As March 19 grows closer, and I get more nervous, I’m gradually filling in the gaps in the outline I worked up for the presentation. Most of the visitors to my site are well aware of my passion for the romance genre as it relates to the unique reading experience it provides to lesbians. (I’m not as well acquainted with what’s published for gay men, but I suspect there is some commonality.)
At present, my plans are along these lines:
Romance novels: validation from our world, our families, ourselves, wrapped in a good story with a satisfying, optimistic ending.
Reading: Finders Keepers (“Mephisto pumps”)
Representation of idealized yet physical love, populated by people we know or wish we knew, especially in the background, and presenting real life challenges.
Reading: “Mechanics” (Frosting on the Cake)
A repository of “community” – from the broad spectrum to the in-joke, or what the world would be like if it were just us.
Reading: Painted Moon (“A good set of hands”)
Reading: All the Wrong Places (“Alphabet names”)
Many romance novels deal with coming out, though not as many as in previous decades. The modern romance novel often features women coming into self, claiming their right to love whom they choose, to hope, to their dreams, their right to respect.
Reading: The Kiss that Counted (“Becoming myself”)
The Stonewall Library and Archives event is open to all, and free admission. The library's circulating holdings number over 18,000 books and audio-visual materials. I can't wait to see it!
I'm honored to take part in the series, and am grateful for the opportunities I've already had to speak to local journalists, and prepare for the presentation. I'm also humbled by the number of people traveling great distances to attend -- I think that means I'd better start practicing!
The practice will be useful for the next appearance of the Lesbian Genre Fiction Bay Area Tour this Saturday at the Hayward Public Library. Unfortunately, Gabrielle Goldsby can't be there, but Jaime Clevenger will be on hand to read from All Bets Off!