When we left your intrepid blogger, I was waxing poetic about sex. What? I was talking about god? Little matter. My blog, my spin. Anyway, we were talking about words and how much I adore them. They intoxicate me and fill me with a swooning glee. I savor the taste of a new word as it rolls off my tongue–or trips, as the case may be. Each word has a subtle flavor to it. Well, some aren’t subtle. Piquant is spicy, of course; dolce is sweet; chocolate is utter paradise. These are all self-evident. Some other words are a bit more enigmatic in their taste. Lugubrious has a hint of black licorice to it. Deliquesce is creamy alfredo sauce. Melancholia is laced through with limes and raspberries. Alan Rickman is chocolate, which is, if you remember, utter bliss.
So the next word I chose to describe myself was writer. I hesitated to use it for a long time because I didn’t feel like a “real” writer (read, published). I had had a few things published in the Asian American Renaissance Literary Journal, but not much else. Oh, wait. I should say I added performer to my repertoire before adding writer. I was an Actor (with a captial A, thank you very much, and not an actress), but then I got frustrated with theatre, as it were, and I decided to do my own thing. I wrote the performances, blocked them, staged them, provided the makeup and costumes, and I performed in them, so I guess autocrat would be a better description, but I’ll settle for performer.
Back to writing. I have done it all my life. I started out as a poet and then migrated to prose. I never called myself a writer, though, because it sounded fucking pretentious for someone who’s never been published. However, once I attended grad school in SF and attained my MA in Writing & Consciousness, I felt like a real writer. Not because of the degree, but because I was forced to write copious amounts on a regular basis.
The experience itself was frustrating to me because my cohorts didn’t quite get my writing. I have an odd style that is very stream-of-conscious, fucking dark, and sometimes lyrical. I don’t particularly care about structuring the narrative or the proscribed paths of plot progression. If I want to have the climax as the first thing, I will. If I want to jump from first person to third person view point, I will, damn it! I mix the past and the present in liberal amounts, and I make no qualms about it. I did most of this stuff before it became trendy to do it, but I wasn’t secure enough in myself or my writing back then to actually stick to my guns over my distinctive style.
Now, though, I say without apology that I am a writer, and a pretty damn good one at that. It has taken me these many years to honor the voice that is mine, but I finally do. Yes, it is odd and unusual, but I see that as a good thing. I don’t want to be the next Amy Tan or chick lit writer. I don’t want to be the pale imitation of someone else when I can be the real Minna, full of boldness and sassiness. With my writing, I can say things that I cannot utter so easily in spoken words. I can be heard, damn it, and I won’t let anyone shut me up again.
The latest piece to the puzzle that is me: my political identity. Now, as I have said, I have always identified as liberal. The bleedingest of bleeding hearts. The dirtiest of Dirty Fucking Hippies. I just assumed that I could call myself a liberal and be done with it. Well, as is the case with many things in the liberal party, it’s not that simple. Now adays, we have the Blue Dawgs who might as well call themselves conservatives and be done with it. We have centrists who are a bit to the left of the Blue Dawgs, but who are still pretty much smack dab in the middle of the road. Then we have pragmatic liberals like the prez who believes in many progressive causes, but believes the best way to effect change is to do it from inside the system. Then, we have the progressives. Before this election, I didn’t really know what it meant to be progressive. I read an article by David Sirota, and it all made sense. Shorter Sirota: Liberals want to change things through the system; progressives want to change the system itself. I have read many other definitions of progressive (in terms of liberal politics), but this is the most concise one I can find.
I thought it over, as is my wont, and I realized that I am, indeed, a progressive. I think our two-party system is fucked up and that the endemic problems of such a system make it nigh impossible to effect any real change without dismantling said system.
So, if I were to string a bunch of words together to describe myself, they would be sensual sexual hedonist, progressive Taiwanese American agnostic female writer, with tats. That would be pretty accurate for a thumbnail sketch of my persona.
However, I have come to realize that I would like to move away from such concrete descriptions in general. I wrote my bio for Yellow-Menace today, and I realized that I didn’t want to write what I usually write. “I am a Taiwanese American bi woman with tattoos”. I mentioned being Taiwanese because it’s pertinent to the site matter, but I didn’t mention the tats or the sexual identity because it didn’t really fit what I was trying to say. As readers of the site got to know me through my writings, they would figure out those things about me, anyway.
In the end, I think it’s more about what I do than necessarily what I say. I don’t need to proclaim my identity as long as I live it.
P.S. Again, the image above was created by www.wordle.net. They fucking rock.