I took one of those web quizzes that measures vocabulary, and it found that I had an exemplary knowledge of word meanings.
Then I saw one blogger with a banner saying her blog was at college level, so I tested this blog. It says that this is a junior high school reading level.
I use big words and get a junior high school reading level. I’m proud of that. I don’t want my writing to be dense and impenetrable, I want it to breeze along, carrying the reader with it, starting someplace and ending up where they didn’t expect to go.
I remember one partner who wanted text, so I offered a speech I wrote and never gave. She looked at the length of it and wanted to pass, but then she read it, and realized that it might be long, but it was written for speech, written with breath in it, and carried you along. She posted it.
That doesn’t mean that I can’t baffle. Wendy Parker told me that she used to be given the one page essays I wrote for Asheville’s Gender Quest and the TGIC Transgenderist and told they were great, yet on her first reading they baffled her. Since Sandra liked them, though, she re-read them and and on second reading she found the pieces to be crystal clear and obviously correct. It took her knowing where she was going to engage the journey, took a second time down the trail to let her take in the trip.
Reading something again at a later time is often informative for me, because as Anaïs Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” We change and so does what we see in anything, including writing we thought we knew. Besides, rereading often reminds me I have already found words for what I want to say, including what I was thinking just this morning. Writing leaves our past present, the better to find patterns and holes in it.
Vickie notes on her blog that at least one of her friends refuses to read my blog because it is “too negative.” I remember in business being told that I wasn’t enough of a cheerleader, not always positive and rah-rah, and that was a problem. Yet I remember another time when a staffer was leaving and she thanked me for being so honest. She always knew I was telling the truth, good or bad, and she valued that.
The truth of a transgender life ain’t always pretty. Heck, the truth of any life ain’t always pretty. I just really believe that we have to engage where the pain is before we can really get past it, and that slapping pretty pink paint on everything just mucks up the works, leaving more cheery expectations to disappoint. Gotta clear out the dead wood before we can rebuild with strength and grace, or at least that has been my experience.
And the lovely Sarah has asked me what I would like to write if I could write anything I wanted. The answer, like me, is transitive rather than objective. I don’t want to create a specific object, rather I want to create a specific process.
I would like to write words that pierce people’s hearts, opening them up to learning and growth. I want to touch their emotions in a way that ends up stimulating their brain, want to break through their defenses in a way that opens them to connection, want to lace feelings, ideas and possibilities together in a way that allows them to take another step towards integrating themselves and their lives.
Vickie uses a quote of mine in her sig: If you are not working to integrate your life, you are working to disintegrate it.
My challenge, as I have said so many times before, is to return the gifts of my journeys to this world. This is the hardest part of the hero’s journey, as Campbell reminds us, because if this world wanted the gift they would already have it.
In today’s culture, the way to distribute anything is to package it slickly, marketing it to meet a small niche, and after you have small success to expand, extend and broaden the brand. I need to believe that even when oversimplified my truth will come through, and that once there is an audience for that simplified version, there will come a demand for more and deeper exploration.
Of course, to do that I have to get lots of other people to invest in my work and my words. Publishers and agents, producers and promoters all want to support something that offers returns to them; they have to eat and to grow too. It means changing my art into something I own into a product that we all have a piece of, giving it away, cutting it up and trusting that it will take on a healthy and powerful life of its own.
The challenge for me is becoming product, and that requires trusting my audience, my investors, my world and most of all myself, trusting that I can stay whole, integral, and integrated when I open myself up, stand in the spotlight in a red dress and smile.
TBB was thinking about her movie premiere and imagining what she would talk with Jay Leno about on The Tonight Show. Jay’s uncle ran a restaurant in New Rochelle, and they both love big block Chryslers.
I thought about the amazing LolaCola and her experience after Southern Comfort was released. She partied from Sundance to Berlin, but her life has been quiet since.
I told TBB I didn’t think that would be a problem for her because, well she has some pig genes that would help. TBB is a ham, and once they put the spotlight on her, well, she won’t let go.
It’s my own pig genes I have to trust, the ones I share with megastars like Kiki DuRane. I need to perform, to be a bit of a ham, a little “tooooo intense,” as Kiki would say. I need to trust my voice not only in the quiet of a lonely life but also in the cacophony of the market.
I remember singing that at full blast as the little speedboat roared across Mirror Lake. Such a Streisand parade moment, Jerry Herman and all.
Oh, my. Now I’m worrying that I don’t have a big finish to go here.
I guess that’s why it’s meta.