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Reaction To Corinne Scott’s Review Of “A Woman’s Passion”

| Feb 18, 2008
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In the February 11th edition of TGF our blogger Corinne Scott reviewed a work of TG fiction. The review was the result of Corinne’s lamentation in a prior blog that no TG fiction was really good writing; the TG elements tend to get in the way of the story in many cases. The novel she reviewed was A Woman’s Passion and the author is a TGF member, Miss Cheryl Ann “Cassie” Sanders. How did Cassie take the review? Being a writer Cassie put it into words and sent to us. We now share her reaction with you, gentle readers.

An Only Slightly Defensive Reaction to Corrine’s Recent Review of My Novel

Dear Corinne:

Thanks for the careful (and <whew> mostly positive!) review of A WOMAN’S PASSION. Authors often respond to reviews in the New York Times Book Review, so I guess I can get away with it here.

I’ll try to beat down most reflexive defensiveness and acknowledge that I surely did, as you noted, sacrifice some story momentum, and, even perhaps, some story arc, in order to work in the kinds of scenes that tg-readers crave.

I did try to make each of these tg-focused scenes true to their moments in the story. But, as you surmised in your review, I was sure to get them in at regular intervals. (And not, of course, only for my audience; I do <blush> like writing them.)

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that, ironically considering your review, almost all my fan mail does celebrate those scenes especially. (Also see postscript.)

But (as you would be too, I would guess), I am especially proud of the many fan letters that claim in them, with pride, in paraphrase: “And I didn’t just read ‘the good parts;’ I read and loved the whole thing.”

I especially got a real kick out of your dual review concepts: (1) Cassandra has all the heavy lifting; and that (2) perhaps one should consider it more Cassandra’s story than Allison’s.

I wish I had thought of that latter perspective when I wrote the book and made more of it!

I did try a bit. Let’s take, for example, the Apple Hill scene in the novel in which Cassandra and Allison are being hassled by some men. To my mind as I wrote it, (with a nod to Elaine Boozler’s famous joke), I was sure that the reader would quickly appreciate that Allison simply wasn’t quickly recognizing the inherent danger in the situation, simply because Allison hadn’t, as had Cassandra, lived her whole life as a woman, as a person with a vagina. Cassandra’s life had taught her, and she had to quickly teach Allison what one must say and must not say, what one must do and must not do in the presence of those kinds of men.

Learning to be a woman.

I often take umbrage at some transsexuals’ various dismissals of crossdressers. For example, they often don’t believe what I have noticed to be true. For many crossdressers, this “learning to be a woman” is a fascination, not at all limited to clothes, make-up, posture, etc. What I don’t like about most tg-fiction is the dearth of exploration of either “transitioning” or “crossdressing” into a woman’s mind and heart.

So, you were astute in noticing that is a key theme attempted in the novel … and, I hoped, the ultimate irony of the title. (And, I do, in fact, believe that the central place of profound connection with another, the central place of love, in a woman’s psyche is very different than a man’s … and can never be overestimated.)

Generally, I brag (based on a small sample of five) that gg women readers do seem to like the book: that they like Cassandra, and that they, too, find the erotica hot! Two gg women vetted Allison’s “touched for the very first time” feelings while I was writing the book; and it is those scenes in particular that gg women seem to like the most.

I don’t know if this is the right place, but, sequing from my novel and your review, I would also like at some point to discuss with you, as it relates to the novel, but also in general terms, your long aside on three subjects: (1) the cd and homophobia; (2) tg misogynism and; (3) the fantasy and reality of the gg succorer.

I use “discuss” instead of “debate” advisedly; because I don’t totally disagree with your perspective on these things. But I do think they are worthy of more discussion. And TGForum is probably a good place to do that in public, inviting others’ comments.

Just to start it off. You claim in your aside that the role of the gg succorer in tg fiction in general, and also specifically in A WOMAN’S PASSION, is an insidious example of misogynism. But isn’t that kind of like accusing a novelist who has a scene with an African American mugger of being a racist? Generally, don’t we all know, or at least know of, gg succorers? Although their own etiologies and conscious or subconscious motives are debated, scholars of the transgender experience have long recognized their existence. (An obvious public example is Helen Boyd whose support of Betty has evolved into a virtual industry for Ms. Boyd.) Of course, I guess, even if you accept that “Cassandra’s” exist outside fiction and fantasy, I could have tried to explore my Cassandra’s conscious or subconscious motives better. I did hint at them; but chose to leave them a bit of a mystery.

Do tell us more about your perception of the gg succorer in tg fiction, in tg fantasy, and as they exist in life.

Thanks again for your well-considered reading of my novel.

Yours,

Cheryl Ann “Cassie” Sanders

P.S. Did you notice that yesterday’s post (February 14, 2008) here about pantyhose has already generated six reaction comments; but your review none? We are, after all, who we are.


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Category: Transgender Opinion

angela_g

About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

Comments (4)

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  1. says:

    I’m perhaps not as young as you think…I think the photo I use is generous in that regard.

    Anyway, what’s age got to do with it?

  2. says:

    Corinne–

    If only I was a little younger, I would say: OMG, we must become BFF!

    Cassie

  3. says:

    Cheryl,

    Thanks for your response! I won’t lie…the dearth of comments to my original essay was frustrating. As you well know, when a writer puts something in front of the public, the absolute worst thing for them is the sound of crickets. I’d rather someone hated what I had to say, so long as they wrote about it, than be completely unmoved and silent about it.

    First, I want to apologize. The proper and professional thing to do would have been to e-mail you a copy of the review prior to its publication, so that you could have girded for it. I’m sorry I neglected that step in the process.

    The great thing about fiction is that it’s so interpretive…it’s really an interaction between the reader (and what they bring to the table) and the author. That you have an appreciation for these different interpretations is fun.

    You talk about your GG audience, and I get quite a kick out of that. In college, I was in a creative writing class, and the prof’s gimmick was to circulate the various writings anonymously so that we could read each other’s work without having preconceived notions of who wrote what. The glass had maybe ten females and three males (counting myself I suppose, which I’m loath to do, but there it is). Being who I was, of course, I had to toy with the class, and knowing that my work would be presented without a title page, I decided I would try pass it off as that of a natal female…through style and content and what have you. The central writing I submitted was a “period” piece, if you catch my drift. It was successful too, until all of the women got together after class one day to compare notes and realized that none of them had authored the story. It was a gratifying experience…which is neither here nor there, except that your story reminded me of mine.

    Your point about crossdressers and transsexuals sometimes being at odds is a frustration of mine as well. I do think we’re different creatures, in that we have different motivations. But there’s a part of me that doubts you can put on lipstick and a skirt and not gain at least a little insight into the mystery that dwells on the other side of the gender divide.

    Normally I’d end on that note, but since you brought up the notion of the “gg succorer”…I have distinct thoughts on the subject, but perhaps it would be best to give them their own forum. I doubt it’ll be as well-formed as this one though; I have some personal experience with the subject – good and bad – that informs my opinion.

  4. says:

    Hello Ladies,

    I just wanted to chime in and let both of you know that I had read both articles concerning the book. I’ve seen it advertised on Cheryl Ann’s web site but have no inclination to read it. Consequently I havent’ had any comments to make regarding the review or it’s defense.

    However, as I wear pantyhose almost daily I did feel compelled to write about that subject.

    I’m sure this has muddieed the waters further.

    Sincerely,
    Linda W.

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