Radical Acceptance; or, Elsamaren vs. The Von Trapp Family Singers

Didn’t want to post a photo of the orange monster, so here you go instead.

This morning’s headline was expected (and, frankly, inevitable) but still gratifying: The House of Representatives is drawing up articles of impeachment against Trump even as I type, signalling a new chapter in the horror story of his so-called presidency. Finally! And yet, with the GOP in control of the Senate, will anything come of this attempt to fight corruption at the highest echelons of the US government? I honestly have no idea. I also have zero power to impact the outcome. Given that reality, I must adopt an approach my therapist calls “radical acceptance,” and wait with everyone else to see what happens with the current shit show that has overtaken our nation’s capital. Sigh…

Fortunately, my therapist also taught me that distraction is a valid method of dealing with the emotional distress typically associated with situationslike our current national constitutional crisisthat require radical acceptance. Over the years, I’ve learned that my favorite forms of distraction include writing (obviously), reading, and watching movies. While writing is necessarily solitary, I prefer to share the other two forms of entertainment with others—especially movies.

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Queer Eye on Parenthood

Many (many) summers ago, I was camping with friends at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park when a group of astronomy buffs showed up at the Visitor Center and invited visitors to view the stars through their assortment of high-powered telescopes. I’ll never forget the amazement I felt as I peered through one particularly impressive scope and focused in on Saturn, its rings clearly visible. I wasn’t looking at a photo or video or otherwise mediated image of the iconic planet. No, I was LOOKING AT SATURN.

Photo of Saturn


That long ago weekend stands out for other reasons, too: a particularly beautiful, remote hike that required a tense drive along a one-lane logging road edged by miles of 2,000-foot drops; nights spent camping under massive Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars with the scent of evergreen needles on the breeze; and an early morning ferry ride back to Seattle that featured a pod of Orcas trailing us across Puget Sound. So many lovely things happened that it felt afterward like I had spent a long weekend inside a Mary Oliver poem. But Saturn’s rings? Wow. Just, wow.

Fast forward to earlier this month when a Facebook invitation popped up from a local organization to come to a park not far from our house and stargaze through our regional astronomy club’s scopes. I told Kris and the girls about it immediately, envisioning a memorable few hours when the far reaches of our solar system would be revealed. The event started at 6:30 p.m. on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, which to my mind meant it might be the perfect family outing. The girls were up for the adventure, especially when they learned we might be able to see planets as well as stars.

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Posted in LGBTQ+, Non-Biological Motherhood, Parenting | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

A Little Disguised: Queering the Canon, One Classic at a Time

Note: This post discusses my upcoming series “Queering the Canon” from Second Growth Books. If you’re interested in helping crowdfund the series, please visit my Patreon profile.


Recently, a reader who has become a friend and regular correspondent about books, ideas, and life mentioned that as a Jane Austen fan, he had been somewhat worried about my P&P adaptation, Gay Pride and Prejudice, in which I added roughly 10,000 words to Austen’s novel in order to shift the classic love story from supposedly heteronormative to distinctly homo. Not everyone in Gay P&P is queer, you understand, but enough characters are switch hitters (or, as it was apparently known in the eighteenth century, practitioners of “the game of flats”) to tilt the novel’s central romance off-center—a revisionist choice that more than one reader has disliked. Intensely.

This wasn’t the first time someone who generally likes my writing confessed their doubts about my goal of queering Austen’s best-known novel. Prior to writing and publishing Gay P&P, in fact, I very much shared those concerns. I hesitated for more than a year to attempt an LGBT rewrite of P&P because, well, JANE AUSTEN. But at last, I grew tired of waiting for the novel I’d always longed to read, and went ahead and adapted the mother of all romance novels to make it queer.

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Homophones, Synonyms, and Queer Folk, Oh My

A couple of nights ago at dinner, Kris was telling us about a book she’d just finished: My Squirrel Days, a collection of personal essays written by actor Ellie Kemper from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. At one point, Kris explained, Kemper envisions herself on her death bed surrounded by her future children and grandchildren. One of her granddaughters is named Cabinet, Kemper writes, and the other Morph, short for Metamorphosis, because “popular girl names don’t get any less weird in the future.”

“Cabinet?” Sydney echoed.

“Metamorphosis?” Alex repeated, her eyes narrowing doubtfully.

I mean, really, how do you explain a concept like metamorphosis to elementary schoolchildren?

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So about that GoS book #4 cover…

**2/22/19 UPDATE: The pre-order had to be canceled due to a glitch–okay, a GAFFE on my part. Anyway, I reuploaded the book, and the good news is that you can order and read it TODAY (Friday) instead of having to wait until Monday! I am changing links fastly and furiously. Here you go: NEW ORDER PAGE ON AMAZON**

Happy Valentine’s Day from snowy Western Washington, where my children are currently on their sixth snow day! Over the past week, we’ve had a grand total of–trumpets, please16 inches. That’s right, folks, six days of no school because a little more than a foot of snow decided to land on our neck of the woods. Have you seen that meme that compares the local reaction to different snowfall amounts in varying parts of the country? Probably the only thing King County has in common with the south is that with a foot of snow, we declare a state of emergency. The Seattle Snowpocalypse is real, y’all.Road-to-Canada-kindle

Anyway, on to book news. You know how I always say I reserve the right to change the cover before publication? Well, book #4 of the Girls of Summer series now has a new cover–and a new title: The Road to Canada. I’ve said before that Jamie and Emma have minds of their own, so it might not come as a surprise to some of you that they’ve once again hijacked the story. Girls of Summer will now be book #5, though it keeps the (slightly tweaked) cover with the flag. Good thing, too–Kris, my wife, loves that cover.

So why the change? In short, Girls of Summer was either going to have to be considerably longer than the other books in the series or I would have had to limit the story that Jamie and Emma keep insisting they want to tell. Instead of grappling alone with this decision, I created a SurveyMonkey that I shared with a focus group. The survey asked the readers to choose an option: one super-long novel that wouldn’t be available for several months OR two shorter novels, one of which was almost complete. The results: Books #4 and 5 will be published separately, but I will also make them available as a box-set for those who would prefer to read them together as one super-long book.

For now, though, The Road to Canada (book 4) is available for pre-order on Amazon. Publication is set for February 25. I’m still planning to wrap up Jamie and Emma’s current storyline in Girls of Summer (book 5), due out in May, but obviously #Blakewell may have different ideas about that… I (and J & E) will keep you posted. Oh, and I added a box set of Girls of Summer books 1 to 3 on Amazon for anyone who needs to catch up. Pass it on if you get a chance!

In the meantime, Happy V-Day, and happy reading. And if you happen to be in the Pacific Northwest, happy sledding…


Me and the girls in our normally snow-free forest

Posted in Lesbian Fiction, Queer books, Soccer, USWNT | Tagged , | 10 Comments