Inkster Dispatch: Gay is not a three-letter word (aka Don’t be hatin’)

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Talk about getting your happy bubble popped…  What happy bubble? A story contract! Yes! I signed my first contract (since 2007) to publish one of my short stories. Edom The Treasure Keeper will appear in the fourth anthology, At Second Glance,  produced by Gay City Arts.  I still do the happy dance when I think about this success.

However, there’s a swirling storm of asshatery that surfaces when I tell certain individuals about my recent publishing venture. Example most recent and the most blatant attempt by a very ignorant individual to besmirch my moment of fulfillment:  I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance who was asking about my writing success.  I’ve been very excited about this since getting the news nearly a month ago. Publication is a few months off, yet, too. So there’s nothing in “hard copy” to show yet. It will come and an Inkster Dispatch will alert you.  But recent conversation regarding this success was a totally downer. Now, I’m just irritated. Irritated at the person I had the conversation with, irritated that such crap-producing thought even still exists.

Bubble Popper:  So where can I see some of your published work? (this is a standard question when people find out I’m a writer)

Me:  Well, I just signed a contract for an anthology produced out of Seattle, so you’ll be able to see that soon. (I’m smiling and doing an inner happy dance at this point)

Bubble Popper:  Oh? What’s it called.

Me:  It’s the fabulous anthology put out by Gay City Arts. This one will be titled …

BP:  Gay City? You tell people that?

Me:  Yes, it’s very respected and I’m happy that I was chosen as a contributor.

BP:  I would never put that on my resume.

Me:  I don’t have a …

BP:  I mean, are you Gay?

I didn’t even answer the question. Instead, life had a way of letting me exit without making a total and huge scene, which I was just about to do. Instead, I had to excuse myself at that point, my son was calling me and when my son calls in the middle of the day, something is up.  I went outside to take my call and then promptly left the venue I was at where this conversation took place. I was stunned. Speechless. Shocked and Disappointed in humanity.  It also brought to light the more subtle “oh’s” to when I had told other folks about the acceptance letter and subsequent process to sign a contract.  They would just say “oh, that’s nice,” because it was clear that they were uncomfortable. In my head Beavis and Butthead were in the background behind these people snickering and saying “hehehehe, she said gay.”

Why are we still having this conversation? Why is it that the word Gay is so pejorative in so many circles? Some of the healthiest relationships I look to in my life are my LGBTQ friends. Some of the unhealthiest relationships I know are my Hetero friends.  But I’m not suppose to be happy and proud that my work is going to be featured in a publication that has also featured folks like Ursula K. Le Guin, Tom Spanbauer, Michael Thomas Ford, and many other respected authors? Screw you, Bubble Popper. Screw you and your sexual insecurity. Screw your homophobia. Get over your ignorance and stupidity and realize that not everyone can live like you. You don’t get all weird when someone drives a different vehicle than you, or decides to be a plumber or engineer instead of being a lawyer (reminds me of this spoken word piece…Mali had his lawyer, now I’ve gotten mine), nor when I purchase one brand of paper towels instead of the one you purchase. So why, Bubble Popper, is having the word Gay associated with my work shameful and non-resume worthy? Simply put, because you are small brained. Yes, my mind raced and I spewed words I would have liked to say straight to these people, especially Bubble Popper, Esq. You aren’t worthy of reading the work in this excellent publication. No hater, you …there are insufficient language here for you and your closed-mind thinking skin of a human being.

Then the voice of reason and Spock-like non-emotion spoke to me. No, I won’t embarass this person(s) or myself in gossip-producing scenes in the produce section of the grocery store or at my local restaurants and community gatherings. No, instead, I’ll be getting some extra copies. Signing them and gift wrapping them to these individuals. Talk about success being a gift.



~Keep Writing and Send it Out~

Inkster - Bending Time and Space with Writing "Photo by Kymberlee Della Luce and Inspired by Aaron Dietz's book "SUPER."



Free-Range Fiction

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Stay tuned, Fiction Farm fans. Each Friday beginning October 2011, I will be posting flash fiction pieces. I’ve gotten a lot of comments about not knowing what my style is like, what pieces I like to write, etc. So, I’m going to take the challenge of many a fellow writer and or other publishing heroes and take the Friday prompts that so many of them do and stick it up here.  Please come read, comment and let’s get some free-range fiction action going.

Writers are Readers Rebellion Supply Chain

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“In a society that promotes conformity; novel-reading – one person experiencing both the mind of another person and her own mind experiencing – is a subversive force.” ~ Jane Smiley, from “13 Ways of Looking at the Novel.”

The above is a passage I’ve been ruminating about for about 13 days now. Ms. Smiley’s book is my bathroom book. What? You don’t’ have a bathroom book? Heck, I’ve got a book in every room in my home, another in my car, always one in my purse, and both my desks host a book of their own, as well.

Regardless, I’ve been reading 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel” for more than a year now. I repeatedly reread sections and focus meditation on the ideas within it. The idea in the quote above really has penetrated me as not only a reader, but as a writer, too.  In short, being a novel reader is being a rebel. As a writer, I am the supply chain for these intellectual societal rebels.

That is so effing cool! I just can’t stop thinking about it. It makes me think back to when I was in the Army and I was assigned to the United Nations Protection Force in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Part of our mission was simply monitoring the border, reporting on activity and looking out for smugglers along the border between FYROM and Serbia. Those of us watching saw a lot of barrels of oil and probably bullets go over that border on the backs of donkeys. It was the rebels supply chain. My writing is just like those oil barrels. I just need a donkey to take the supplies to the rebel bases.

When I switch my hat to reader-only, I have to smile still at that statement by Ms. Smiley. Imagine an army of authors feeding into your rebellion. Such thoughts are complete enablers to my bibliophile tendencies.

Is it any wonder that the phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword” (or RPG, for that matter) is so elegantly true?

Course that begs the question, why aren’t’ more teenagers reading books? I think I need a bumper sticker:  “Be A Rebel! Read A Book!”

But first I need to figure out where my donkey is.


Vitamin D: The Writer’s Enemy

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It’s hard to write when the day is beautiful

When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, the amount of time I spent being creative shot up to levels I had yet to see in my life thus far. I attribute that to the fact that it’s easy to stay indoors and write when it’s cool, gray and raining. Our vitamin-d deficient selves can easily spend hours, plotting and planning; writing and revising; and reading and thinking.

We spend so many of our days like that the entire of the population — not just writers — go absolutely sun psychotic when a perfect day like today arrives. Such a day consists of huge quantities of sun, you can see The Mountain for miles and miles, and the temperature lets you sit in shorts and tshirt and the beloved flip-flops sipping your coffee. Who wants to pound away at the keys or scribble in a notebook when there is a brand new shiny world to explore? It’s sun for goodness sake. I must get my vitamin D dose for the next probably week or more, because this weather will not last. We know it.

But the writing needs to get done. My solution was a brilliant one, or so I thought. I brought my laptop out on the patio to try to get some writing done. Then the phone rings. I run back in the house and deal with sunny day crisis number one:  son is working and didn’t bring enough water with him, or sunscreen. “But, I’m writing!” I protest. But then I remember we’re out of aloe vera in the house. I take the child his water and sunscreen. That crisis averted, I return to the patio and laptop again, intent on accomplishing much word generation towards “the end” of my story.

I sit and think. I plunk a few sweat-driven words down on the screen. Oh the sun is so warm; it melts the winter and cold spring away. I look up watching the breeze in the old oak tree in my yard. The wind chimes are singing to me. I smile and feel too happy to create the conflict my protagonist must face. It’s then I note some weeds invading my herb patch that had to be dealt with. I get up and get my gardening gloves and the weed bucket. They are quickly dealt with when I notice the bird feeders need feeding. The birds entertain my dog when I’m away at the soul-sucking day job. Doggie TV must not stop. I fill the feeders (four of them scattered around the yard).

Feeling like I’ve sufficiently tackled ever distraction, I sit down. Focus, I tell myself. The protagonist and her problems. Her seemingly insurmountable problems. Click. Click. Bark. The dog cries to be let out. I look at her. She’s so good at looking so dejected and neglected. There’s not a person, let alone a sensitive writer who could just let her hang in the yard. I just HAD to play with her.

The sun feels good. I sit on a chair that’s more in the sun. I watch the birds flitting in and out from the newly filled feeders. Where do I need to take my protagonist again?

I decide to take her for a walk. When, I explain,  I get back from my own. I’ll write when it’s dark. I just can’t find myself clear or satisfactorily writing when the sun is shinning down and the birds are chirping in the yard.

If anyone knows of good sunny-time writing strategies, feel free to share.

Someone pray for rain. Until it comes, I’ll be enjoying this particular version of writer’s block.

Share and share alike

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I read a lot of blogs about writing.  I share what I learn with my writing group, but I haven’t been too good about sharing it with my readers here.  Noting it here is a great way for me to reference them when I need them and give props where props are deserved.

What I’m reading this week:

Receiving Critiques (really good advice — and like I said above, some of the same I have given my own writing group)

Creative Everyday (Life is about creating yourself. Again, what I tell my fellow writers all the time).

Writer Diversions (When I’m taking myself way to seriously and should remember why I love what I do).

Getting Personal (Because Neil teaches all us writers to not be afraid to share our personal process and life with our readers)

I need some inspiration (This author who goes by various pen names has 47 books in 5 genres, I find her very inspirational).

Freelancers Must Read (aka – Non-Fiction Paychecks. Because Ms. Goodman helped put in perspective all the things I already knew about what I should be doing).

Because I love the weird and wild (Mr. Sterling epitomizes why science fiction and fantasy is so engaging).

My fav of all time (Ms. Kiernan details her life as an author and her writing process in such an intimate way you are smitten immediately).

So, tell me, what is your favorite writing-centered or creative-centered blog?