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Gandhi & Being Vegan - Chicago Burlesque Dancer Red Hot Annie Weinert
She really makes the wieners boil!

Red Hot Annie / Ann Marie Weinert
Date: 2013-02-27 15:58
Subject: Gandhi & Being Vegan
Security: Public
I finished Gandhi's autobiography.

Well, not really. I got about 75% of the way through and completely lost interest. At that point, I skimmed the rest of the book, looking for spots where he talked about relationships, food, or women.

Reading his autobiography was really enlightening in an unexpected way.

As someone who enjoys writing (but would never consider myself a writer), I found that after a couple dozen pages, I had built an idea of what he must have been like as a person. Although his ideas on non-violence (new word: Ahmisa!) are very thought-provoking, and he did a lot of good for the civil rights of people both in South Africa and India, I found that I really disliked his "voice." He seemed stubborn, overly particular, and downright arrogant!

Then I remembered that the written word is limited, especially when one is writing about themselves. We can write about all of the things that interest us, but the best "voices" are actually more in tune with the information the reader is *actually* looking for. This is something I have always struggled with, personally, both as a writer and a conversationalist.

But I could see it in his autobiography - I wanted to read about his views on leading people, and civil rights, his relationships, and his personal anecdotes and stories...but he wanted to tell me about his indigestion, and eventually policy/etc (see note above re: skimming). Tedious!

Anyways, I'm onto a new book called "Eatting for Beauty" - which has it's own strong voice that I'm not sure I've warmed up to, yet. But I enjoy the challenge, nonetheless!

The truth is, I prefer documentaries & non-fiction when it comes to my "down time" - I really enjoy learning, so I've been watching and reading several movies/books on our food. What a stimulating topic. I've learned recently more information about why refined sugars/high fructose corn syrup/etc is so bad for you, and I'm also learning some interesting things about meat!

I was a fair weather vegetarian for about two to three years, and have been off the wagon for a couple of years at this point. I've been seriously considering going back to being vegetarian - or MAYBE - vegan/raw.

I'm very into self-discipline, but I find that I don't prefer "absolutes" when it comes to just about anything. Honestly, as someone who used to live and die by "The Rules," I have found that the more I allow shades of grey into my life, the more content I am with my environment and relationships.

I need the flexibility in order to not pop a blood vessel, and to be genuinely tolerant of others.

Neither here nor there, but the point is, I'm very into nutrition at the moment, and hope to continue to learn more about what kind of diet (not skinny diet, but overall diet) is best for me. I'm going to start by trying to add some alkaline products into my diet, and more veggies/nuts/seeds. Let's see how it goes!

Also - on that topic, here's a charming blog about health & wellness from one of my friends (and Lingerie Lyrique cast member): http://rosieglowwellness.com/

I actually really LOVE her "voice"!
What a positive source of energy!

Hope you are having a lovely week!

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Don Alsafi
User: duck2ducks
Date: 2013-02-28 16:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Then I remembered that the written word is limited, especially when one is writing about themselves. We can write about all of the things that interest us, but the best "voices" are actually more in tune with the information the reader is *actually* looking for. This is something I have always struggled with, personally, both as a writer and a conversationalist.

Could you go into a little more detail on this idea? As a fellow writer, this is a fascinating theory I haven't heard before, but I'm not sure I fully get what you mean...
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Red Hot Annie / Ann Marie Weinert
User: redhotannie
Date: 2013-03-05 14:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hey hey! Just a touch behind, but I will expound on this in the next week or so (I hope!). Thanks for your patience!
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Red Hot Annie / Ann Marie Weinert
User: redhotannie
Date: 2013-03-27 15:16 (UTC)
Subject: Expectations
Wow, I'm finally getting back to you on this one! It's something I'm still thinking about, but I think as a performer/artist, becoming aware of "expectations" can be a helpful exercise.

It's strange, because I believe that authenticity is key in artwork and writing, but the internet has really started to create a desire for Getting What You Expected. Naturally, when clients reach out to us, they want expected answers (usually they aren't even sure what to ask, but they have some expectations that we essentially have to guess). As a self-employed person, I find that many (most?) of my relationships skate the line between business & personal.

I think from a writing/conversation standpoint, what I'm experiencing is that when people talk to me, they have a set of hopes/expectations of what I might divulge or have to say, especially professionally. Being in tune with what a person is hoping you'll write about (or speak about) is kind of a curious thing.

It's like...being a professional dancer, when you get on stage, people expect you to bring dance movement. They don't necessarily expect you to stand still and sing. Not that they won't enjoy it (especially if you really deliver), but it's not what they are expecting going into the "relationship."

Is it art?
Is it business savvy?
Is it authentic?

I don't know, but I've become really curious about the idea that when someone clicks on my website...clicks on my blog...engages me in conversation, they have a series of expectations about what will happen, and seem to be most satisfied when their expectations are met.

People who know me personally know that I like to cut loose and don't really prefer to talk about business (especially burlesque, per say) during my "personal" time. But people who don't know me well expect this topic of conversation - or, if they know me from some other facet of life, then they want to steer our conversation towards those topics.

I feel like, as someone who would like to be a good conversationalist (always better!), I would like to be able to tap into what's expected and skate the line between that and what is actually currently interesting to me.

Anyways, that's what I mean!
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Don Alsafi
User: duck2ducks
Date: 2013-06-16 20:58 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Expectations
Hey hey! Thanks for responding here - even if it took me a hell of a lot longer to read and respond than yourself. :D

I think I get what you're saying. It is surprising to me how many artists (of all sorts, including writers) seem to miss the fact that art is, by its very nature, a communicative endeavor. The ones who get angry that their audience "didn't get what I was trying to say", instead of taking a look at how successful or not they may have been at conveying that message.

Five minutes ago, I read the transcript of Jo Walton's Guest of Honor Speech from last month's WisCon, and what you wrote about here reminded me of her own thoughts on art and writing. Specifically:

The way I think about this when I'm writing it's as if I'm shaping a bas relief from the inside -- the reader's going to be looking at it from the outside, and from a little distance away. There's clear space between the outside of the bas relief and the reader, and all I can control is how far and where the bas relief goes out. So it's useful to me to know where the reader is likely to be standing, and what kinds of angles they're likely to be viewing it from.

In shaping the bas relief from the inside I'm not trying to do anything to the reader. I'm reaching out into the space between us. They're standing on their side. Reading is a participatory experience. They bring who they are. Nothing is going to work for everyone. I'm writing it inside me and they're reading it inside them, I'm doing what I'm doing and they're experiencing what they're experiencing, but the art is happening in that space between. That clear space is the space where the reader and I are collaborating.

I also think that the thought you've put into the subject of Expectations, and how that relates to Art and Conversation (both being different forms of communication) probably gains additional depth from not only your varied experiences as a woman, but as one working in a largely gendered field. Our society places such an abundance of different roles on women that it can difficult for a girl to grow up without that constant inner voice wondering if she's measuring up to others' expectations ("Am I being a good enough daughter / sister / girlfriend / mother", etc). Boys, on the other hand, are essentially told to Just Be Yourself and Follow Your Bliss - which are fine messages, and ones that girls need to hear more often - yet can lead to such a focus on one's own desires that they don't give nearly as much thought to the complexities of personal interactions, and what others might expect from those interactions, than the average woman often has to do on a near-continuous basis.

And, as you point out, this is a subject that the self-employed person has to think about even moreso (if they want to be successful, that is).

Anyway: Thought-provoking stuff! :)
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