Two Years

Well, this marks two years since the start of this blog, and in those 730 days, I have left 673 posts, for an average of about 10 posts every 12 days.

And as people have noted, my posts usually have some heft to them, “winding roads that force the reader to focus,” as Marti Abernathy said. I am prone to taking people down the back road to come upon another vista which overlooks things we think are familiar, because my experience is that seeing things from a point of view different than the conventional often offers insight and learning.

“Let her talk, let her talk,” someone once said when I was being interrupted. “She will get to the point, just in a different way.”

I remember Wendy Parker telling me that Sandra Cole would her to read my old one page pieces. “The first time through they make no sense to me,” Wendy told me, “but Sandra thinks they are good so I read them again, and on the second pass, I see your discussion as obvious and insightful.”

Lovely Sarah Sands recently said that “so much” of my work is beautiful. I appreciate that feedback — I always appreciate engaged feedback — but I tend to believe that all of the work is beautiful, even the really unpleasant journeys. It may not be as well constructed or as fluidly written. may be a bit that is said better somewhere else, but I have to believe that there is an essential beauty in truth, or even in the attempt to reach for the truth, wherever it lies.

Gwyneth, always a joy on this blog, has talked about the way I use stories to evoke thought, to be “provocative” as Terry Murphy offered, which I take to mean provoking feelings & thought in readers.

I remember as a kid being fascinated with women who told stories, who turned their life into tales. I knew that was a turn that was also part of me, though, like so much of the ritual of woman, it was a talent I had to consciously develop, rather than one that was supported by the world from the start.

This blog is a tool I use to stay stable, to be present in the world with a strong voice even when I am invisible in all the many ways transpeople are made invisible in this culture. What I write here is about me, not you, an attempt to make my stories visible in a way that most transpeople cannot.

To me, the attitude to approach this blog is the same attitude I use when I meet other people, when I listen to trannys in the world: What are they trying to say here?

I know that we don’t see things as they are, we see them as they are (Anaïs Nin), and that figuring out what Callan is trying to say here isn’t as easy for others as it is for someone who thinks like Callan (and, by that, I mean as easy as it is for me.) I know that my opening up hasn’t been easy.

But staying open, vulnerable and soft never is.

I went on a missionary trip to Springfield, Massachusetts, to witness to Spanish-speaking families, mostly from Puerto Rico. They were very poor and lived in ramshackle apartment buildings near a shut-down textile mill. My partner was Eloy Cruz, a remarkable Cuban-American who pastored a small church in Brooklyn.

He always seemed to know exactly what to say and formed an instant intimacy with the people whose homes we entered. With the simplest words, he could capture their imaginations and souls.

As we prepared to say good-bye at the end of the week, I asked him about what made him so gentle but so effective as a Christian witness, and he was quite disconcerted. He finally said, “Pues, Nuestro Señor no puede hacer mucho con un hombre que es duro.” (Well, our Savior cannot do much with a man who is hard.) He noted that Christ Himself, although the Son of God, was always gentle, especially with those who were poor or weak. He went on to say that he always tried to follow a simple rule: “You only have to have two loves in your life—for God, and for the person in front of you at any particular time.”

—Jimmy Carter in Living Faith

Can our mother in the sky do much with someone who has gone hard?  I heard him read this and thought of the vulnerability crisis among trans-leadership, how easy it is for others to hit the steel doors we have had to install in ourselves to live in a world of fierce & ferocious stigma.

To me, I think that the only way to not go hard is to be open to story, the symbols of story, the poetry of story, and the meaning of story, both of out stories and the stories of others.   We need to be aware of what the world brings up in us, need to spin that out, rather than just keep it locked inside.

And that’s what this blog has helped me with, being visible not only to others but more than that, visible to myself.  I don’t write here to justify or move, I write here to expose all the beauty inside, even the bits I have trouble believing contain beauty.

It’s still a lonely, lonely life, but being visible helps, and being affirmed in that visibility by those who engage me, well, that is a gift too.

I don’t know what happens next.  But thanks to this blog, I am pretty clear on what happened in the last two years, at least when I “needledrop” on it.

Thanks to all who have stopped by, even those who have run away screaming.   I hope that in some tiny way, well, I have provoked them, at least a little bit.

One thought on “Two Years”

  1. Callan, sweatheart, I only said ‘is beautiful, as is so much of your work’ because – well – I quite simply haven’t gotten round to reading all of it just yet!

    In truth, though, your writing quickens my thought, inspires me. And what is in-spiration but the spirit or breath taken in? The wind inside. That first breath after ‘breath taking’ beauty, or the moment that ‘took one’s breath away’. And it brings close a type of voice I feel kin to. It takes the edge off.

    I’m a painter first and foremost, so know something about that need to MAKE visible that which is left unseen, or overlooked. And painters, like writers, are lonely souls. We are the audience of our own creating – the first eyes and ears of our own selves given shape.

    Anyway…..I need to leave off here and go to dinner.

    Callan – I am so glad to know you, even at this great remove.

    Keep writing….that is all I can say.

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