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Stage Fright

Field Notes In/On transition

Stage Fright
I’ve been thinking about “voice” a lot recently. 

Not just my speaking voice, which still is mannish as ever most of the time. I’m more frightened of sounding like an idiot or a stereotype than I am about “looking the part”. Also, I’m aware that my writerly voice needs to change. 

If you’ve heard/seen me read you know that I’m pretty comfortable with my “voice” which to put into hackneyed lit terms is “not a Slam Voice” but rather a merging of “Beat” line readings and “Prairie line breaks”.  If I change my speaking voice, which I will have to do, at least somewhat for my own comfort as well as to help those around me see me as I want to be seen. This of course is hard work, which is kind of anathematic (apparently to coin a phrase) to how I lazily go about my life.

Me reading:

Yet last night I turned down a reading opportunity. A gaming friend who is also a poet is organizing a haiku/local poet night at the end of May. 

When he first approached me to do some haiku (I have a series or two of them in my latest book. Which you can buy here. ) I gave a noncommittal “sure thing” as I’ve never turned down an op to read somewhere, especially if I actually make the bill, and not just an open mic sure thing. But afterwards and in the days following, the more I thought about it, the less sure I was that I wanted to do it. Not liking where I’m at with my poetry being a big part of my misgivings, that and the voice aspect. I’m not Josie Boyce, the poet, yet, but I….

I was waffling on it, had it in the back of my mind. I’m just not ready to get up and read Josie style, whatever that means, nor do I want to get up and read Joe style. Weird? 

Yes, yes it probably is, but for the first time in over twenty years (at least as a poet) I have some stage fright.

I feel almost like I’m between careers, artistically, right now. The writing energy I do seem to have, (which thus far has been more disciplined than any writing I’ve started in a few years.) lately is very much focussed on this blog, as opposed to poetry or fiction which, creatively, artistically, are the places I mostly dwell; with the odd multi media side trip into photography, music, and especially, video poetry. 

Likely, this is understandable, as I am undertaking a rather big change in lifestyle. It’s pretty reasonable that most of my thinking is directed towards an understanding of where it is that this journey is taking me.

I do have escapes, like reading, and other media consumption, (which takes up nearly as much time as work) and the three semi regular Tabletop RPGs that i play. Currently I’m playing a Pathfinder (aka D&D 3.75) game, running a D&D 3.5 game, and playing in a Talislanta (D&D with no orcs, humans, elves, or dwarves, for some reason) campaign . Yes, yes, I am a lifelong nerd.

The most fun I get out of these games other than a few moments here and there while playing, is in the character creation. I can do nothing with a character unless I create it from scratch. Backstory is everything. There is a lot of poetry to be found in creating a backstory, even a cliched Fantasy hero/heroine. For me working within the cliches is like writing a sonnet or some other less than free verse capacity.

I am very slowly also about ankle deep in a screenplay of sorts - A 15 episode web serial about washed up superheroes, and a book of both prose and poetry from Guinevere’s point of view that I just may illustrate, myself.

But mostly what comes to mind to write about these days is my “self”. My body (which despite/because of my weight loss as well) is far less alien to me recently than ever in my life. I chalk this up to both my transition, and hormonal rebalance, as much as I do my “much healthier than I have been in years body”.

I have almost stopped seeing myself as grossly obese, and mostly see someone who needs to exercise a bit more regularly, and with a bit more oomph, to maybe start getting rid of the hypertension meds. Hardly ever, unless I let the face shaving slide more than one day do I see Joe in the mirror anymore. As a kid I always thought I was awesome at every sport I tried. these days I watch sports. 

Me in 2005 just after returning from Tokyo (280 lbs and less than healthy looking:

This situation is changing also, I think. I’m feeling more mentally ready to finish getting my body into shape. with all the weight I’ve lost (nigh on 90 or more depending on the scale) I’m still pretty darned flabby. Walking is the most natural choice for me, maybe biking, jogging. I’m scared to death of yoga for some reason, mostly I guess because most of the time, I feel as graceful as a bull moose drunk on skunky cheap beer.. Shallow reasoning? yup. 

Me, a few weeks ago, just a wee bit healthier looking:

How am I getting my mind and body in shape? 

By writing this blog as regularly as possible, and slowly developing more ritual, and routine in my life. I’ve spent so much of my life being contrary to whatever ideas are tossed at me, that it is almost like a rehab situation, doing things like household chores, writing, exercising, cooking, etc from an attitude of personal responsibility, as opposed to a personal response which usually consists of promising yourself, and others: “ Tomorrow, I’ll do that tomorrow, soon, oh yeah I’m working on that”… etc, et al, and so on, so forth.

I guess I have stage fright in regards to not just reworking my “voice” to suit who I am becoming ( I do understand that I don’t “have to” worry about this kind of thing that much this early on in transition, but well, I am doing so) but also of exposing myself as some sort of awkward wannabe. Everyone has doubts. Is it sad that I’m embarrassed by myself when I try to exercise, or try something new? 

I feel like it is, but working past these things is pretty much what I’m about these days. I’m not really sure if I’m making the point I wanted to make here. I have recently though been thinking about staring to draw again more seriously. It’s been ages since I have done anything other than a doodle alongside some poetry revisions. Here’s an old Josie Page” to show you some of my art.


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