Chapter Two Has Done Me In and I Have Done It In

Good god, the last five or six pages of chapter two were so hard to write. And not because anything particularly hard to deal with happened. It’s more just like I can’t quite convince myself that this is a book. And then I get irritated with myself because of course it’s a book. It might be a book that sucks, but it’s a book.

But here I am writing chapter two in which it ends up only two things really happen. The narrator goes out to Scottsboro and then the narrator goes to Kentucky. Dinner is made.

And everyone sits around and talks a lot. They tell stories.

But this is what people in my life do! We don’t do things. We drive places, we look at things, and we tell each other stories.

But that’s not the only thing that’s kind of weirding me out. The other thing that’s weirding me out is that, in the past, I’ve always written the kinds of things I like to read. This narrative, though, keeps kind of fucking with me in that regard.

Some of it is hard to tell. When I reread it, I might not like to read some of it just because it’s a first draft and it isn’t working.

But some of it is that we keep meeting these people who seem like a big deal, but who then fall by the wayside, because they only have some minor purpose with regards to furthering the story.

And I guess I should tell you that there’s been a lot of time between each of these sentences. I started this post an hour ago.

But the thing is, this is how I experience things, how I’ve always experienced them–that you get to know people, some of whom are important some of whom only seem important and you invest everything you’d invest in people and then you’re up and gone or they’re up and gone or you thought they were really interesting, but they didn’t really like you. Or visa versa. But it doesn’t matter because your time together is so short.

And so of course it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense.

It’s an ancient problem of mine. And one I’ve never come to terms with.

And yet, I feel like it’s crucial for the book that it be in there, not just talked about, but written into the shape of the book.

And yet, I feel like all these characters are telling stories more interesting than the main one.

And I feel like, if the book needs to be weird, it’s not as weird as it needs to be.

And I also feel like I need to just fucking stop worrying about it. It’s just a rough draft. Get it out so I can see how to fix it.

Ugh. And I still haven’t made plans yet to get to Watseka.

Self-Avowed Feminist, Gail Kerr, Has some Opinions about Emily Evans

You may recall a while back when Gail Kerr told us all about feminism and how hard women like her had it back in the day and how it was just an unacceptable level of sexism for unnamed internet folks to refer to one of the gubernatorial candidates as KimmieMac. I should have cut and pasted the relevant parts into that post, because you can’t click on the link and get anywhere anymore. No matter. The point is just that Gail Kerr thinks of herself as a feminist and that sexism is bad.

Fine. Happy to have you in the fold and thanks for all the trails you’ve blazed.

I’d just say that the point of blazing trails is not to then leave burnt out shells of civilization in your wake so that no one can follow you. It’s not actually good feminism to salt the earth where you’ve been.

But Kerr is busy salting:

Councilwoman Emily Evans: Oh, she wishes. Dean probably does, too. Evans, for whatever reason, fancies herself as Dean’s antagonist. No one is sure why she is so blatantly hateful to the current administration, but she makes no bones about it. If there were a Metro Council flag for “taunting,” she’d draw repeated penalty markers.

To her credit, Evans has positioned herself to be a person who asks tough questions and looks at the fine print on deals the Dean administration brings to the Metro Council. The problem is that she often comes across as the class know-it-all who revels in media attention.

She has spent her first term on the council paying less attention to district-centric issues than countywide ones — her expertise is in the bond market, so that’s a natural inclination. But it’s been hard to see past that to find her vision as an advocate for anything.

It’s easy to be against everything. It’s harder to run for mayor and be for something. And that would be her downfall in a race against Dean.

Plus, who would finance her campaign? She would watch her Belle Meade district constituency dry up like leaves on hot air if she ran against him. Try her again in 2015, perhaps for an at-large seat or, if she can moderate her tone to be a tad less shrill, vice mayor.

What, Kerr? Did you run out of room for “dowdy,” “frumpy,” “get back in the kitchen,” “whether she’s considered her husband,” “thinks too much,” “putting her career ahead of her children” and “bitch”?

I don’t give a shit if Kerr hates Evans. You’re not doing your job as an opinion columnist if you don’t have opinions about the people you write about. And you’re not doing your job as a politician if you haven’t made some enemies.

But I do give a shit that Kerr’s problems with Evans are basically just that she’s a woman who is too much–to smart, too ambitious, too opinionated, too vocal–and that Kerr uses a cross of junior-high insults and specifically gendered insults to get her opinion across.

We’ve had the “shrill” discussion here more times than I can count, where women say “that is used against us in specific ways” and others say “well, I don’t mean it like that and I’d describe everyone that way if they were, so I refuse to believe you when you say that it has a specific gendered meaning that is used against women” and we go round and round and the women all end up emailing me and asking me if it’s really so hard to understand that “shrill” is used as a red-flag against women in a way it is not against men?

And I say, “I just don’t even fucking know. It seems obvious from this side of the table.”


Gail Kerr sits on this side of the table. She has written passionately about her experiences with sexism in this town. And still, when it came time to turn on Evans, that’s the well she went to.

It cannot continue to be the only well we draw from. Women, especially.

Ask yourself this. Say we’re not talking about Emily Evans. Say we’re talking about your brilliant, opinionated daughter.

Would you want her to read that column?

Would you want her to read a woman advocating that another woman, a brilliant, opinionated woman, should maybe work more on being friends with everyone and less on being smart? That maybe a smart, opinionated woman shouldn’t consider running for mayor, but just settle for vice mayor, where she might be better suited?

Is that the message we women are sending to each other now? Aim for the middle? Don’t stand out? Be friendlier?

And fuck me, Martha, does Gail Kerr really think that what Nashville needs are more nice leaders and fewer smart ones?

That’s Kerr’s stand?

“I want stupider, nicer leaders?”

Here’s my stand:

“Nashville deserves better.”