Cadance ‘Cady’ Bell is an Australian storyteller who has written, produced, and directed dozens of award-winning short films, music videos and TV commercials. Her writing has also appeared in publications including the Guardian and the popular queer blogs “Rainbow Roo” and “I Miss Pockets.” Earlier this year, her heart-warming, heart-breaking and heart-stopping memoir “The All Of It: A Bogan Rhapsody” hit the shelves!
Written with dazzling creativity and exuberance, “The All of It” is a wild coming-of-gender memoir like no other. Seven years ago, Ben was loveless, overweight, in debt and living in his parents’ rumpus room, trying to find a way to quietly die. Then, one day, Ben decided not to die. He decided to change everything – starting with the Ben bit. Becoming Cadance would be more than a gender transition. It would be a transition in every way. Choosing to live was just the beginning; what mattered was how she existed…
Exclusively for our QBD Blog readers, we have a special Q&A with Cadance to share! Let’s dive in:
What inspired you to write this book?
I want Aussies to know trans people. Not just hear about them, or cop a headline from the news (or worse; shady politicians) – but to actually know us and to help us celebrate our existence. That’s the only way to unmake prejudice.
And rather than writing misery porn or jumping up and down about pronouns and names, I wanted to put out something lovely, and hilarious – because transitioning can be a really funny thing to do; so much is new. You should have seen the first time I had my eyebrows waxed – I thought they’d attached a bloody vacuum cleaner hose to my socket. When I left the joint I could still see my departed hairs because one eyeball was stuck in the wax.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t pull any punches in the book. I’ve had a wild ride, from within a family cobbled together by secrets and love, but I’ve also never been so happy in my life, and I think it’s worth having a chat about how I pulled that rabbit out of the hat.
What was your writing process like?
I’m an obsessive planner. I first started honing my voice for the book four years ago, through a blog called I Miss Pockets, and I performed the stories at a number of events including Queerstories and at the Sydney Opera House for the Antidote Festival.
Once I found that voice, I planned every chapter in meticulous detail – its tonal shifts, its imagery, its themes & language and even its ideal word count. It took two months of 12 hour days to write the first draft, which was almost twice the length of the finished book. And then the next four months were spent shaping it into the final product.
I only realised yesterday when flicking through a copy that what I’d planned to be the midpoint of the book – its chapter starts dead-on the exact middle page in the finished print!
What message do you hope readers will take from this book?
You can’t love anyone else until you love yourself. And also – there is nothing more powerful than that which knows what it is.
And if I had a bonus message – trans people have existed for thousands of years, but the world hasn’t always been so kind to us. Things are changing, and you can be that change. Thank you for being that change.
What books are you currently loving?
I was utterly blown away by Emily Bitto’s Wild Abandon. That book has scarred me in all the right ways. I also enjoyed Omar Sakr’s Son of Sin, and I’ve got Jane Caro’s The Mother to read next, followed by another Mudgee export’s memoir – Tom Tilley’s Speaking in Tongues.