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Years ago I read the Kim Gordon memoir Girl in a Band. She was the bassist and vocalist for Sonic Youth while the band performed.

They are my favorite band of all time. Dating from when I played them on the radio when I was a disc jockey in the 1980s.

To get readers to go out and buy Gordon’s memoir I want to quote from the book.

Kim Gordon wrote:

“I believe the radical is more interesting when it appears ordinary and benign on the outside.”

Reading that sentence and thinking about this for a long time I was inspired to want to publish a second memoir.

In keeping with the title Girl in a Band I thought about talking in the new book about what it’s like to be a Girl on the Left.

A person asked me if the title Left of the Dial referred to politics.

It refers to doing your own thing–my literary agent understood the theme was “Enjoy your quirkiness.”

In the last week I have been thinking about this some more. And thinking about it again: how I always wanted to live an artist’s life in the city.

It can be a challenge when as a woman you rebel the role you’re expected to play:

Suburban breeder with two kids two dogs a Land Rover and white picket fence house with a porch.

Though hey if you want to raise a family and bake brownies for your kids that’s okay too.

I’m fascinated by everyone’s personality.

There’s a reference in my memoir to where I’m riding the subway and wondering about the inner lives of my fellow straphangers–the other riders.

Those of us who are ordinary and benign–I say watch out for us!

Radical Chic

I’m fond of this sentence Kim Gordon wrote in her memoir:

“I believe the radical is more interesting when it appears ordinary and benign on the outside.”

This rock star/artist/author (the former Sonic Youth singer and bassist) wrote a great book, Girl in a Band. I urge you to buy this memoir.

Sonic Youth are my favorite band–I played them on my 1980s radio show.

Her words are prophetic, because you can’t judge a person. How we look on the outside ultimately tells others nothing about our character, our personality, and the things that matter.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s dressing in trendy clothes was my way of telling the mental health establishment: “Screw you, I’m not going to conform to how you think a person diagnosed with SZ should look and act and live.”

That’s the truth folks: I rebelled the role of mental patient. You should do the same–and the sooner the better.

I think of this now as 53 beckons in a couple of weeks. Not all of us are destined to get dressed every day like we’re Nicki Minaj performing on a concert tour.

There’s a benefit in only looking like we conform when in reality we’re rebels, dreamers, and free thinkers marching to a different drum on the inside.

It can be liberating to fool others with our persona. We don’t have to be who they want us to be. We can and should only be ourselves.

Acting true to yourself will always be in style. Act true to who you are today. Reserve the right to be who you want to be tomorrow.

You don’t have to dress like a Pop Diva to make a statement. You can be radical dressed in ordinary clothes like Kim Gordon admires.

I too admire everyone for having the courage to get up in the morning, choose clothes, and get dressed in a way that is true to who they are.

The older I get I’m less impressed by what passes for normal in society. The mundane–in thinking, acting, dressing, and living–isn’t something I covet having.

Thus the title of my own memoir: Left of the Dial.

So you could say I look ordinary–yet I’ll always be a Girl on the Left Side of the Dial.

You can be radical and chic.

A woman in her fifties should leave people guessing.