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Not just another transgender Memoir

Field Notes In/On Transition

Not Just Another Transgender Memoir?

So, the job hunt thing, is morphing into something a bit more in line with what I actually want to do with my life, which is to become more committed to my own projects and try and still try to make a bit of money on the side to support doing that, until hopefully, the writing and the art come to something more than covering the costs of self publishing, or submitting to anthologies, and contests.

I was doing a one day a week clerical job, but once I cleared up a lot of stuff that was late getting done, it turned into less than one day a week, and eventually just petered out. It was all very amicable though. So I feel good about it, as right after posting about this event on Facebook last week, a friend sent me a link to a local extras, or as they say, these days ‘background performer’. It does sound more professional than extra, and some people do pretty good at it. 

So why not, it has the flexibility I am looking for, as I can have days that are blocked off from getting called if I am working on my own stuff, or get another part time gig of some kind. I was a bit wary at first, as being transgender, most likely many parts I might be up for on tv are “tranny hooker” or corpse, at best, given how most tv treats trans folks. But the intake session really quelled any fears I might have had, as the owner (or one of actually) told some interesting stories about how the agency is built around not having the tv pretty for castings only, real diverse people, queer, trans, emo, goth, POC, not just pretty 20 something white folks. 

He told one story especially about how one of the BG performers hired for one of those hooker roles, and was justly offended to see the “Tranny Hooker” sign on the trailer. It’s one thing to use that term which I personally don’t like at all, in a context of fiction, but you don’t need to categorize the actual people that way. the owner got in touch with the production and explained professionally and courteously that ‘Tranny’ is offensive to a lot of trans folks, and that the folks at the production understood and changed the signage, thanking him for helping them understand something that they had little experience with. Why use slang, in a professional setting, use professional language. This story almost brought me to tears. So I feel good about signing up with a company (InspirationALL) that has my back. 

I just now, in fact got my first ‘call’ for the second week of May, as background in a “Dive Bar” scene. I am pretty sure I can bring authenticity to that. So that has happened. or will hopefully, I was only submitted for the scene, and will find out for sure closer to the actual date.

On other fronts, I was getting a lot of high stress looking full time job leads from the WorkBC front, so I sent them a letter explaining how I have never been looking for that from them. I want P/T work, which I have been finding without their help at all. What I have been grokking hard lately is the fact that if I have to do a ‘job’ or, work for someone else, I want something where my commitment can still be to myself and to my own projects. I always take work home with me, especially if it is a high stress day. 

I have always felt that I used full time work as an excuse to do less on my own, despite ample proof (3 books published, and all the other things I have done) otherwise. I have a real hard fear of losing everything, my treasured stuff, and my home, thus I get real anxiety about taking bigger chances.

Talking about with this with a friend at a party the day after the job loss, she suggested doing a crowd funding campaign of some kind for my idea of doing a book that is both a creative non fiction account of my lifetime that it took to start transitioning, something that I could include lots of my artwork in, specifically, my ‘Strawgirl’ paintings, that I do on my ipad. My friend offered to help me, as she has some experience with crowd funding, and getting the word out on things... this really is the hardest part for me, flogging my work. I have never had the confidence to be an aggressive sales person. I have such a low tolerance for rejection, that it has always been a struggle to balance the work with the hustle to get the work seen. So I welcome some help, some mentoring from my friend. I may still have to get more help, as it’s a big project.

I am not going to say more, other than it is happening maybe sooner than you might think, at least the fund raising part. I will be ramping up my content delivery as the thing gets underway, and maybe moving this blog to wordpress and a new domain I bought for the whole project. I am going to try to raise enough money to pay for the printing, of the book, e-book, and the ephemeral media that I have aplenty for perks. Of course I will be trying to also pay the bills within this too, which really as I am budgeting isn’t so bad. Delivery of high quality media has never been more reasonable to do, with pay as you go printing, and the ease of creating online shopping options for either digital or physical media.

Tonight I am emceeing (or Femme-ceeing) an event called Femme Fridays, a once a month gathering of the Femme Community in Vancouver, at a local place called the Heartwood cafe. In a couple of weeks (May 15) I will be performing some of my poetry at the same venue in support of BC Trans Folk called:

I am going to be posting more videos, and getting out to as many events as budget, time will allow, to raise my profile a bit. I am going to actually give making some real living (aka barely paying my bills) out of my actual work, not schlepping for someone in a store or wherever. This feels so right to do undertake, this crowd funding and to paraphrase a recent Facebook status of my own: What happens when Josie really makes the effort! 

My stretch goals, I can tell you now are to keep doing my own projects, touring the book on a whistle stop tour of Canada, and to keep making art and offering it at a reasonable price. Maybe the world doesn’t need yet another trans Lady memoir, but well, it’s not going to be your traditional trans narrative, guided by mainstream mores. It will be very raw, funny, (hopefully) and not all done in text: paintings, cartooning, a few poems, and the text there is, will be creative non fiction as much as it is memoir... I will probably use up my entire remaining savings on top of anything I can get from my crowd funding, but it is all going to be worth it. Go Team Josie!


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