Monday, October 11, 2010

Why I Do What I Do...

I am not a political anything.  I rarely follow politics except during presidential campaign years and even then my self-education can be spotty at best.  But I do consider myself a writer and Monday was National Coming out Day (NCOD).  For anyone unfamiliar, NCOD was began in 1988 as a day to celebrate and embrace LGBT families living open, "out" lifestyles.

I came out myself in 1990 and have lived openly ever since.  I remember reading about being out in the early 1990s.  A magazine article I read or book I read at the time (my memory escapes me for the credit) stated that being out was a political statement.  That statement gave me great pride to know that I was possibly living in a time of social upheaval and enlightenment.

From my perspective, the LGBT plight seemed to make great strides during the 1990s.  Although Don't Ask Don't Tell seemed to be a set back and disappointment, it seemed to relax the witch hunting that was so prevalent in the military during the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

The 1990s were full of movies that brought our lives and experiences to the nations forethought.  Philadelphia illustrated very serious concerns for the community.  Tom Hanks' acceptance speech for Best Actor then inspired the very comical In & Out. Then came "Will & Grace" that carried us through eight years of the lives two gay men and the people in their lives.

All seemed to be well with the world.  Most of the press about LGBT issues was positive and moving in the right direction.  Marriage seemed to be our biggest hurdle.  Gradually, municipalities were recognizing domestic partnerships.  Many large companies started offering same-sex partner benefits.  Slowly, voters are passing measures that allow same-sex marriages within their states. 

And now we've come full circle.  Just last week, three young people committed suicide amid stories of bullying and abuse.  Nine  individuals have been arrested in a gang beating.  A gubernatorial candidate public states that homosexuality is not an option.  In my world, I really did believe that we were past all of this.  I (thankfully) have never been a victim to an anti-gay hate crime.

So here it is again, it seems, that it's a political statement to live an out and open life.  And that's why I'm a writer.  My purpose has been further revealed to me this week.  If nothing else, I am writer to share my LGBT experience through the stories I have to tell.  This new found purpose has breathed new life into my writing. 

My challenge for you this week is to revisit your purpose and the reasons that you write (or do whatever you do).  What is ultimately at stake if you ever decide to give it up?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Importance of Routine...

As a writer, I am constantly reading fiction to help me with my writing; I also read a lot of non-fiction.  Sometimes I choose non-fiction books to help me with a particular subject I'm researching.  I've been reading some great books about the craft of writing that are already helping me in my quest to become a better writer.  One of the most simple, and profound, lessons I've learned about plot and action is that plot and action are derived from an interruption in the character's routines.  Most character action is then centered around restoring that routine in their lives.

I just finished reading Rainwater by Sandra Brown  How timely it was for me to discover how the main character's life in a small, Depression-era town is disrupted by the arrival of Mr. Rainwater.  And yes, true to my writing lessons, the entire novel is dedicated to the restoration of order in Ella's life.

My personal life routines have been interrupted the last ten days as well.  Transition from one job to another left me without Internet access at home for about ten days.  Now that it's restored, it feels so much easier to complete writing tasks such as working on A Place to Call Their Own and this blog.  I even asked my partner if some of his lupus discomfort lately may have been exacerbated by the interruption in our lives.

So my lesson for you this week, no matter what quest you're currently pursuing, is to make sure that you are following the routines you've set out for yourself.  I know that for ten days, my routines were disrupted after working very hard to establish some aggressive writing routines to achieve some aggressive writing goals.  Another other lesson I learned recently is to have a back up plan ready to go when my routine is disrupted.

I also got the second part of A Place to Call Their Own posted on  Here's a link, happy reading:

Have a great week!