How do I make sure to separate the stories that I tell from necessity—for advocacy reasons, for example—from those that feel most personal, most true, most alive?
“What happens when we mistake a successful narrative for the heart of the matter?” WHEW what a powerful question Finn!
“I need to know that an effective narrative and a deeply true one may or may not be the same.” This is the scalpel-like precision of your heart-mind that I appreciate so much.
“I think this is a practice. So I leave time to imagine. I look for gaps and questions. I check with my body. And I make time for my secret writing, the writing I do only in a notebook, the stories I tell only to myself.” THE STORIES I TELL ONLY TO MYSELF. So much this Finn.
Thank you for this incredible essay. I find myself also wanting to know about Frank Woodhull’s trip to England…what an incredible heart he had to live the life he lived, not buying property but making pilgrimage. Just beautiful. Thank you for bringing him to us to engage these imaginings.
Thank you for your openness, Finn.
This is fascinating stuff. I listened to your interview with Wil Fisher and I loved the point on how Frank's disappearance from historical record was the best possible outcome for him, especially after the scrutiny he was subjected to at Ellis Island. It made me think about how a lot of narratives in today's culture revolve around visibility - specifically, visibility within a dominant cultural paradigm - and it made me question whether 'visibility' should be our goal, or if it would be better for us as queer people to reject the idea that we must fight to be recognised in a culture which wasn't built for us, and to just go about our lives in the way that we truly would wish to. I think this is an incredibly complex matter, which I haven't gone very deep into here, but one that I am nevertheless glad that you have brought to my attention.