Field Notes In/On Transition
“All My Empty Dresses: Memoir Of a Strawgirl” Is Live!
So, if you have been following this blog, you know I was nervously preparing my Indiegogo campaign to raise some money to help me live while finish writing and editing my memoir. Well, as of Wednesday, June 24th, I am doing just that. The first day was really successful, and a nice trickle since. I don’t have a big publicity machine, nor am I going to hire one or any of the really sketchy looking companies that say they will magically reach 100,000 people if you give them a couple hundred bucks. Here's the link below, to my campaign. I made what I think is a fun dorky ‘pitch video.’ I have gotten tons of shares of my campaign as well as what I think is a decent start for someone with no fame to speak of, but lots of good friends.
This was not easy for me to do, nor keep doing. I am so nervous about asking people to help me out. But I know that I am giving them something in return, my memoir. As well, I have my artwork, my strawgirl paintings, which I am also turning into a calendar, tote bags, and a limited edition yarn doll, even.
It has been a tough year for me, after being laid of from a job that just wasn’t me anymore, and not being able to find anything stable for 13 months, it really does feel good to have raised over 6% of my goal ($650+ as of this writing) in about 48 hours. The hard part is going to be, keeping some momentum going and not get disheartened by the short money days. I chose the 60 day campaign because I feel like $10,000 is a lot to raise in any span of time. That said I really have a careful budget on my campaign page, that lays it out pretty clearly.
To me this really is a start your own business venture. Once I finish the book, then I will be getting it into bookstores, amazon, itunes, other online, and the occasional brick and mortar store, maybe even some libraries. If I can eke out enough to get by writing it, and sell enough afterwards, I can snowball this writing thing by finishing up some of my sci fi, fantasy, and Can Lit novels and short stories, that are even further along writing wise, than my memoir at this point. Then I can start selling those. I have aspirations of course to sell as many books (and paintings, calendars etc) as possible of course, and I may always have to find the odd extra gig, or some temporary job, but i really do want to figure out how to steamroll this venture into making my part time career of the last 20 years into being everything I do to make a living and express myself.
One of the things I have sort of organically made more space for in my life is being a bit more active in my various communities and helping to sustain them, rather than simply take part in them when I feel like it. As I have written extensively here, The Femme City Choir has opened up a welcoming active social justice minded world to me. I have never felt more a part of something ever. Thus as our season progressed, I joined the ‘Event committee (and decorations sub committee)’ to help organize the events and publicity, and decorations. Some of the choir also regularly participate in, and organize a monthly event at a local socially justice minded cafe called Heartwood Cafe.
This event is called Femme Fridays, and right away I wanted to jump in and help. I have a few times been the ‘femme-cee’. (Emcee) of the evening. Tonight is our June event. Femme Fridays is about giving voice to those of any gender, orientation, etc, who identify as ‘femme’ to be able to do so in a supportive, friendly environment. also the food is delicious at the cafe, which helps everyone feel comfortable.
There is a lot of Femme phobia in the world, and definitely in the queer and trans communities. At the same time as Trans women have to appear as (outdatedly) femme as possible often when dealing with doctors and shrinks, others, even feminists will accuse of us of upholding stereotypes, and female appropriation. Kind of a catch 22 to my mind. Which really shows you how entrenched the patriarchy really is. Even some capital F Feminists sometimes think being ‘too femme’ is a bad thing. It isn’t, unless that is all you are, which is not the case for anyone. We are all more complex than some silly butch/femme dynamic.
And, if a Trans man or a gay cis man, or a gender variant person want to identify as femme: hoo boy, they face a lot of prejudice. It’s systemic this fear and diminishment of so called ‘femme’ things, ideals, unless of course you are a rich white cis person, then it seems fairly acceptable to the world at large.
At Femme Fridays we dispel these cliches, and understand that while perhaps part of our self identification comes from cliched ideal of male female presentation, we are thinking, breathing humans who do not fit exactly into any cliche. We work hard in the queer community to dispel outdated ideas about what it means to be femme, or masculine for that matter.
Moving on from that, tomorrow I will be spending at least part of the day at East Side Pride, which happens a month before “Pride.” I will be part of an group of mostly older Transwomen, looking to beat the heat with water, fruit and a tent. Of course we will also be interacting with folks who stop by and trying to present our most welcoming selves to allies and friends alike.
On july 18th, I will be facilitating a discussion group at an all day conference during Genderfest, which is a week long Pride celebration of gender identities of all sorts.
My roundtable/presentation is called “Femme Diversity, Resistance, and Resilience in the Queer Community.” I am far more interested in inclusive communities and building bridges than in putting up more walls within a community that should be united, despite and because of their differences. All I am hoping from in this discussion is that people can share their experiences about being femme in the queer community, and the world at large, and maybe their ideas of how to be resilient, and strong in the face of femme-phobia and misogyny.
Oh and I also am going to lend a hand this year in organizing the Vancouver Trans March, which I have participated in, the last few years. It happens the Friday before the ‘Big Parade’ for Pride on Sunday Aug. 2nd this year. The Pride parade itself is the glitzy showy corporate side of Pride, and while the society is being more open this year to the “T” in LGBTQA*, I prefer the more grassroots, marching with placards and slogans kind of march. Also it is far shorter. My feet and my anti-corporate soul appreciate it more. The Big Parade takes all-llllll day.
I am hoping that this taking part in my community will not only help the community, and my own sense of purpose, but also aid me in my writing. To write authentically, I think you need to actually live a somewhat authentic life. The more connections I can make within these various communities and allied causes, the more I am going to be able to understand myself, and my community, and the world that surrounds us all.
All this activity is going to help me (as it already has and is helping) actually write, and finish writing my memoir. I might recall all the old stories of my life, or at least some of them, but I am finding a greater context to put those experiences into. There are different lenses needed sometimes to focus our own pasts into a coherent and relevant picture. You can’t document everything is life. What stands out, what is relevant now is usually where I spend my time nostalgia-gizing, or pondering meaning from. For me the past is like a tarot reading, the same card or memory might have a very different meaning depending on the spread, or when and why in life you are delving into the meanings.
So yeah, back to my campaign, if you have the means to donate, please do. If not and you can spare a few mouse clicks, just share it with your various social networks. the more people I can get to see it, the more contributions I might be able to get. It really is, beyond your friends and family a bit of a crap shoot. I am trying to figure out some media connections, I have tweeted my campaign at a few celebrities that I follow, like Laverne Cox, and Janet Mock, in hopes of finding someone with a big social media presence to help me spread the word.
I am not looking to profit from this campaign. The money simply keeps me from ending up on welfare, or homeless. As the job market hopes of someone who is a kind of mouthy 48 year old Queer Trans Woman with an awesomely diverse resume and CV are actually pretty meagre. And to be honest, I don’t want to work ‘for’ someone else’s wealth any longer. Like a lot of folks, I have to figure out how to make my own way. Be the entrepreneur I never thought I had the moxie to be, is what I have to do.
If I don’t reach my goal? Well, I chose flexible funding for just this reason, which means indiegogo takes a slightly bigger percentage for some reason I don’t understand, but I also have to and, can still afford to fulfill all the perks that do get bought, as well as hopefully pay some bills, rent. There is no failure in this venture, just degrees of success. Already I have 6 degrees of success, and a dozen or so folks who will get my book, and some other Josie made goodies earlier than the rest of the world.
Please share my campaign and or this blog post with your networks, if you feel comfortable doing so. xoxo.