foreman. The Hyperion Poetry Journal.

VH:  As I recall, there were feminist poets being published.

JH:  We published a lot of women and what Paul and I decided was, that if there was a poem he really liked by a man and I didn’t get, he’d have the right to publish it. And if I had a poem by women that I got, and he didn’t, then I could publish it. He was starting to publish books with an offset press which I helped buy.

By about 1976 he suggested I start my own press, because I was in a different part of the country, and I don’t think he always agreed with what I sent him to publish. But several writers here got published by him. I started publishing as Carolina Wren Press in 1976. One of my first published books was by Jaki Shelton Green, a black poet in Orange County whom I had met back in 1973. And now she’s the North Carolina State Poet Laureate, which goes for five years.

VH:  And you were her first publisher.

JH:   She brought me her poems in a paper bag. I don’t remember the paper bag, but I remember that the poems were very strong. Very good. Very powerful and very shocking. The one that especially struck me begins The moon is a rapist peeing in my window… It wasn’t hard to get a whole book of Jaki’s poetry, which she called Dead on Arrival. Because she was afraid that when she finally got published, nobody would be interested, but it turned out to be different. She is now in the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, and she won the North Carolina Award for Literature, and now she is the Poet Laureate and I’m very proud of her. 

VH:  When you were starting this press and you published Jaki, you were also publishing a lot of writers and under-heard voices.

JH:  Yes, and at the time – I came to North Carolina in ’71 – there was a clique of people who were in the know about poetry. They got praise, got reviewed. I started reviewing some of those books for the Durham newspaper. They took me in because I was a reviewer. But I didn’t know anything about poetry in the schools. And Jaki’s husband at that time said we should go to Raleigh because there was a meeting about poetry in the schools. They had not invited us. He was a poet, too.

We went in this room in the Department of Public Instruction and there were about 10 poets, most of whom I had already published in Hyperion. And they gave me such hateful looks. I was quite shaken. I had never gotten that much direct hostility from a group of people. But I did get an offer to teach poetry in the schools not too long after that. The lady advised me not to read them “any of your prison poets.” Because I was corresponding with prisoners. It was something that small magazines were doing.

But I did it anyway. And one of them was T.J. Reddy, who had been imprisoned for something he did not do in the 70’s. And I wrote a review of his book in 1974. It was published in the Durham paper saying that he was a saint. He was in prison for something he didn’t do, but he was trying to be a good model for the other prisoners by doing yoga and meditation and art as well as he could.

As a result, because of that review, my husband and I and three kids got thrown out of our rented house in Orange County because the farmer and others were probably Klu Klux Klan. They were pretty hostile to any mixing with blacks. And we’d been friendly with their hands who were black. And this was the last straw, saying that a black man was a saint.

I became pretty well known through the state, especially in the central part of the state, the Triangle region as we call it, for being a woman editor, a sole proprietor. I did get non-profit status for the publishing company and set up a board of directors. We ended Hyperion in about 1980 but the next to last one I edited was the women’s issue.

In the 70’s I had been setting up women’s readings in a counterculture restaurant in Durham called Somethyme. We had quite a few of those readings. New women writers were coming out of the woodwork. I collected their poems. I was at a writer’s conference in Washington state in ’76 and I got women there to send me poems. But it took me until ’79 to get that issue out. I called it Black Sun, New Moon.

I did thirty-three books under Carolina Wren Press. Many of them women writers. I was publishing people who were not part of this original clique – such as a playwright and a Greek immigrant woman and various poets. I published about five or six books by black authors, but I think I published more than that by women authors. Then in ’86, there was a women’s collective in Chapel Hill called Lollypop Power, which was dedicated to publishing children’s books that were multiracial and non-sexist.

They wanted to quit. They were a nonprofit and so they had to give their assets to another non-profit, and they chose me. They didn’t have much money, but they had books. We published one new title called The Boy Toy after we took it over. I found a writer to help me who could also earn a little money but there wasn’t much money to earn. I was then also offered to be an affiliate of The Durham Arts Council, and I got an office space in their new building. They wanted me because I was a publisher of black writers. I got grants from the North Carolina Arts Council, partly because I was publishing black writers.

In the early 80’s, starting about ’83, we had a new governor who had promised one of his financial supporters to give more money for literature. Literature was given two hundred thousand instead of a small amount. And they did set up small press grants. Plus, we decided to start a statewide network. We called it the North Carolina Writers Network and we were able to get a grant from the National Endowment because one of the people who was part of my feminist conspiracy, Mary MacArthur, was the acting head of the Literature Program.

I went up there with Georgann Eubanks, who was part of the new organization and Mary was fine with our getting a grant. If the National Endowment gave us so much for the salary and the state gave so much for the salary, then we could start employing somebody and then gradually take over the cost of a salary. 

That actually got off the ground in 1984. I was the chair of the steering committee and then I was chair of the organization and I was very clever. I worked to get all those little cliques from all over the state to be on the board and we went for diversity. And I feel good about that. I left Carolina Wren Press to others in ’91, and it’s still going, still publishing women and minority people. 

VH:  Was that when you did the Tell Me A Story That’s True conference?

JH:  Yes. In ’91 I got the interest of Duke University in collecting my papers and Carolina Wren papers because I was this lone publisher and I raised hell quite a bit, too. I was always thinking about women’s issues, but I was always thinking about justice, too. I tried to get a grant to publish two books, both by women. One was a nonfiction book of letters, and one was a book of poetry. And the North Carolina Arts Council said they couldn’t do nonfiction even though the National Literature program was doing creative nonfiction.

Since we couldn’t get a grant, we decided to hold a conference to get a grant and use that money to publish. We did get a grant from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation because Mrs. Semans was always very good to me in those days. The conference was free. It was held at a black university in Durham, North Carolina Central. And they provided a bag lunch for five dollars and we drew six hundred women from all over the state. I told them that their writing was important.

Then I had read Writing a Woman’s Life by Carolyn Heilbrun, and she talks about how many women’s stories are not in books, how they accomplish things, how they had different lives. Carolyn Heilbrun actually came and met with our board – the board that was going to have this conference. She wasn’t a bit interested in me. She was only interested in the ones that were trying to believe in themselves. I already did, so I was dull.  

It was amazing. We got the women’s studies people from Duke, UNC, from the black colleges. We did oral narratives and diary, journals and we called the conference Tell Me A Story That’s True. We made a T-shirt with Muriel Rukeyser’s words, which has been a motto for me, too. If one woman ever told the whole story of her life, the world would split open.

It hasn’t yet. I’m still working on it.

VH:  I don’t know if you would like to talk about Russia now.

JH:  When I left Carolina Wren in ’91, other people decided they would help take it over. And in the spring of 1990 I had a letter from a Russian writer who was the head of his organization, and through the Durham Sister Cities connection to Kostroma, Russia, Mikhail Bazankov invited me to come to Russia and do a writer exchange. I actually went for the first time in 1990, and we found we had a lot in common. Under Gorbachev, things had loosened some, so he was beginning to publish locally, trying to get his writers into little newspapers around the area. And he was very interested in my publishing.

He was very charming, and I fell in love with him, which was not in the plan since he had a wife. The wife managed it very well. I don’t think, in the beginning, he told her the whole story. I said to her, when I was leaving, “You must be ready to get your husband back.” She said, “It’s been very enlightening.” She thought it was great. And then we wrote to each other and then he came to visit me alone. I finally got enough money to get him over here, but he couldn’t bring anybody else, because about 1991 or 1992, not only had Russia been through an attempt to have a coup takeover which they stopped, but their economy was blasted.

He knew no English. His only English was, “Can you help me?” Delta Airlines got him to Raleigh-Durham. He was a fan of Faulkner, so I took him to Oxford, Mississippi, to see the Faulkner Museum and talk to someone who knew Faulkner. We worked together really well as a team. But one of the interesting things about knowing him and other men in Russia that I got to know, was that women at that time – Russian women – were quite overworked.

They did all the home work, all the cooking and shopping, which often meant standing in line, and they also often went out to work whether they were teaching or working in offices or cleaning streets. And feminism had been strong at the beginning of the revolution back in 1917. But it was pretty weak in 1990.

Later, when I went to Russia, I stayed in people’s homes. I learned more about their relationships as far as sharing the home work. One of the men I got to know was a university teacher and he did things for his wife like wash dishes or shop, but Mikhail did not do anything at home. And Mikhail at times had a little trouble with me as I was kind of strong-minded. When I was in Russia I had to obey him. When he was over here he had to obey me. 

I remember we were at one dinner here. I planned a lot of dinner meetings to save money, but I never told him why. He said too many meetings, too many meetings and so we were not even completely finished with dinner, and he wanted to leave. I said, ”No, we can’t leave yet.”

VH:  You had to manage him.

JH:  I had to manage him, but he let me.

VH:  The Sister Cities exchanges, that was very fruitful. You produced several books.

JH:  In fact, today I finally got the first copies of my first book about my Russian experiences called Baba Summer Part One about that first journey of mine. It has a lot of the letters that I wrote then to both men and women. I made good friends with several women and then it’s about his first visit to North Carolina. We also published an anthology of North Carolina poetry called Earth and Soul in English and Russian in 2001.

VH:  And then after that you moved to Moncure at some point, still with that all going on. I think we’re up to the point of how your involvement in being an activist and being involved in the women’s movement has affected you.

JH:  Finally, by 1998 I had saved enough money to buy a house. I spent 1998 looking for land and looking for a pretty inexpensive way of having my own home. I finally found a lot in Moncure, which is about 25 miles south of Chapel Hill and also that distance from Raleigh. I taught in Durham and I have a lot of friends in Chapel Hill. Unfortunately, there was a low level nuclear dump planned for near Moncure, but I decided I would buy the place, because it was thirty-five thousand, which I could afford. And I would work against the nuclear dump.

I hadn’t been an environmentalist, but I’ve been pretty much involved in literary and art politics and Sister Cities, a peace organization, but not fighting about pollution. We did stop it. They had already been fighting 10 years. When I got here, I wrote letters. I tried to help. And then several attempts were made to put landfills here and somebody else led that, but I worked for that, too. Not nuclear landfills, just landfills. But they would have been bringing trash from all over the South. The nuclear landfill would have brought nuclear waste from all over.

Then we were getting nuclear rods shipped through Moncure. I worked to get that stopped and they did stop. At least they said they would stop. The local power company has changed several times. It was Carolina Power & Light when I moved here; then it became Progress Energy. And now it’s Duke Energy.

VH:  Perhaps it’s important to say a little bit about the demographics of Moncure.

JH:  When I moved here it was about 40 percent black and it went back to the time of land grants, because it’s the beginning of the Cape Fear River Basin here. It flows down to the coast and Wilmington. And most of the folks here were working class and not rich. A few more rich people have moved in in recent years – people who can buy a five-acre lot on the river – and Jordan Dam is about two miles away from me.

Most of the people in Moncure, especially those in the black churches, had been working against that low-level dump and NC WARN, another environmental organization, too, but there were white people in Moncure who didn’t want to work with me in the beginning. I moved into a black neighborhood, and I was accepted almost immediately, but the whites took longer. They eventually accepted me. I was working for everyone’s benefit. Finally, it began to dawn. And then we had the air pollution situation. We had a particle board plant that was putting more formaldehyde out of its stacks than any other such plant in the country.

VH:  Before the EPA had any controls?

JH:  The EPA and the state weren’t doing anything, but eventually they had to because they were polluting so badly, and we had the county commissioners pressing the state to act. They had to put in new equipment and the company that owned it sold it, and then the new people put in new equipment and then local people stopped getting asthma and bronchitis.

Then came local elections where I worked to get new people in 2004. I continued to work into 2006, until we got really new Commissioners that weren’t letting in every single development and wouldn’t let polluting companies in. I was kind of sick of politics by then. Some people I’d trusted got too interested in their own power and no longer worked at the grassroots level.

VH:  And yet you were also involved in fracking.

JH:  Yes, I was going quit all this activism and then fracking came along. The gas was here; it was under Jordan Dam. I live just two miles from the dam and the lake, and I got to know the people in Lee County working, and I put up signs and then I got petitions and I worked with the Haw River Assembly people. And that fracking problem finally got stuck in court. So then, no sooner had that slowed down, then coal ash came along.

VH:  And you’re still leading that coalition.

JH:  Yes, Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump was started in late 2014. They had made the law so that the local commissioners could do nothing. They could have joined our court case, but they didn’t want to. Instead they made a deal with Duke Energy wanting to distribute their coal ash here. They would get 19 million dollars in return for twelve tons of coal ash. We took them to court, and we have done a lot of things to try to stop it.

VH:  And that fight is continuing on.

JH:  Yes, right now.  They have stopped, they say. We’re pretty sure it’s leaking already into the river and the groundwater. And we’re in mediation with them. I’m not real confident that that will work. It’s really hard for corporations to think of human beings as dying all around the state with these coal ash ponds. And they’re starting to die here, though you can’t always prove it was the coal ash. But add it to all the other pollution over the years, it probably is.

VH:  It’s really important work. All of your long life from age 7 to 82. You’ve been a lifelong activist in many different ways and throughout all of that activism, I just want to bring in something else for a moment. I wasn’t thinking about this earlier but throughout all of it you’ve been writing poetry and Penny Weaver Mysteries. I would like to bring in your copy of Baba Summer and we should conclude with a little bit about all that you’ve been writing.

JH:  I do write all the time.

VH:  And you’ve produced many fine volumes of poetry.

JH:  Baba Summer is the book that tells about my first trip to Russia and Mikhail’s first trip to America. He was very unimpressed with our television by the way. I’ve managed to get several books published. My mysteries were first published by a small press and then she didn’t want to do it anymore. I started doing them myself and I have readers. 

VH:  Here’s one of your Penny Weaver Mysteries.

JH:  This was based on teaching at the black College, which I did for three years.

VH:  Here is one of poetry.

JH:  Yes, This River: An Epic Love Poem was written when I was in love with Mikhail in the early days. I wrote it when I got back from my first trip there.

VH:  It’s my favorite of your volumes of poetry.

JH:  I think it’s my best.

VH:  It’s beautiful. I think it’s phenomenal all the things that you’ve done activist-wise and writing-wise and you’ve been a writing teacher. We didn’t talk at all about that.

JH:  I did a program from ’81 through ’89 in the Durham libraries and also in the Burlington libraries. I called it a Road Map to Great Literature for New Writers. I realized that reading good literature was the best way to get new writers to write well. The National Humanities people at first didn’t believe that my students, some of whom only finished high school and some, like doctors and nurses, who had never really done literature could read these books on my list, like Homer, Chaucer, Sappho, Proust, Henry James, etc.

The NEH people didn’t believe my students would read Marcel Proust and Henry James. Well they probably all didn’t read Henry James. I gave a party for those that succeeded in reading a Henry James novel. I had those whom you wouldn’t have expected to use a Proust simile. They rejected that first national grant. I’d gotten five grants from the North Carolina Humanities.

I told my helper, Mary Duke Biddle Semans that the national people rejected me. She said, “That’s wrong.” I learned later she went to a lady who sat on the National Humanities Council and told her they made a mistake. She said to me to send in the grant again. So, I did. A proposal to the National Humanities Library Program was about a hundred pages. I mean it was a chore, but I did get the grant.

I had to have an English professor to listen and come and evaluate me. I got a really nice professor and he gave me much praise. By that time the Durham Arts Council was angry at me, because I was always trying to change them. I’d told them they spent too much on administration and not enough on programs. I wanted them to give more money to the affiliates, who were doing the programing. Their director was especially angry. I sent them this letter about what a good job I did teaching and then they changed their tune. That’s really interesting if you can get the big guys to change. 

VH:  It’s hard when someone comes in and sees something a little bit wrong and tries to change it. They don’t want to change, but you were always finding something that needed changing and then getting to work on it.

JH:  I manage quite a bit of mischief.

VH:  Yes, you have managed quite a bit of mischief indeed.

JH:  I can laugh now, but there were some moments that I’d gotten so upset. Like when I couldn’t get a grant to do this nonfiction book, it felt like a sock in the stomach. I learned not to spend too much time on moaning. Instead to go ahead and see what I could do. 

I’m going to be 82 in May this year. I’ve been slowed down by my body. She likes to rest more than I do. But I still enjoy teaching and I really enjoy getting to know people and seeing what we can do to make life better. I’m glad for all the mischief. It did change things and I don’t think Jaki would have become the poet laureate if I hadn’t been mischief making all along. And she’s doing a stupendous job.

VH:  And now she’s mischief making in a really wonderful way. Good mentoring. Is there anything you want to add to this story?

JH:  My motto has kind of been to trust my deep intuition that guides me, to try to do what it says. I sort of work from the inside out, because people respond if you’re genuine. Some people hate you and some people love you. I usually get both. I try not to pay too much attention to those who hate me and mostly they leave me alone. 

VH:  Well you have done a lot of wonderful things. And you still are.