Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Somewhere along the way I lost the anger

Fifteen or twenty years ago, I was captivated by Bob Kanefsky's song Creature in the Wood. I patiently replayed the tape, learning the tune in the slow way my ear requires, copying out the lyrics, and I sang it often, with much gusto, for several years.

Part of it was the expressiveness of Heather Alexander's performance of it. So rich and nuanced! Very beautiful. She performed the parody of her own song, Creature of the Wood, full out, with the good will typical of the filk community. The melody was lyrical, strong, comfortably in my range, and in a minor key as I still tend to prefer. The words were smart -- an entire story with emotion and surprise.

And, I admit it, the story of a tree that seduced and eventually ate men, made me feel strong.

That was anger. I had hit situations where I was treated like I counted less because I was female. I had found doors that were closed to me, or at least weighted and padlocked, because I was born an innie instead of an outie. I'd seen salesmen's eyes pass right over me to address Doug if I asked a question when we were together. I didn't yell at anyone, or punch anyone. I did vote for women's rights and speak and write in acceptable (yes, I hear the irony) forums. And I sang this song, and a number of other angry songs. Mostly when I was alone, and I took joy in them.

As I wrote last entry, I recently listened to some songs from that time. That led to me browsing Bob Kanefsky's lyrics this morning. They are now online, and you can read Creature in the Wood here.

I found it uncompelling. It's not just that it was written instead of sung. I'm still finding Zombies Robbing the Grave compelling, and I could sing it myself if I wanted to. But the cruelty doesn't work for me any more. It feels sad instead of strong.

Somewhere along the way I stopped being mad at men.

Times do change. I've been happily monogamous with my beloved Doug for twenty-two years now. Heather Alexander has been succeeded by Alexander James Adams. I've spent some years working on my personal situation, and I'm more concerned about people than about women these days. There are still some inequalities. There has been a lot of progress. And I simply don't have the anger any more. (At least not about that. There are still some causes that hit my buttons, and alert readers probably know what they are.)

A few weeks ago, I found myself describing the platform of an organization to advance women in business as "so 90's". Yesterday, when offered a chance to join a coaching organization dedicated to bringing affordable coaching to all women in North America and eventually the world, I found myself with very mixed feelings. I like coaching men. They've treated me well and paid me well and been enjoyable to work with.

I like coaching women, too. Now I find it hard to think of the differences between us as more important than the similarities.

There are a lot of lines of thought I could follow from this. I think this is the critical one. If the work I did on myself could bring me to peace with men, could bringing such work to everyone bring peace between other groups now in conflict? Would this kind of education not be more effective and less expensive than guns and armies?


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