(I’ll warn you now…this is going to be a LONG one.)
I finished my latest manuscript and submitted it to Bella Books at the end of October. I took a couple of weeks off in celebration.
Besides. Holidays. Amiright?
And then? Election Day.
We all know how THAT went.
I’ve skipped all my posting obligations since. No Women & Words, no mailing list posts, no articles at my blog.
Hel, I couldn’t think up a new writing project either. I’ve gone as far as to solicit suggestions from my fans on FB, but nothing stirred the creative juices.
My muse has emigrated to Canada.
(That kind of pisses me off. My muse shouldn’t be as much of a chicken shit as I am. She’s supposed to inspire me, not mimic me.)
So. Our Feast of Thanks came and went. (Not Thanksgiving. Do you really think someone with my last name would celebrate Columbus?)
Our Yule celebration also came and went. And Happy F-ing New Year.
And protests… Portland (a.k.a. Little Beruit) got the ball rolling on the violence before DC upped the ante. Four days of election day joy.
And weather. Jeez, weather! We’ve had record colds and warms for December and January as well as more snow than we’ve experienced here in decades.
Of course, that affected the day-job schedule (though overtime is fantastic!) Two-thirds of my department live out in the boonies. It was up to myself and one other officer who live downtown to cover the department for a couple of days.
I’ve discovered that anxiety and exhaustion do not make for a good writing partners.
When I was a card-carrying member of the Starfleet of Idaho club (circa 1981,) we rented a motel suite with two connecting rooms for what we called a Star Party.
I don’t remember the exact turn out, but at least thirty geeks of all shapes and sizes showed up to watch VHS tapes of Christopher Reeves’ Superman movies and play Dungeons & Dragons.
I brought my fourteen-year-old stepbrother and one of his pals, Steve Nelson.
Steve was an absolute hoot! My brother wasn’t much of a true geek, but Steve fit right in with my crowd.
The boys ran loose in the suite all day and night with the occasional jaunt to the pool with other adults, eating junk food and room service. They had a blast.
Afterward Steve wanted to continue associating with the club.
I remember meeting his mother once before carting him off to a meeting in the city twenty plus miles away. She had to have thought it strange that a woman of twenty-two wanted to hang out with her son. She let him join us anyway.
Huzzah for Geekdom!
But then Steve moved out of the state. I left a couple of years later, never to return as a resident. Thus ended a potential long-term friendship.
About eight years later, I exited the Army. My first stop was my Mom’s place in Idaho. I met up with my future wife, Anna, who’d been living in the state for a couple of years.
To celebrate my freedom, she and I went out to the single gay bar in Boise.
That’s when I saw him again. Steve Nelson. Dancing with a bunch of gay twenty-somethings.
This was Idaho in the late eighties. I was the stepsister of a kid he’d befriended in junior high school. I was straight out of the military where I’d spent four years pretending I wasn’t a lesbian so that I wouldn’t receive a dishonorable discharge.
(I did such a good job that I even fooled myself! Got married, fer cryin’ out loud! What a mistake THAT was.)
I understood life in the closet. If that was where Steve made his home, I didn’t want to give him cause to think I’d blow his cover.
So I didn’t approach . I didn’t even know if he’d recollect me, really. But I remembered him, and I celebrated the fact he seemed to have grown into the fun-loving man that I thought he’d become.
I received a strange private message from my stepbrother through Facebook this weekend.
“I hope they rot in hell.”
Wait. What? He and I hadn’t been in the middle of a conversation except to make jabs at each other about my left-leaning and his right-leaning politics.
He’d linked a newspaper article to the message. That’s when I found out that the bright, happy young man I remembered was no longer with us.
I’d sometimes wondered what had happened to Steve. Now I knew. He’d been dead for almost a year. Killed by a man who solicited gay men to rob them and beat them senseless.
It was only a matter of time before his attacker eventually went overboard, that an accident would happen, that he’d do more than break bones or bloody noses.
What a waste of a fantastic individual.
What a waste for humanity.
What a f-king waste of flesh were his murderers.
And this all ties back into the current administration, the one whose leader shouts racial slurs and signs Executive Orders to “Make America Great Again.”
In that same state I have a friend who’s in dire straits. Jim is transgender. (I knew him as “she” back in the day.) He was a member in good standing of Starfleet of Idaho.
He loved working at the public library. It was his dream job.
During his employment there he realized he was trans. His insurance covered some of the necessities, but not all. He began to take T in order to become the man he knows he is.
Nine months ago, he was let go. He “didn’t fit” with the changes at the library.
In a couple of weeks Jim may lose the house he’s lived in for forty-plus years.
He can’t pay utilities. He’s an only child with no extended family to help him…at least none that will volunteeer. He’s approaching sixty this year–too early to retire.
He “doesn’t fit.”
Well, dammit! Who the hell does these days?
January 21st, 2017
The day after the inauguration was the first bright spot I’ve seen all winter.
The Women’s March.
It was “yuge” and uplifting! Just standing on the sidelines energized me. (I have about three minutes uploaded to YouTube.)
What an awesome shot in the arm! What a terrific reminder that I’m not as alone as I feel, that others our out there who believe the American people can still fight, can still make a difference!
But not for everybody.
Not for Steve Nelson who’s no longer with us.
Not for Jim in Idaho who may soon be homeless in a homophobic state.
I’m fortunate to live in a Sanctuary City. I live in a blue state. I have job security with a company that’s proud of its diversity.
Not all of us have that.
With the epiphany I received from the Women’s March (and the renewed application of vitamin D into my daily supplementals,) I got my poop in a group and found this year’s projects.
- Up my game: I can’t be a chicken shit any longer. The safety pin I attached to my baseball cap isn’t just a symbol–it’s reality.
- No hiding. No ducking my head.
- Renew the spiritual faith I’ve let fall to the wayside. I’m Asatru and proud of it. It’s time to go a’viking on some folks.
- Be kind. There’s far too much hate in this world. It’s time to gird my loins and battle that hatred with compassion.
- Get writing. For a while I’ve wondered what’s the point? People like my novels, yes, but my tales are a drop in the bucket, a single voice in the face of intolerance.
But the Women’s March renewed my passion. It brought forward the fighting spirit that fear and depression had sapped from me.
And passion is something we can’t let fall to the wayside.
The current president won’t last four years. His successor is worse for our equal rights by an order of magnitude.
So it’s time to write about a strong, uppity, nasty woman like Torrin Chizu.
- A full rewrite of Warlord Metal (from scorched earth to polished product) and its sequel is on the Redhawk Docket for 2017.
I don’t want comments on this post. I’d rather you reach out and help those around you. We can get through this. It’ll be hell on earth, but the fire will burn away the chaff. We have to come out stronger.
Our hardest task now is to maintain our passion.
And if you have anything to give, please consider helping my friend, Jim, to save his house. He needs enough to get him by while he applies for disability and the appropriate services related to keeping a roof over his head.
Thank you for listening. I’ve been feeling helpless with Jim’s plight and Steve’s loss. It helps to vent.
A fan-geek and internet junkie, D Jordan Redhawk is an award winning writer of lesbian romance, writing in multiple genres. She highlights the outsider and reveals that we are not all that different from one another. Her books are published by Bella Books. You can reach Redhawk through her website, Facebook, or become a Patron!