Just because something is bouncing around in my head does not mean it needs to dribble out of my mouth (or fingers).
Sometimes you read a blog post or some random article off the web and something just ‘clicks.’ You can’t really explain it, even showing someone else doesn’t elicit the same response. It is simply one of those rare things which can bring a smile to your lips for no other reason than it exists.
In this case it did have a subject I am interested in, writing. No, it didn’t tell how to write the Great American Novel, not even how to write anything at all but it did tell an engaging tale and spoke to some of the frustrations I have felt.
It was about sharing true life experiences, about how and when such things not necessarily should be shared, but when all of the elements of memory, emotion, recollection and writing ability might come together in a form which could be translated into a book others would want to read.
The question is asked, can such things be shared with the public without destroying them?
The answer is most likely, maybe.
As with any writer, professional or not, I would like to become better with the words I use and the ways in which I present them. One of the ways I seek to do this is through reading the works and advice of other writers who’s work I enjoy.
Often I find interesting tidbits I can glean to use for myself, sometimes I simply get insight into how others think and work. Then there are the times I read something and think to myself, “I could never do… such and such.” Not because I lack the ability or the desire but because it runs counter to how my creative process works.
An example of this is outlining. Some people do so extensively, mapping out their thoughts to the Nth detail. Others are like myself, free form writers who follow where their hearts lead, often as surprised and delighted as a reader is at each new, unexpected twist.
I have tried over and over again to become proficient at outlining. This was true as recently as a year or so ago after I read about J.K. Rowling and her almost obsessive outlines for the Harry Potter books. Well, let me just say it may have worked out spectacularly for her but for me it was an unmitigated disaster. I simply cannot work the way she does, nor I suppose many others like her. I need a free flow form to let the thoughts go from mind to pen to paper.
Another idea I read recently was in regards to improving the writing of blog posts. It was all just a part of someone’s thoughts on how to become a better blogger, (writer), and increase readership. To be honest, I no longer think much about the stats for this site. I know there will be those who wish to read what I am writing and those who don’t and the numbers are just that, numbers. It’s the interaction through reading and commenting which has the greatest impact for myself, not the pretty graphs, charts, and other means of measurement I have at my disposal. No. It’s the interaction, the understanding I have a real impact on the lives of real people which keeps me here, writing even on those days when I just want to get sloppy drunk and go hide under the covers…
The suggestion which brought me to writing all of this was; write a post and then set it aside. Let it simmer for a bit, go back and edit. Then edit again until the thought has been finely distilled. Then and only then should you click on “Post”.
Sounds like a decent enough plan I suppose. The problem is, this isn’t how I write. Oh, there are times when it takes me a little while to get my thoughts in order enough I think of them as being presentable, and goodness knows I’ve missed the mark more than once, yet for the most part the only real editing I do is looking for spelling and grammar errors. Sometimes I will go back and change a word here or there which I think cleans things up or makes them clearer, but for the most part what you read is what I wrote the first time.
There have been times when someone has described my writing here as “honest, raw, or compelling” and I always catch my breath when I read such things. I am amazed and dazzled by the thought anyone would not only read what I write, but feel compelled to say something in return and I think the reason all of this has had as much of an impact as it has, on myself and others, is because I don’t go back and clean things up. I don’t attempt to make things look any better than they really are because life is messy and sometimes so are the words we use to describe it.
I want to share with you not only the words in my head, but the emotions which drive them. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not, yet to try and polish things up into a nice neat bundle means chipping away at the raw, natural beauty of the moment in which something is stamped onto the page. There is an imprint left on paper and soul.
I know there are those who have only ever written using a computer, but there are those who, like myself, have many memories of pounding away at a manual typewriter and any of them can tell you of the almost savage joy which comes from concentrating all of your emotions at the tip of a single finger. Feeling the force of the key being struck. Of watching as the arm flies toward the paper with all of the angst we can muster. Of watching as it strikes the ribbon with such force it not only transfers the ink to the paper, but leaves a physical indent in the surface with a whip crack sound.
Oh yes, it is possible to transfer a great deal of emotion from heart to screen. I know because I have done so, but there always seems to be something missing and it is a jaw clinching, teeth grinding satisfaction which comes from the very physical interaction of thought and deed.
It is that one moment. The instant of impact I seek to give to you.
The charge of raw emotion.
The primal scream which surges into your throat.
The exhaustion pouring through your veins, knowing you have left everything on the paper, in black and white, to be judged my an uncaring world.
To understanding you can finally rest, even if just for one night, the demons trapped in a ribbon of black and red, their power spent for now.
Have you ever wanted to break open the emotional piggy bank and let everything out, but your afraid to because other people are watching and they might not understand, might take what you say or do the wong way or worse yet, use you as an example of what they should or should not be thinking, feeling, or doing?
Maybe I’m just too sensitive for my own good.
When I first started blogging, I let everything show. I was wearing my heart on my sleeve and everyone could see when I was bleeding to death, even those times I couldn’t see it for myself. The thing was, I didn’t think about how my words were impacting others. I guess hiding behind a computer screen made it all seem surreal. Yes, I was I was in pain, lost and confused and I needed some way to make sense out of it all and writing just seemed to be a natural way to do so… those cool, black letters sitting on the screen gave me a calm, rational way to look inside my own head. The problem of course is, others get to look as well.
I first began to worry about his when I thought I was acting like a puppy chasing my own tail, just going over the same ground again and again, but I still didn’t connect the dots.
Then one day I did. I mean I really, really did. I have seen others reference something I said or even an entire post and while it was amazing to see, I failed to appreciate just what was happening. There were people out there, real, living, breathing human beings who read my words and they had a large enough effect someone felt a need to answer in their own way.
That’s enough to scare the be-jebbers out of me when I let it sink in.
I understand the power of words, I know how helpful they can be when spoken at just the right moment. I also know how dangerous they can be and how much damage, unintended or otherwise, they can do when misspoken.
Once, a long time ago on a service far, far away; I was quite active in message boards and chat rooms. It was all very interesting. I met some great people and had some fun times jumping from one place to the next. Yet it didn’t feel real to me, not really, until I got into a singular conversation with a young lady and I made a terrible mistake.
You see, she confessed to having been raped when she was younger. We spent a good deal of time discussing this and the fact she blamed herself for what happened… I meant to tell her is wasn’t her fault, that she did nothing wrong… I typed away and hit “Enter” and then read what I had just sent…
“It was your fault.”
One stupid, thoughtless typo and I had just destroyed someone life.
I was horrified, I tried to explain, I tried to apologize, but how can you ever undo something like that? Simple. You can’t. Ever. I was able to work through it with her but it took hours, days, and even now I doubt the damage was ever undone in even the smallest way. Just thinking of it now, all these years later, still makes me sick to my stomach. We did stay in touch for awhile but eventually she faded away and I can only hope and pray is she was alb to get the help she needed and is living a happier life today. But I’ll never know for sure and I have to live with that knowledge for the rest of my life.
Knowing this, I am ashamed of the fact I again fell into a place where the words didn’t hold that same sense of danger as they did that night so long ago. One would think I would never forget a lesson such as that, but I did. When it finally came back to me, it nearly paralyzed me. I’ve been deathly afraid of opening up this way again, to show to you who read this that sometimes I end up fighting the same battles over and over again. To show there are good days, bad day, and some really horrible, terrible days when I find myself wanting to physically harm myself. I’m afraid to show the extent of the emotional scars I carry. The depths to which I sometimes fall. I know, we all know, life isn’t a perfect rose without thorns. It can be dirty and nasty and it can hurt you. Really, really badly. The thing is, I don’t want it to be my words which cause such pain. It rips my own heart to pieces when it happens and I can never fully forgive myself.
This has meant days when all I can do is link to news stories, or maybe reblog a post I think is interesting and some times it’s just a simple little poem to fill the empty spaces…
But it hurts my writing when I try to censor myself. When I try to polish off the edges of my emotions.
Sometimes what I think and feel is like walking across a parking lot covered in glass shards. Sometimes I am so overcome with emotions my face is soaked with tears… How do I convey such thing to you? I mean really… in the desert which is a computer screen, where words are truly black and white, without all of the inflection of a human voice to carry them….
How do I do this?
More to the point, how do I do this without causing harm where none is intended? How can I show you the hope I hold in my heart even when I am crying? How to I shine a light into the darkness when I am terrified of the dark? How do I show you… any of you…
That despite all the pain, all of sadness and fear, there is a reason to continue on. A reason to fight for a future which might never come, but never will unless we demand it?
How… how do I show you I wouldn’t want to do anything other than what I have, made the decisions I have made, walked this road I have walked, putting one foot in front of the other even when it seems pointless because I simply could not imagine doing otherwise…
There is an ongoing conversation I am having in regards to a post I read yesterday. It can be found here: Don’t Call Me “Cisgirl”.
I think this is a very good opportunity to open a dialogue in the hopes of furthering understanding between Trans* and non trans people. From this conversation, though still in it’s initial stages, I can see where there is a very real difference in the way people are viewing what is being said. Indeed, it has become obvious to me that we are not just coming at this from different directions, but from worlds of experience and understanding.
I think for myself, when I first responded to this post, I did so from certain assumptions which have caused some misunderstanding. It is quite possible this is just a fault of my own, that I simply am not a very good spokeswoman in these matters, but I can’t help but feel that much of this arises from what we think others should know in regards to own viewpoints and this is true for both sides.
I hope there will be those who will take the time to read the exchange in the comments and let me know what mistakes I may have made and how I can explain things better.
I hope that if nothing else is accomplished, then I can gain a better understanding of the issues that concern all women and through that understanding, become a better advocate for women, Trans” and non Trans alike.
Kari easies herself back on the couch, careful of the cup of hot tea she is holding. Tucking her feet under her, she allows herself to relax. She blows on the hot liquid and looks over at Anne and lets a smile play over her lips. It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since she had revealed the truth about herself to her best friend. She could never have imagined them here, like this.
Anne looks over and sees her watching her, “What is it?”
“Nothing, just enjoying the view.” Her smile widens as she watches the blush spreading across Anne’s face. She is so easy to tease. Taking a sip of her tea, she relents. “Actually I was just thinking of how lucky I am to be here; with you.”
Anne’s smile always makes her catch her breath. It lights up her whole face, accentuating a beauty that radiates from within.
“Remember the first day we met?”Kira asked.
She nodded, “It was pouring down rain. I don’t think I was off the shuttle ten feet before I was soaked, even with my rain coat.”
Kira could picture the scene, “You looked like a drowned rat.”
She made a face, “Thanks!”
Kira laughed, “Well you were a cute drowned rat.”
“You offered to help me to the ship.”
She remembered. “I was still living as Eric then.”
It was a lousy day. The rain had been coming down in buckets since dawn and he had to make the trek down the pier to report for morning duty. There was no calling in in the military, the only excuse to miss work was being dead.
Water splashed across his boots soaking the legs of his dungarees, it pounded the bill of his cap and ran down his neck, right under the collar of his rain coat and down his back.
With his head down, he almost ran over the person ahead who was struggling with a sea bag.
He looked up to see a it was a girl who wasn’t much bigger than the bag she was pulling. He started to pass her, the thought better of it and turned to her;
“Would you like some help with that?”
She looked up in surprise and his breath caught. As wet and bedraggled as she was, she was the cutest girl he had ever seen. A round face dominated by large, dark brown eyes. Dark hair tried to escape from beneath her hat.
“I would appreciate it, thanks.”
He reached down and grabbed the bag by the steps and slung it onto his shoulder, “Not a problem.”
“I’m Eric, by the way.”
“First day?” she nodded. “Nervous?”
He smiled, “So was I, but this is a good ship, a lot of good people. You’ll do fine.”
She smiled back, “Thanks.” They reached the gangplank,
“Be careful in those shoes, it might be slippery with all the rain.” they walked up in silence.
Reaching the top, he set her bag down out of the way.
“Thank you again.”
“My pleasure. Good luck.”
He slipped off into the press of bodies.
He saw her again a week later, working in the galley. She was talking and laughing with a small group of coworkers.
Anne is sitting across the table from him. He’s her best friend and she wants to slap him.
“Eric, If you like her then just ask her out. The worse that can happen is she says no. It’ll be her loss, not yours.”
He makes a face, clearly not happy with the idea, then shakes his head.
“I didn’t say I like her.”
She give a snort. “No, you just follow her everywhere with your eyes and all but drool whenever your in the same room, but you just want to be friends right?”
He gives her a sheepish grin, “Well, she is kind cute when I think about it.”
They’ve been friends for a year now and they can have conversations like this, he knows she’s not interested in him as anything other than a friend. He’s the only person who knows her little secret and he doesn’t care. She loved him just for that, if nothing else.
She takes a moment and considered that. He was a wonderful person, someone she felt comfortable with, who she felt she could tell anything and know he wouldn’t judge her. He could make her laugh even when she was really depressed and when she felt like she couldn’t do anything right, he was there with quite support.
She smiled to herself, damn, if he had just been a girl she really would be in love.
They sat together in his car. It was freezing outside the fogged up windows, but inside it was almost too warm, even with the heat set to low. The engine was a low vibration she felt through the seat and echoed in his chest. He was holding her close and she was crying. She hated herself at that moment; she hated that girl and the world and everything in it. Everything but him. He said nothing, simply held her.
How could anyone do that, be that strong? He was strong not for himself but for her.
He took her to the beach after she had talked about her family trips to her uncles’ beach house in Florida. The great memories she had of all the fun she had had playing in the sand.
He confessed that he couldn’t swim, which was funny since he was had joined the navy, so they had spent hours splashing in the surf. Now she had those memory to keep with her too.
They brought up the last of her things, two more boxes to add to the stack already in the living room. They were both sweaty, dirty and grinning like fools. She looked at him and his grime streaked face and she was glad that he was there to share her moment of triumph.
Here are is collection of thoughts and background I wrote for Kira” Unbound. Not sure where I was wanting to place these, maybe use them as a series of flashbacks.
I am going through everything I have written so far. It isn’t easy and I have to skip through here and there but I friend asked me to send him the whole thing so he can read it and that has given me the push I needed to start working seriously.
I do want to finish this, maybe even see it in print one day if it’s good enough. It has been a long time since I have set a goal like this for myself. Never have I seriously considered allowing others to read anything i wrote besides my poetry. I feel like Marty McFly when he asks, “What if no one likes it, what if they tell me it’s no good?”
I guess one of the reasons this has come up now, outside of having another manuscript I would like to finish, is my need to keep busy. To keep my mind occupied and so filled with something that other things I fear thinking about are crowded out.
I wrote a post last night that I decided not to post, just a thought I had about how to explain how it feels to be dealing with issues so many cannot understand. Thoughts of what it is like to discover unexpected and uncomfortable truths about yourself.
I understand learning someone you know isn’t who you thought they were is a difficult thing to come to grips with. To learn there are things you didn’t see, never caught, no matter how close you were is unsettling to say the least. No one can be expected to embrace change all at once, to be able to suddenly and dramatically shift the way you see and relate to someone, I don’t know how I would react myself. My hope is I would be able to so look beyond what my eyes alone can see, to try in some small way to put myself in their shoes. To be open and understanding enough to accept a person for who they are and not for who I want them to be.
The next part i wish to share doesn’t have a direct place in the narrative, but is an important piece of the story. It is Kira’s memories from different points during her childhood and teen years. I’m not sure where I am going to fit this in, I might have to break it up and use sections as flashbacks.
From here the story becomes fragmented as I was racing to get various points of the outline down so I could keep the overall plot arch in sight. There are a lot of gaps, blank spots where I need to connect one scene with the next. Had I been able to got right back to work on the story line, much of this work would have been done months ago, but as I finding even now, this is a very difficult project to work on. I had hoped forcing myself to work on this would blunt the emotional impact, but time and again, reading over the parts I have posted leaves me in tears. Not the best way to work, but I am determined to got this finished once and for all.
It was snowing. White flakes against a grey sky. They seemed to compress the air as they fell, bringing with them a comfortable silence. Even her boots were silent as she walked, breath coming out in white puffs. She turned left at the next street, heading up the small rise that led to the bridge that rose over the small creek below and stopped, as she often did, to stare into the black water passing below. Watching as the snow hits the smooth surface. she let her eyes drift along with the sluggish current until the waterway swung right and disappeared behind a stand of trees.
Between her and the trees lies a long expanse of unbroken snow, smooth and glistening in the subdued light. It reminded her of a bed covered in a clean white comforter, not even a leaf marring its pristine surface. Looking at it, she remembers hearing of people who died in the snow. They simply went to sleep and never woke up again. She could do that, simply lay down and drift off. No more pain, no more fear. She could free at last.
And if the preacher was right and she would burn in hell? Then it was no different than now and maybe no less than she deserved.
With her luck, someone would come by and see her there and tell her parents. They wouldn’t let her die, they had other plans.
She turns and walks on.
She turned eleven today.
Four years. That was how long she had been dreaming the same dream. Four years of watching herself as she wished to be, should have been, could never be.
It was a dream where there was no question of who or what she was. Even now, she knew this was one dream that would never come true. People told her she could be anything she wanted to be if she wanted it badly enough and worked hard but there would always be one thing forever out of her reach.
Her dream self was free from all the doubts, all the fears that ate at her day after day. She was free of the loneliness and heartache.
When the dream came, it was with bitter sweet anticipation
Her dream self was as beautiful as always, long black tresses that reached to a slim waist, hands slim and long fingered, the hands of an artist. Her face still childlike holding the promise of a richer, fuller beauty when she was older. It was her eyes though, that were her greatest asset. Emerald green, they had an intensity and depth that made you want to look into them forever.
Kira had never spoken to her other self or interacted with her in any way, afraid of shattering the dream and loosing even this flirting glimpse of what might have been. This dream was different though. she felt strangely compelled to take her by the hand and tell her how much seeing her meant.
They were sitting on a bench at the edge of the park. It was Summer and the shade of a nearby tree shielded them from the morning sun light that filled a cloudless sky Kira had never been this close before, only straying close enough to watch.
The girl sat with her head turned away, seeming to look across the open fields where children were playing. Her hair was loose and pulled over her right shoulder so that her neck was exposed. Her right arm draped over the back of the bench, her left resting in her lap. She had on a simple blue dress and sandals.
Kira sat, not knowing what she should do. That strange urgency tugging at the edge of her thoughts.
The girl shifted, her poster changing ever so slightly, as if aware she wasn’t alone. She turned slowly until they were face to face. Kira found herself looking into eyes so filled with a compassion and understanding so honest and true that she wanted to weep. She smiled,
Kira could only nod, not trusting her voice. She the girls hands slip into her own, their warmth startling. A gentle squeeze.
“We’ve waited a long time for this”
“You and I,” the girl replied.
“I don’t understand.” Kira was completely lost. What was she talking about?
“We are the same, Kira. I am you and you are me.”
She couldn’t grasp what she was hearing, it simply didn’t make sense. She started to pull away; this was all wrong. The girls’ hands gripped hers tightly;
“Let me prove it to you.”
Kira snapped awake.
Everything was dark and silent, but she knew she was back in her own room, in her own bed. She sat up and turned to look out the window;
And almost screamed as something brushed the back of her hand. She jerked away,lost her balance, and fell back onto her hair. With a yelp she sat back up. That had hurt.
Then she froze. Hair? Moving slowly, she reached back until she felt the touch of hair against her fingers.
Very slowly, she slipped out of bed and padded over to her door. She checked to see if her parents were awake, but fortunately the apartment was silent and dark. She quickly crossed to the bathroom and shut the door. She flipped on the light and after waiting for her eyes to adjust, then went to the mirror.
The girl was waiting for her, there in the glass. Kira stood there for a moment wondering if this was some kind of bad joke. When she moved to get a better look, the girl moved too.
An image flashed through her mind, of her in a cartoon where the main character mirrored her in a doorway. She giggled.
She never giggled.
But the girl in the mirror had giggled too.
When she returned to the dream, they were standing next to the bench. The girl stood with arms crossed and such a smug look on her face that Kira wanted to slap her.
“Believe me now?” She asked.
Kira wasn’t going to give in that easy.
“What just happened?” She demanded.
The girl shrugged a shoulder,
“You called your Avatar.”
This was getting too confusing.
The girl pointed to herself, “Me.”
Kira wanted to scream. This was all going in circles.
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Of course it does.” The girl replied.
“No, it does not.” Kira shot back, she gestured between them.
“Your there and I’m here.”
“And just where is here Kira? Where do you think you are?”
“Dreaming.” Kira said but she had a sinking feeling that was the wrong answer.
“No.” The girl shook her head. “You don’t dream like other people do. When you sleep, you come here.”
Kira scrubbed her face with her hands. She really didn’t want to deal with this anymore, but she had to know;
“If this isn’t a dream, then where are we?”
The wind is trying to drive the snow down the collar of her coat. Her hands are beginning to numb even through her gloves. She forgot she had a nose a long time ago. She stands at the edge of the street and looks at the house. Most of the windows are lit. Inside she knows that dinner has been put away and the television is on the evening news.
She shakes her head. Why does she bother to come back here? It’s just a house, never a home. Just another dreary building on another dreary street in a God forsaken, one horse town. There was nothing here for her, but she had no where else to go.
She walks slowly up the drive and goes to the back door. Don’t want to track snow in the front. Can’t mess up the thirty year old carpet with wet foot prints. Warmth floods out of the open door as she tries to slip in unnoticed.
“Eric!” Her step father. “Get that damn door closed, you trying to heat up the who damn neighborhood?”
He’s probably been drinking all afternoon.
“No dad.” Slam the door to make sure it’s closed, just in case.
“You slam that door again and I’ll break you damn arm!” He will too, he’s done it for less.
“Sorry, it wouldn’t close all the way.”
“You getting smart, boy?”
“No Sir.” Always a capital “S”, or its a smack in the mouth. He’s done that too.
She slips down the stairs, quiet as possible. No mention of supper. Not that she’s surprised. Either sit at the table when the food is ready or do without. She doesn’t think much of an empty stomach anymore.
Her room is in the basement, a dark little corner that was framed in but never finished. The walls are old sheets and blankets. A single bed huddles in the corner, the broken legs replaced with stacks of old magazines she’s scavenged from the recycling bin at the strip mall on the main drag. She has to replace them every few months when the old ones begin to fall apart. The lamp is a Goodwill reject she found in the dumpster out back. It doesn’t have a shade, but she got it to work. The bulb is a dying three way that only has low.
From her coat pocket she takes out a soda bottle that still has a swig or two left and sets it on the floor. She hangs the coat on an exposed nail and reaches into the back pocket of her jeans.
The plastic baggie has a dozen pills inside.
Take them all and sleep.
That’s all she wants now. To go to sleep and never wake up. Neat and quiet.
With her luck, her step father would come down and see her there and call the cops. They wouldn’t let her die, they had other plans.
She shoves the baggie up into the box spring, wedging it between the metal and wood.
She turned sixteen today.
She stood outside in the heat and dust and exhaust fumes. The waiting room was packed to overflowing with friends and families giving warm farewells to their future recruits.
She had walked to the bus station alone. Her small gym bag holding a single change of clothes, a toothbrush, deodorant, travel sized toothpaste and bar of soap. She doubted she would need more.
She has the stub from a one way ticket in her pocket.
The recruiter comes by to wish her well and shakes her hand. He never expects to see her again.
The feeling is mutual.
She is eighteen.