Late-night Foray into the Void

On a relatively late-night stroll into the ether, or the internet as it were, I found my way into my own particular gut wrenching subsection. I began looking at tiny houses and wondered what it would be like to quit my job and live a life of traveling and seeing the world. Then I was watching a video about a deaf girl who could sing better than I ever could even in the prime of my chorus days and then I landed on the one that broke me. Turned my already fracturing understanding of the human race and its current way of functioning into a pile of ashes.

I splintered and shattered as I looked at an old man while he described to a boy what it was like for him to come out as gay when he was younger. He briefly described that it was illegal and that if you were spending the night with a male friend and the police came in and found you in bed together that you could be arrested simply because. Watching him dream about what it would be like to be able to think about being gay as maybe not “such a big deal” and definitely not face the same consequences as he would have in his youth.

And all I can say is what have we done? What are we still doing? We make people who are too old to restart, or too tired to try again, dream about the sludge that we still turn out as human beings. To fantasize about the trash that is being put forth by many people toward the LGBTQA community is inconceivable to me, even though I know progress has been made. And no, I am not talking about LGBTQA community exclusively, my hopelessness encompasses all oppressed or discriminated against people.

What kind of a society are we that we can’t just let people be. Where I, who pass in all ways, still want to escape the shit people we have become as a society. When did it become so important to everyone what someone does in the privacy of their bedrooms or where someone pees that we have completely ignored that they are still people. Like, holy fuck, just let them pee!

I never before thought I struggled with depression but I am wondering if I have developed it from the deep-seated misanthropy that grows inside of me. The fact that I am considering investing in a tiny house so that I am not tied to one place or so I can easily escape when things become too much is a worrisome thing. I should want to plant roots and make a family but I don’t.

Recent studies have shown that the rate at which people from my generation and younger are having babies is dropping too quickly and I can’t say that I am surprised. There are many reasons why I have chosen a child free life but chief among them is not wanting to bring a child into this world—to see them go through life and be treated like shit the way we treat anyone that doesn’t fit into the box we’ve labelled normal.

They say that normal is just a setting on your washer but truthfully it is this imaginary standard that we measure everyone against. Some fake ideal that we have concocted in our heads from movies, stories, politics, religion, ect, that we use as a ruler and in the end, it’s inadequate, no worse, it’s complete and utter shit and it’s harmful.

We as people can do amazing things and overcome ridiculous obstacles. To be able to write and compose your own songs, then sing those songs with an amazing voice that gives me goosebumps is amazing in general but when it done by someone who is deaf? That is something I would not have thought possible but I was proven wrong. Why can we not use this amazing ability to adapt to accept each other and strive toward greatness and use the resources we currently spend on keeping others down and trying to maintain the imaginary status on helping those in need and decreasing world suck?

When trying to fit people in a box doesn’t work, it’s time to change. When what you believe only hurts and does not help, it’s time to change. When I have to watch an older man, sit and wistfully imagine what it would have been like to experience their first love or crush without the fear of being disowned/abused/arrested/killed it is time to change. When you are putting your personal ideas of what someone else should be before the life and feelings of said person it is time to change.

I can’t teach you to care about others. Empathy, it seems, is becoming an increasingly rare trait and without it we’re all screwed.

Reading Challenge Kick Off

Hello to everyone joining me on this adventure! Today is January first and I hope that you have all started the new year by cracking open a new novel. I know that some of the categories can be hard to find books for so I have blog posts planned to help ferret out a book for you to consume.

Also in case anyone needs it, here is a blank reading list for you to print and fill in your books on. Click me!

Today I am going to cover a book where the main character is a person of color. This is not necessarily something that you can simply google for, trust me, I tried. You get a lot of results for The Color Purple. Not a bad book by any means and certainly an option but after the movie, I’m going to save that tear-jerker for later.

There is one book that I have read that I can recommend then I have some links to list that you can peruse yourself. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is an excellent book. It’s a true story written so well that it reads like fiction. (Cross references to: A book a friend recommended, A book based on a true story, A book by a female author, An award winning book.)

If that one does not suit your fancy then I have links galore:
16 Books About Race (courtesy of Leeann)
I read only non-white authors for 12 months. (I pulled several from this one to add to my to-read list)
Fiction about LGBT women of color (Great for cross reference with other reading criteria)
Goodreads List 1 & 2

Hopefully this will help all of you fill out this category on your list. My chosen book for this one is: Who Fears Death – Nnedi Okorafor

Comment below with your choice or join the Facebook group and let us know!

Currently reading: ICO: Castle in the Mist for Book originally written in a language other than your first. (Cross references to: A book set in a different country, A book by a female author, A book with magic, A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (although the culture is a fake tribe I believe), A young adult book, A book that is a guilty pleasure)

2016 Reading Challenge

I have always wanted to do one of the reading challenges that are posted all over the internet. I follow people on youtube who shove their books in my face and sulk over my one unfinished book that I started three months earlier on January first.

I’ll admit it: I’m not a fast reader. I plug along dutifully and enjoy myself immensely but am not Speedy Gonzales. I also work a full-time job and have a needy husband and a messy house that requires keeping.

All of this complaining and excuse making is my long way of saying: I cannot read 52 books in a year. I literally cannot even. (bahahahahaha!)

So, for everyone who has kids or a full-time job, a not entirely self-sufficient partner or a goldfish who’s allergic to water, this is a list for you!

There are thirty books on my list, compiled from some of the lists I found online and from a friend. I also have two possible ways to play. The first is one book for each requirement on the list resulting in thirty books in the year. The second way, which I am adding for the poor souls with a small brood of children or a business to run, is to select books that fulfill more than one requirement and call it good (resulting in less than thirty).

So, without further ado and in no particular order, the list:

  • A book with nonhuman characters
  • A book with a one-word title
  • A book of short stories (either all by the same writer or an anthology of different writers)
  • A book set in a different country
  • A book a friend recommended
  • A book based on a true story
  • A book based entirely on its cover
  • A book by a female author
  • A book which is a popular author’s first book
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t (or a classic if you actually read what you were supposed to)
  • A book you can finish in one day
  • A book from your childhood
  • A book with magic
  • A book you own but haven’t read
  • A book originally written in a language other than your first or a book written in a language that isn’t your first
  • A book written by an author with the same initials as you
  • A banned book
  • A book published by an indie press
  • A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQA et al
  • A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native American, Aborigines, ect)
  • A young adult book
  • An award winning book
  • A book that is a retelling of a classic story or fairytale
  • A book that is a guilty pleasure
  • A book based on or made into a movie or TV show
  • A book where the main character is a person of color
  • A book chosen completely at random or blind choice (you could use a friend)
  • A book from a genre you wouldn’t normally read from
  • A book from a famous or influential author in a culture other than your own
  • A book that you have been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to yet

There you have it! I will be posting throughout the year about what I’m reading and the different requirements and if I’m lucky, have a guest or two.

 

Second Chances

Life is a funny thing. We try to steer it in the direction we think we should be going. Follow the guiding light that lives in our hearts, a seemingly palpable force that moves us based on the things we know to be true and the instincts we have honed. It’s so easy to look from the outside with a different perspective and see where one might have done things differently or even to look back and make the proper mental adjustments after the fact. The truth is though, that when you’re down in the trenches, it’s easy to be blindsided and in the heat of the moment you make a gut call and then you’ve got to deal with the aftermath.

I broke a friendship that was poisonous to me. One that seeped into all facets of my life and turned things sour, turned me sour. I needed to see if I could survive the hurt of losing someone I loved in order to get back the good part of myself. I felt like I had lost her already so it was simply the untying of a knot, right?

Years passed after its breaking, a friendship forged out of love, longing, secrets and unlikely circumstances, lost to the trial of time and distance. I don’t know where the breaking point was or how long I had brooded about the end but even afterward, the healing didn’t begin. The mourning process didn’t proceed so I could patch up the wound I had made by cutting her from my life. I got stuck. Stuck in a depression that consumed me. Dreams became a way for my subconscious to mock the choice I had made and the waking hours were nothing short of torture.

Do not take this to mean I didn’t still live my life, I did. Happy moments abound, but I was no longer content in the quiet time I had by myself. I began to fill my days with a lot of noise. I didn’t have down time because I didn’t want to have to think. I made backup plans for my plans so I would always have something. It worked for a while, but when it didn’t work, it really didn’t. There are posts here to attest to those nights.

Recently, I received an email that made up for the previous email I had received from my friend in every way. It was thoughtful and honest. Contained truths I know were hard to write as they were hard to read and for the first time in three years the silence in the room wasn’t so painful.

The email was a shout into the dark and a whisper of a hope to try again. I felt hopeful before I opened it and knew before I finished reading it that I would respond. I may be stubborn but I try very hard not to be stupid. It would have been stupid to think I could continue my life the way it had been going. Stupid to fight the hope screaming inside me that things could finally be different. So I’m taking the chance.

This is a first for me, to let someone back in after they’ve hurt me. It’s entirely new territory and I’m scared. I can feel the old attachment lurking under every action I take. The old relationship in the background, saying you can just continue to build where we left off but no amount of water slides or tire swings can make up for the catastrophe that happened there. We need to make something new. I may never be able to forget that she loves chocolate chip-less chocolate chip cookies or that she shares my love of all things zombie but she’s not the same person I held in my head for so longconfined by the chains of my understanding of her.

John Green said, “imagine me complexly” and not that I feel I owe her anything but I feel I owe us the opportunity to be re-imagined with the difficulties we experienced adding to our complexity but not defining us.

Now, if I can only manage not to screw something up…

False Advertising

When I was younger I thought by the time I was thirty I would have my shit together. I don’t know why but it seemed the magical number when the thirty-somethings I knew had houses and stable jobs and things. For those of you out there who look at thirty year olds and see the same thing let me let you in on a little secret:

They don’t.

Now that we’ve cleared that up let’s moved on to how I’m almost thirty and am floundering in the Pacific ocean, no life raft, no inner tubehell, I don’t even have one of those life vests you have to inflate yourself, just sayin’. I would like to rewrite the brochure on “Adulting” and correct a few errors I have discovered along my journey.

Adulting: The truth behind the gimmick

Scenario: Child – “Mom, will you buy me some makeup? All the girls at school are starting to wear it.”

Mother – “When you get a job then you can buy your own makeup with your own money.”

Simple example of a conversation we have all had over the course of our lives for one thing or another.

Expectation: When you get older, you’ll be able to get everything you want because you’ll have a job.

Reality: You can have makeup from the dollar store because after you pay your bills you can’t afford anything else, or you work two jobs so that you can afford it but you’re so tired you can’t be bothered to wear makeup anyway.

Scenario: Parent – “College degrees are the key to success. Without them you’ll be flipping burgers for the rest of your life.”

Expectation: I’ll be able to pay off my student loans once I graduate. I’ll get a job in my chosen field and my life will begin.

Reality: The cost of college is so high now, that while a summer and weekend job used to be able to pay for it, now almost no one escapes without student loans and even if you do somehow manage to get a job right out of school using the degree you earned, you probably still won’t make enough to pay all your bills and the monthly payments these vultures ask for.

Scenario: Parent – “While you live under my roof, you’ll obey my rules.”

Expectation: When you finally have your own place it will be amazing and you can do whatever you want!

Reality: When you first move out you’re probably going to have a roommate and they’re going to annoy you and their idea of amazing living and your idea of amazing living are going to barely overlap at best and when you go to visit your parents you still have to abide by their rules while you’re there and then work is going to have a-whole-nother set of rules for you.

In short, I would like my money back on Adulting 1.0. I will try again when they have come out with a better version…maybe.

Ooooooo, look. How to get your life together: the interactive couch to 5k app. Only six easy payments of 10,000 dollars! Want!

On Pain and Longing

It’s been over two years since we’ve spoken. Over a year since I told you why I had turned away. A mark of self preservation I didn’t know would run the length of my life from that point forward. A scar to traverse the years connecting my heart to yours through the end of time. Sometimes I do not know if I did the right thing, on nights like tonight I can’t see the point anymore.

I used to cry and I still cry. I used to long for you and I still do. Where does the gain come from stopping you from hurting me if I took up the knife myself. Every dream of you is a nightmare and a punch in the face. Every thought of you is a burn on my flesh. Every time I think to tell you of my life since you left is a cut. I am bruised and bloody of my own volition and the worst part is that I don’t think you even care.

You cannot hurt as I do or you would try to contact me. You do not wake with your arm aching to hold me. Of course you do not, our relationship was always one sided. You told me not to hold you so people wouldn’t assume. You kept me at a distance unless there was no one else. I know all this and I know it’s not right but how do I convince my heart that you’re not worth the pain?

Beginnings and Endings

There’s something archetypal about the very words: beginning, ending. Every day is a new beginning, and in the end, everything passes away. Nothing about the human condition is ever forever. But how does this translate for a writer? The question is how to set up your beginning, how to present striking ideas, images and also, incidentally, a hook that leads the reader into the story between, plus leaves them thinking about meanings at the end. Looking at these specifications, what comes to mind? Apparently the word “sex.”

Okay, now that the big one is out of the way, what else? It’s not that hard to come up with tragic and dramatic topics: illness, the failure of a marriage, the death of a child, the end of dreams. Once we’ve got this beginning, we only have to follow through. We have to create believable characters and a storyline that can carry these beginnings out to a meaningful end. Let the drama drive the plot. How will the conflict move from your beginning through the story to the end? Then wrap it up. Look back at it later when it’s cold to make sure you made it satisfying. If you didn’t, then revise and adjust. Make it work for you!

Website: http://lelaebuis.wordpress.com/
Blog: http://lelaebuis.wordpress.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lela.buis
Twitter: @LelaEBuis
Lela E Buis has also written a short in: Competitive Fauna Collection Short Stories

Young Love, Old Hearts
A Supposed Crimes Anthology
Editor: C. E. Case

Stories by: A. M. Leibowitz, Adrian J. Smith, Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese, Geonn Cannon, Helena Maeve, Kassandra Lea, Lela E. Buis, Ralph Greco Jr., & Stacy O’Steen

Everyone hears “He’s too young for you.” “She’s too old for you.” Not between these pages. This anthology crosses the age gap with nine enchanting stories of cross-generational relationships. Some are sweet, some are sexy, some are heartbreaking. One is downright murderous. The protagonists are gay men or women searching for true love or trying out what’s right in front of them.

Lesbian

Verso and Recto by Geonn Cannon

Discovering their mutual love of reading leads a literature student and her professor to take a step neither of them expected.

A Blizzard’s Blow by Adrian J. Smith

Lollie dashes from the house in the middle of a blizzard in search of something she’s not sure she’ll find, but she hopes to never again see the same cold, blank stare Kimberley gave her.

Slice by Ralph Greco Jr.

When Germane relinquishes her more-than-slight kinky relationship with Lila to begin a new one with younger A.J., she finds a flirty, fun and wholly different “Slice” of life opening up for her.

That December by Lela E. Buis

Celia finds that older women and the politics of genetic engineering aren’t what they seem.

Gay

The Arrangement by Helena Maeve

When he is summoned into his Dom’s study after a mutually satisfying scene, Cyril knows he’s in for something worse than the play they normally get up to.

New York Minute by Stacy O’Steen

Stuck in his depressing hometown for far too long, Colton jumps at the chance to return to his beloved New York City. But when some odd coincidences click into place, he needs to find the truth hidden in the lies.

The Artist as an Old Man by A. M. Leibowitz

1985 is a big year for Kenny Anderson. Sent to interview artist Aaron Rubenstein, making a grand reappearance after a three-year absence, Kenny digs beneath the surface to understand Aaron’s life—and maybe his own.

Adjunct Hell by Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese

Phil may be in his 50s, but he’s still a student, and the fact that Carl—who’s barely 30—is dating him would bad enough even if Carl wasn’t waiting for good news from the tenure committee.

Say You Do by Kassandra Lea

Keegan Bancroft is hoping to avoid a complete meltdown before his date. But there’s something he really wants to ask Richard.

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About the Publisher
Supposed Crimes, LLC publishes fiction and poetry primarily featuring lesbian characters and themes. The focus is on genre fiction–Westerns, Science Fiction, Horror, Action–rather than just romance. That’s how we set ourselves apart from our competitors. Our characters happen to love women and kick ass.

“Supposed crimes” refers to the idea that homosexuality is outlawed, and that our authors are being subversive by writing. As times change this becomes more tongue-in-cheek, but can still apply broadly to our culture. Christians writing lesbians and men writing lesbians are also subversive ideas in this industry, and we promote people bending the rules.

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