It’s been difficult to find time to keep this blog up to date. I have been dutifully attending my weekly writer’s group and trying to press forward with my memoir one chapter at a time. Between that and the writing that I get paid to do, I haven’t had a whole lot of time for The Flannel Files. It’s funny, because this blog started the whole creative writing thing in motion.
Anyway, I thought I would share some writing that I did today in group related to the theme of my work in progress.
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My memoir has a number of themes, all related in some fashion. When I stop and think about the main theme, “gender” is the one word that comes to mind.
It seems to be a clear-cut topic. Boy. Girl. But in my world, it has never been clear-cut, which is why I have a story to tell. The lines have always been fuzzy. Actually, not fuzzy but movable. For much of my life, I have had to put my shoulder down and push with all of my might to move the lines that most seem content to walk within.
Gender is such a common identifier: a capital M or F on a driver’s license or a checked box on a birth certificate. There is never any room for in between. Everything is always hard and fast.
I always think of the gravitational pull that I used to feel when I entered The Gap clothing store at our local mall.
The women’s clothes were on the right side of the store. The men’s clothes on the left.
I always felt a tug of duty to enter on the right side and pass my eyes over the khakis and the button-down shirts there.
Eventually, I would loop around to the left side, which contained more khakis and button-down shirts. In my mind’s eye, these were authentic khakis and button-downs. They always felt more real and practical without the extra stitching or pleats or darts.
In a way, my life — my battle with gender — has been a giant loop around a boy/girl clothing store. At first, I sought acceptance but eventually mustered up enough courage to just shop on the left.