Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Part of something important

I've been lucky enough to participate in four Lambda Literary Awards finalists readings at this point, but I forget how emotional the readings can be. Part of it is the intergenerational contact so rare in queer cultures these days, like when 84-year-old George Birimisa, coeditor of Return to the Caffe Cino, decked out in rainbow knit hat and rainbow knit scarf, comes right up to me and gives me a hug, even though I don't believe I've met him before. Also, the way queer writing worlds intersect and I have a different sense of my own history, like seeing Lucy Jane Bledsoe and Jess Wells, who I originally met during a reading for Queer View Mirror, the first anthology I was published in, back in 1997 I think. And the way history infuses the writing, like Jess Wells’ intense introduction for The Mandrake Broom, her historical novel set during witch-burning times in Europe, or Steve Susoyev’s intro for Return to the Caffe Cino, about merrymaking on an 8 x 8 stage in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. Or laughter from Rhiannon Argo’s shoplifting tips and Kemble Scott’s public television satire, a different kind of engagement with Toni Mirosevich’s meditation on relationships and Ursula Steck’s clever insertion of disability liberation politics into the mystery genre.

But the most intense part is reading, reading and seeing this multigenerational audience that isn't necessarily my usual audience really respond to what I'm saying, my scathing critiques of assimilation and invocation of the possibilities for transformation if we were able to eliminate the pressure to pass, i.e. the politics of Nobody Passes. I mean the audience is really really responding, all throughout and a whole roar of applause at the end I mean I feel so present, so present in this room filled with all kinds of queer writers and readers and I actually feel loved and appreciated and part of something important.

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