Queer Town Abbey’s “Equal Rights Blog Hop”

Thank you Queer Town Abbey for hosting this blog hop with the theme “My first experience in the LGBT community.”

blog_hop_button  The Equal Rights Blog Hop July 4th through 11th blog hop button

I came out when I was twenty. I told most of my family and friends I was gay before I had even held another girl’s hand. I was that sure of who I was and desperately needed to be around people like me.

One Thursday night, I drove to a lesbian bar near my house. With a nervous twist in my stomach, I pulled into the parking lot. I sat in my car – hesitant and having second thoughts. I gave myself a pep talk. “Come on Alicia, it’s just a bar!” and “These are your people!”

After a few more minutes of hemming and hawing, I yelled out, “It’s Thursday night for Christ sakes!” I opened my car door and with a confidence that screamed “I’m not afraid of Thursday nights!” I swayed toward the entrance.

It wasn’t until I reached the doors and pulled my wallet from my pocket that I remembered I was using a fake ID. I’d always get uneasy when using it at new places. My sister and I didn’t look that much alike. But I had other things to be anxious about and with a forced nonchalant smile and a heavy heartbeat, I handed over my ID.

Seconds later, I was welcomed into my first gay bar.

I stepped into the dark place that looked just like any other bar I’d been to. Small groups of women were either hovered over pool tables or chatting loudly on stools, while a scattered few danced across the near-empty dance floor.

The bar wasn’t crowded, but that was my plan. I was baby-stepping my way into the gay community. I took a seat and immediately pulled out my pack of smokes and dropped it in front of me. I have long since quit, but back then I needed my cigarettes. It gave me something to do with my hands and allowed me to concentrate on something other than myself.

The bartender came over. I had no way of knowing that she would come to make many drinks for me and had a keen way of pin-pointing when I was in the mood for a beer or for my favorite mixed drink. But she didn’t know me then, so I had to tell her.

Soon, a transvestite named Michelle sat beside me. Aside from the bartender, she was the first person to talk to me. She was very friendly and immediately put me at ease. I’ll never forget her for that.

But as she talked about her girlfriend, I realized I had a lot to learn about the community I was starting to call my own. I had assumed that men who dressed as women were attracted to other men. I hung on her every word as she told to me about her and her girlfriend’s recent fights.

I was introduced to something foreign to me and my “suburban” way of living. But there was no doubt I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I took a chance that night and it paid off. I would come to make many memories in that bar that I still hold close to me today. Not too long ago, I’d taken another chance, but time has yet to show if it will pay off. But whether or not good memories come from what I’d done, I don’t ever want to stop taking chances.

Whatever the uncertainty in your life, are you willing to take a chance?

 

To enter the Giveaway please answer this simple question from post:

“What day of the week did I go to my first gay bar?”

Please post the answer in the Rafflecopter widget for the opportunity to win one of the grand prizes.

http://queertownabbey.com/the-equal-rights-blog-hop-july-4th-through-11th/

 

Thanks again Queer Town Abbey for hosting this blog hop! Please follow the hop at queertownabbey.com for a chance to win prizes! And please leave a comment on my blog for a chance to win an ebook copy of my lesbian romance novella, Her Name, coming out July 11.

Her Name

 

Please visit other authors participating in this blog hop!
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Movies and Memories

As a writer, the last thing I want to hear in response to recommending a very good book to someone is, “That’s okay. I’ll just wait for the movie to come out.” …. “But there is no movie for this book.” …. “Then it must not be a very good book.”  Sigh.

Writers don’t compete with other writers. We compete with every means of entertainment that take people away from reading. Could this include the movie industry? Possibly. But maybe for every 100 people who instead of reading a book, choose to wait a long time for the book to get to the big screen, a dozen or two dozen of them will be so swept away by the brilliance of the movie that they will just HAVE to read the book, while crossing their fingers that the book will do the movie justice.

Hey, if it takes a movie to get a person to pick up a book – I’m all for it, because I love movies. Ever since I was a little girl it was my escape. I loved books, too, and had gotten lost in so many as a child (still do), but I sure loved to watch movies. And could watch them all day. Everyday. And that hasn’t changed.

I have a stack of old tickets stubs I had saved. The oldest one dates Jan-3-1998. I was 21 at the time. The movie was Good Will Hunting. The adult price was $7.50 – today’s matinee. I saw it with my best friend.

I don’t recall what made me start saving movie ticket stubs. Maybe I’m just nostalgic because I do have a fondness for the past and lamenting how the time has passed. But I no longer save my stubs. The latest ticket I have is from 06-09-2007. The movie was Shrek. I saw it with my ex.

Now that I have stopped collecting these tickets, it seems silly to save the ones I already have, but throwing them away doesn’t feel right. I’ve held onto them this long – how can I throw them out now?

As I look over all the stubs from fifteen years ago, I can remember the exact person I saw each movie with.  Maybe this doesn’t seem like an extraordinary feat, but if you knew my horrible memory, you’d be amazed. My girlfriends have an edge over me because they can convince me I’ve said or done things I didn’t do simply because I won’t remember not having said or done them. It really isn’t fair.

I wish I could remember the multiplication table, or our State Capitols, or my niece’s and nephew’s birthdays the way I remember the people who sat beside me in a darkened theater as I shoveled buttery popcorn into my mouth.

In eighth grade, I saw the movie Madhouse with my boyfriend and another couple. Date night! He was eating Twizzlers and was so anxious to kiss me that he couldn’t even wait until he had swallowed all of his delicious candy because parts of the chewed, left-over pieces ended up in my mouth. It was the grossest, wettest and sloppiest kiss I’ve ever experienced. It was twenty-five years ago but I still remember the sweet taste of his candy on the back of my tongue and the feel of drool running down my chin.

I’m pretty sure that was the moment I became a lesbian. Thanks Ryan! It’s a wonder I even kissed another boy after that. I remember my feeling of relief when he left to go to the bathroom and I was able to towel off my face.

I’m not the lesbian who likes to rag on guys. I have experienced some decent kisses from those of the opposite sex, but nothing summed it up the way my best friend described a kiss when we hooked up with some fellows while visiting a college friend. “He kissed the way Mel Gibson looks.” Mind you, this was 1995 and Mel was lookin’ real good, but my kisses with boys never left me feeling like that. My kisses with girls…well that’s a story for another blog….maybe. 🙂

This blog isn’t about kisses. It’s about movies. Or rather, what attaches us to movies.

I remember going to see Silence of the Lambs with my mother, who is the loudest person you can ever watch a movie with. I didn’t know that at the time, but  she jumps at EVERYTHING. Even the parts where you know the bad guy is going to pop out, she’ll scream as if there was absolutely no build-up and she never saw it  coming. She scared me more than Hannibal Lecter did.

I took my young nephew to see Finding Nemo. He was so excited running down the hall to the theater that he wiped out, face first, onto the floor. Arms and legs outstretched. He was laid-out flat.  I laughed. I laughed hard. (I’m laughing right now as I write this). And he was mad at me. He slowly got up and wouldn’t look at me as I walked, and he limped, to our seats.

In the middle of the movie, I replayed his tumble in my mind – slow motion –  and I busted out in laughter again. My astute little nephew turned to me in the dark theater and whispered, “I know why you’re laughing.” Yes, he knew, and that only made me laugh harder.

Memories.

Anything can be memorable – even the worst movie ever made- if it’s connected to a memory that’s unforgettable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My “Is It Summer Yet?” Blog

Queer Town Abbey Invites You

to Get a Jump on the Season

As a kid,  summer was what I waited for, longed for. The anticipation was as exciting as waking up on a Saturday morning, and tossing the covers to the side as I hurried to watch my favorite cartoons (because that was the only time cartoons were on. We didn’t have 175 channels for kids back then).

I counted the days until the last day of school and as soon as it became warm enough to open the windows in class, only my body remained in session because my mind completely checked out.   I’d daydream about all the adventures (trouble) I’d get into and with the help of a great childhood best friend, we did just that.

Everyday we’d go to the Park District pool, get kicked out of the Park District pool, sneak into places we never should have been, and ride our bikes around town while searching for new places to make into our “hideout” that only we knew about. We enjoyed a freedom that most kids don’t get to experience today because we didn’t have cellphones that would allow us to be tracked down by our parents at any given moment. If they needed us, they had to wait until we got home (and I always made it a point to ignore when the streetlights came on because I hated that rule).

Now, my side-kick is gone – married with kids – but I still count down the days for school to be out, but not for me, for my kiddies, because they are the ones I now take with me on my adventures. They are my “side-kicks” now and our “adventures” usually take us to the South Side – to Sox Park – for a Sox game.

But we don’t just “go” to Sox games. We “travel” there. I have a Sox  CD burned with songs that can only be listened to while driving to a Sox game and it is put on at a specific point in our destination because a certain song must be playing the second the stadium comes to view. It’s a beautiful moment.

We also don’t just “attend” a game. We “experience” it. There are food items I am only allowed to eat when I am with my nephew because we tasted it the first time together and it has become our tradition to eat it together. Seriously, on the way to the game he’ll ask me what inning we should eat our favorite food. If I dare attend a game without them (and believe me, this instance is treated like a treacherous scandal) I am questioned later if I ate said food. “No, I did not,” I’d always respond. (Okay, one time I did but I am gluten-free and therefore am VERY limited in my options at the ballpark, so I need some slack).

My favorite summer memories revolve around baseball, but for far more reasons than just the sport of it. It’s sentimental to me. I hold close to me very fond memories of watching games with my father, who passed away 18 years ago. It’s how I became a fan in the first place.

One day a little girl walked into her living room and her father was sitting on the couch with a game on.  She sat beside him and watched the first of what would become many, many games with him. Yet still, I wish there were could have been more.

I know my nephews will hold close these memories and look back fondly at them in years to come. Whenever they see an old lady at a game they point out that that will be me someday and they will be the ones taking me to the games. I laugh because although I am in no hurry to get old and gray, my boys have left me with something to look forward to.

I’ve realized that no matter how bright the sun may be on the most gorgeous of summer days, it always shines a little brighter when you’re sharing it with someone you love.

 

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Queer Town Abbey Invites You

to Get a Jump on the Season
with
Queer Town Abbey,
Musa Publishing, 
and dozens of your favorite authors
for the
Is It Summer Yet? Blog Hop
 
Celebrating My Best Summer Memory
 
Grand Prizes are:
 
iPod shuffle
 
Queer as Folk Box, 
Music from the ShowTime original series Seasons 3,4,and 5
donated by Tommy Boy Entertainment
 
PLUS
11 other great prizes


To enter click Queer Town Abbey Blog Hop 
and share your best summer memory