Monday, October 4, 2010

Butch Voices

This past weekend has been incredibly thought provoking.  My writing seems to be flowing from all of it.  Spending time with so many others like me has been so good for my soul.   I feel a little less lonely, a little more validated and filled with a lot more strength and inspiration.

The importance of writing down our stories has been solidified even more in my mind.  When you research it, there really aren’t a lot of books out there written by butches talking about their story or their life and how they made it through. 

During the conference I sat through an intergenerational panel with a few older butches who talked about growing up without a mentor or a role model.  Imagine if they had, at the very least, a book to read so they wouldn’t feel so alone while they were growing up.  Feeling like someone who grew up in drag, I know I would have loved to have had a resource to refer to while figuring myself out.  Knowing that I wasn’t the only one to feel the way I felt would have made my life a hell of a lot easier. 

After this weekend I feel like the structure of my book is starting to come together.  Now to get myself to sit down long enough to start getting it out.  I’ve been more excited about getting out and shooting so I’ve been taking advantage of that motivation. 

Yesterday marks another first for me.  As part of the Butch Voices Conference there was a Gender Queer Spoken Word at In Other Words in the afternoon before the final party at the Egyptian Room.  There were some awesome featured speakers who were incredibly inspirational to me with not only their poetry but with their cadence and presentation of their work.  It was captivating and the audience ate it up.  Myself included. 

After the featured speakers there was time for an open mic.  During the days leading up to this event I toyed with the idea of reading something at the open mic.  I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone lately and felt like this would be a good place to ‘come out’ as a writer.  I’d already come out as a photographer at this conference, amongst my brothers and my sisters and my community, why not come all the way out.  Open up my heart and expose all of me. 

Walking in to In Other Words yesterday afternoon I felt pretty relaxed.  I said hello to and got a great hug from the wonderful hostess, Sossity Chiricuzio. Afterwards she pointed me towards the sign-up sheet with some words of encouragement.  I stared at it for a moment and told myself to just do it.  Don’t think about it.  So I did.  I wrote my name down in the #6 position.  I like the #6.  It was my number in softball.  It’s a good number. 

As I said before, the featured speakers were amazing and inspirational.  As I sat there listening to them I talked myself through the idea that they’ve been doing this sort of thing for quite a long time now.  I have some practice to do but I have to start somewhere.  I promised myself that no matter how nervous I got I would still go through with it.  I was there, my journal was there and I knew what I wanted to read. 

As the names were called and their pieces read I knew my turn was quickly approaching.  I could feel my heart begin to beat harder in my chest and the blood start to rise to my face and ears.  The room started to get warm, well warmer given that a lot of what had been read that afternoon was erotic.  (All I can say after watching porn in Bren Ryder’s workshop with 35 strangers and 2 friends, which was awkward in itself, then sitting through several erotic pieces in the spoken word, I was pretty……shall we say, worked up, for lack of better words, from the weekend.)

When she called my name I had to push myself out of my chair.  Standing up there on the stage, reading my piece I could feel my legs shaking underneath me.  I could see my journal shake in my trembling hands.  My chest tightened making it difficult to breath and keep a cadence but I did it.  After finishing I stood there for a moment to take in the applause, which felt amazing, then somehow made it back to my seat without tripping or stumbling.  My legs were still shaking. 

Another first was under my belt.  My piece was the 10 minute free writing I had done in Sinclair Sexsmith’s writing workshop.  At the end I attached my answer to the photographer’s question since the two seemed to flow together nicely.  Both of these pieces are in my prior post so I won’t repost them.  The session was recorded so hopefully it will be posted somewhere so I can listen to it. 

I have to admit, after reading at the open mic I feel a bit hooked.  I want to do that again.  Dirty Queer is coming up this Friday.....


  1. Thanks for reading at BV at In Other Words Wendi! Look forward to hearing more of your writing. Keep pen to the paper and write on!

    FaceBook page 15 Reno Winter Highway!/pages/15-Reno-Winter-Highway/297956599317

  2. Thanks for listening, Rachel! You do the same!

  3. Thanks for being a part of BVPDX. It was a labor of love for all of us and you are a part of its success.

    Congrats on getting up to read your work, I'm looking forward to that opportunity myself. Best of luck on your writing.

    Hoping you don't mind me adding your blog to my page of butch/genderqueer/trans bloggers on Butchtastic.

  4. Thank you! I look forward to next years!

    I don't mind a bit. I'd like to add your blog to my page, as well.

  5. I'd be honored, thank you :-)