Saturday, March 23, 2013

Keystone Conference Part 2: Wrath of Sophie

(If you haven't read part 1, that's HERE.  You don't need to do so, but there it is.)

Friday morning dawned cloudy and cold. 

I woke up several times during the night to go to the bathroom and to drink water.  My hangover set in during the night.  My only hangover of the conference. 


I rumbled into the shower, shaved, and made myself up.  I didn't want to waste too much time in bed.  I'd slept in as it was.  I'd been working so much the past few months that I kept oversleeping at the conference. Friday was the day Jennifer Finney Boylan was to speak and I wanted to be fresh and ready to meet her.  She'd agireed to sign my copy of one of her books, so I put that in my purse. 

It's a big purse.

 I bounced around downstairs a bit.  I was wearing a casual pink top and a denim skirt.  The past few days, when dressed casually, I hadn't been wearing my corset.  I made sure what I wore was at least a bit blousy.  I saved my corset for the nights and dresses when I needed an hourglass.  So I was far more comfortable, and sweat a LOT less.

Happy and Comfy

Before lunch, I saw Professor Boylan speaking to some people I knew.  I went over and was introduced.  She said to call her "Jenny" so I will from here on out.  We spoke for a few minutes about writing and I thanked her in advance for signing the book.  She said "Authors who don't sign books won't have readers.  Authors without readers have blogs."  I replied "Ouch" and she smiled at me.

In her speech she hit a nerve.  She talked about trans-activism, and how Telling our Stories is activism.  Showing our hearts and that we ARE people.  Well, as my masochistic 58 followers (Welcome Tessa!) know, I am very interested in Our stories. 

It's just a matter of the telling, and someone Will listen.  One heart, one mind at a time. 

After the lunch, I waited in line briefly for an opportunity to have her sign the book.  And she did!

Jenny has been one of my inspirations since before I re-discovered myself.  When I first heard of "She's Not There" I thought "I wish that were me- that I could take that journey."  Now, years later, I AM on that journey. 

Dreams come true if we have the courage to follow them, I guess.  Of course, I still have a way to go on this journey, but even starting it is a blessing.

After lunch, I met my "Big Sis" Mel in the bar, and gave her a room key (as she was staying with me.)  She was having lunch with a couple of her old friends. She was elegantly dressed in a black skirt and sweater ensemble. I bought her (and myself) a Macallan and sat with her for a bit.  She was having a wonderful time.  I also spoke briefly with Chloe Prince

I went to see Amanda Richards for Friday night makeup.  I decided to wear one of my favorite outfits, but... the skirt wouldn't fully zip up!  I last wore it in October, with hip pads, and while tight, it fit fine.  Since then I've lost lots of weight.  So why wouldn't the damn thing zip?  GRRR!!!

I went up to Amanda's room and the two of us labored to zip it.  No dice.  After struggling a couple minutes, she calmly said "Sophie, since you last wore this, your started hormones.  Do you think maybe some of your fat has shifted?"

So we gave up, and she did my makeup.

I then went back to my room and removed the hip pads.  And I looked at myself.  Things DID look just a little different.  Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but I thought my thighs were a bit thicker and had a very slight curve.  I did a happy dance!

Without the pads, the skirt zipped right up.  Go figure.

Mel was asleep on the bed.  I found out later that she was quite sick.  Eventually it turned out to be food poisoning.  She decided to go home.  I was disappointed, but I understood.  She felt better a couple days later.

That night I went to Cafe Fresco again.  I sat with my dear friend Jone and with a couple of people I didn't know, but would discover to be simply amazing: Olivia Lauren and Jacqlyn Tressa.  I had such a wonderful time speaking with them! 

With Olivia at Cafe Fresno

After dinner there was another small snafu with the buses, but it was quickly sorted and we were soon back at the hotel. 

Now, during Thursday, a children's hockey tournament hit town, which meant parents and kids running about the hotel.  The kids were somewhere between eight and eleven.  Puberty was still a distant dream for them.  And here they were all thrown in with maybe 600 Transgender people.  The bar manager was a little concerned.  Not about Us, but about the Hockey parents and how they would react.  If you read the Prologue, you saw how one did.

I bring this up now as this was the first night both groups mingled in the bar.  Many of us were out late dancing in downtown Harrisburg, so there were only maybe fifty of us in the bar listening to the beautiful harmonies of Indian Summer Jars.

I took many more pictures and managed to hook up with some of the people in my support group.  I didn't drink.  I'd had a Shiraz at the restaurant that just wasn't sitting right and, for a change, I took the hint from my stomach.

I enjoyed hanging out with people, hearing stories of their night- their triumphs and basking in their Joy.  I watched a lot of Tgirls interacting with the Hockey parents.  All was well.  We were ambassadors.

You know, with all of us in that hotel with those kids, statistically at least one of them HAD to be like us.  And now they saw people like themselves; surviving, thriving.  And they now know they aren't alone.  That thought makes me smile.

Anyway, after a few more pictures, I went to bed. 

With the Gorgeous Lisa Empanada Friday Night

The Next Day was the last day... and the Gala. 

I wanted to be fresh and ready for that day.  I didn't want to miss any of it.

End of Part 2.

Part 3 HERE


  1. That was an unkind comment about those who write blogs. You are a person who is read. It strikes me as a petty remark by someone who needs to make themselves feel better at others' expense.

    You aren't a fiction writer, you write about life. I'm sure you, like myself, have a very regular following and it is international as well.

    I've observed at second hand book stores and at library sell offs there are hundreds of authors I've never heard of. Quite often they are wonderful authors. Its just like musicians. There are hundreds of thousands of wonderful musicians no one will ever get the chance to listen to.

    Outside of the trans community, almost no one has ever heard of Ms. Boylyn and I know she is very talented. I've read a few of her works.

    She's just as special as you.

    1. Thanks for your kind words and concern.

      Sometimes words can't express inflections. I tried to do this by pointing out that she smiled afterwards.

      She was Joking, and I knew that.

      In her defense, Jenny is a NYT Bestselling author, and the book I cite was a best seller.

  2. I am pleased to see you make mention of how peacefully and properly the 'T' crowd was able to mix and mingle with the hockey contingent. I see that as major outreach.

  3. Hearing Jennifer Finney Boylan speak in person was an incredible experience. Her book was also an inspiration to both me and to Dana. Reading your post today inspired me to write about it I didn't have the courage to actually go up to her... I was too starstruck!!