Saturday, September 7, 2013

To My Daughter: Introduction

Dear Morgan,

Last night you posted the following on Facebook.
i'm going to be corny and post this on your wall so everybodyy can see it: you are the best dad and i love you : ]
In addition to getting me all choked up, you may have dropped an answer into my lap.

About seven months ago I broke my decades-long silence on the subject of feminism. During the following six weeks I wrote six more articles. In the last five and a half months I've written only one.

If you read all of my feminism articles from the beginning, you'll see the progress I've made and you'll understand why I've been reticent despite that progress. My initial passion was suffused with an anger that cooled as I wrote. I needed to write about, and with, that anger to get past it. That process has given me both clarity and pause.

Do you remember when I told you I was learning the difference between writing to say what I needed to say, and writing to communicate with my readers? I was thinking primarily of this piece. I don't know if you've read it. Hell, I don't know if I want you to read it. It's not the type of thing your average Dad wants his daughter to see, yet perhaps that very discomfort makes it all the more important to share with you. I stand by every word of it, because it's the truth. Yet I see now that it's an example of my saying what I need to say, rather than writing in a way that communicates. That's why future articles will include rewrites of that piece.

Feminism is polarized, politicized and rhetorically ossified, and I am angry. That's a shitty combination. Now that I've written a few pieces and gained a bit of clarity, I doubt that I'm yet capable of writing usefully about feminism, because the concepts I consider so vital to convey are so easy to misconstrue. Yet I have to keep writing if I'm ever to write more usefully.

I spent months ruminating somewhat bitterly on all these thoughts, and then last night you wrote the post above. And it suddenly occurred to me that I should write all my pieces on feminism TO YOU. After all, why am I concerned about feminism? Because I want to contribute to a world where you are safe, where you have equal opportunities, where you can exercise your vital powers, along lines of excellence, in a life affording you scope.

I trust myself when I think of you. I have faith in my ability to do what I do not because anyone's watching, not because I'll get credit--hell, not even caring whether you know about it or not--but because it's right for you. If I write to you, you'll be my pole star leading me through pitfalls of anger and narcissism.

Thanks for being you. I don't know whom I'd be without you.



1 comment:

Joe Check said...

She's your writing sponsor.