Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

"Breeders" (Originally Sent to Frank Aqueno on This Date)


> My first x-lover arrives tomorrow with his. I think I'll be on an altered
> schedule what with da guests and all.

No problem! I think I may have used up all my allotted "Frank time" for the next few days last night anyhow. Today I used up even more of my free time by spending the day with my parents, so now I'm feeling distinctly behind on the PFLAG correspondence. Oh well, tomorrow's a weekend still, so I should be able to catch up.

The reason I spent the day with my parents is that I finally bought their car. It's a 1989 Nissan Sentra and I talked their price down to $1000 even (they had originally wanted to charge me $300 more than that) so now, provided that the insurance company stands by the quote they gave me, I'm only going to be somewhat poverty-stricken instead of outright destitute. (I do wish somebody would hurry up and give me a raise though, because this business of working 40 hours a week at the most boring job in existence really ought to earn me a lot more money. I get excited when they allow me to do something interesting like stuff envelopes nonstop for two weeks, or better yet run the postage meter all day for two weeks—I will do anything to escape the boredom of proofreading columns of numbers for 8 hours a day which is what they've been making me do for the last two weeks.)

The biggest problem now is that I have forgotten how to drive. My dad has been re-teaching me and I have now reached the point where I'm no longer utterly terrified anytime I see a car parked along the side of the street and have to figure out how to avoid hitting it as I drive by. In fact, he's been teaching me enough so that I can now drive to and from work and the grocery
store without too much difficulty. Getting into a parking spot once I arrive there, though, is distinctly more difficult than it used to be. Also there are all these buttons inside that do things like defrost windows and turn on windshield wipers and I'm not at all sure I've got the buttons figured out yet. Also I'm not too good at finding my way around town so rather than letting me try to find my way from my parents' house to my apartment by myself tonight, my dad rode along while I drove over here (half hour drive) and then he took the car and drove himself back home, and tomorrow when he does his morning jog he's going to drive it back over here and leave it in the parking lot for me and jog home.

The best thing about visiting my parents is their cat. She is black. Her name is India, short for India ink—I named her that, when I was living with them. She's a good cat. Highly arrogant, which in a cat at least is a quality I can appreciate.

> Was the 'wanting to breed' comment reflective of your gender? I find it hard
> for a male to defend the position of having one of one's own with 40,000
> dying everyday whereas a woman's desire to experience childbirth is much more
> understandable and therefore more valid to me.

I think I would say that my comment was not reflective of my gender, or at the very least definitely not reflective of it in that way. Personally, I would not find anybody's desire to experience childbirth just for the heck of it very understandable. (Now that comment might be reflective of my gender.) Childbirth is just (for women) a brief unfortunate necessity along the route to acquiring children one can raise. Anybody who is motivated to breed just from a desire to 'experience childbirth' instead of a desire to raise the children should be locked up somewhere for their own good.

The reason why I want to raise children is that I have a need to figure out what I want from the world. It isn't enough for me to know that I hate the way the world is now—I have a need to know what the world would have to look like in order for me to really like it. And raising children would force me to think enough about what kind of world I wanted to give to them that I would learn things about myself that I won't learn otherwise. I have a deep need when I look at the people around me and hate their guts—I have a deep need to prove to myself that if I were in their circumstances I would handle everything much better. So I try to put myself in their circumstances to give myself the opportunity to outdo them. My gender-switching arises largely from that impulse—the feeling that I could do it better than the "real" members of the other sex do it. So I try it and check out whether I can. My wish to become a parent also arises from that impulse.

Also, the reason why I would want to have my own child/children and not adopt is that other people tend to be painfully stupid and if I had my own then it would be more likely to inherit a brain.

If I may say so . . . my feeling when reading your anti-breeder writings was very much a feeling that you had wanted very badly to raise children and had turned to the argument that breeding is wrong because that was the only way you could handle the pain of not getting to breed. Correct me, of course, if I am wrong—but that was what I felt.

Saying this reminds me that there was a point in time during high school, shortly after I turned queer, where I believed that if I were to happen to end up spending my life with someone of my own sex then I would never be able to have children. This made me intensely sad but I was determined not to let such a thing stop me from falling in love with any sex I wanted to. Later on I realized that there are sufficient numbers of queers of both sexes who harbor secret wishes to become breeders that a few close friendships with queers of the opposite sex could be sufficient to enable me to breed. Arranging the custody among large numbers of parents could potentially be a problem though. To be honest I don't really care to share custody with anybody. My motivation for breeding is to find out what kind of a parent I would make, so any parenting that anyone else does would just lessen the amount of learning I'd get to do. I think I would be happiest if I could breed like a plant and not require any co-parents.

> I love your comments about my work. Okay, I crave them now. They mean
> something because I have a sense of just how sharp you are.

Thanks. I love your work. My comments are the least I can do to return the favor for letting me read it. To me at least, you are a major writer. When I first visited your writing in the summer I believed that since I had not heard of you, you could not be a real writer. There are so many people in the world who claim to be writers but I have such a low tolerance for almost all of them so I have learned not to subject myself to anybody's writing unless I have heard them recommended by somebody whose tastes I have faith in. When I visited your site in the summer I glanced at Mom Dies/ and Pursuit and read a few lines and skipped around and did crazy things like reading them from the bottom of the page upward because I did not believe they could be worth my while, I was not reading them as writings, I was only checking out the homepages of all my listmembers and yours had an impudent number of words on it so I wanted an excuse to get out of there without wasting days and days trying to read so many many words. When I came back in December I was ready to listen. Or at least I was ready enough that when your work grabbed me and sat me down and said You Will Listen, then I submitted. You are a real writer. Reading your work inspires me to write. I love your writing. You will love mine too. The piece I'm planning to send you first is the first 3 pages or so of my novel. It needs to be revised first, which is half the reason I want to send it anyway, because having an audience forces me to start writing again. After the PFLAG correspondence quiets down, that's when I will send it.

Talking about writing makes me want to recommend books. Some books that have inspired me are:

Quentin Crisp: How to Become a Virgin (you've probably read it. the usual Crisp stuff)
Annie Dillard: The Writing Life (book about what it feels like to be a writer)
Christopher Isherwood: Kathleen and Frank (about his parents)
Li Yu: The Carnal Prayer Mat (pornographic Chinese morality tale from circa 17th century—about a guy who can't seduce anybody because they all laugh when they see how small his penis is—then he gets an operation in which his penis is augmented with pieces of a dog's penis, and then seduces every woman in the neighborhood for 200 pages or so, and then suddenly he feels terribly guilty about his debauchery so he chops off his penis and becomes a Buddhist monk and lives happily ever after and the author is so very proud of him. I loved this book because it made me laugh.)
Anchee Min: Red Azalea (autobiography in which a Chinese woman tells, among other things, of being seduced by a man who turns out to be Chairman Mao's wife disguised as a man)
Minnie Bruce Pratt: S/he (prose poems about her love for Leslie Feinberg)
Joanna Russ: The Female Man (vicious man-hating lesbian diatribe of the most entertaining kind)
Gertrude Stein: Ida: A Novel (indescribable - this is my favorite book in the world, please read it)
Gore Vidal: Myra Breckinridge (I presume you've read it.)
Andy Warhol: The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (self explanatory)
Jeanette Winterson: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (coming-out story . . . when I first read this for my "lesbian literature: theory & practice" class in college I complained to the professor that the only problem I had with the book was that I thought Winterson was supporting the 'born that way' point of view. The professor looked surprised and immediately referred me to a passage which she informed me that, when read carefully, tore the whole 'born that way' idea to shreds. She was right. I guess I wasn't having a good day for picking up on subtleties.)

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