I’m Just a Girl

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Go ahead. Blame Virginia Woolf.

I’m about to have a tantrum. Now, I have two kids, and they’re pretty good kids, but one thing they do pretty well at being horrid at is having tantrums. There’s screaming involved, sometimes shrieking, depending on which kid we’re talking about. There are flying limbs, and flying objects. There’s real, visible, passion leveled at the universe.

When the kids have a meltdown, I do my darndest to hang onto my own cool. It’s a real challenge. Nobody likes a tantrum, and responding in kind tends to not go well.

Even so, there’s nothing I’d like to do today more than kick and scream with all the passion and fury of my inner four-year-old. My kids got my temperament, for sure. I might be better at hanging on to my hat as an adult, but that deep-running emotion is still there.

So, it could be Virginia Woolf that triggered this. Or, I could go farther. Last week I found a copy of 50 Shades of Grey, by E.L. James, lying around in a friend’s room. It’s one of the props to his burlesque show, which is interesting in and of itself, but not essential to the story. It was a Saturday, and I didn’t have my kids, and my friend had business to attend to. I was left to soak in the slow warmth of honeyed San Francisco sunshine out on a smoking patio, with a large coffee and most of the morning to kill.

I finished the book in under 24 hours. This might be related to my desire to have a tantrum, but don’t jump to conclusions, yet.

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I took a photo of that flower in bud on the same afternoon. It was peaceful. Remembering it helps calm my aggravation a little bit.

Subsequently, I came home and raided my family’s bookshelf. In the last few days I have finished, in rapid succession: Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and Jane Austen’s Lady Susan. I’m now partway through Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

During the same time, I continued my usual browsing and reading of random bits and articles and videos and such online, mostly via facebook and twitter. I mentioned that this week I discovered the writing of James Altucher, and today I also saw and read several posts by Clay Hebert.

Nothing personal against Clay, but I found myself about to have that tantrum. On the one hand, he wrote a whole post talking about how awesome AJ Leon is, and we all know how I feel about AJ.

Here’s what Clay had to say, though, about heroes:

boys

I’m a girl. I mean, I’m a woman, no doubt. I’m a mother. I’m pretty damn female, actually. I have female parts. There was no assembly required. They just sort of arrived, along with the whole being alive thing, and a parcel of brains that I don’t know what the hell to do with.

Seth Godin, I think he’s a boy. Steve sounds like a boy, too. Aaron, Jerry, Jack, and Dwayne? Heroes.

E.L. James, Virginia, Charlotte, Jane, and Anne were hanging about in my hindbrain, possibly ready to have a pity party about this.

Yesterday, I was on twitter for some unknown reason, and took note that James Altucher, who just landed on my radar screen this week, was interacting with Chris Brogan. Chris is absolutely one of my heroes (as I mentioned in my first post ever on this blog) and I consider him a friend, though he most likely considers me more in light of a crazed and obsessive fangirl. Which I don’t mind much, as it’s more of less the truth. 🙂 Chris was one of the first people I ever met in person after interacting via twitter, and he’s been instrumental in getting me interested in many, many amazing folk over the past two years. I should no longer be surprised at finding connections between these writerly sorts of folk, but this struck me as being just that much more bemusing. I’ve started to feel like there’s some kind of club, and have jokingly christened it the “supersecretclownninja” club:

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Super bloggers. I feel seriously outclassed (I am- these guys have been working on their blogs for much longer than I have, and they know what they are doing!)

Me, I’m still blundering around figuring out how not to do stuff. But I’m learning.

In case you were wondering, this is the clown ninja reference:

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I have a quirky sense of humor, ok?

The good news is, I no longer want to kick and scream. Yay internet memes.

Another blog post I read this week was by Marcy Massura, talking about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.

I thought, wow. I read exactly one blog written by a woman this week, and it was talking critically about another accomplished woman. I love Marcy. She’s amazing. I don’t know much about Sheryl Sandberg, and I’ve not read her book, though I’ve seen some of the fuss. But the awesome ladies club feels a little scary. There’s no soothing clown ninjas here.

Whereas, I found the #secretninjanerdsuperheroclownclub, and it consists of all boys.

Well, watch out, boys. This Warrior Princess is on her way, and she’s bringing her own cape.

Also possibly wearing her underwear outside her pants. You get the idea.

ash

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12 thoughts on “I’m Just a Girl

  1. Um wow. So nice of you to link to me. Although it would have better if you said something nice. My post is not about being critical of Sheryl. It is more about standing up for all the other women she made feel like failures because they didn’t ‘lean in’ enough.
    I could have been more rah rah supportive of Sheryl…but I won’t do that just because she is a woman. I won’t blindly align myself with a concept, business or person just because we both share lady parts. But that’s me. Equal opportunity criticism.

    Yep a lot of men in this industry. Lots of females too. We are here. And we are taking over .

    1. Hahaha I know, here that’s my point and I didn’t say anything nice, either. Why are we not more supportive of each other? I did read your post, though, and I did think about why I don’t read more female bloggers. It’s on my mind. I don’t mean to give you unfair treatment, Marcy. I’m a little muddled in these thoughts. It just feels like being a girl and doing this stuff requires coming at it all from a very funny angle. You do it well. Me, I’m still trying to run at it like flinging myself at a target of some kind.

      Thank you for reading 🙂 I promise I’ll be back with a more thoughtful treatment at some point. Today I was a bit riled~

      Also… wow, that was fast. You’re on the ball.

    1. Oh wow! You actually read it. Now that just makes my day 🙂 Thanks for setting the example. I felt less constrained after encountering your writing style, which feels more like how I wish I could write. I used to teach writing, so I know that a lot of it is practice, but getting in voice has been a challenge.

      1. Yeah, getting the right “blogging voice” is critical. Because the format is a bit smaller than most essay writing. And you have to visually engage the reader also so their eyes dance down the page (pictures, bold, small paragraphs, etc).

        And then each paragraph needs that cliffhanger, while at the same time giving a POW of value. This keeps the dance going.

        All while you bleed. But not repeat-bleed. If you say “I killed someone”, you don’t need to say it again (unless you killed someone else)

        I tend to read 3-4 hours before I start writing on the day. I don’t always read the best writers but I try to read the best autobiographical fiction writers.

        Autobiographical because that’s what blogging is.
        Fiction because the guys who write the best autobiographies are actually poor writers (because they spent their lives doing something else). It’s the best autobiographical fiction writers that have the strongest voices.

        This is not a man or a woman thing. For a woman you probably want to find more female fiction writers with strong autobiographical voices.

        I lilke:

        Miranda July
        Amy Hempel
        Lydia Davis
        Mary Gaitskill (only her first short story collection)
        some Joan Didion
        Nora Ephron (essays)
        Ariel Leve (essays)

        For men, I like:
        Denis Johnson (ONLY his short story collection, Jesus’ Son)
        Raymond Carver
        Sam Pink
        Charles Bukowski
        Celine
        Sam Lipsyte

        Probably in order my favorites are:

        Denis Johnson
        Miranda July
        Sam Pink
        Ariel Leve
        Raymond Carver
        Charles Bukowski

        And then I rotate through dozens of other writers.

        Then for every 2 or 3 posts I write, I probably publish one. And I try out posts in multiple outlets, sometimes even under different names, to gauge response.

      2. Sweet, thank you for sharing your workflow. There’s a lot there. I’ve been trying to figure out how any of this is supposed to help people. Chris’s advice to “be helpful” keeps coming to the fore.

        Interesting authors list. I will see what the library holds 🙂

        The format feels odd. I’m feeling it out, still. I’m playing with video, now, too. We’ll see what happens.

        🙂

  2. Thanks, Jackie. I’m thrilled that you read some of my posts. Clearly, we both admire AJ Leon a lot.

    I do have lots of female heroes too. My grandma, my mom and my girlfriend as well as Sarah Kay, Jacqueline Novogratz, Ishita Gupta, Jill Bolte Taylor, AJ’s wife Melissa and many others.

    I certainly didn’t mean to exclude women from my list of heroes (if that was your point?) I was just writing and those were the names that popped into my head – definitely not meant to be an exhaustive list.

    The point of that paragraph was to highlight the difference between famous idols, whose success can seem so unattainable and someone like AJ, less famous but every bit a hero and someone to idolize.

    Hope that helps clarify. Thanks again for reading my stuff. I appreciate it.

    1. Hi Clay! Sorry it’s a poor introduction. Something set me off this morning, and that’s what came out! I actually wouldn’t disagree with your list of heroes, actually, and when I list my “heroes,” I tend to think the same: Chris Brogan, AJ Leon, Chris Guillebeau, Mark Horvath, etc.

      Thanks for clarifying what you meant. There were a lot more layers to your post than I covered, for sure. I feel faintly apologetic for presenting the quote so out-of-context, but I was already heated before I got to the bottom of it, despite our mutual admiration for AJ’s work (and there, I completely agree with you!)

      Very happy to make your acquaintance, and super grateful that you took the time to read and respond. I am sure that I will be back to read more of your work, and expect that productive cross-fertilization will continue.

      I presume that part of this blogging stuff is learning not to be oversensitive! I don’t at all mean to be offensive, just to give vent to some strong feelings as best I can.

  3. Superninjablogger. With a cape. I haven’t blogged since I bled all over the Internet last week. Time to get back in the saddle. This helped. Love that you’re reading and thinking and misfitting and being.

    1. Oh man, Gigi, thanks for coming by. Your post is so going to show up here soon. I just haven’t figured out how to approach it, yet. I LOVED you bleeding all over the internet, trust me!

      Making me get all squishy and emotional, now, miss! ❤

  4. Big huge LIKE. I’m up late wide awake and somehow found myself over here…you completely drew me in with your expressive writing. Really cool what James Altucher responded with too.

    Thank-you Jackie.

    1. Oh wow! Thank you SO MUCH!! I love your art, lady, and it’s been a long time since we used to play about on twitter 🙂 Thank you for reading! It was super awesome of James to respond the way he did. You know what feels most good? The way he takes me seriously as a writer. I don’t even take myself seriously, normally. What an awesome thing that was. I really appreciate your being here.

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