Tuesday, May 25, 2010

25th May.
The day started in discouragement and difficulty.
I felt distressed that my last two plays had elicited such strong responses and such profound interest but that, yet again, I had failed to translate this response into anything concrete...
I went to my office but simply could not concentrate.
I was about to give up and go home when i remembered a phrase I had picked up from a fascinating conversation i had had on Sunday night.
With a disillusioned oil producer who had been unable to tolerate the fact his industry was living in, and fiercely propagating, a lie and so had felt obliged to leave it.
The phrase was "peak oil".
This refers to the fact that oil reserves are finite; that the rate of discovery of new oil fields is slowing; but the demand for oil is constant, and growing.
A point will come, of necessity, when oil supply can no longer meet demand.
And because the whole structure of our society is dependent upon oil, and the continuing supply of oil, this will precipitate a profound crisis.
This crisis is coming soon; and it certainly has been underlying the West's invasion of Iraq; quite probably the tremors and panics in the stock market, which seem interlinked and never ending. (Today its the Euro again, and fears of war between the Koreas)
There may also be a connection between the difficulty that some states are experiencing in retaining control of their own capitals (Greece a couple of weeks ago; Bangkok; and now Jamaica)
Under the circumstances, there is a pressing need for Western economies to begin the process of adapting to a post-oil situation.
But none of them are doing so.
In fact the subject is never mentioned.
We just had a Queen's Speech today, with all the flummery such an occasion seems to demand, that in fact bore absolutely no relation to the underlying realities of the situation.
Scotland has immense possibilities of creating renewable energy; and yet, as a conference today pointed out, there is absolutely no possibility of raising the finance to exploit these possibilities (http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Cash-39black-hole39--threatens.6316501.jp).
So the political and financial systems are both failing us.
This has been a concern of mine for years; and to have this confirmed so graphically (see http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net)
which logically should have left me depressed, suddenly galvanised me.
All the work I am currently doing, on the Enlightenment play, on "God's New Frock", "Jesus Queen of Heaven", "Losing Venice" and "The Tree of Life" suddenly seemed to inter-connect and make perfect sense.
And all the little whinges of the beginning of the day vanished in the context of the realisation of what needs to be done.


Monday, May 17, 2010

A kind of dread in the air today among all of us who depend on government spending for our living.
The hard hearted men in their expensive suits giving a press conference to parade their virility, which they will express in financial viciousness.
Frantic folly from the airlines protesting against the latest volcano ash ban on air travel.
India does a test launch of a medium range ballistic missile.
Whatever the lessons, whether from the financial or natural world, or from the hideous carnage of nuclear holocaust: there's a blind determination to ignore them.
All we can do in the face of it all is try not to be overcome by despair: and struggle on.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

I've applied for full gender recognition.
It's a complicated business, this. A form to fill in, letters of support to be obtained - from your GP and from your Gender Specialist, who has to be recognised as such, and on an official list - a statutory declaration has to be signed in the presence of a solicitor, money has to be sent, and documents that prove you've been living in your new gender for at least two years.
So I did all that a while ago.
The committee only meets once a month, and there's a waitong list of applications, so it all takes its time.
I thought it was all a bit of a formality for me, a kind of administrative convenience so I could finally get all my official documents bearing the same name.
But the day before yesterday a letter came.
I found my heart beating wildly while I opened it: and understood it was not a formality for me at all.
But something deadly serious.
The committee were asking for further information.
They had changed the goalposts, and now in addition to what they already had required documentation from each of the two years up to the present.
I only understood this when talking to the charming, friendly and helpful person at the end of a telephone line who is my case worker.
(I have to give her my case number, and my pass word, i should add, before she becomes friendly and helpful at all)
It's a strange process, trying to find letters addressed to you that confirm your identity.
A bit randomly, I root through drawers and find:
the identity page of my passport (dated 2007)
a letter from my union representative (dated 2008)
a letter from Hull University (dated 2009)
a copy of my TV licence (dated 2010)
a copy of the Guardian review of Every One, which very publicly states I have "become a woman".
And all this has to be gathered together, and photocopied, and envelopes have to be found, and then a post office.
And I am complicating matters further by wanting to send the book of Every One, and reviews, and audience comments, and the Jesus postcard to Teatre Romea in Barcelona and Rough Magic in Dublin.
I find this all very traumatising. I understand later this is because I am taking on two huge difficulties and sources of distress at the same time:
my identity and my self esteem.
Which are, of course, utterly linked.
I forget to bring the books, I seal envelopes by mistake, I can't work out how to turn on the photocopier. Someone refers to me as "he" in a bookshop; I get called "sir" in the crowded post office...
and I don't have the strength to reply.
When I get home, a bit worn out by all this, I see a newspaper report about the gay couple who have got married in Malawi and consequently face savage jail sentences.
One of them may be transsexual: there's a photo of him wearing a woman's blouse, handcuffed to his lover, being jeered at in the open back of a pick up truck.
And I think: I have such an easy life.
Not that that really helps me feel better.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

We went to B and Q today.
The last time i went to a DIY store i was still living as a man and felt utterly wretched.
I felt inadequate because this seemed to be a world where i should feel at ease and was not and for some reason felt guilty and ashamed of it.
But this time I felt totally at ease with myself.
Even when someone started staring at me I simply found that amusing.
Transiton has these uexpected pleasures...


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I left the house to go to dancing soon after 7.
It turns out that it was then that the new government was being announced.
But somehow I had turned my back on all that.
It was at the dance class that i really began to dress as a woman and identify myself as Jo.
And as I walked up tonight, i had memories of how scared I used to be as i walked up in those days, generally in a skirt (after months of bringing it in a bag and changing into one when I arrived).
Of avoiding the groups of men. Or adolescents. Or anyone who looked the slightest bit scary.
I must have zigzagged my way up and down the street.
And as I danced tonight I suddenly became aware that such fears and dilemmas no longer figure in my life in the slightest.
Claire, our teacher, spoke of how we humans have met and embraced in the dancing circles for hundreds and thousands of years.
How in spite of everything we still do so.
I walked back, very slowly, because my knees ache these days, and entered a world where the "progressive alliance" was apparently incapable of being formed.
Reaction seems to have won again: and it disgusts me already.
And I wonder how humanity ever does make progress.
I guess through the unseen activities of millions of groups and individuals like us: trying, even if in the smallest of ways, to create a better world.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

When i cross my road today it's full of fat men on motorbikes.
Roaring by.
On their way back from a mass rally down the Royal Mile.
To commemorate the homecoming of a Scottish regiment, who march by soon afterwards.
They're just back from the futile Afghan war, where many of them have been wounded and killed.
As I go up to pick my paper, the street is lined with uniformed boys and girls, looking cold with collecting tins.
Its all a sad celebration of testosterone.
And sadder still to find girls among the boys in uniform: both seduced by the lure of masculinity and aggression.
Sickening, the hypocrisy of it all.
While behind closed doors, the proponents of the "new politics", of transparency and clarity in the public interest, are making secret deals to further their own ambitions.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Woke at 3am and couldn't resist turning on the TV to see the results.
And then it was hard to turn it off again; and then it was hard to sleep.
So that by the end of the night all my energies were misplaced and disharmonious, somehow...
And I worked at tidying the house with the news on... and found myself following the developments on the BBC and the Guardian websites. It was all oddly compelling, for some reason.
But such a relief, when they played a movement of the Quartet for the End of Time at lunchtime, to be reminded that there is another dimension independent of all this self-seeking..
Having known, even when I started this website, that the voting system was unjust and ineffective perhaps i should take some pleasure in this being widely known.
But again there's the sad spectacle of supposedly intelligent plitical animals doing their best, for their own narrow reasons, to ignore the obvious.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A strange night.
Riots in Greece. Ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. The volcanic ash cloud hugely over the Atlantic ocean.
And the three so obvious signs that the present order simply cannot hold totally ignored.
The draconian and patently unjust sufferings of the Greek people presented as an inescapable fact of life.
New oil discovered at massive depth off the Malvinas.
And no-one even want to mention the ash cloud.
And it's almost 11.30; we've had one election result; and the pundits are all sitting about in the studios trying to pass the time as if everything was the same as it ever was.
But life is in suspension, i feel.
Not just in the (comparatively trivial) party political world but on a deeper level too.


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