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This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Letter to Michelle Tea

Dear Michelle,

I just finished reading your book, Valencia, and I wanted to say a few things. Let me get out of the way my gushing: I was impressed with the immediacy of your writing (which might be a writer's compliment of the vaguest proportions). I mean your writing resonated for me with its hilariously dramatic sadness and its orgiastic astrology. When you first began describing the main characters as "Piscean...children of karma" or your own "Aquarius electricity" I smirked conspiratorially and felt a connection to you that transcended longing.

The longing comes from the lives you glossed on while you cataloged those two years in hilly and bacchanal San Francisco of your youth. You wrote some lesbian modes of operation so clearly that all I could do was roll my eyes knowingly. The diving, diving in that you did with your love affairs and girlfriends, the self destructive partying, and pushing the limits had such romantic appeal it was hard not to pine for it.

What I'm really here to say is that I want to defend myself. Maybe "defend" isn't the right word. I think I mean, I want to speak up on behalf of the women like me, who have just left the age you were when you were writing Valencia. I want to talk out for those of us who have been watching the likes of you as we came of age.

You're like the high school freshman and we're like the fifth graders (stick with me). You will always be older, more cutting edge, more experienced and with more freedom to explore, shout out, fuck up and get older. I will always look at your writing references and want to catch up, but I know I missed my chance. If I had been the kind of girl to hop out of high-school and onto a box car headed anywhere, I might have found you older sister punk grrls. I might have experienced Team Dresch live myself, or done meth in some shit back alley in the rainy darkness of Seattle or San Francisco. I might have written a memoir about living fast and dying young only to follow up by slowing down and staying alive to enjoy the fruits of my so called fucked up youth.

Your version of "lesbian," complete with chopped up green hair and butch dykes in make-up, is something I'll never fully experience. I was ten years too late, playing with my G.I. Joes while you secretly nursed crushes on the outcast poetess of Main St. in your boring town. You are my older sister, with the wilder stories, the battle scars, and smoker's voice to assist your alibis. You fed on political action groups while I was being served advertising and stories of the good old by-gone days.

Everything for my generation was filtered and fabricated. But you, and your sisters taught me all the wrong moves along with the right ones. I understand the fire in your belly with every long term girlfriend, the desire to die trying rather than sell out.

Rock Out,
Shana

2 comments:

Universal Life Church said...

Would greatly appreciate the adding of one or both of our links to your webpage.

Universal Life Church http://www.ulcnetwork.com

Universal Life Church Social Network http://ulcnetwork.socialgo.com

Thank You:
~ Brother Michael

ShanaRose said...
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