I is for Identity (on fan fiction, being a lesbian, and lesfics)

Yesterday I went horse-back riding for the first time in 12 years. And it was amazing. Once upon a time, I was quite the horse-girl, been riding since I was seven, filled my walls with posters featuring horses, etc etc… I’m sure most people recognize the stereotype. And then I moved from home, grew up and just forgot about all of it. I want to find my way back, I really do. It’s a huge part of who I am.

It was the same with writing. The first time I announced I was going to become a writer was when I was five years old. I wasn’t able to write yet, couldn’t even spell my own name properly (Before you judge, my legal name has nine letters. Count all my middle names plus last name, my name has 9+8+4+4=25 letters, that’s a lot when you’re little.) I don’t know why I said I was going to be a writer, I just did. More on that here.

So I started writing. First, through pictures – my dad helped me with the words – then by hand, then on a computer. My childhood and teenage years were dominated by five main stories that I planned and stuck to.

However, between 19 and 23 I didn’t write anything, I even stopped writing poetry. I went to university and then started moving around a lot. I didn’t pick it up until I, by mistake, discovered fan fiction.

Fan fiction is the reason I’m an author today. Not just because it got me back to writing. It did that, but it did so much more than that too. Fan fiction made me interact with people. These people became my friends, some of which I’m still in touch with today. One of these people, whom I’ve sadly lost in touch with, gave me a couple of presents.

The presents were: Backwards to Oregon by Jae, Second Nature by Jae and Lady Knight by L J Baker. I started with Backwards to Oregon and my life was forever changed. This might sound strange to some. But I was a lonely little lesbian. Except for my wife – then girlfriend ya da ya da – we didn’t meet people “like us”. At University of Aberdeen all my friends were gay boys (don’t ask me how that happened XD ). Other lesbians? They didn’t exist and if they did, it was far away from us. Not that I have that many lesbian friends now, but I know that we’re out there. I know some online and I know that we exist. We’re real, you know? The online community of lesfic writers and readers has done wonders for my sense of self and identity. Maybe that makes me incredibly silly, but it’s still the truth. It makes me feel less alone. Less abnormal.

I feel sorry for the readers of my old fan fiction account, because it’s abandoned now even though I get the occasional likes and follows. It still exists and I’m proud of most of the stuff I wrote there. Mass Effect, Dragon age, Game of Thrones, Rizzoli and Isles, Portal etc… it’s fun to play with other people’s characters, it just is. It was great practice for me too, until I felt ready to play around with my own. In the beginning I wrote both but more and more, my own fiction took over. I don’t have time and energy for both.

(If anybody is curious about my fan fiction you can find that here, however please remember that my writing ability has gotten so much better since then.)

I realize more and more that I’m the same person I’ve always been. I have always loved horses, I still do today. I have always loved writing and telling stories, I still do today. Some things change, of course, but all in all, I’m still me. That will never change.

 

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G is for Good

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… or bad.

Yesterday I was lying in bed with my wife (that’s her hands and legs up there by the way). We were tired and silly and just talking and laughing. I can’t remember anymore how we got there but I decided to tell her about the most sensual part of a novel. I like stories that make me bleed. Stories that make me cry and ache. I just like feeling a lot. I like sadness. I don’t like vanilla stories were everything just falls into place.

Whenever I think of aching moments in stories, I often think about Radclyffe’s “Passion’s Bright Fury”. I love this book (And not just because I have a little crush on Saxon Sinclair). There is one specific scene that always destroys me.

This is the excerpt of that part (the scene is that Sax (the doctor) and Jude (the director) are going upstairs to the roof of the hospital before Sax’s shift starts. They talk a bit, make out a bit, and then the following happens) :

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F is for Freedom

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Before I get into this blog post I want to thank Lynn over at Lynn Lawler’s blog who has written a lovely review of Stargazing, my new novel. You can find the review here or here.

Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of “State of Emergency”, “Out of Hand” or “Stargazing” – please don’t hesitate to leave reviews on amazon or goodreads if you liked them. Leaving reviews is a simple way to give some love to your favorite author.

When I planned this blog post it was the day before my vacation started. As a teacher I get something of around six and a half weeks every summer. Of course, some days I do work on, planning and looking through new material but otherwise I’m free. I was looking forward to continue learning the piano, finishing ”A tale of Spiders and Canned Soup” (my next novel) without a couple of days. I wanted to go running and swimming etc. Instead I have re-organized at home, donated books and clothes. I have gone back and forth to my wife’s work, helping to prepare for her work trip to South Africa. She’s works in IT and she’s going down there to help with… something. She’s been doing insane hours and haven’t even had a day off during the weekend for a couple of weeks. This morning she left.

I’m such a silly woman. When I said bye to her at the airport, my tears came and I clung to her even if I know we’re going to see each other agian in just half a month. We just need each other so much, it’s a little bit crazy to still be this way after an entire decade.

I’m not into being alone so I’ve gone with my parents to their boat. I figured two weeks of fresh air, sea water, book reading and sun would do me good. I brought more books than clothes, plus my kindle. A book of soduko I want to work on. Also some horse magazines.

When I was a child I loved horses. I took every opportunity to go horseback riding or even just brush one or muck out. I wouldn’t say I’m good AT ALL. I just know basics like brushing, tacking, walking, trotting, cantering… I’ve done a little bit of jumping. That’s it. I realise now that I want to pick it up again. I want to be good. I would be happy if I could just do a bit of show jumping within the next twelve years, you know?

It’s a crazy dream so far. I have as a goal to just go riding at a local stable two times this summer and then wait and see how that felt. We kinda sorta hoping that I’ll get pregnant some time this year too and if that happens I’ll have to put the riding on hold for a couple of years. But I’m in it for the long haul, I don’t mind waiting. I like working towards goals even if it takes me years to meet them.

I still can’t believe I’m a published author, I have two books at home with ”my” name on it. Physical books. That I can touch. I can tell myself to sit down and write a book and it’s something I can do. Surely if I have the discipline to do that, I can learn to be a good rider?

Time to walk the dogs again, then I’m going to drink copious amounts of tea and try to get some writing done.

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C is for Courage

Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made off

– Bethany Hamilton.

I slept in a bit today, prioritised rest over a proper breakfast and so I had to eat my breakfast walking to the bus station. It was a peanutbutter and jam sandwich and as I chewed away I had three thoughts.

1. Raspberry jam isn’t as good as strawberry jam.

2. I’m bad at evenly spreading peanutbutter.

3. Tram and train tunnels really remind me of The Walking Dead.

As I threw away the crust in the trash like a child and could finally stick my cold fingers in gloves, I started thinking about courage and freedom.

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B is for Books

I took an embarrassing amount of time to think of a word for the letter B. I thought of babies, but I don’t have much to say about that right now. I thought of bananas, but even though I don’t eat them I’m not a banana hating extremist and I don’t have much to say about that either. It could be B for blog but I’ve already talked about my lack of blogging enough times. For some reason the word “books” didn’t cross my mind until last week.

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Happy New Year


2017 was one of the best years of my life. It was the year I was hungover for the first time (the morning after my 28th birthday). The year I learned to blow bubbles with bubblegum. The year I signed with a publisher. The year I went to Universeum three times. The year I made so many new friends. It was a year of happiness. Of stability.

Welcome to 2018! Hopefully a year of action. Of being a more prolific writer even during working weeks. A year of no procrastination. A year where I’m hoping to bullet journal properly. A year where maybe I… learn to play the piano? I don’t know. But I love the feeling of January 1st!

We have a friend over and she’s dying to go and watch The Last Jedi again so that’s what we’re doing with today and later I’m going to do some writing as well.

Let’s look at last years goals:

Revise and self-publish “Out of Hand”.
Revise and send “Stargazing” to a publisher.
Try to update my blog once a month.
Not let my tumblr die. If I have one, I need to use it.
Finish The New Story, another contemporary romance.
Please, please, please finish Never break a leg before Christmas, (Come on, Kathy, this is getting ridiculous).
Start the sequel for State of Emergency.

How did I do?
I revised and published (not self-published!) “Out of Hand”. I’m almost done with “Stargazing” and I hope to send it to my publisher later in January, maybe the beginning of February. I didn’t update my blog once a month. My tumblr is not dead. Instead I’m actually using it quite a lot, so that’s good. I *haven’t* finished “The New Story”. I haven’t finished “Never Break a Leg Before Christmas”. I haven’t started a “State of Emergency” sequel.

How do I feel about this?
Perfectly okay. This has been one of my most stimulating but difficult years of my life. I want to write more during 2018, but I’m perfectly fine with my input during 2017.

Author goals for 2018:


*Finish and publish “Stargazing”.
*Finish and publish “The New Story”.
*Be braver and more active on Twitter, probably on Facebook too.
*Read more books. And not just the same books over and over.
*Read more books about writing.

I feel that these goals are attainable and I’m excited to start.

Happy January 1st everyone!

Summer…

What can I do now? What can I do to keep every single moment in my mind forever?

How is it possible that Daniella (my student assistant) and I no longer work together every day? How is it possible that I will never again enter 3B’s classroom and greet the sixteen little souls that I had been entrusted to look after and teach every day?

How can I keep the memories? What can keep me from forgetting? Deirdres smile every time she saw me and how we struggled to make sense of math problems. Luke’s tantrums. Even Jake’s stupid comments or how he insisted on bringing a fidget spinner into the classroom even though we had had no choice but to ban them.. Or how the majority of my kids seemed incapable of learning to stay quiet. Or stay seated.
Please help me remember. Playing games. Reading the fourth Harry Potter book for them.  Marvin’s childish charm which made it impossible to stay mad at him no matter how difficult he had been. Katie and Maisie, my darling girls who have helped me so much. How Phoebe’s anger could be turned into creativity. How I’ve gotten at least one hug from Tina.

Or how when we were going to go and sing for the parents on the last day, I didn’t need to tell them – they just lined up behind me like a row of ducklings.

Or how Louise, one of my younger coworkers, would light up my day with a hug or even just a smile.

My classroom is so empty now. I cleaned all the text from the whiteboard. Took their drawings down. Cleaned. Wiped away our memories of tears and yelling and laughing and smiling. And learning of course.

How can it be over? Why isn’t it still January?

I seriously, seriously, seriously love my job.

(All kid’s names are changed)

P is for Pride, S is for Shy

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Pride has come to town. Sadly, I’m quite reserved. That includes my sexuality.

I’m comfortable. It’s not a big deal anymore. I’m still occasionally worried that a parent is going to freak out and complain (I’m a school teacher after all and to some homosexuality is contagious -.-) I’m not in the closet. Not even to my students. I don’t make announcements of course, but if it comes up in conversation I don’t deny it. If they ask if I’m married (and children do, especially if you’re a young woman it seems) I tell them “I don’t have a husband, I have a wife” and like I’ve mentioned before, kids usually don’t care.

I think the best gift we can give our kids, in terms of different sexualities, is to not make discourse of everything. As an adult I’m tired of lectures at university or high school telling me “when we meet gay people we must be nice to them”. I’ve never met another message than an ‘us and them’ message. It doesn’t matter how well meant it is. It shows that the lecturer or teacher or professor is straight and they assume that everyone in the room is straight too. And message recieved. I will always be “them”, “the other”. The message is not for me. I don’t want to be taught to be nice to gay people.

That’s not what I want for my students. I want it to be a non-issue. If my kids come running, telling me that someone is gay, my answer is always a mindless, adult, “oh that’s nice dear”. Call me crazy, but I think that if I start telling my kids “don’t say that, don’t call them gay, they’re probably not gay and even if they are, that’s okay, gay people are people too…,” all they will learn is that gay people are the other. It becomes an issue. If we want it to be normality, we need to treat it like normality. If we make it a discourse, it will be a discourse and you’ll wind up with kids like me – quite sad and uncomfortable when they learn that they are lesbian.

Speak about gender. Yes! Talk abut the right to be who you are. Who you want to be. You’re allowed to wear what you want, have nail polish if you want. Talk about the fact that gender doesn’t matter. But don’t turn sexuality into a subject that needs to be taught. We don’t do that with heterosexuality and as long as we treat homosexuality like something different, it will remain something different. We need it normalised. Not special.

Lesbian is not all I am. It doesn’t define who I am. The gender of my wife has nothing to do with my personality. It defines how I think to some degree, it has influenced my experiences. But it is not all I am and I don’t want it painted as such.

I am very proud of and grateful for the great people who came before me. Thank you for my right to marry. My security. My ability and right to raise kids. Compared to older lesbians my life has been, is, so easy (my wife’s life hasn’t, but that’s a different story). So thank you for your struggle. It is called Pride, not as in the biblical sin but as in “we are not ashamed”. And we shouldn’t be ashamed because we have nothing to be ashamed of.

But gosh, my reserved nature does not like pride. Or maybe that’s shyness. I’ve known I’m a lesbian for ten years now and I’ve never been (and I’ve lived in three different towns that hosts Pride festivals). I’m equally terrified and curious. (and enjoying the rainbows which are EVERYWHERE this week) So this is my thank you instead.

Thank you for your struggle, to all who struggle for LGBTQA rights. And I’m sorry for my cowardice and occasional recluse nature. I will most likely hide this year as well.

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