Years ago, I read a short story by Jill Soloway about the personal assistant of a successful Hollywood TV actress who is tasked with addressing tabloid rumors that her boss bleaches her anus. Oh, and she—the assistant, not the actress—is unable to achieve orgasm. She also attends a 12-step group for celebrity assistants to deal with her “shanger,” that uncomfortable place between shame and anger. It’s a really short short story, barely a handful of pages, and yet within those Jill managed to convey the very real pain of a soul yearning to be authentic in a completely inauthentic world, as well as that soul’s eventual success in achieving desired authenticity. It was absurd, sad, uncomfortable, hilarious, angry, compassionate and brilliant. It was my first encounter with Jill’s singular, audacious voice, which continues to speak loudly for all who yearn for an authentic life—and we are all the better for it.
Ball is the Emmy-winning creator of True Blood and Six Feet Under