Saturday, June 29, 2013

forging ahead no matter what!

There is no excuse for my poor productivity this month! I only got fourteen pages of the sequel written this entire month! Yeah, I had company for a week and had to play host and I picked up extra shifts on my day job but I still could have pushed myself more. There were several days were I chose to watch a DVD in stead of writing.
    The goal I set for June to get an author page/profile set up on and really went south. I didn't even contact my IT consultant to get started on it! But, as I posted yesterday, the book trailer is posted on YouTube and I got three new articles written for Rainbow Lit magazine's fall issue. I don't think they will all go into the fall issue but I guess it's possible. Anyhow, Rainbow Lit is the new name for SGL BookLovers magazine. Clevester, the editor, called me maybe a week ago and told me he was changing the name. I've only sent him one article as of this post though. I have also kept up with my blog posting goals, which may not be work on the sequel itself but it is writing.
    So, that's my June in review. I guess getting a little something done is better than getting nothing done, even if that something feels like next to nothing! Now it's time to forget about what I didn't do in June, look forward to July and start fresh. I have not determined my specific goals for July yet but I will by July 1st. One thing I do know for sure is that I'm forging ahead no matter what!

Friday, June 28, 2013

it's finally finished!

The book trailer is finally finished and posted on YouTube! We started this book trailer project back in February, so it took four months to complete. I can honestly say I'm very happy with the end results. Now I have to start promoting the trailer and I have a plan on how to do it. The trailer is titled Rainbow Plantation Blues Book Trailer and it's thirty minutes long. Most of that time is me reading chapter one but some of it is me reading the book summery and at the end there is information on how to order and a plug for this blog. I want as many readers and followers on this blog as I can get.
    The visual aspect of the trailer is a series of recent photos of me and the cover of the book. At the end, the how to order information, my blog address and the videographer's contact information are listed on the scene as I announce them, and that's the whole trailer. I'm confident that the trailer will help to increase awareness of my work, so check it out and tell others too!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

interracial gay desire as a pretext for egaliterianism

The last section of chapter three in A Queer History of the United States is called Same-Sex Desire and the Democratization of Race. I find this section to be very interesting, although I guess I've said that about every section of the book. Anyhow, these nineteenth century transcendentalist thinkers/writers, I talked about yesterday, were pro human equality with no fillers, no additives, no artificial flavors or colors. And they found a very clever way to .
    Nineteenth century America, as we all know, was fearful of  ''race mixing,'' especially male/female ''mixing'' because of the potential for sex and/or bi-racial off-spring. So, novels and adventure narratives used the less threatening interracial male/male ''romantic/intimate'' friendships, which I talk about in my post entitled Bosom Buddies, to address race with same-sex desire cloaked in the sub-text. These books, such as Moby Dick[1851] and Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas[1847] to name two, are considered classic American literature. This literature allowed a place for public discussion on ideas of citizenship, race, gender and sexuality. Although ideas on gender and homosexuality were cloaked in these works, a thinking person could easily have ''clocked'' them in the sub-text. With a few exceptions, these works offer our only depiction of same-sex behavior in the nineteenth century.
     I think that what makes classic literature ''classic'' is that, it's so well written, there is always something new to discover about it as time passes. Another indication of a classic is a first of it's kind work, like Rainbow Plantation Blues. Okay, I just tooted my own horn, so what! It's the truth!
    I'm not 100% sure if I've articulated my thoughts well in this post, so I'm considering it a work in progress. I might come back and edit it later.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

the overt west the covert east

While the West coast had San Francisco with it's outlaws and wild west tolerance of LGBT"s going on, what was going on in the East? Well, it turns out the East was not a complete tundra when it came to LGBT expression. There you had transcendentalist intellectual writers who used literature to subtly weave they're pro LGBT sentiments into the public consciousness. If one wants to argue that these intellectuals were not covertly advocating LGBT equality they certainly were questioning they're societies stringent rules, regulations and social norms regarding gender roles and monolithic sexual relationships and behaviors.
    References to classical literature was a common way for these intellectuals to discuss sexuality and sexual behavior. These nineteenth century thinkers also had a strong awareness of America's need for racial and women's equality. This is important because you can't have true equality for anyone unless everyone is treated equally, and LGBT's are found in all races and both sexes. So, it appears that these nineteenth century intellectuals had all they're ducks in a row when it came to they're vision for America.
    The intellectual thinkers/writers I'm talking about are; Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Emily Dickinson and Julia Ward Howe who, along with The Battle Hymn of the Republic, authored an unfinished novel called The Hermaphrodite. The novel  is believed to have been composed sometime between 1846 and 1847 but it was not published until 2004. I wonder what kind of discussion the title alone would have provoked in the mid nineteenth century.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

the first LGBT community

`When I think of a community I think of  two things. One is a physical place where people live, work, shop,etc. and have some kind of organized civic system. The other is a group of people who don't necessarily live close together, it could even be national, but have a shared set of values, goals, identities and life-styles. So, for LGBT's the closest thing to the former definition of community in the 19th century was none other than San Francisco.
    From it's very beginning San Francisco was an ''outlaw'' town and it's history of tolerance for LGBT's goes back to it's beginning, too. This tolerance for LGBT's stemmed from a relaxed attitude toward any illegal activities. It was a male dominated city for most of the 19th century with a high percentage of racial and ethnic diversity. But there was a lot of racial tension and prejudice and there was a slave trade going on, too. People were being kidnapped and forced into seamanship or taken to China for slave labor. If you were taken you were ''shanghaied.''
    People, mostly men, flocked there in 1849-50 looking for gold and the population kept growing from then on. The cities tolerance of same-gender love and different forms of gender expression stemmed from it's constantly changing social demographics. In 1850 same-sex dancing and what we call ''drag shows'' were common and considered acceptable. This is not to say that LGBT's could walk down the street holding hands and there were no legal protections.
    There is a school of thought, and I personally agree with it, that says LGBT communities thrive in economies/environments where income is not dependent on the family unit or ''family farm'' for survival. Most 19th century Americans lived on family farms. People who lived in urban areas had to work in trades but most, if not all, other cities enforced their sodomy laws. There was no same-sex dancing and drag shows in the Eastern cities. But if you couple independent labor with a relaxed attitude toward ''sodomy'' and gender expression it makes sense that some semblance of an LGBT community would blossom.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

howdy pardner!

  A prime example of the Between the lines history I was talking about yesterday is the American cowboy. What a man! He's handsome, rugged, in shape, swaggered, aggressive, virile, masculine, etc. He's also alone, except for his male ''pardners,'' he lives in a homosocial environment and is an outlaw. When I say ''outlaw'' I'm not necessarily talking about a criminal, but a person not bound by the rules, regulations and conduct codes of the East.
    So, what can LGBT's read into this famous iconic image. Well, for one thing sodomy laws were a form of regulation or code of conduct. But the cowboy was often isolated and removed from ''civilization'' and it's laws including sodomy laws. Also his world was male dominated, which can encourage and/or imply homoerotic feelings and behaviors. Horseplaying with his pardner, cooking meals outside on an open flame with his pardner and no doubt confiding with his pardner is a wild west version of those romantic/intimate friendships I talked about in my Bosom Buddies post. Another point is that cowboys are a caricature of manliness and LGBT's, especially gay men, love caricature. I know I'm attracted to caricature. Drag queens are caricatures and Tom of Finland drawings are caricatures.
    If the American cowboy persona is part of that masculinization of America that I talked about in my post titled Progressiveness and a Fabricated Man, then it might have backfired. The cowboy persona leaves to the imagination a wide range of possibility as to what he was doing out there in those wide open spaces with his pardner. There are clear homoimplied, to coin a new term, themes with this image, Just ask the Village People! Also, was it really a coincidence that Brokeback Mountain centered around cowboys?

Friday, June 21, 2013

between the lines history

My post yesterday concluded chapter two of A Queer History of the United States. I have eight more chapters to go before I'm done. When I ordered this book I was expecting a more ''traditional''  presentation of LGBT history. What I mean by traditional is I thought I would discover maverick like LGBT's who were way ahead of they're time, shaking up colonial and post revolutionary America by being out and proud. I also expected to learn about secret and little known LGBT groups, clubs[not the kind where you party all night long]and organizations that existed in the 18th and 18th centuries. How did LGBT people meet, I wanted to know. Did they party all night long, if so how? Was there some semblance of a community?
    Well, I have not come across information like that so far, but what I have found and realized is actually better. Race and sex are physical traits that most people cannot hide. Maverick like crusaders, groups, clubs and organizations did exist for them. But for LGBT's the opposite is true. Sexuality is not a physical trait and most LGBT's can hide. So, since LGBT oppression is a psychological oppression, rather than a physical one, LGBT liberation would have to be psychological, too. That's not to say that there were no secret groups, clubs, hang-outs, organizations, etc., but there existence would not have been recorded for posterity. It would have much too dangerous.
    I use to think pre 20th century LGBT history was scanty but it is not. What I'm learning/realizing is that LGBT's do have a rich history going back to the colonial era, and beyond.  I was looking for official groups, clubs, organizations, newspapers and mavericks blazing a trail but that is not how one studies LGBT history. It is a history where messages, meanings and images are subtle and between the lines. If it is studied like that one will find tons of information. Tomorrow I'm going to elaborate on that point.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

girls will be boys part three

The last early American cross dresser to discuss from A Queer History of the United States is one who never actually existed but was a popular literary character in the nineteenth century. Her name was Lucy Brewer and she was the main character in Nathaniel Hill's The Female Marine or The Adventures of Miss Lucy Brewer. The book was a first person narrative based on real life cross dressing soldier Deborah Sampson Gannett A.K.A Robert Shurtliff, whom I profiled in my last post.
    Brewer had had a hard life before becoming a sailor. She was raped, impregnated and lost the child. She was then forced to work in a Boston brothel. She fled the brothel and decided to dress as man and become a sailor. She sails aboard  the USS Constitution for three years and eventually marries a wealthy man. Some of her adventures as a sailor include coded sexual encounters with other females. The book became so popular that it spawned five sequels!
     I believe these 18th/19th century women, including the fictitious Lucy Brewer, were the first wave of ''activists'' for LGBT rights, even thought they would never have identified themselves as such. How could they have. There weren't even names for same gender loving people yet except the derogatory ''sodomite,'' which at least denoted an existence.
     Whether or not these women represented the ''L'' and or the "B'' in the acronym LGBT they most definitely represented the ''T.'' And they hit the ground running by emerging at the very beginning of the United States birth. History tells us that all oppressed groups; African-Americans, Women, Native Americans and now LGBT's were determined to make the new nation live up to it's cry that all men, even if they were wo-men, men who loved men or women who dressed like men, are created equal. The macho, virile, rugged and ultra masculine image that the founders envisioned for the new nation, and that I talk about in my post entitled Progressiveness and a Fabricated Man, did hit the ground but did it ever really start running?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

girls will be boys part two

Okay, so I'm back to my Girls Will Be Boys postings from my study of A Queer History of the United States. The subject today is a women named Deborah Sampson Gannett. Gannett was born in 1760 in Massachusetts. In 1782 she decided she wanted to fight in the continental army, so she dressed as a man and joined the military as Robert Shurtliff. She bravely fought in several battles before being wounded in 1783. She needed medical attention due to her injury and that's when she was discovered to be a female. In 1785 she received an honourable discharge and married a man named Robert Gannett. They had children and settled into marriage and family life.
    Any women in the 1700's who was bold enough to join the military dressed as a man and go to battle was not going to be satisfied with a quiet life as a wife and mother. So, in 1797 she wrote a ''semi fictional'' narrative of her life as a cross dressing soldier called The Female Review or Memoirs of an American young Lady, Whose Life and Character are Peculiarly Distinguished-Being a Continental Soldier, for Nearly Three Years, in the Late American War. The narrative makes reference to some encounters with females that imply Lesbian activity. This, along with Gannett's cross dressing, is what suggest that she may have been LGBT. There were many women who dressed as men in the 17th and 18th century simply because they wanted more out of life than to marry, cook, clean and have children or be a prostitute. Some of these women were also LGBT and some were not.
    Anyhow, in 1802 Gannett began a series of public lectures based on her narrative. Her lectures included dressing in her army uniform and demonstrating complicated military drills. The lectures were very popular in Boston and other New England cities. She began her lecture tour to gain attention and public support for a military pension which, after many years of challenges and petitioning, she got in 1816.

Monday, June 17, 2013

hell's articles!

Okay, so my friend from Cincinnati is gone. Having a guest was fine but I lost my bearings and couldn't focus on my writing. Now I can regroup and get back to work this week.
     Last night I went over to my co-workers house who's doing the book trailer for me. I finally saw the whole thing from beginning to end and it looks really good! But I did ask him to tweak four things before we post it on YouTube and daily motion. One is to add to the list of online places to order a copy[s]. Second, I asked him to add this blogspot address to the end blub for anyone who might want to read my postings or follow my writing journey. Three, the blurb at the end of the video says in part ''if you like what you've heard,'' I read the entire first chapter in the the trailer,''and would like to see more you can order at...'' Well, I asked him to change the word ''see'' to ''read.'' Also there is a part where we slowly scroll down the length of the cover close up, but it starts beneath the title. I asked him to scroll down the entire cover starting at the title. That's all that needs to be done. Everything else is, like I said earlier, really good! He said he should be done tweaking by tomorrow night at the latest, but I asked him not to post it until I've seen the tweaks. I want everything to look just right.
   Something told me to read the two articles I recently wrote, for SGL BookLovers magazine, to the editor  before I sent them and I'm glad I did. I read them to him over the phone Saturday night and, unlike my first three articles which will be published in the summer 2013 issue of the magazine, he had some suggestions for these two.  The one entitled Politics and Prose he said needed to be longer. The other one entitled Writing is a drag he said seemed to be talking about two different issues. He asked me to send him the second one so he can read it himself  and see what he thinks after that. I already have some ideas for lengthening the Politics and Prose article.
     I like the pressure in being challenged to do something better. It reminds me of those aspiring chefs in Gordon Ramsey's Hell's Kitchen. The magazine editor didn't use expletives, in fact he was very nice, but I do feel some pressure. It's all good though because I know I can, and will, improve those articles.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

my writing well ran dry this week

 I had a Friend from Cincinnati staying with me this week. So, I played host and entertainer and got no writing done all week, unless I count this blog. My friend is a concert violinist and he has a show tonight at the Ohio theater. He's been here for a week because he had rehearsals to go to.
    Last night we went to a modern dance performance by the Antaeus Dance Company and the Akros Percussion Collective. It was absolutely mind blowing! I had never seen a performance were modern dancers and musicians performed together on the same stage. The music/musicians were as much a part of the performance as the dancers and the music was very avant garde. Composer John Cage comes to mind when trying to describe it. Another friend of mine is a dancer with the Antaeus Dance Company and that's how I came to know about last nights performance. I love modern dance, modern art and anything avant garde, so this show was right up my alley. It was also free, which is also right up my alley! It was some sort of collaborative effort between Antaeus, Akros and the PBS Idea Center, which is in Cleveland's theater district. ''I'll take theater for $200.00, Alex. This is the largest theater district outside of Broadway in New York City? what is Playhouse Square in Cleveland, OH. You are correct! $200.00 to the gentleman from Cleveland.'' I just thought I'd add that little aside in case your ever on Jeopardy!
    Anyhow, I did have one interesting thing happen that's related to my writing this week. I found out about a web site called Kickstarter is a site for creative artist's to seek backers and raise money for they're projects. They work with musicians, designers, authors, inventors, filmmakers, painters/sculptors etc. People go to the site looking for artistic projects to support. I checked out the site and found that my writing project meats they're criterion. So, I will be setting up a profile on the site. Who knows, maybe I'll get a good cash flow going to publish and promote my work. So, next week my ''writing well'',as I call my ability to crank out the pages, should be full and overflowing, at least it better be. I haven't dipped into it all week!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

girls will be boys: part one

I will call the final section of chapter two in A Queer History of the United States Girls Will Be Boys. It talks about three extraordinary women that deserve they're own separate post. That's how intrigued I am by them.
    The first is Jamina Wilkinson [1752-1819]. Jamina was an evangelical preacher, but she was anything but ordinary. After a near death struggle with the Columbus fever [typhoid] she believed that Christ had entered her body and spared her life so she could spread his word. So, in 1775, she began a regional tour to do just that. She changed her name to Publick Universal Friend and refused to use the pronouns he or she, or her real name, ever again. She also began to dress in gender neutral clerical clothing that made her sex undetectable.
    S/he preached fire and brimstone evangelical sermons that advocated strict sexual abstinence, strict adherence to the ten commandments, unconditional friendship with all people and an apocalyptic version of the Bible. S/he became a sensation in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts and people flocked to hear Publick speak.
    By the 1780's the popular press and pamphlet community were printing her sermons in detail and distributing them widely. They not only printed her sermons but they harped on her gender enigmatic persona. But all of Publick's press publicity was not flattering. Some papers condemned  and discredited Publick's preaching and sought to ''expose'' Publick.
    Despite all this S/he developed a huge following and eventually began a religious settlement in New York state called the Universal Society of Friends. The society based it's philosophy on Quaker theology, which was Publick's religious base from birth. One interesting thing about the societies views was that ones soul/spirit or what we might today call ''energy'' never dies, it only ''leaves time.'' I don't know what triggered Publick's gender neutral style, and we don't know Publick's sexual orientation, but I don't think it was merely a gimmick. Publick ''left time'' on July 1, 1819.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

bosom buddies

The next section in A Queer History of the United States talks about something I am already somewhat familiar with. In the nineteenth century men and women moved in separate social circles. This evolved into a social construct we now refer to as  ''homosocial.'' People in the nineteenth century referred to these relationships in the literature and popular culture of the day as ''romantic'' or ''intimate'' friendships. By today's standards, these relationships would appear to be sexual relationships, and undoubtedly some of them were, but most of them were not. However, they all had a psychological eroticism.
    These relationships were quite common and considered socially acceptable. For some people they held the same level of commitment and devotion that legal marriage did/does. For others they provided an emotional and or fraternal need that they're legal marriage did not.
    If you read letters between romantic or intimate friends today one could almost get turned on by the level of passion and sensuality. An example of one of these letters, off the top of my head, would be something like this '' when will you be returning to the city? My days are cold and empty without you and my heart aches for the warmth of your caress, the zeal of your affection and the security of your bosom.'' Can you imagine writing a letter to your best friend like that today? And men would write to men and women to women like that!
    As far as nineteenth century LGBT people were concerned, these romantic or intimate friendships could have been a sort of ray of light. Since they were considered socially acceptable, an LGBT couple could have justified they're closeness by calling it a romantic or intimate friendship. These friendships were open and visible and sometimes romantic or intimate friends slept in the same bed together and nobody thought anything of it! I'm quite certain there were LGBT couples who saw an opportunity in this social structure and  used it to they're advantage.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

progressiveness and a fabricated man

The next two sections of A Queer History of the United States are called From puritanism to Enlightenment Thought and Inventing the American Man. I found these two sections quite interesting.
    The premise is that the enlightenment, a term coined in the mid-nineteenth century regarding the radical social, cultural, scientific, and political wave of thinking that hit Europe in the eighteenth century, helped to ignite the American Revolution. The newly created United States of America would be a republic based on enlightenment style freedom and egalitarianism, at least on paper.
    Enlightenment based reforms swept across Europe and France went so far as to abolish it's blasphemy, heresy, witchcraft and sodomy laws in the 1790's. As enlightenment influenced as the new United States was, never having had anti-blasphemy, heresy or witchcraft laws, it did have sodomy laws. The question is why? Well, it seems that along with the American desire for republican democracy there was also a desire for a national identity/image that was uniquely American as well. And the founders knew exactly what that identity/image would be. The United States was going to have a masculine, virile, rugged, aggressive, manly, combative and patriotic identity. This was the complete opposite of the European man who was prim, proper, refined, mannered, polite and somewhat effeminate. So, even though the founders themselves were of the European model with they're powdered wigs, tights, ruffles extensive libraries and vast estates , the average American would not be. Same-sex love and relationships did not fit this American identity/image, so they were to be repressed and discouraged well into the twentieth century.
    They wasted no time in priming the propaganda machine to promote this American prototypical man either. In 1787 the aptly titled first American produced play, The Contrast, was produced. It was a comedy about two men, Billy Dimples and Colonel Manly. Both men were American but Dimples was of the European model and Colonel  ''Manly'' was the desired American prototype and the hero of the play. The Contrast was a smash hit and the stage was set.
    I personally think this was sneaky and manipulative but I also think it was quite clever. The question is, if LGBT's were to be inherently marginalized with this national identity where was it intended to leave women, men of color and anybody else who didn't fit the mold?

Monday, June 10, 2013

we'll be right back... after this important message!

We'll be right back with more... Queer History of the United States after this important message from our sponsor [I mean our blogger!] Do you read my blog regularly? Do you ever say to yourself  ''I thought this was a blog about his personal quest to finish his Rainbow Plantation Blues trilogy? So, why does he post about Gay history, books he's read/reading and DVDs and shows he's seen? Well, it's because I use new and improved I have to post about something everyday! My quest to finish my Rainbow Plantation Blues Trilogy can be, shall I say, uneventful. Some days nothing interesting happens and some days nothing happens at all! I came to realize that the process of writing, publishing and promoting a book can be one big yawn!  To blog about it five days a week, which is the blogging goal I set for myself, is almost impossible. Yes, I could say ''today I wrote two pages. It was a lot of fun writing those two pages today. My goal for tomorrow is to write three pages!" Or, on the days when I don't do anything at all I could post about how I watched Dewayne Does Dallas, Debbie's not my type, and stuffed my face with raw veggies, I don't eat bonbons, all day!
   But with new and improved I have to post about something everyday I can post about things that are at least semi-interesting, and keep my readers coming back for more! I can brainstorm for post ideas and keep my five day goal alive!
    So, there you have it, folks. Order your very own I have to post about something every day right now! Get it so you can think of something to post about, too!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

the ''othering'' of america

A section in chapter two of A Queer History of the United States is called Slaves and Citizens. I had to read this section twice to get the gist of it. It deals with ideas and ''psychology'' rather than documented facts.  So, let me try to explain how the author[Michael Bronski] relates slavery and citizens to LGBT oppression.
    First I want to clarify that this not an attempt to compare African-American slavery to Gay oppression. What it does suggest is that slavery, and Native-American Oppression, set up a sort of psychological ''us'' and ''them,'' or ''natural'' and ''civilized'' mentality, or what the author calls ''othering.'' And that this othering was largely based on hypersexuality. This is hard for me to explain so bare with me. Anyhow, it basically is saying that the slaves and the indigenous peoples were sex fiends who had to be controlled, which played a part in the South's infamous concubinary system. Sensationalized narratives about white women being kidnapped and forced to live with, and sometimes marry, these ''hypersexual'' Native-Americans were extremely popular in Europe. They struck an unconscious cord with ''civilized'' society[s] in that civilization meant repressing they're own ''natural'' human desires and, in the end, exacerbating those desires. This is another example of how ''othering'' groups of people only hurts everybody in the end. So, the ''othering'' of non-white peoples created a social hierarchical heritage in the United States that extended to LGBT's.
    This is subject is complicated and deep. I tried to explain it in my own words. I think I explained it correctly but it deserves further study.

Friday, June 7, 2013

america's ''first'' drag superstars : the berdache

I've just begun chapter two of A Queer History of the United States. This book is very good. It covers 500 years of LGBT history in America from Christopher Columbus to the Puritans to the second half of the 20th century.
    It starts by talking about the ''Berdache.'' These were Native-Americans who took on the dress and tribal duties of the opposite sex. The Native-Americans seem to have had a totally different view of gender and gender roles. I suspect that these ''Berdache'' were what we would call Gay and/or Transgender today. The first European explorers, from the 15th to the 16th centuries, noticed this practice throughout the tribes of North America and they wrote about in they're journals. They're journals are the source of most of our awareness of the Berdache today. These European explorers must have seen the Berdache as anything from a strange curiosity to blasphemous. But they themselves weren't completely unfamiliar with cross-dressing because female roles in the European theater were always played by men in drag since women were not allowed to perform on stage.
    The Puritans are discussed, too. They're legacy of intolerance is infamous today but that legacy leaves us with court and public records that prove they had a big Gay ''problem.'' These records also show that punishments for sodomy were not always evenly applied along lines of class and status. Today we think of sodomy as only applying to sex between men or people of the same-sex but it was designed to regulate Heterosexual sex, too. It just goes to show that when you persecute one group your really persecuting all groups. Any sexual behavior that was not for procreation could have been deemed sodomy. The definition of sodomy was different from colony to colony and punishment[s] varied as well.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

jason collins, titles and subtle growth

I'm taking a break from my series Before Stonewall, After 1899 for awhile. I keep coming across all this new information as I post it. So, it's going to be longer than I thought. But the first transsexual and ''how MLK's gay connection almost destroyed the Black civil-rights movement'' will be saved for another series I've decided to do called movers and shakers. No, I'm not talking about people who transport furniture in a truck or the religious community called the Shakers. I'm talking about LGBT people who made an impact on the movement. Maybe I'll even include contemporary people who are turning the tide, like recently out NBA player Jason Collins. Or, better yet, maybe I'll do a series on hot movers and shakers and include him!
    Last night I got two more pages done on the sequel and another article written for SGL BookLovers magazine. I wrote for several hours straight, or rather several hours Gay, and didn't get to bed until well after 1:30 AM. The article is called Writing is a drag and it's about editing. I know it's a weird title for an article about editing but it does make sense once you read the article. I like to come up with titles that are sort of odd or weird to peak a readers curiosity. I want readers to say to themselves ''what the heck is that about!''
    When I sit-down to write, or blog, I have no idea what the end result will be. All I have is a very vague idea of what I'm going to say. I let it all come as I go. I want to get a cohesive idea down on paper and then go back and edit it later. I am almost always satisfied with the end result. I also find that writing about what I know, understand and am interested in is important, too. Another important thing to me is writing with my own voice, in my own words and with my own vision. That's where the art of writing comes in.
    My long term goal is to become the best writer I can be and the only way to get better is to write consistently, period! The growth and development are very subtle and accumulate over time. So, I have to keep cranking out these blog post, articles for SGL BookLovers and page after page on my sequel. I also have to keep reading a lot. I think that when you read books you unconsciously learn spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. Hopefully my articles, and this blog, will help and/or inspire others because helping others affects your own growth too.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

juicy tidbits of history

I just received two books that I ordered last week. One is called Before Stonewall : Activist for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context and the other is called A Queer History of the United States : Revisioning American History. I will be blogging about my findings in these books. Hopefully I'll unearth some juicy tidbits of LGBT history from them. Did I just say  "'juicy tidbits...''? I'm the only person I know who thinks history can be ''juicy.'' But what can I say? I like it! It holds my interest. I like all history but Black-American and LGBT history are my favorites. Maybe that's because I'm both Black and Gay.
    What I find interesting about my personal reading habits is that I don't read fiction at all. I write fiction but I couldn't read it to save my life! Well, that might not be true. If someone said ''read this novel or die'' I would probably read it, but if left to my own discretion it's not going to happen. The last fiction book I read was James Earl Hardy's B-Boy Blues back in 1997. I enjoyed it a lot, and I'm an admirer of Hardy, but there has been nothing since. I read all historical, biographical and metaphysical/spiritual/new age kinds of books.
    So, you might ask yourself, if he doesn't read fiction how can he write it and why would he want to? My answer is that I think fiction is nothing but an artistic/creative mixture of historical, biographical and metaphysical/spiritual ideas woven together to tell a story. Fictitious stories are ''tidbits'' of history, biography and spirituality turned ''juicy''! I like writing fiction because I'm an artsy kind of person. I've dabbled in most areas of the arts; acting, singing, dancing, painting, drawing/sketching, songwriting and now fiction writing, my entire life.
    Rainbow Plantation Blues is the culmination of my Blackness and Gayness, and my love of history and art/creativity. It is a window into my personality.

Monday, June 3, 2013

what's nancy reagan got to to do with it?

I'm off to a good start this month with my goals. I've already written my one article for SGL BookLovers magazine. It's called Politics and Prose and it's about weaving politics, or political issues, into ones' writing and how to do effectively. I'm not saying I'm some kind of authority on ''politics and prose.'' I just talk about how I weave politics into my writing and hope that I can help somebody else with what I've learned.
    I've written three whole pages on the sequel so far this month! But this picking up shifts on my day job is starting again, already. I picked up a shift this afternoon and, before I could get out the door I was asked to come back and close tonight! Of course, I said yes. Tomorrow I have to be back at 9:00AM and then work until 4:00PM. I picked up that shift last week. Then I have to comeback at 8:00PM, my regular shift, and close again! So, as soon as I finish blogging today I'll have to eat, chill for a minute, and go back to work. I'm not going to be able to write tonight. It's really quite the dilemma because I could use the money, but these extra shifts take up all my time and I'm too tired to write. I'm just going to have to work it out somehow. Maybe I'll just have to push myself harder, or maybe I'll just have to do a Nancy Reagan and ''just say no!''

Saturday, June 1, 2013

to BS or not to BS, that is the question!

I've been watching travel DVDs lately. This time I've been watching Rudy Maxa's series entitled Rudy Maxa's World. Rudy goes to Asia and Eastern Europe in this series. I'm always watching Travel DVDs. I fantasise that I'm in these different places writing and experiencing different cultures. In my fantasies I'm not with any tour group. I just carry a backpack, find my way around on my own, meet people, learn the language[s], learn the currency and find all the LGBT people.
     In addition to Rudy Maxa I watch Rick Steves DVDs, Globe Trekker, Bump[the LGBT travel series] and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern . I've been to about half of the states in the U.S. and to Canada, when I was too young to remember it, but that's it.
    So, Rudy and I went to Thailand, India and Turkey last night. Tonight we're going to Russia and Estonia. The only thing I can say these travel shows do for my writing is help to exercise my imagination. They transport me to another place where I have to visualize the possibilities. I have to visualize myself there because There's a lot more to these places than what they show you on the DVD. I think that these exercises in imagination transfer over to my writing and strengthen it. So, watching these DVDs is not me just vegetating on the couch. They do add value.
    See how good a writer I am. Even I could almost buy this...!