Thursday, January 12, 2006

one year ago...

one year ago today was the first morning since puberty where i woke up without boobs. this self-designed body had become such a part of me that the event almost went completely unnoticed, almost became a moment that I'd remember, days later and wonder if i should have commemorated it in some way. Instead, my friend meg managed to remember one of the most monumental events in my life that i just happened to forget. Thank God we were already out at a bar so we could toast my man chest. still, i was left with this lingering feeling that it was something i should have remembered myself.

That year seems so far from where my life is now. I have finished school, left new york and moved in with my girlfriend. I no longer have a studio in which to stare at myself day in and day out, recording every change on paper. Perhaps it isn't that this change has been so natural as to fade into the background but rather that i no longer have time to marvel at the changes i have had the amazing opportunities to experience.

I no longer worry about hiding my chest, i no longer worry about speaking and my feminine voice giving me away. both are quite to the contrary. now i worry about hiding my drivers license and my social security card giving me away. Today, i have gone from battling the world's perception of me on a daily basis. I rarely get called anything but "sir" when I'm out in public. The fear and discomfort isn't as near to the surface, but the stakes somehow seem higher. will i loose a job when people find out? how often do i not even apply for a job because i fear this will be the case? i don't know the answers to these questions. what i do know is that people continue to surprise me. after all, two years ago today i never would have imagined looking in the mirror like i did last night and examining my new chest hair.

one year ago today i was lying in bed, tubes sucking fluid out of my chest. bandages covered the place breasts used to occupy and a compression vest held skin against muscle. this morning i woke up, scratched at an itch just below my scar before throwing on a t-shirt and stumbling down to work.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

million lil' what?

turns out that the Oprah book club memoir "a million little pieces" is closer to a work of fiction than a memoir.

According to The Smoking Gun website:
Of course, if "A Million Little Pieces" was fictional, just some overheated stories of woe, heartache, and debauchery cooked up by a wannabe author, it probably would not get published. As it was, Frey's original manuscript was rejected by 17 publishers before being accepted by industry titan Nan Talese, who runs a respected boutique imprint at Doubleday (Talese reportedly paid Frey a $50,000 advance). According to a February 2003 New York Observer story by Joe Hagan, Frey originally tried to sell the book as a fictional work, but the Talese imprint "declined to publish it as such." A retooled manuscript, presumably with all the fake stuff excised, was published in April 2003 amid a major publicity campaign.  turns out that his alleged crime sprees were grossly exaggerated if not completely made up.

James Frey is in fact not such a bad guy as much as he'd like us to believe otherwise. so was this simply to sell books? perhaps. Memoirs are the genre of the day. Seems more likely to me that he was doing what boys and men do everyday, he was looking tough. To look at a photo of this man you'd think him to be a kind of nutty professor type, with a tweed sport coat and a pipe the more likely outfit than prison stripes. his look doesn't give much of a "bad ass" impression. perhaps this man wanted to say what all men want to say: "I'm tough, i can protect myself, and I'm so much more interesting than I look. Respect me." Last night i watched a show called "Raising Cain" about the disservice that our country had done to it's young boys. With the advent of school shootings and youth violence, we have gone from coddling our boys to fearing them. It seems to me that Frey has taken a normal teenage bravado of talking shit (although slightly misplaced on an adult his age) and made a fortune off of it calling it a memoir. I've never read the book, but i hear it's a good story. Sounds a little sensationalistic, but a page turner nonetheless. And although his posturing doesn't really bother me, his constant and consistent denial that anything in his book is less than true seems more intriguing to me. I'm sure he was a boozer, a user and a looser, but admitting he spent a few hours in jail instead of three months doesn't make his book any less interesting. Instead, it makes him less interesting. that's what this is really all about. I know I'm relatively new to this manhood thing, but i want to say that i think honesty is more important than how often you can swear and how many months you spent in jail. i wouldn't mind making "a million little dollars" i just wonder at what cost. my integrity is worth more than that. i think that's being a man.