Self Portrait by Katie West
Early this morning it occurred to me that it is almost March. And the first, next elated thought that followed was: It’s almost time for Coming & Crying to become a real live book!
I’m looking forward to this book more than I am the culmination of friends’ pregnancies (No offense ladies - babies are great). I’m anticipating it not just for the content (though I’m booking plenty of Alone Time In the Bath Tub for reading it) but for the process and what it makes possible.
I think we underplay how significant it is to watch this collection of talented and dedicated women (AND MEN, I know!) create and continue hoisting forward their work. Despite their resources, geographic relevance, fame or lack thereof. In spite of what anyone may think of them, what people will surely say. I’m encouraged by a world where Katie West’s photography and writing will be lauded, where she has the balls to put it out there and keep putting it out there and saying, this is what I do and I’m proud of it. Where Tess Lynch doesn’t have to just be funny, she can damn well write earnestly about handjobs if she wants to. And the list goes on. I don’t know Melissa, but she writes with a matter of fact forthrightness that is convicting, that makes me want to be less flippant, less self-deprecating. And I’m encouraged that we’re listening and considering and not disregarding her or any of these women as sensationalistic; The furthest thing from what they are.
And of course, Meaghan. Of whom I am proud like few other people I know. For her guts and work and focus and transparency. Yeah, it’s not for everyone. I know, I know. Some of us have Grown Up jobs or children or simply value our privacy too much. That’s fine. But there’s something to profoundly admire in how much Meaghan and Melissa and the whole crew believe in this project and are willing to bare themselves because they believe in Conversation. Meag so sincerely regrets the dearth of honest, reverent writing about sex and what an important, complicated, elating, crushing part of our lives it is that she’s going to clamor to correct that it in the public square. And then she’s going to go out and find KickStarter and unflinchingly ask people she knows, loves, doesn’t know, doesn’t like to contribute to this and be a part of it. Both in terms of their finances and their own stories. Because it matters to her. Not just in private, not just in one segmented room of her life. It matters to her no matter where she is and she has the artistic courage and transparency to say that and let the world be damned. To tell her mom and her aunt and her sister about it. The men she’s dated and will date yet. Her employers and her former employers.
She’s unconditionally proud of what matters to her and her ability to write about; How many of us are willing to be that earnest about anything?
Maybe most of all, the thing that kills me is all of these women’s ability to stake a new flag - to say: This is who I am. I am a writer who writes from my guts about Anything I want to say and I won’t cushion it to get some lucrative corporate job with people who wouldn’t approve. Or to ensure that some man won’t think I am too much, too honest, too difficult, too aggressive.
I guess I mean she and so many of the other women in this book are not compromising. And that’s not the entire point of the book but it’s a little manifesto that catches my attention and makes me proud to be a woman, and to have the chance to support them.
So that’s it - that’s my point.
There are only four days left to buy this book. And more importantly, to support a group of writers and artists who aren’t sitting around, remaining limited by convention or conventional publishing or our judgment.
I’m so excited to watch this thing happen. You should be too.