American Pie

I really didn’t want to get out of the cocoon of my bed this morning. The heavy blankets felt marvelous on top of me, and my body was completely relaxed into the mattress…and it was raining. Is there anything more lovely than being warm and snug and comfortable in a bed while it rains outside? I think not. I wasn’t even aware it was raining until I got up and came downstairs, where I could hear it clearly, and then ah, that’s why you stayed in bed longer this morning. Yesterday was a lovely day off from everything. I did pick up the mail and made some groceries at the Fresh Market. But when I went to the gas station to air up my tires–the light had come on–I noticed there was a small rip in the tire through which air was escaping. I came back home, got my Gorilla tape, and covered the rip before running the errands. When I got back home the tire seemed fine still…but every tire place was already closed for the day, which was terribly annoying. I had intended to make another stop on my errands yesterday but wasn’t able to from worry about the tire; I had been debating putting more air in it this morning and running the errand…knowing I have to get up super-early tomorrow to head to the dealer and buy a new tire and have it put on, making me late to work. At some point today I will be checking the appointment schedule for tomorrow morning to make sure it’s not an enormous hardship for me to be late coming in, but it has to be done. I can’t count on Gorilla tape to keep my tire from deflating, let alone having a blow out or something…so yeah, probably no errands today. My biggest fear is that the tire will be flat tomorrow morning, necessitating a tow truck or something.

Ah, well, at least I can afford the tire.

But obviously that was worrisome and frustrating, so I wound up not getting a lot of things I’d intended to do yesterday done. I had planned on not writing all day anyway, just having a nice relaxing day off from everything and everyone, but I never got around to reading my book, which was annoying. I did do a lot of filing and cleaning up my “sorting” folder (it’s where I put things temporarily to get them out of the way until I have the time to put them where they go), and I did some things around the house, but essentially almost the entirety of the day was wasted. Which is fine; I wanted to have a day where I didn’t do much of anything nor taxed my brain. We started watching an odd show last night, Muted, which stars two of the Elité cast (including my crush, the stunningly beautiful Manu Rios), but I couldn’t tell you much about the show because I kept falling asleep. I actually went to bed around ten last night–ten! On a Saturday night!–and slept super well, which was lovely. Friday night we watched Scream VI, which was fun, and Teen Wolf the Movie, which was pointless and stupid and completely made for fan service (and missing the Carver twins and the breakout star of the show, Dylan O’Brien), which was a shame. In some ways it seemed like a pilot for a reboot of the series with a new, younger leading man; which we would probably give a shot. (We really enjoyed the series for the first seasons; it eventually got so sloppy and confusing we did stop watching, but it was fun for a very long time, and definitely was one of the most homoerotic television series in history; I could write an entire essay about that aspect of the show alone–which would, of course, lead to the entire question of “queerbaiting,” which is a subject that often makes me tired. Then again, a lot of things make me tired.

The recent incident(s) at CrimeFest and the organization’s incredibly tepid response to the controversy (a moderator was inappropriate to a debut author before their panel; the toastmaster was a racist transphobic homophobic prick “but it was comedy” piece of shit) was deeply offensive. I don’t know what the ‘free speech’ laws are over in the United Kingdom, but I know what ours are, and I would like to think if someone got on stage as host at the banquets for either the Edgars, Anthonys, Agathas, or Leftys and started with “my pronouns are grammatically correct” yes, there would probably be some laughter, but there would also be boos and protests…and I’d like to think they would be pulled from the stage. But nothing surprises me anymore, really, when it comes to these sort of things. I saw yesterday a gay man expressing concern about the lack of action and the tepid public apology, only to have the usual response some a cisgender straight white woman saying you weren’t there and you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes–you know, the usual condescending pats on the head from a stupid straight bitch who thinks she’s a fucking ally while actually being a homophobic piece of shit herself. Let me put it to you this way: if you wouldn’t condescend or speak to a cisgender straight man the same way, guess what? You’re homophobic and need to do better.

I think that’s one of the worst parts of being gay, you know? The cisgender straight people who think they are allies and proudly state so, all of the time; but give them the opening and they will immediately treat you like someone lesser. Because Anita Bryant, Maggie Gallagher, and the Libs of TikTok skank aren’t all cisgender straight white women, or Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Marsha Blackburn–I could be here all day. It wasn’t gay men or queer people who put Donald Trump in the White House–it was straight white women. I can’t speak for anyone else in my community, but it’s extremely difficult for me to ever completely trust a cisgender straight white person, because they’re the ones who do all the damage and they’re the ones who choose to make us their villains. It’s incredibly easy to just sit around and say nothing homophobic, keeping all of your bigotries to yourself. But people are proud to be bigots; that’s the part I don’t get; there are people who can watch Mississippi Burning and think the FBI are the bad guys.

And then the public ignorance and cowardice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, caving into the demands of Marco Rubio (of all people) and the Catholic League, deciding to not give the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence an award recognizing all of their hard advocacy work going back decades and excluding them from the event of their Pride Night…only to be stunned, shocked and surprised when the other organizations being awarded at their so-called “Pride” Night pulled out and issued statements condemning them for their cowardice. I posted a rather lengthy (for me) thread about this on Twitter yesterday, explaining to the Dodgers and everyone else why this is so incredibly insulting and offensive to the entire queer community. For one thing, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were originally formed in 1979, got their habits from a group of progressive nuns (nuns can be surprisingly progressive; certainly far more so than their male counterparts) for all the charity work they were doing; flamboyance and silliness in the face of a hard world helping those no one else would. They were front and center during the HIV/AIDS crisis, helping people abandoned by society and left to die alone in shame. (The great irony that an organization of men in dresses, who have covered up and enabled the sexual abuse of thousands and thousands of children, complained about another organization of men in dresses who minister to the sick and poor–supposedly the mission of the first group–while accusing them of blasphemy, grooming, and pedophilia, should not escape anyone.)

Catholic Church, heal thyself.

And as I said on Twitter, the Dodgers essentially pissed on the graves of everyone we lost to HIV/AIDS, all the people currently living with the infection, and everyone who has done advocacy work. All to please MARCO FUCKING RUBIO and the Catholic League.

For years, critics of our pride events have complained about the commercialization of pride, going from a community event to one with corporate sponsors–corporate sponsors who also fund anti-queer politicians. The critics have stated that these corporations don’t see and support us because they think we deserve equality, but rather as a demographic with more disposable income than our straight counterparts (which I am never really sure is true, certainly for some upper middle class white cisgender gay men, it’s true, but I don’t know that it’s overall true for the entire community), and Pride is merely a cynical attempt for them to cash in on gay dollars. We’ve already seen Anheuser-Busch cower before our enemies, and now the fucking Dodgers.

So, yes, it appears that the critics were correct. Corporate Pride is merely a cynical attempt to build brand loyalty in what is seen as a key demographic, not actual support. We must never make the mistake of believing otherwise ever again. Corporations will abandon us in the snap of the fingers if challenged to actually put their money where their lying mouths are. It’s depressing that the critics were right all along.

I hate to break it to y’all, but the queer community has a much longer memory than the straight when it comes to this kind of thing, and it’s very hard for any company to come back from such a betrayal. I remember the Coors boycott, when it turned out both the company and the Coors family had funded the politicians that turned Colorado into what we called “the hate state”; and even though the family and company have since come around–good luck ordering a Coors in a gay bar. When your business betrays us we never forget. It just becomes a thing. Every time I see someone drinking a Coors to this day I think homophobe.

It’s astonishing to me how straight people, to this day, still think they can divide and split up our community and we’ll all go along with it. “Oh, we love the gays and want to have a Pride Night, but this part of your community isn’t welcome” always blows up in their faces, and yet…they never fucking learn. I was on the board of directors for the National Stonewall Democrats back in the mid-to-late aughts when our founder, Barney Frank, finally cobbled together enough votes in the House to pass the Employment Non-discrimination Act…but he only had the votes if protections for transpeople was removed from it. Barney was very excited about this…but the NSD saw it as a betrayal. “All or nothing” was our stance then, and we lobbied and called and sent emails–I believe we called the bill SPLENDA, because it was a substitute for the real thing–and killed it. That was in either 2007 or 2008. If we sacrificed a gain for gays, lesbians and bisexuals because of trans exclusion fifteen years ago, I can assure you nothing has changed; if anything, our inclusion insistence has gotten more deeply engrained into our consciousness.

So, we aren’t here for “conditional” acceptance. It really is all or nothing for us. I understand that principles and ethics most cisgender straight white people have a problem with, since they, as a general rule, have neither–but surprisingly enough, my community, always under attack from so-called Christians, actually do believe “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:37–40.)

Seriously, Christians, read the Sermon on the Mount again and get right with your Lord. It’s not that hard.

I am going to dive back into writing the Scotty book today, so I am going to sign off now and head into the spice mines. Have a lovely Sunday, Constant Reader, and I’ll be back, as always, at some point.

The Tide is High

So, I was interviewed recently by Sumiko Saulson for the Horror Writers’ Association’s Pride Month celebration. You can click here to read it, should you so choose:

Pretty cool, huh? Sumiko is awesome–we met on a diversity panel a million years ago at the Stokercon that was in Las Vegas–and I’ve been following her career ever since. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s talented, and she’s also pretty cool.

The sun is out this morning, for a change, and today I am going to head back to the gym at some point. I’m going to do as much on my to-do list (yes, I actually went ahead and made one yesterday, finally) as I can this morning and in the early afternoon before heading over there, and I am going to light the charcoal and make dinner later on as well. I want to spend some time reading this morning–by morning, I mean the extended period before I go to the gym–and I do still have some filing to do–there’s a big stack of paper sitting on my desk this morning to my right that has to go–and I actually did some writing yesterday as well. I am starting to feel like I am fitting back into my life again, and that the world is also starting to get a bit more normalized, too.

Well, that’s what I’m hoping, at any rate.

The writing I actually did yesterday wasn’t really very much of anything, and wasn’t what I actually put on my to-do list to work on (rationalizing and justifying to myself that the to-do list was for next week, which didn’t start until this morning or until tomorrow, whichever I decide upon), but something I’ve been toying with for a while. I’ve been wanting to set something in Venice for quite some time–ever since my all-too-short twenty-four hours there seven (!) years ago–and I fixated on an event they have there every summer, the “Festival of the Redeemer,” which is nearly, if not as, popular as their Carnival celebrations. The idea was to send a gay couple, whose relationship is rotting and falling apart, there together as it was a rather expensive birthday trip scheduled by the wealthier, prettier partner for the less attractive, less financially stable one; the wealthier one now sees it as a farewell gift as the relationship is, in his opinion, now completely over–and he plans on never seeing or communicating with his soon-to-be-ex once they return to the states. The visit is scheduled during the Festival; and they are staying at the glamorous Gritti Palace, right on the Grand Canal and near the Piazza San Marco; with their own balcony so they will have a spectacular view of the fireworks and the celebrations. The story is, of course, told through the point-of-view of the soon-to-be-ex; who is beginning to suspect that his beloved partner is planning to dump him–and when they are shown to their rooms and they each have their own bedroom, his suspicions are confirmed–and then he meets a beautiful young Italian, and the intrigue and suspense begin. I do have about 3558 words of this finished, but the novella isn’t anywhere near to being finished; I opened the document yesterday and started making my way through it, editing and revising to get back into the head of the main character, flight attendant Grant…and I really do like the story, to be honest. I’m not entirely sure where it’s going to go–I do know how I want it to end–and so I also found myself looking through my pictures from the trip there and looking at others on-line for further inspiration. And while I wasn’t actually creating anything new–I hadn’t reached the part quite yet where I would have to start putting new words on the page–it felt really good to be writing again.

This is also why, I realized, I haven’t read Christopher Bollen’s A Beautiful Crime yet; I didn’t want to read another gay crime story set in Venice until I had at least finished a first draft of my own–which is further incentive to get this first draft finished.

So, once I finish this and get it posted, get some other things done–like getting all this crap off my desk–I am going to dive back into this novella and try to get through the rest of this first 3558 words, maybe add another thousand or so to it, and then start scratching things off my to-do list. I want to try to get my inbox cleared out as much as humanly possible; put the dishes in the dishwasher put away, and I really like starting off the week with the Lost Apartment as cleaned up as humanly possible so…well, so as I get more tired and lazier during the work week, it’s not as much of a disaster to deal with next weekend.

I’m also, while working on Chlorine (I want to get a first draft finished by the first of July) going to go ahead and try to make some progress on my next short story collection, This Town and Other Stories. I’ve also been thinking about the next Scotty book, believe it or not, and while I do want to eventually write about the cursed Carnival of 2019 and the pandemic, I have been thinking that perhaps the most recent Scotty, Royal Street Reveillon, might have taken place over Christmas of 2018 and I now have all of 2019 to play with before I have to deal with those other stories; and I could easily write another Scotty adventure set in the spring of 2019 before having to deal with any of those other real world times. I know a lot of writers are saying they don’t want to write about the pandemic, which is perfectly understandable, but I also can’t wrap my mind around NOT dealing with it–it’s like Hurricane Katrina for me; it happened and how do we not talk about it? I suppose I could deal with it by writing about it after it happened; but that kind of feels like cheating to me. I don’t know, maybe the further we get away from the shutdown, the less likely I will feel that I need to write about it. Maybe I could simply write about the Spanish Flu epidemic in a Sherlock story, back in the day? I’ve been reading about the Spanish Flu pandemic (I love that I keep making typos and writing Spanish Fly epidemic instead)–which reminds me, I need to check John Barry’s The Great Influenza out of the library–and maybe writing about that pandemic as a symbol of this most recent one will help me with that?

Who knows?

And on that note, tis back to the spice mines.