Here it is – The Rainbow Book Reviews Blog Hop – just click on the picture for a list of all participants and hop from blog to blog for a chance to win prizes.
There are some terrific authors and some very generous publishers – Amber Allure, Bold Strokes Books, Dreamspinner Press, Less Than Three Press, Riptide Publishing, Silver Publishing, Torquere Press and
Untreed Reads – so it’s well worth having a bash.
But far more important than prizes are the blog posts on the theme “What writing GLBT means to me”. I can’t wait to see some of the answers.
I too offer a prize – a copy in the format of the winner’s choice of Alike As Two Bees – winner to be chosen from commenters who say they would like to enter the draw, please provide an email address, and the draw will be done by picking a bit of screwed up paper out of a hat. The old ways are the best and I’ll be using a pirate hat just because I have one handy [doesn't everyone?]
My post is below the cut. Content warning – it contains, history maths and somewhat shaky logic but made sense when I wrote it.
What Writing GLBTQ Literature Means to Me
I work in a museum. It’s a fabulous job because it’s a very small museum, so everyone does a bit of everything whether they have letters after their name or not.
When people visit the museum they see our displays, walk around the castle [the museum is in a genuine 13th century castle], buy some bits in the shop and maybe have an ice cream. The regular visitor doesn’t know that what they see exhibited is just the tip of the ice berg, the “best things” that are intact enough or attractive enough to display. Behind the scenes, there is more, much more, neatly packed away in boxes if small, or under dustsheets if big.
This little museum has nearly 25,000 separate records for the artefacts. Some of these records are for collections of items – documents and photographs mostly, though we have crates full of archaeological material. I estimate that we have many more than 100,000 separate items.
A photo of a 19th century ladies’s hockey team, with solemn faces , long skirts and swept up hair.
A corroded scrap of bronze that was once the hinge of a Roman legionary helmet.
A last will and testament leaving bequests to family and friends including “my dear X in remembrance of times past”.
A facsimile of a Victoria Cross won by a local man at Rourke’s Drift [we couldn't afford the real thing when it came up at auction].
At a conservative estimate – and please correct me if I’m wrong about this – at least one percent of the population identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, queer or asexual. It’s probably far more but I’ll go with one per cent because I’m rubbish at maths.
Again please correct me if my logic is wrong, but if at least one per cent of one hundred thousand is one thousand, then it stands to reason that at least one thousand of our artefacts – photos, documents, pieces of clothing, sherds of pottery, weapons, coins or paintings – most probably belonged to or were made by or were used by someone who identified themselves as that period’s equivalent of LGBTTQA.
A delicately embroidered camisole
An 18th century court sword with a silvered scabbard
A very worn ring with the hidden inscription “Love me onelie”
A scrap of parchment with a stave of music and a few words of a song
The castle itself, every stone of which was selected, shaped and set in place by skilled and thoughtful hands.
I have worked here a long time, have handled many of those 100,000 items and not one of them is known to commemorate any person who might now identify themselves as fitting somewhere onto that rainbow spectrum. Not one. Not a photo, not a letter. Yet we know they must have been here. We know that their stories have rarely been told elsewhere but here all is silence.
In no way am I suggesting that I am qualified to write the authentic experiences of LGBTTQA men or women in either a historical or a contemporary setting. However, with care, respect and research I am going to try to tell some stories that could have happened. Stories of people who were brave, skilled, determined, joyful and adventurous – people who lived their lives to the full even if they did have to be careful over how they displayed their affection for their loved ones.
History is famously written by the victors but fiction can be written by anyone with the will and imagination to do so and we can make sure that there are happy endings.