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  •  hmmm (2+ / 0-)
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    Dave in Northridge, arizonablue

    Nah.   Seriously.  I mean, yes of course an authentic voice is important, and usually invaluable.  But it is a combination of voices which make for change, a chorus.  

    Gender and gender identity, fer instance (did you think I'd hit anything else)?  Robyn's diaries -- or arguably mine, or Horace's, or any of us on here -- they all come from the experience of being a trans person.  But there's also a ghetto of authenticity.  Well, you say, that is just a bit too unimaginable to write from anything but experience.    It is certainly harder.  But...Terence was right, too.

    Sure, everything that divides us is so, to some great or lesser degree, has its own subjectivity.  You don't really get it until you've been there and all that.  But part of the privilege of intelligible subjectivity is the art and empathy of others, wishing to inhabit and understand.  You can't write with the authority of a person who owns the shoes, but you can tell what it is to put them on, if only in your own mind, and go awhile.  I can't tell you how many comments I've read in Robyn's diaries that are along the lines of "you poor things!  I can't imagine how it is for you!".  Or effectively communicate the depth of my "meh".  Try, y'all.  If someone says they can't imagine some other part of human experience, my gut feeling is they can imagine it all too well, and are holding it at arm's length.

    I think there is a place -- a very very necessary one -- for voices which can imagine the lives of others without trying to steal their true fire, or assume too much.  It is a very, very hard thing to do, as a writer.  It most often fails, in truth, and the practitioner takes a fall.  But just because it is hard and prone to failure and mocking by those who do have the experience does not make it a bad idea or not worth doing.  

    Some of the oldest words about trans experience come from Catallus, who was a bit creeped out by us generally but who began with the thought...what if I were...   Even in failure, attempts to understand other people and to share that developing understanding are mighty things.  

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 03:52:49 AM PST

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