Censored Out of NaNoWriMo Forum!

I’ve been on the periphery of the NaNoWriMo community since 2018. I have never really found “my crew.” So as I was trying to “find my crew” in the LGBTQIA+ group, preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo in April 2022, I thought I would try to find others who were of like minds.

I wrote:

Old Femme Dyke Looking for Other Old Homos (Most Un-PC Thread Ever)

taking a big deep breath

“I’m a 60+ year old femme dyke and am writing a semi-autobiographical novel about the years between 1978 and 1988, immediately pre- and post-AIDS. It’s mostly uplifting – filled with fun and joy, sex and way too many drugs, and includes a road trip (of course).

“I’m keeping the vernacular of the time, hence wanting to talk to others who were in the discos – the glory holes, the bath houses, etc. – during those years. I was a fag hag who lived with groups of gay men, so was privy to their sexual lives. While graphic sex isn’t the driving factor of what I’m writing, it is definitely the undercurrent throughout. (And I am not wanting to have sexual discussions here!)

“Adding another layer, I was coming out as a femme lesbian in a world filled with androgynous women. Drag Queens were my sister-friends. Trans folks were rare, so have bit parts in the book. (One of the hundreds of Un-PC things being written.)

“I am also wanting companionship as I recall those who died without hope and without their families.

“Gads, this is complicated. Anyone?”

Reply from the Moderators

Intro to automated one:

“Hello,

“This is an automated message from NaNoWriMo to let you know that your post was hidden.”

That was boring.

Highlights of the individualized email:

“Your post has been hidden because of the language of your title and in the body of your post.”

“… inflammatory words.”

“… you are part of the community”

“… you have every right to reclaim that word …”

“… we support the community reclaiming those words …”

“… seeing these words can still be triggering …”

“Thank you for understanding.”

My Response

“Well, ‘understanding’ is probably not the word I would use, (name removed), but since I have no choice in the matter, that pretty much is the end of it.

“You and I both know that ‘inflammatory’ words are in the eyes and ears of the beholder. These words are not inflammatory to me at all, never have been, even in the cruelest and most volatile of years.

“It’s certainly going to be interesting to see this book in the hands of the public some day. I better build my walls of armor now.

“This reminds me of the 1978 book called Faggots by Larry Kramer (I encourage you to look it up) when the gay community went berserk with his disclosing what they wanted to keep hidden. I can relate!

“Instead of feeling thwarted, I am empowered to move forward faster.

“Thanks for the sword!

“Barb Herrera”

Where Do I Belong?

Zack (pre-transition) and me standing in line to get married in San Francisco, CA on February 16, 2004

I called my former partner, my Beloved Zack, to ask, “Where do I belong if I don’t belong with my tribe?” He was so kind and said, quite emphatically, “NOT IN THE LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY!”

He recounted a discussion at a Transman meeting after his phalloplasty and they were talking about penises in general and someone stood and said “My girlfriend” (who was sitting in the meeting of transmen), “is triggered by the word ‘penis'” and expected the discussion to stop. Zack told the guy to take care of his girlfriend by ushering her outside if she did not take care of herself by removing herself from the transmen meeting.

That was the last Trans meeting Zack went to.

Again, Where Do I Belong?

Me, San Diego Gay Pride 1987

So, am I so old that I really do not even belong in the gay community anymore? What about my feelings of ostracization and feelings of experiencing ageism?

I have marched and written reams of articles fighting for lesbian rights, gay rights, lesbian mothers’ rights, gays in the military, gay marriages … I’ve spoken on local and national TV news programs … and now I am marginalized? Now my own experiences are moot because I am old?

Zack and I in the news after our San Francisco wedding.

Now I am not needed because those rights have been won and it was so long ago, the fight doesn’t even matter anymore? Because no one alive in these groups remembers the people who fought for them?

I FOUGHT FOR THE RIGHTS THEY HAVE TODAY!

Who the fuck did they think won these rights for them?

Now I am not needed because I am not PC? Because my words don’t “fit” with the younger mindsets? Because the vernacular changed while I was out fighting for their rights?

Me, San Diego Pride Parade 1987

Where Are My People?

Zack told me to find an older group of liberal straight writers to work with. I have no idea where they are, but will begin a search. (Thank you, Google!)

Isn’t that kind of sad? Isn’t that really sad?

I think so.

I Won NaNoWriMo!

The goal for National Novel Writing Month is to scribble out 50,000 words on a new piece of work. I did it! Actually, 51,000 words (204 book pages) by November 30, 2020. I am so proud of myself.

The Autobiographical Novel/Historical Novel (not sure which it would be considered yet) about life before and after AIDS took amazing turns as I was a Planster (someone who does an outline, but also allows the characters unfold as they want to). I have whole characters that birthed themselves and a relationship between mother and daughter was born. I don’t quite know what to do with them yet because that was not in the original outline. I have never written a novel before so I am reading everything I can about how to do one, but not sure I will find answers in someone else’s books.

We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, I WON!!!

NaNoWriMo & More

Today was Day 12 of National Novel Writing Month and I am kicking ass at writing! I have met, or surpassed, my goal of 1667 words every day since Day 1. Today, I went over 20,000 words towards the required 50,000 to “win” NaNo.

President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris won. I breathed for the first time in 4 years a couple of days ago. I cannot wait until the dumpster fire is gone from our once-beautiful White House.

My Fibonacci Therapy is AMAZING. I really do not know how to even explain it except a lot of “seeing” and “changing” things around in my mind. It is more than The Secret kind of seeing, it is seeing my own mind shifting.

I’ve relieved a great deal of my feet and right ankle pain. In 1996, I went to a pain therapist who taught me Biofeedback and Self-Hypnosis and I used that knowledge for decades, but as I have gotten older, I either have forgotten how to get in that healing zone or have become resistant, so this therapy is reminding me -and teaching me new ways I never knew before- to relieve the pain in my body.

Things are good. We’ll see what happens with the Novel I am writing. It is rather pornographic at times. I wonder if it will be sold in the Fantasy Adult Bookstore and Glory Holes next to the Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

In the meantime, I am writing writing writing!

NaNoWriMo 2020

Today is Day 2 of National Novel Writing Month and I am giving it a go again this year.

Project Shift

I thought I was going to be working on my Psychological Thriller about a serial killing midwife, but last year’s project demanded I regroup and work on her.

So, I am back to In the Bushes (working title). The book initially began as a memoir, but it is about gay life between 1978 and 1982 and I struggled with it last year because of outing issues, along with the drugs and rampant sex. Then a few weeks ago, I learned there is something called an Autobiographical Novel, using the outline of one’s life, but creating an entire story mixing fact and fiction and voila! All my concerns were gone. I wasn’t going to out anyone and I could talk about sex and drugs all I wanted without incriminating anyone.

Still Some Ongoing Issues

Between tropes and fetishizing, I worry what people will think. My life was very white, but for the sexual experiences with black men (several characters prefer black men sexually) and that will surely not go over very well.

The main concern is the religious right will, once again, say, “See? They got what they deserved” by having such indiscriminate sex and extreme hedonism.

But I am writing.

And that is a very good thing.

NaNoWriMo Again!

National Novel Writing Month begins at midnight tonight… November 1, 2019. I did NaNo last year and wrote around 30,000 words. Not the 50,000 word goal, but not bad.

1_r0GNYc6_Ye-SI73aKSv1WA

Yes, 50,000 words in a month. That’s the purpose of NaNo. That is 1667 words a day. If I am being prolific, I can do around 700 a day, sometimes up to 1000. But consistently? Not so much.

I have 4 Works in Progress… 3 Memoirs and 1 Psychological Thriller. The one I am working on for NaNo is (working title) In the Bushes: Gay Life before AIDS. I spent a lot of time in the gay community from 1978-1982 and have fabulous stories to share about those crazy times before my friends started to die around me. I’ve already begun, have just over 7000 words so far, and the book is unfolding beautifully. My goal for November is to write those 50,000 words.

NaNo-2019-Writer-Web-Badge-1

The NaNoWriMo community is amazingly supportive. Tons of forums… many serious, others completely frivolous. I closed my Facebook for the month, but must stay out of the NaNo forums until my daily numbers are met.

nov02-2012

And so I am off to write. Wish me well!

MDBlkQ4

NaNoWriMo Redux

National Novel Writing Month kicks my arse!

After getting off to a blazing start, I petered out a little past mid-month… which, it seems, is pretty common. Instead of the 50,000 word goal, I ended up with 35,111 words, which is, admittedly, about 35,000 more words than I have written in the last 6 months. My goal was not a novel, since I do not write novels, but to do a slew of posts for here. Hey, I did that! I still have 8-10 in drafts, waiting for pictures before popping out whole.

However, around Day 6, a fiction story started pouring out of my fingers. Huh? Where did that come from? I have no idea, but sharing it with my audience of one (another besides myself), it seems to be coming out as a pretty decent story.

Not having written complete fiction before, I knew I was making horrendous mistakes, including with dialogue. A group in Second Life (My NaNoWriMos!) suggested several books and I quickly acquired those. Poring through those, I am able to write more clearly than the earlier pages.

My writer friends also suggested Scrivener, a program specifically for writers.

forest-or-trees

I loooooovvvvveeeee Scrivener. I did not start learning it until after midnight on December 1, but, so far, it has helped me so so much with my organization and being able to put things down on paper that I am usually carrying around in my head.

This is the synopsis of what I am writing.

Witness Mistress Lara’s training of Esmé , a natural submissive, to her eventual collaring by her new Owner, Master John. The path is not without its obstacles, Esmé requiring not only gentle guidance, but sometimes harsh punishments… neither of which are what they might seem at first blush. Everyone, from Dominants to submissives, learn what it means to maintain their roles and when it might be necessary to cross the lines.

(Title of Book [still unknown]) exposes the intertwined connections between BDSM, sex and love.

How far would you go to prove your innate worthiness to someone you desire?

Dang, I can write a decent synopsis! Hopefully the book is as yummy.

Re-reading it, I can already see the changes I have made because I learned I needed a Villain or three. A Villain?! Really? So I found her (the first?) and am doing her backstory. She seems so tender and was so hurt in her youth, you can hardly help but care for her. Oooo, until she does naughty things to Esmé.

I’m really having fun watching this story unfold. I have some idea of where it is going, but am much more a Seat-of-the-Pants kind of writer… not much of a planner it seems. I can’t wait to see what, if anything, ends up with what I have written. For all I know, it could be a short story instead of a novel.

We shall see.

Brownies

I have always loved brownies. My mom made amazing brownies. Later, I learned they were from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, one she gave me when I got married.

il_570xN.1565764540_h6s0

Deliciously chewy, not cakey (too dry), when I made them, I underbaked the treat so they were even a tad wet inside.

I also doubled the batch and put them in a 9×12 pan; that helped the middle of the pan’s batter to be gooshier than the edges, which were never burnt because I took them out right when they smelled ready.

Yes, smelled ready.

I have a weird skill of being able to smell when baked goods are done cooking. Early, when I was learning to cook, I was meticulous with the time the recipe said to do. Then, as I got more relaxed, I realized that I could smell when things were done.

browniess1

I remember baking brownies so often when the kids were little, I no longer needed the recipe. We always kept a decent stash of unsweetened chocolate squares, plenty of sugar and flour and, of course, butter!

In Germany, when I was with my new lesbian love (he was really transgender, but had not come out yet), I made brownies at least twice a week. Between brownies and snickerdoodles, I was nearly a specialty bakery. This was when I was baking bread, too. The years when we were isolated in Germany with very little to do but BE with each other remain some of my favorite memories of my life. The kids were hilarious, Zack and I were always nursing one or the other of the babies and I attended lots and lots of births.

Zack loves nuts, but I am allergic to them, so I would sometimes make the 8×8 pan recipe with nuts for him.

browniess

When my youngest was living with Zack and me in San Diego, it became clear that brownies were her PMS food of choice. The day before she started her period, she would break out a box of brownie mix, crying while she stirred it all together, and bake a batch that she alone would eat over the next 2 to 3 days. None of us ever asked for one; we knew better.

(I just asked her permission to add this information in my piece and she said she had no idea she did that, that she ate brownies all the time. I smiled into the phone and told her it was like clockwork, her brownie-baking-while-crying session.)

browniess2

I rarely eat brownies anymore and I never make them. If I partake, someone has made them, always from a box.

The memories of mine are much sweeter.

My Brownie Recipe (really, Better Homes & Gardens’ recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped if desired

Baking Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350℉ (180℃).
  • In medium saucepan melt butter and chocolate.
  • Remove from heat; stir in sugar.
  • Blend in eggs one at a time.
  • Add vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts; mix well.
  • Spread in greased 8x8x2-inch pan.
  • Bake at 350℉ (180℃) for 30 minutes.
  • Be careful not to overbake. Cool completely.
  • Cut into 16 squares.

Butter Pats (in Jail)

The one thing I did love about jail… and hoard… was the pat of butter for the bread we got at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

butter pat

You see, I was… am… a lip balm addict. Have been for probably 40 years. So when I went to jail, they, of course, did not allow me to take any with me. My meds, they let me take (didn’t give them to me properly, but I did get to take them), but not lip balm.

Therefore, I used butter pats. I took the pats from anyone who would give them to me, kept them in my locker in my room and used it sparingly.

patss

It was always a drag when we had inspection because my stock of butter pats would be tossed and I would have to start all over again.

Blessedly, I was given money on my books (in my account) by those who loved me and I could buy Chapstick brand lip balm, the one in the black wrapping. Plain. I love my Blistex Medicated Lip Balm, but I was not going to complain.

51fBAT7w7JL._SL1200_

(I just put some on. HA!)

When I was extradited to California from Florida (during my second stint in jail for the same crime), I lost my bought Chapstick and had to endure dry lips for a couple of days through the traveling. I was bereft.

When I got to California, my then partner, a Deputy Sheriff in the jail I where I was incarcerated (another story) slipped me his Chapstick to put on before going to my bed. It was not black so I couldn’t keep it, but I was careful to keep it on as long as possible. In the morning, I traded some food for Chapstick… and paper and pencils (another jail story… writing in jail).

The first thing I did when I was released 3 days later was to put my own Blistex Medicated Chapstick on. I was in heaven.

Today, sitting next to me, I have… counting… 10 sticks of Blistex. And another 6 or so in my purse. One by my bed. Clearly, I have been traumatized by being in jail and not having my lip balm. (You see I also hoard pens. I’m terribly worried about running out of something to write with. Really, really. It’s a sickness.)

penschapstick

Now that is my deterrent for not doing any more crimes.

NaNoWriMo

 

NaNo-2018-Writer-Twitter-Header

National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo… begins November 1 and goes through November 30. The purpose is to write a 50,000 word Novel (or body of work as I would do) in a month.

50,000 words. That is 1667 words A DAY! That is about 3.5+ hours of writing a day. Eek! AND work and write for work. I am game for trying though.

00993727_P

I’ve decided to focus my energies on the Food posts. I have an enormous list of stories-by-title-food and can just start at the top and move down.

Just a few here:

  • Jail food
  • Powdered milk
  • Food banks
  • Green mac n cheese
  • Mom’s oatmeal bread
  • Mom’s stew recipe
  • Mom’s Hershey PB cookie recipe
  • Brownies
  • Snickerdoodles

Many more than that… should be FUN!

Write with me?

Who else is doing NaNoWriMo?

001