Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Team Gilda or Team Karen?

A black-and-white photo of Wilder smiling
Gene Wilder via Wikimendia Commons
In the wake of Gene Wilder's death this week, an interesting thing is happening on the Interwebs.

Most of us were aware of Mr. Wilder's marriage to brilliant, beautiful comedian Gilda Radner, cut short by her death of ovarian cancer. Less aware of his two previous marriages, to Mary Mercier and Mary Joan Schutz. Or of the love he left upon his death, Karen Webb Boyer, to whom he'd been married for 25 years.

People wrote and talked of how he and Gilda could "be together again" now. Others talked about how hurtful  and disrespectful such an expression could be to his widow, Karen. As if we all had to choose teams, Team Gilda, or Team Karen, because in the afterlife, There Can Be Only One (Love).

Why? Why isn't it entirely possible, that even as Gene found new love with Karen, he continued to love and mourn Gilda? And perhaps even his previous two wives? Why do we assume the heart - or the afterlife equivalent thereof - is only big enough for one romantic love at a time?

We don't assume this about any other relationship. Beloved pets, grandparents, siblings, parents, children, dear friends... When we imagine Heaven, don't we imagine all our loved ones will be there? Would it even be Heaven if we had to choose: one child, one pet, one parent, one romantic love? One musician or rock band? And only one?

I know many who still love Elvis, even though he left the building a long time ago. And they went on to love other musical acts.

As someone who practices polyamory, the idea of Only One - even in this life - seems silly. There have been times in my life when I've had no current loves. Other times, several simultaneously. Yes, it's more complicated. Of course, time and financial resources are a finite commodity, whether we are talking about children or romantic interests or cats.

But love? Does anyone truly believe that Gene's love for Gilda cut off like a spigot when he met Karen? Or did she accommodate and make room for it (as perhaps he did for her past loves), secure in the knowledge he loved her just as much, if differently?  They moved into the house he shared with Gilda, she must have come to some peace with that very public relationship.

I've found my love doesn't shut off like a spigot, even when I was trying and failing at monogamy. I could make myself conform to society's norms - only one penis granted access to my genitals for a set period of time. But my heart loves who it loves, when it chooses to love them, regardless of sexual activity. I've continued to have feels for men with whom I am no longer sexually involved, sometimes for decades.

I think, I hope, that this sad event [full disclosure, I had a huge ladyboner for Gene Wilder before I even knew what a ladyboner was] will spur people to contemplating more about the limitless nature of love. Perhaps to understand those of us who identify as polyamorous a little better.

We're not so different from Gene & Gilda, or Gene & Karen. We simply don't require our loves to be divorced from us or dead, before acknowledging that a new love has entered our loves. Without taking anything away from the love that already existed. We have learned, are still learning, to share heart space.

Living a polyamorous life can be challenging. There can be jealousy to be worked through (please note, there's plenty of evidence that monogamy does not magically cure jealousy), conflicting desires, and complicated schedules.

But life is short. Let's all acknowledge the love we have in our lives.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I'm Not a Racist, BUT... #BlackLivesMatter

If you're in the mood to read happy fluffy stuff about the care, feeding, and birth of an anthology, that post is over on Susan J. Berger's blog. In it I discuss what reasons are good for a group to put out an anthology, what benefits it brings to already established, best-selling authors, and what I learned during the process, please check it out.


7 Ways to Support #BlackLivesMatter and Be a Good Ally (for my white friends)

1) It's not about you, and it's not about your husband/brother/other loved one who is a conscientious and careful police officer. #BlackLivesMatter doesn't mean ONLYBlackLivesMatter, or that it's #BLM vs. the police. You can support the police, not want them to be killed, AND want there to be police accountability, better training, and that those who mistreat POC, the mentally ill, and others get kicked off the force rather than be protected by the thin blue wall of silence.

#Black LivesMatter is about drawing attention to and trying to change the ongoing, systemic racial bias that impacts policing, the judicial system, employment, housing, and and and.  Here's an excellent post with statistics by J.B.W. Tucker.

Borrowed from onsizzle

2) Self-educate on the issues and how you can help. Our exhausted friends who are POC don't have the time and energy to spoonfeed us anti-racism 101 (though they are trying gallantly, anyway).

3) Don't cry, excessively apologize, or in any other way seek attention or a gold star on your mental "good person" chart from a POC. They are suffering grief, pain, worry, and PTSD. They don't deserve to be saddled with comforting white people because we have uncomfortable feels right now.

4) If you are white, you might be sick of hearing about white privilege and being asked to check it. Trust me, POC are even more sick of living without it. Too often sick or injured, literally to death.

If you have ever been the lone white person in a group of black, Hispanic, Asian, or other not-white group, how unsettling did it feel? Now imagine that is your life, every single day, and you have a little glimpse at what it's like to be a minority person in America. Except that instead of mere discomfort, your life and those of people you love are at higher risk.

5) If you like to think of yourself as a "good person," but "don't want to get involved or be RUDE," by calling out the openly racist people you know on their shit, you might want to rethink that. If you believe in "Keep America Beautiful," but don't speak up when you see your friends litter, you're tacitly approving and endorsing that behavior.

6) If People of Color are speaking, STFU and LISTEN. Do not talk over, interrupt, or otherwise marginalize POC, especially right now. Put your hand over your mouth, or step away from your phone or keyboard, if you have to.

7) Limit as much as possible your whitesplaining to forums where you are a white person talking to other white people. Instead, as much as possible, support and amplify the voices of POC by sharing their experiences via social media and in conversation to other white people.

Closing with something from Sex Positive World:

We are living through painful and challenging times.

Forces for positive change are clashing with older, repressive cultures who refuse to accept change. People are dying as a result of hate-filled actions. Muslim people in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Saudi Arabia; LGBTQ people in Orlando; cafe-goers in Paris, police officers in Dallas, American People of Color... everywhere. Our hearts ache with the weight of every death, every one of these ridiculous, needless acts of violence.

Sex Positive World believes, as Maya Angelou said, that Hate has caused a lot of problems in the world, but it has not solved one yet. We believe in human connection, in love, in juicy sexual connection, in active consent and consideration of all human beings for one another.

We encourage all our members to check in with one another and offer love, consideration and support to anyone who is personally touched or triggered by these traumatizing events. We encourage our members to take a social media hiatus, if necessary - and good for you for taking care of yourselves! Or, please, ask for support from your SPW tribe, if you need it.

People may say things at this time, without fully considering the impact of their words. Please try to give the benefit of the doubt, and assume positive intent. Ask for clarification (did you actually mean XYZ?) when unsure. Allow for the fact that some might blurt out words of frustration and anger. Maybe respond with a hug?

We encourage all our members and friends to be kind, sensitive, and loving to everyone we can, during these challenging and painful times.

Please count this post as me checking in on you.
How are you feeling in these emotionally rough times?
Your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

It's Here! It's Here!

Summer Sizzle is available for sale, now!

Of course, I hope you'll read it, love it, review it.

If you haven't preordered it, you can get it at the outlet of your choosing, below:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HHNZOUI
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1124015119
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1128139488
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/summer-sizzle-6
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-summersizzle-2061259-166.html

Here's ten log lines (there are twenty great stories), to entice you:

Get swept away in this summer, love-at-first-sight fantasy every single girl dreams of in Roz Lee's Summer League!

In Shelby Ellis' Under the Light of a Thousand Stars, when Keeley was sixteen she vowed to spend every summer of her life on the island, but that was #BeforeTannerBuchanan broke her heart. How will she find her way back?

Can a blindfolded Ravannah learn to follow her sexy ballroom dance instructor in Tonya Plank's Lead Me?

In Karen Ehrenberg's Snooze You Lose, love and sparks fly when kismet is given a push for two headstrong journalists and surf junkies.

Evie Marigold is protecting her heart and her livelihood, but sexy surfer/entrepreneur Ian Sterling threatens to steal them both on the Pacific sands in The Shore Thing by Charlene Sands.

In Lynne Marshall's Something Borrowed, Something New, it's the wedding catering staff who are star-crossed lovers. Can these hard-working immigrants find a happily ever after despite coming from families who are traditional enemies?

Take one stranded actress with a secret, a small town veterinarian, and add a hideously ugly dog with worse manners. In Beverly Diehl's The Dog Days of Summer, can the sexy vet – and the dog – win Panick's heart before Hollywood calls her home? (Yes, this is my story.)

One pretty witch trapped between Heaven and Hell, one ruthless demon after a soul, and one smitten angel willing to risk it all for love, in Ophelia Bell's Falling for Her.

In Samanthe Beck's Keeping Her Handyman, he’s giving his runaway bride a night so hot she'll beg for forever.

Spring's Summer by Kara Winters: As the summer nears its end, the goddess of Spring knows she will soon see her beloved husband Hades once more. But Hades has a few tricks up his sleeve for their reunion. 

So, enough sales pitching.  I already flogged the online workshop I'm giving, and the panels I'm presenting at CatalystCon West, in my last blog post.

Let's Talk About the Helpers

There's a lot of crappy things going on in the world right now. Terrorist attacks, the UK not knowing whether to shit or wind Big Ben, US politics being especially nasty...

And my widowed sister's community in the Lake Isabella area just experienced a major wildfire, the Erskine. Over 48,000 acres burned, 285 homes destroyed. An elderly couple lost their lives. I had long planned a visit to her over the holiday weekend, as it coincides with her wedding anniversary. It was both sobering, traumatic, and inspiring to be there.

Yet, their community really came together. People helped in restaurants, gave each other places to stay, clothing. My sister fostered two puppies belonging to evacuees, although they went home before I arrived. 

We were able to visit her favorite camping spot, and because we wanted to toast the anniversary, I MacGyvered off the cap of a mini champagne bottle using a dog tag and key ring, Because we didn't bring a bottle opener or Swiss Army knife.

Except that, to our vast amusement, upon packing up to leave the campsite my sister discovered she did have a Swiss army knife, after all. We are still giggling about that.

I also got a tragic phone call, while I was with my sister, informing me of the death of a young woman I loved very much, who had been one of my family day care "babies," back in the day. Heather was only in her thirties, and it breaks my heart to know she has passed. But at least I was in a place where I could get a comforting hug.

Sometimes people call me Pollyanna, claim that I don't understand how terrible everything is. And yes, sometimes it is terrible. But it is also wonderful, and there are people out there making things better for their neighbors, as Mr. Rogers always encouraged us to do. I'm trying to both be a helper, when I can, and notice and thank those I see.

Have you noticed helpers in your life, or neighborhood?
Or around the world?
Your thoughts?