Why I Wrote


Starting at midnight tonight, and for the next 5 days, I'll be giving away free copies of the ebook "Jackie's Not a Real Girl" - This has been a massive project that has spanned over 10 years and has demanded a lot personally (and a lot from my very patient friends)... I thought I'd share a bit of the "WHY" behind this epic poem...and what has turned into an epic process.

In Fall of 2004, I had hit rock-bottom. I was emaciated, filled with toxic levels of drugs and alcohol, living in poverty...broke in every sense of the word. On Saturday September 4th, I came into town for a conference and had somehow managed to cobble together a few days of sobriety.

It had been a tough week - Because of the lack of rehab facilities for trans women, I hadn't been able to go to a detox centre or hospital. Instead, I stayed home, double-locked the doors and hallucinated my way through the nightmares of DT's. Most of that week, I lived like a terrified animal. In the lucid moments in between episodes I was fully aware that death was a very real and very proximate possibility.

I was still very, very shaky on that Saturday afternoon. Which is when I saw the real-life "Jackie" who inspired much of the last 10 years' work.

I'd like to emphasize that JNRG is a work of fiction - The events are based on first hand and second hand experiences. But it's fictionalized.

However, one element that is a direct quote is the title of the piece.

The words, "Jackie's Not a Real Girl" were not voiced by a transphobic bystander, or a cop, or a teacher, or a bully, or a judge, or a jailer. They were said by Jackie herself.

When I heard Jackie say those words I knew that I had borne witness to a statement that was filled with almost unspeakable tragedy and despair.

Later, as I struggled with my own identity as a sober trans woman Jackie's words came back to haunt me again and again. I came to believe that these awful words were a "gift of desperation"...an insight that was both terrifying and sacred.

With that came an absolute certainty that this unique story needed to be told...And that I had to tell it.

Why did I write "Jackie's Not a Real Girl"? - Not because I wanted to... But because I had to...

I just had to.


Download directly from: http://www.amazon.com/Jackies-Not-Real-Girl-graphic-ebook/dp/B01268J1OY

Concision Version 2.0

This version, although not animated, does have a certain flow to it. The line use and white space creates a subtle moiré effect so there is implied motion. The top-down ordering of "Concision Version 2.0" sends a different message to the circular animation of "Concision Version 1.0"

On balance, I don't know whether I prefer 1.0 or 2.0 , but I'm glad I engaged in the exercise and curious to see if any comments arise.

Concision Version 1.0

As a poet, I like the idea of the concision that might be provided by animated GIFs - One can condense a large amount of information into a tiny space. One can edit the timing to create an organic punctuation.

Having experimented on social media, there are technical challenges in that the GIF doesn't automatically and consistently play on major platforms (Facebook and Twitter) ... This means that viewers have to click or otherwise interact with the piece before it reveals its meaning. Of course, there's an artistic virtue to that. However, the static "Concision Version 2.0" creates more engagement.