Jam

I thank everyone who responded, and I apologize for any suggestion that you all haven't done enough.  You do what you can, and I thank you for what you do.

I wasn't kidding when I said I wasn't surprised by the lack of engagement.  I know that there is a lot more information out there than there is available attention.  The material that gets attention is the material that presses familar buttons, not material that comes in challenging, which often just leaves people quizzical and cold.  I know that I am not building my expression for mass appeal, which is why I said that this blog is my testament, not some kind of chatty fun place.

You are certainly correct: I don't write these things to stimulate the involment of the class, to create some kind of Socractic dialogue.  I don't think a blog is the format for that, and I'm also not being paid to teach the class. I have done that, but it's not what I am doing here, that's correct.

But does that mean I don't want, need or even crave engagement?

I remember the story of when a young actress met Noël Coward in his hotel suite.  He told her how good she was, how she was a breath of fresh air, brilliant & beautiful. 

She smiled at these compliments.

"And me," Mr. Coward said.  "What do you think of me?"

"Oh Mr. Coward!  Surely you don't care what someone as lowly as I thinks about you," she replied.

"Honey," he told her, "everyone needs jam."

We all need a little jam.  Who doesn't want to hear people think they are brilliant, and who doesn't want to hear some feedback that enlightens and shapes an idea?

In Kitchen Confidential Tony Bourdain notes that people often don't want to cook for him because he is a chef.  Yet on his days off he doesn't want to eat fancy resturant food with the tricks of salt and shallots and butter, rather he wants good hearty cooking.  He may be able to create pot au feu, but a good pot roast has value too, and he appreciates it, even if people don't share it because they think it is too simple.

I don't know what I want to hear others respond to me.  If I knew, I wouldn't have to hear them say it, it wouldn't be a surprise.  The whole season finale episode of House took place in his brain as he was headed to the emergency room after a gunshot, and what he missed most was that his staff wouldn't fight with him, challenge him, surprise him.  He needed that conflict to stay sharp, and losing sharpness was what he feared most.

What I want you to do is surprise me, offering me something I don't expect.  Sometimes that will just confirm my beliefs — some normies think being both genders would be "fun," for example — and other times it will challenge them, and sometimes it will just give me some contact to know that others hear what I am saying, rather than just believe that I am saying what they want to hear.  I know that Gwen has done this by riffing off my posts in her writing, and I value that.

I can't say that I think this is easy, though.  I don't like surprises.  I assume they are going to be bad, very bad.  I've been waiting too long for that third gotcha and I ache like hell from holding this tension.  That means I don't just open easily to comments, because I know I am very damn raw.

The human part of me, though, that human part, well… 

Everyone needs jam, and when we don't get that affection and affirmation, we need to at least dream of jam, of being touched, valued, and caressed. The slug at the top of this blog says "The loneliness of a long-lost tranny,"  and if that doesn't remind you what my state is, no matter how elegantly I speak of it, well, then you just fall into the standard human trap of not engaging content but just apprecating tone, loving the poetry more than the person.

I do thank you for your comments, but I also assure you that every one you ever meet or read is human, and that every human needs jam, even if they live their life in a way that doesn't seem needy.

Surprise and delight me.  Remind me that my words have value, and that there are still joys out there that escape me, like the joy of seeing in a new and potent way though different eyes, seeing myself though different eyes.  My favourite definition of a therapist is "someone who sees in you something that you do not yet see in yourself." 

Two-thirds of help is to give courage.
   Irish proverb

Do your own work.  Heal in your own way, grow in your own time.  I do write this thing without expectation of engagement, and that's why it's my testament.

But everyone needs jam.   And I have it on good authority that even Joseph Campbell loved madeleines. 

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