Writing for me is very, very difficult. It does not come easy. It causes me anxiety and fear. Luckily in this blog, I can write whatever I want, so it is not so very scary. I feel that my writing has changed by being an academic. You may think it has made it better. But it has, in fact, made it worse for the kind of writing I want to do. My dream is to write a memoir. Being in academia for as long as I have has made my writing very analytical and critical. I have been forced to do academic writing for so long that it has made it much more difficult to do creative nonfiction successfully. I still have writing that I did from around Freshman year of college and it was very different from the way I write now. Writing a memoir is a life goal. Getting it published is a life goal. My hope is that by writing this blog I will be able to write a memoir. This blog is practice. It is exercising my writing muscle. I have actually come to like writing the blog, but have a long ways to go. December 31st will be the true victory party!
Writing is a practice of freedom. Writing is revolutionary, emancipatory and empowering. Writing is liberation. The best writing evokes feeling. It invites people to be their best self. It cajoles people into becoming change agents. It encourages people to keep going. It demands that they tie a knot and hang on. The best writing is what changes hearts and minds. This is what I want my memoir to do. I do not believe in writing just for writing’s sake. There needs to be a larger purpose to putting these words down on paper.
I once saw Dorothy Allison speak and she said that writers write because they want to live forever. I never forgot that because I know exactly what she meant. Writing is a form of archival work. Especially if published, it can last forever. Look at the authors from hundreds of years ago that we are still reading in the present day. When you think about it that is an incredibly powerful thing to pull off. I think everyone wants to make their mark upon this world and writing is certainly one way to do that. Writing really can make you live [on] forever. This is why I want to write my memoir. Not so much to stroke my own ego but to write something of considerable weight that it moves people. Transgender people are one of the most hated and vulnerable minority groups in the U.S. and in many places around the globe. If I can write a memoir that increases empathy for transgender people than I have accomplished a great thing.
In my view, there is nothing glamorous about writing. It is hard work. It is exhausting. It is frustrating. It is lonely and isolating. The voice of the oppressor is always sitting on your shoulder telling you it is not good enough. You are prone to perfectionism and to doubting your talent or competence as a writer. This is another reason why I am writing this blog. It is not only to keep myself accountable but also to increase my writerly self-esteem. I will write that memoir and it’s going to be great. If writing is a practice of freedom, then I am going to write myself free.