If you are a regular reader, you know that I am writing a book: The Buffalo Bitch Trials. I am, of course, the Buffalo “Bitch”. And proudly so. Just in case you didn’t know, the word “bitch” has been transformed from one of degradation to one of pride. In 1968, in her “Bitch Manifesto,” feminist attorney Jo Freeman redefined this word for us: “A Bitch takes shit from no one. You may not like her, but you cannot ignore her….[Bitches] have loud voices and often use them.”
And that is the way I am. I speak up, I speak loud, and I speak things people often do not want to hear. Especially when it rocks their nice little, mostly unfair, not to mention probably illegal, little boats. My trials are about more than the 25 years of living in Buffalo: the first 13 or so living in la-la land believing that I was having it all; the next 12 years finding out how wrong I was, how much I had ignored, and how far I had to go if I was to get fair treatment as a woman.
I have outlines and timelines. I am beginning to develop new “worry” lines as I try to get my arms around massive amounts of material. So far I have 17 “major” stories to tell, and dozens of detours to make. What voice will I use? What stories will be told in which order? How do I start? When is it going to be finished? Can I really say this in 250-300 pages?
But fortunately, I even have some laugh lines when I start to read my notes, especially those prepared under the “PROTECTED BY ATTORNEY/CLIENT PRIVILEGE”. How many pages and everything that was so irrelevant that I just felt I had to say, again and again (maybe I thought no one was listening). All written to my legal counsel—it is laughable. I should have written less and learned more about the process.
That difficult learned lesson will be in a “how not to” sequel after this wannabe-runaway bestseller gets on the shelves, and hopefully flies off of them, too. After all, the laugh lines disappear rather quickly when I look at the legal bills (the legal invoices account for a note book that is 8 inches thick).
Today’s big breakthrough was that I found the timeline I created so that my attorneys and I could map out my professional life in Buffalo. I started with my experiences in 1983—the first few that gave me hints that this place was not women friendly—and continued all the way through 2007 and my present experiences of what I consider to be on-going retaliation even after I “resolved” with the hospital and “settled” with the university.
This timeline is incredible. There are 16 pages (on the long axis of the 12 inch paper) with a line that spans 24 years detailing more than 50 seminal events (purple ink), highlighting more than 65 documents to support allegations (green ink), and marking more than 96 “potential” incidents of gender discrimination, harassment, or retaliation (red ink). And then there are literally hundreds of meetings, recollections and conversations that I have noted along the way. Above the line that divides the paper relates to SUNY, below the line to Kaleida Health.
So I am out of the gate. I have written almost 40 pages, even before I found this jewel which I knew I had inadvertently buried during one of my cleaning/organizing binges. But now, with my timeline in hand, all red, purple, and green, I think I should have a good story to tell. I will keep you posted.