All Together Now
I had a very interesting conversation with the journalist and memoirist Cate Montana a couple weeks ago on Author2Author. Cate is a true Baby Boomer and her book (Unearthing Venus) seemed to encapsulate that generation’s particularly acute struggle with what feminine power is and isn’t. Her conclusion was very much my conclusion watching the “Battle of the Sexes” from my boyhood’s perspective – that what was a feminist movement was really humanist movement. I say this because growing up I came to perceive two ideals of manhood: the Warrior (conservative) and the Scientist (progressive). The Warrior was strong and the Scientist was smart. There were also artists, notably actors and musician, who to me seemed like glittering man-child exceptions to this rule. Unfortunately, even though I enjoyed the battle-like arena of sports, I knew I was not a warrior; and even though science (and its theoretical grandfather, math) was interesting, I did not feel that the questions I most wanted to answer could be answered scientifically. So if I wasn’t a warrior or a scientist, was I weak and stupid? This was a question, I noticed, a lot of women also seemed to be asking themselves in one way or another.
It was in writing that I found my answer to this question of my strength and intelligence. To write, I needed to be a whole human being. I needed my male side, the side that wants to make stuff in the world and is rational and linear and likes to figure out how things work; but I also needed the female side, the empathetic, intuitive, emotional, and receptive side. Without both sides, nothing authentic could be created.
A lot of the essays in this space are a conversation I am having with my more masculine half, who very much wants to me write stuff but is a little wary about the way in which these things are written. He still wants to be strong and smart. And indeed he is. His strength is his integrity, the wholeness from which creation is born; and his intelligence is his curiosity, those questions to which he receives answers.
Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.