Voice, necessity, and thinking about it

I don’t know if you’ve seen anything about it, but it reminds me of the story of JT LeRoy. Supposedly, he was a transgendered street hooker teen who wrote the novel “Sarah” and another book. Courted by celebrities like Gus Van Sant and heralded as a great writer. He even had correspondence with Sharon Olds! Then, it turned out that he was actually a middle aged woman. She claims that he was real as he was a product of her mpd. At the same time, she was prescient enough to have another woman play the part of him in public while she played his publicist. I find the story amazing and fascinating.

the most interesting thing to me is that in a recent Rolling Stone article, the woman who produced him said, (basically, as I won’t quote, just a paraphrase.) People would listen to JT, but not to her because she was a chubby middle aged woman.

I feel like that as a poet a lot. I’m a chubby, female poet. Who wants to listen to me. There are about ten million other me’s out there in this world. What makes me think my voice is special, what makes mine necessary? Am I wasting all my time with these little lines, these missives to no one?

Here’s the thing: My voice isn’t special, or out of the ordinary, or even necessary. That’s why I write a blog instead of a book. That’s also something I accept.


Filed under Frustrations and Rants, Musings, writing

7 responses to “Voice, necessity, and thinking about it

  1. It’s your VOICE that is immortal; the Bard wasn’t the most attractive man (although no definitive painting of his true image has been verified) and Emily Dickinson couldn’t hold a candle to Pam Anderson in the looks department. But your words, your verse, your take on the world (if you have true talent) persists long after bones turn to dust. Keep writin’, keep dreamin’…

  2. polkadotwitch

    being chubby or female doesn’t lump your voice in with other chubby females (although we’re a pretty lively group). everyone has a different voice. i think your voice is special and necessary. as is everyone’s.

    whenever i wonder about these kinds of things, i think about how much worse of i’d be if i had no ability to express myself, however mundane i happen to be feeling. some people feel like just another chubby girl and have no words for it, have no voice at all.

    of course, editors and publishers probably ask the question about who’s distinctive and who’s not more critically than the rest of us. but that can’t be the standard we use as we decide if our poetry is worth pursuing.

    you decide if you have something to say. you shouldn’t even censor/edit by trying to figure out if it’s “important” enough to say. just say it.

    i know you didn’t post these questions to be lectured. it is an interesting discussion. i just get excited sometimes. 🙂

  3. ru

    I feel with you on the last couple of lines… but your latest poem “Gifts” is amazing. love it.

  4. Every voice is special if it has passion behind it, and yours does!

    I understand the feeling though, the fear that nothing I have to say is unique or special or better than what everyone else has to say. But really, I write for me, first and foremost. I always have and I always will. I love an audience, and aspire to wider publication, but my voice exists and has value independent of that.

  5. Thanks, Emily.

    I actually think that this post was misread by a lot of poeple, which is probably my fault for not expounding upon my thoughts more.

    I meant with this that I think that writing is necessary, but I don’t think that being read is. Well, I sort of meant that. I meant that I think I’m good enough for what I am. I guess.

  6. slynne, some of the stuff you have written has been stunning… there are so many talented people in this world singing, playing, writing, acting, painting… if I were to judge their talent by whether or not they are known by many I would be the less for it. It is too bad that we as a society do not integrate more of this community talent into our lives. Instead everything has to be a competition. The notion that such and such is the “best” is most often a crock of shit unless you are talking about machinery. Most of the singers and actors who come into “fame” are there because of attributes other than talent. Hell, we can’t even choose a president based on credentials. It is all marketing and ego. True art rises above both and is often unrecognized (especially by contemporaries).

    Now of course there are many exceptions to this rant but I still think it applies ninety nine percent of the time.

    To paraphrase polkadotwitch, let it flow…

  7. Idetrorce

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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