Judy, Waylon and Me


                                                       photo by Gerald Zoerner

I have spent most of the day at the university, tackling a horrendous assignment. It's an "explication" (which is a horrendous word) of an essay about gender by Judith Butler, the American post-structuralist philosopher. I don't get on with philosophy at all and I've been bashing my brains against Judy's (undoubtedly) brilliant wanderings for a week at least. I've also been trying to work out what the hell "explicating" an essay on someone's theories about gender has got to do with English literature. I know I'm studying women's writing this year, but we didn't have an essay about Karl Marx to do before we studied Dickens.

I had more fun this morning playing Waylon Jennings' Greatest Hits CD before I came out. Not the famous leather-look, gold-leaf-lettered one from the Seventies (although I bought that on vinyl when it was released and still have it in my spare room), but the one that RCA released many years later with about ten more tracks on it. I put it on as I was having my bath and engaging in the intense personal grooming I undertake before I come out every day. Waylon was glorious back then and still is, in my mind. A real philosopher king. He hunkers in there like Hunter S. Thompson, as an ideal; an ideal of self-realization and personal freedom that encourages me to be myself without apology (not that I can help it anymore). When I listened to him sing "Don't Y'All Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand" this morning, it didn't matter that I was going to the university to spend the whole day sitting at a computer boring myself shitless. Temporarily I could have been ten feet tall.



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