Amanda Graham: On My Writing
I was recently notified that a piece of writing I had submitted months ago to So to Speak would be published in the summer online issue. There are things about my submission which had led to an initial rejection, and I am unaware of what internal decision-making had been performed which resulted in the work’s final acceptance. Perhaps they simply like the work. I am also, considering my background, uneasy about broaching this news prior to the publication’s actual appearance online; prior training in hesitation, prior places and types of employment, prior promises of love and adoration, all lead me now to suspicion.
I raise this topic for an entirely different reason, however: So to Speak is a ‘feminist’ publication with university staff and funding and support, and that may or may not mean many things. I was invited by the publication’s contact person to complete and submit an ‘interview’ form that would also be published. I was excited at that prospect, less so than the selection of a piece of mine potentially being published, but excited at the possibility of replying in ‘rant mode’ to a list of things some anonymous interviewer might ask of me. There would be no, “What’s your favorite color, Mandy?” questions; and certainly none of the questions repeated to me over and over while working as an adult sex site chat model, none of which I will repeat. I took a quick look at the survey questionnaire, and paused. I paused beyond the required submission for publication date. I thought about the implications of the venue, of the questionnaire, and what I would say in answer.
As a ‘person,’ there are things about me which I suppose might classify me as ‘feminist.’ This is a condition of mine, and frequently reflected in my writings; it’s hard to explain, but the point, I think, is that I am not convinced that I am classifiable as belonging properly to any category. I once had the statistical universe of behaviors and combined attributes of the sapien species described to me thus:
“Picture an aquarium, Mandy, filled with tiny motes of dust, each a person. There are clumps and a glowing bright swath of them running mid fluid center. Mandy, somewhere in that aquarium, where each mote is an individual, somewhere in that mix, is a mote that is you. It is not in the center mass, Mandy; it is far out on the edges, where the darkness gathers. It is, on that two-dimensional, statistical thing called ‘normal distributional curve,’ at an end where the others will always seek to destroy, for their own safety.”
That probably is my starting point for trying to understand what all of the categories and movements and politics are about. I certainly would laud and support most of the theme banners and desires of that category of political thought. I am for the removal of gender classifications for a large number of ‘jobs’ that people perform. I like the idea that pay should be based upon performance rather than gender, and that all jobs are open to competition by all members of the species, regardless of gender. I am, however, uneasy with classifying myself as a feminist. It’s lonely out here at the extreme of the ‘normal distributional curve.’ I try my damnest to grasp ahold of a category and hang on.
My mind is still spinning the survey in my head. From this edge (Amazon splendor), I might be seen as one; but I was raised by a female warrior, who was married to a male warrior—what else would result? I am a gay woman, but that is not a political choice, rather one arrived at through trial and error and aesthetic and internal design (whether accidental via genetics or not), and through personal history of course. But men can be feminists, so lesbianism is not part of the criteria.
I am pro-gun ownership; is that commonly associated with feminism? Perhaps it is my own categorization of the definition of ‘feminism’ that I need to evaluate. *Jots a note to spend hours in Wikipedia and in the news stacks of several major organizations to refine my understanding* As you can see, this is why I missed the submission deadline for the publication. I am still so undecided about how I would or should honestly respond to the question, “How do you think your work has been influenced by Feminism?” Honestly, the only answer to that which I have ready is, “Because without that influential political movement, So to Speak would not exist to publish my short story about the deepest love I have ever felt for anyone in my life.”
I hope they chose my work for its style, or its poetry, or its structure, or my voice in it, or because in that story, there in that story, there was a happy ending, full of sun and ocean and desire, and loving futures. I hope that they enjoyed reading it, perhaps like my lover did with me, and as they read aloud for proofing, the sounds and movements of their voices and breathing and lips and tongues pleased them. Perhaps they liked the characters, my struggle to make the two, and the supporting cast also, real and feeling right, seeable, like people they know. I hope so; oh, how I hope so.
*pondering* (missing you theGirl)
© Amanda 2012