Monthly Archives: June 2016

I See You

In light of the some of the attitudes I have seen this week, I feel like this needs to be said.

I see color.

I see race.

I see sex.

I see gender.

I see sexual orientation.

I see these things not to be divisive, or because I place value judgments on any of them. I see them because I prefer to acknowledge the different challenges that we face. I choose to acknowledge my privilege as a cis, white woman.

Yes, we may all fall under the category of human, but that does not mean society treats us all the same way. I have never had to worry about someone questioning which bathroom I should use. Because I am also attracted to men, I easily pass as straight. Right up until I mention my girlfriend. I’m pretty sure store clerks don’t follow me around when I’m shopping or keep an extra eye on me in case I’m going to steal something.

So when people who have different backgrounds and experiences from me talk about their struggles, I listen. I learn. Sometimes I have to sit with my privilege for a bit until the enormity of it sinks in. Sometimes, that’s an uncomfortable feeling. But that’s how I grow. That’s how I become a better ally.

Ignoring our differences will not make them go away. Bringing them to light can only help us understand each other, and help us support each other a little more effectively.

This isn’t about being politically correct. It’s about being sensitive. It’s about respect.

 

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Who Tells Your Story?

I remember hearing about the Hamilton musical for the first time. My reaction was not unlike most people’s when they first learn the premise. A hip-hop musical set around the time of the U.S. Revolution, cast with actors of color, and focused on treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton? It made no sense to me, and I didn’t understand why people were so excited by it. But hey, even the President and First Lady laughed when Lin-Manuel Miranda showed up at the White House and surprised them with a song from his new project.

At least I was in good company.

But the reasons it sounds absurd are the very same reasons this musical is extraordinary. Miranda took those dry pages of history and made them relatable. He entertains us even while explaining the names and dates, and facts and figures that are so familiar to most of us. Cabinet meetings become rap battles. We learn about this country’s first political sex scandal. There is beauty and intrigue even when nothing is actually happening.

I’ll explain that last point. Two of my favorite songs are The Room Where It Happens and Burn. In the first, Aaron Burr is excluded from a secret meeting in which the U.S.Capital is moved to Washington D.C. while, simultaneously, Hamilton keeps the treasury in New York and gets his debt plan passed through Congress. From Burr’s point of view, this is another in a series of situations where he has been passed over or left out altogether. He’s beyond frustrated and it shows. He doesn’t know what really happened and, therefore, neither do we.

And isn’t that just politics as usual?

Similarly, in The Election of 1800, we see just how little has changed in American politics over the past 200 years. We have an image of our founding fathers being better than today’s politicians, somehow above what has become the norm of infighting and mudslinging. Nothing could be further from the truth. Adams apparently referred to Hamilton as “Creole bastard.” Another lyric describes the insults flung around in newspapers and says, “we don’t print retractions.”

Yep. Same old, same old.

In Burn, Hamilton’s wife Eliza learns about a secret affair he had with Maria Reynolds. When his contemporaries threaten to expose him, he admits to the whole thing by publishing what was known as The Reynolds Pamphlet. Until this point, Eliza had been very much a part of his public life. From Burn, however, it’s clear she retreated somewhat after the affair. “I’m erasing myself from the narrative,” she sings. “Let future historians wonder how Eliza reacted when you broke her heart…the world has no right to my heart, the world has no place in our bed. They don’t get to know what I said.”

And doesn’t that just speak louder than any insult?

In between are a wealth of lesser known figures that I promise you will want to know more about. Men like the Marquis de Lafayette, Hercules Mulligan, and John Laurens. Women like Eliza and Angelica Schuyler. At the very least, you will come to see all these events in a new, much more interesting, way than ever before.

It appears likely that the show will be headed to my city in some form. And yes, I will be among the first in line.

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Another Day, Another Shooting

I’m numb.

That’s the only to describe it. Two full days later, and I’m just beginning to understand my reaction to the most recent American mass shooting. This time, in Orlando. This time targeting LGBT people of color. It’s horrible, terrifying, unthinkable, and I barely feel anything.

Why? Because what’s the point? The memes will disappear from Facebook in a few days. The vigils will end. More politicians will talk in circles for a while about gun control. And then everyone will go back to business as usual. It’s the same old cycle, and ultimately, nothing will actually be accomplished. We’ve been clutching our chests, holding moments of silence, and expressing our outrage for more than 15 years. Even before Columbine, there were school shootings that were shocking at the time.

But the shock has worn off for me. And I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. If I let such news get to me, I would never stop crying. I would live in a constant state of fear. I would worry that my favorite theater would be the next one someone decided to open fire in. I would stay home and probably hide in a closet with the front door bolted.

As it is, I have a life to lead. I have a job to go to, friends to get together with, errands to run. I have things to do. And the only way to accomplish those things is to pretend there aren’t people with guns ready to shoot up the nearest post office, bank, or Target store, just because they don’t like how I live.

And so there’s this. This nothing which isn’t really nothing at all. This state of nothing is actually a constant state of fear and sadness which I’ve been able to push into the background until it’s just a dull roar. Like waves on a beach, the drumming of rain on a window, or the hum of air conditioners in summer. It’s always there. And maybe, just maybe, if I don’t pay it too much attention, I won’t feel so helpless. Maybe I’ll find an effective answer.

So far, those answers are still elusive. I don’t understand what makes someone do something like this. I don’t understand why nobody seems willing or able to fix it. I don’t understand why no one will just make it stop already. I don’t understand why I can’t make it better. I don’t understand any part of this.

And so I go back to the numbness.

 

 

 

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This is where I second guess everything

Self-publishing is kind of a metaphor for life. There’s work, and more work, fixing mistakes, and still more work. Then you make some improvements, check for mistakes again, work some more. And along the way, there’s waiting. Waiting for your editor to get back to you. Waiting on the cover photo. Waiting for more edits.

And when all that is finally done, everything seems to happen at once.

And that’s when the doubts set in. Have I remembered everything I wanted to do? Should I change this one thing? Add that other thing? Shit. Why, dear god, have I decided to do this myself?

Long story short – book two of what I have decided to call the Gamblers Series, is out. Both on Kindle and in paperback format. It can be found here.

If you don’t have book one, Backed Into a Hand, it can be found here. If you have read it, please consider leaving a review. It’s a huge help, both with getting the book noticed on Amazon and, well, my ego (assuming it’s a good review, that is).

So yeah, if you prefer a little realism with your erotica, complete with communication and consent, read me! I promise there’s still plenty of sexy, fun, kinky times in store.

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