Sound Cafe returns today and I hope all our guests have been surviving over Christmas. It must be really hard if you don’t have a family or a base to return to and everything has shut down: it must feel like being a child with your nose pressed up against the glass of an expensive toy-shop where all the other children are playing. So I’m glad we’re back. We’ll have to start rehearsing hard now for the concert on 31st. I’ve sold nine or ten tickets already, so let me know if you want one. A snip at £5 each…
I have been aware for some time of the need for an ungendered pronoun. It’s annoying to have to keep saying ‘he or she’ all the time, but the alternative is to pick one, which means seeming to exclude the other. This leads to all sorts of problems and ambiguities. S/he who must not be named says scornfully that better people than I have tried to invent one and that in the Middle Ages they came up with ‘a’ or ‘ha’. Well, I say ‘Ha!’ to the idea that it can’t be done. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, the words ‘you can’t’ are to me like a red rag to a bull.
The question of ungendered pronouns is not, as you can appreciate, a purely abstract one for me. Every day I face conversations where I am referring to hubby as ‘he’ and everyone else is saying ‘she’. I even had someone correct me the other day: I was furious. One thing I will not stand for is being told what to call my own husband: it’s between him (argh) and me and it’s no-one else’s business. Besides, nobody knows what it’s like to live with a trans partner unless they’ve been through it, so they don’t have the right to tell me what to say. So for all sorts of reasons it would be really good if I could come up with an ungendered pronoun. But what could it be? You can’t call a person ‘it’ so that’s out. You could try the medieval ‘hir’ for ‘his/her’ I suppose but that’s only a partial solution. So what could it be? We could combine ‘she’ and ‘he’ to make ‘Se’ but that sounds very like ‘she’. I don’t know. But I will do my damnedest to come up with something, because these asymmetrical conversations are driving me mad.
My second blog-post for Mslexia should be up soon. In it I discuss my reactions to Mark ‘coming out’ and the way in which this has affected my writing. Yesterday I came across a critical comment on the first post, which upset me as it accused me of trivialising and sensationalising Mark’s problems. I felt truly terrible for an hour or two – but people on Facebook were lovely; and of course Mark him-argh! – and of course hubby was on hand to soothe and reassure and be a general all-round good egg.
Maybe the ungendered pronoun should be ‘egg’. ‘I said to egg… you can tell egg…’ ?? What do you think?
There’s a bit more of Sound Cafe on Youtube, including this interview with me. Whenever I hear my own voice it sounds terribly nasal to me…