Gay Life: 1978-1982

I’m working diligently on a memoir about my life in the gay community between 1978 and 1982, the time immediate preceding, then immediately post-AIDS. The writing is going well and I am loving where it is headed and how it’s unfolding.

I have so many stories from that time, I considered naming the book Sex, Drugs & Disco, but there already is one from pre-AIDS San Francisco. Not that books can’t have the same name, it just seemed too easy. The working title is In the Bushes which comes from when I pimped for a gay friend in Lake Eola, looking for sex for him. We were 17-years old.

Lake Eola Navelgazing Writer
An example of how much foliage was in Lake Eola back before they pruned so people would stop having sex in the bushes.
Lake Eola Navelgazing Writer
Another example of hidden places to have sex at Lake Eola.

Then there were my first forays into the gay bar scene, the drag queens, the drugs, the copious amounts of alcohol… and the sex. Lots and lots of sex. One of my girls asked to read some of what I had written and then pushed it away in the first couple hundred words. I knew then I was on the right track. laughing She shan’t be a Beta Reader!

During that time, I lived with several gay men in a few places, including the Parliament House, a gay complex. Lots of naughtiness ensued.

Parliament House Navelgazing Writer
This was circa when I was there 1978-ish. Notice the balconies where guys cruised each other. Also, you used to be able to drive through the place; not anymore.

I ran away to New York City, ran out of money in DC on the way home, was present for momentous occasions in our nation’s history and took part in many side trips into the infamy of DC life.

Watergate Complex Navelgazing Writer
The Watergate Complex. I had sex in there in 1979.

At the time, I had no idea I would write this book in 40 years.

But I am. And I am very excited about it.

Holding the Space (for My Self)

I am going through a lot of life changes at the moment; feeling old, disconnected, left behind.

I’ve left Social Media for the second time and cannot anticipate being active in Facebook or Twitter again until I have a book deal. I just cannot concentrate on writing when I am active in writing groups helping others instead of myself.

When Sadness Hits

Holding the space Navelgazing Writer

My kids and grandkids are halfway across the country, busy busy with their own wonderful lives (and I am happy for it!), but I miss them all terribly. My own mom, 6 miles away is having a hard time with her memory and being physically slower. I visit her and my puppies as often as I can, but with working so much, it is a challenge. Plus it is about $32 round trip with Uber (which I LOVE).

I no longer have close friends with whom to talk about politics, books… life in general… because they have moved on with their lives, too.

Holding the Space Navelgazing Writer

Holding the Space

I know I sound pitiful and need to perk up, so I talked to my youngest, Aimee, who is a healer better than I ever was, and she said to hold myself as if I were holding her new baby girl. That image was a lovely one because I would hold the baby so lovingly, smiling at her, making her laugh and kissing her all over.

I’ve written about Holding the Space for others, but clearly, it is now my turn to do so for my Self.

Holding Space Navelgazing Writer

I’ve thought about looking for new friends, in Writer’s Groups or in Second Life, but I am in a sort of hibernation mode for now. I want to keep whatever energy I have close to me, foster my own writing, not working on anyone else’s.

My writing is going well and I think it’s one of the best things I can do for myself as far as Holding the Space goes. I am up early in the morning, writing while listening to Lindsey Stirling and then nap again before starting work around 11a or 12p. Work is going really well, too. My work writing is great, my work social media (required) is going really well. I love what I do so much. It’s really quite awesome.

So, here I am. Alone. Looking at myself in the proverbial mirror and evaluating what is left of my life and deciding what to do and where to (metaphorically) move next.

I can do it.

Holding the Space Navelgazing Writer

 

 

Guess Who Has Cancer!

Yeah, it would be me.

I have Malignant Melanoma in one area on my upper arm, a few inches from my elbow, right by my tattoo.

These pics are after the biopsy, not the spot itself.

I have another spot that is a hair-breadths from being Melanoma on my right scapula. I do not have a picture of that yet.

How Did I Get This?

Let’s see… grew up in Florida, sun tanning since I was about 12-years old, using Crisco on my skin to burn faster (and that was the goal), swimming outdoors until about 10-15 years ago, being a lifeguard and swim instructor, always outside, sun tanning nude in San Diego… and I never, never once, used sunscreen.

USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!

How Did I Find It?

Well, actually, I went in for a different spot that turned out to be a capillary thing, but the night before my appointment, I saw this place in the mirror as I was leaving the bathroom. It was flush with my skin and looked like a light cafe au latte birthmark. All the same color, but the edges were not completely solid. I forgot to get a picture, but the Derm has one, so I will get it for my records.

At the Dermatologist’s office, the PA was awesome and told me what the red spot was and then pointed to the one above and said, “Now that one I am worried about.” She also found 3 others to biopsy and 2 were in trouble, 2 were normal.

The one pictured above got infected, and my Dermatologist said she was not surprised being it was the one with the melanoma, so I am on Doxycycline and using Mupirocin ointment. 24 hours after beginning, I feel so much better already.

Next Steps

The PA told me that I need to have surgery (her word) on the 2 spots. I will have an almond-shaped chunk of skin removed, 4×6 inches and then sutured together again. The one on my back should be a tad smaller than the one shown above. They will be looking to see if they got it all, looking for “margins” of healthy tissue.

Blessedly, I already have an Oncologist (for my Iron Infusions) and she will get the results of the surgical chunk-ectomies, send me for an MRI or CT to look inside to see if the buggies have gone anywhere else and we will go from there.

How I Feel

I feel really positive! With a little gallows humor, I am not losing weight so it can’t be that bad, can it? I also told the PA it was good my arm was huge so they could take great gobs of flesh if they wanted to. They thought I was weird. I just laughed and laughed, wiping a couple of tears at the same time.

NO PITY!

Make me LAUGH!

I got work to do and a book to write!

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.

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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.

Second Life (for me!)

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I’ve written before about being “Cyber-ly-Abled“:

“I love being able to have unencumbered sex with cyber lovers, relieved of the logistics that real life would dictate. And what’s wonderful is they, too, are able to suspend reality, allowing me to be free… outside my body… and flying inside my mind. It is a gift that is completely dependent on the mechanism with which we communicate; the computer. Together, we tangle, we swirl together, we move around as if we were two feathers dancing on a current of air. Real life sex was never so uninhibited. It is a joy to be in this luscious place without my lifelong concerns… and occasional anguish… revolving around my body size, history of sexual abuse or even (seemingly) illogical psychiatric issues.”

This was written before I knew anything about Second Life.

Second Life is a virtual world. Mind you, I have never played a video game past Pac-Man nor done anything with virtual reality. In fact, when someone tried to get me into Second Life, I balked, thinking it was a religious thing. She finally dragged me to screen share with her, to show me what it really was, and within moments, I was hooked.

I was able to make myself into an Avatar… and Avi or AV… and I could make myself anything I wanted. Not just a woman, nor just a man, but Second Life has an endless array of creatures from vampires to mermaids to fairies and elves. If you feel like being a tiger one day and a transgender space person the next, you can do it! Easily and all but free of charge.

I, however, created my AV as a woman. An adorable blonde woman with a bit of flesh on her (and I know she looks small, but believe me, there are plenty of women with stick legs and enormous breasts in Second Life). I have my girl’s hair short almost always, but look! She has hair! After being bald for years, it is delicious having a choice of hairs to wear.

periwinkle ProfilePic

I am also able to wear clothes that are lovely, classy, dressy, sloppy… whatever I want, I can find it in the Marketplace. Yes, I have to buy most of my clothes, but many things can be had for very, very inexpensive prices.

And the SHOES!

The shoes.

I can wear the highest heels every single day if I want. I can dance for 6 hours and my feet never hurt and I am not crippled with pain the next day.

I can wear angel wings and be amazingly sexy if I want to be.

yeah4

I have not been in Second Life for a year yet, so I have not explored a fraction of what it has to offer. I have not ridden horses, driven a car, been a mermaid in the ocean, gone sailing, ridden a surfboard… even role played… which is a huge offering of Second Life.

I have also not had SLex… Second Life sex. I decided to be there for at least a year before having any sex or doing anything kinky. I am certainly a weirdo for it, too, but so be it. I have 3 more months until I am 1 year old (in Second Life time) and have to make any decisions. For now, I am having a blast with what I have done.

I hang out at a Commune.

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I have flown while dancing.

dancefly

I found an enormous writing community that is extremely supportive of everyone’s writing progress. It is with this group with whom I am participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge and doing the Snatches and Dashes.

Laraa Field Trip_002

We even have workshops where published authors and professional editors come in and teach us wonderful new skills.

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And Live Music!! Who knew there was live music online like this! I have found all kinds of genres from ballads to Bagpipe Rock to amazing folks music.

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I’ve also gone on a date to France.

Arc de Triomphe2

And the museums! So many museums.

And a million parks to go to… to have fun on playgrounds, to meditate in Japanese Gardens, to wander the Botanical Gardens… just so, so many places to enjoy.

There really is so much more than I can even express. I am glad to share my experiences with anyone asking.

I am purposefully not sharing my name because I also love the anonymity of Second Life. I want to create my own community of people that do not know me in real life. At least yet.

Are you in Second Life?

Having My Words Stolen

I’ve written since I was about 8-years old, journaled since I got my first diary on my 8th birthday. You know, the kind with the tiny lock on it?

locked

When I was 11, I let Suzette read my diary. Stupidest thing I ever did. In there, I wrote that I’d tried smoking and she went and told my mom who let me know if she ever caught me, I would be eating a pack in front of the family.

cigarettes

I stopped writing in a journal for a couple of years, but when I was 15, an older friend said I had a lot to say and gave me a lovely hard and cloth-covered journal with no lines in it and an amazing Japanese-inspired cover.

letter
Mine looked similar to this picture.

I wrote in it a lot, wrote about my boyfriends, my gay boyfriend (when I was 16-years old), going to the gay bar (when I was 17-years old) and sleeping with my first girlfriend Kelly (at 18-years old). By then, that one book had turned into 2 and then into 3.

My dad had a new girlfriend and, when I was 17-years old, I came home from school one day and my Japanese journal was laying on the dining room table. I was horrified. She had gone into my room, snooped to find my journal and then read it aloud to my dad. Their excuse was they were worried about my going out all the time and didn’t like my friends.

I felt incredibly violated.

risingcairn_2
Rising Cairn, Celeste Roberge

I hysterically called my mom who came and got me. I gathered all my journals and put them in a box and carried them with me, getting into mom’s car and going to see La Cage aux Folles with her and her boyfriend. It is one of the funniest movies ever, but I sobbed through the whole thing, my mom wrapping an arm protectively around my shoulder as she laughed and laughed.

la cage

I grew up in a house where words were sacred. Privacy was maintained. None of us would have considered reading another’s words/letters/journals without being given specific permission. To have my father be a party to that betrayal was horrific. It was the first moment I hated the woman he eventually married. (She betrayed me and my siblings many more times after that.)

sacred2

Mom kept all my old journals (I knew she would never even take a peek inside any of them) and I carried my Japanese one and the one I was writing in with me everywhere. I never left anything home for them to see or read.

Once I moved out, I felt relief in having my words back with me.

Many years later, after I married and had 3 kids, I came out as a lesbian with my (now) former partner of 28 years. My first husband was crazy mad (as one might expect) and went into our storage unit and found all my old journals and those funly-folded notes from junior high school and tossed them in the Dumpster by our house. It wasn’t until I was packing to move that I learned he had stolen my words and threw them away as trash.

trash

That time, I was heartbroken.

heartbroken
MissPoe, Heartbroken Art

And when the Love of My Life, my partner of 28 years, sent me from Germany to San Diego to live with his mom (me and the 4 kidlets), I wrote him every day. He, someone who has never written a letter he wasn’t forced to, wrote me about once a week or so. I cherished those letters, knowing how rare they were. I kept them neatly in a shoebox under my bed.

shoebox
Haley Fischer

When he broke up with me a couple of months later, I took the beloved shoebox and put it on the headboard of my bed, touching it and crying often. All those words of love and honoring our commitment to each other… all just memories.

A year later, I finally got up the nerve to read the precious words he’d written to me. I’d mourned the entire year, face on the carpet listening to Melissa Etheridge sing her pain-filled songs directly to me, endless tears soaking the fibers on the floor as well as throughout my body.

melissa

I took the shoebox one night after the kids were asleep, sat on the floor and began opening the envelopes.

Inside the first one was a blank piece of paper. Confused, I opened the next one. Two pieces of paper, folded exactly how my love’s letters had been. Realization began to set in as I began opening more and more of the envelopes, finding blank pages inside. Every single letter, gone… replaced with blank sheets of papers.

Notebook paper background

I called the person I still loved so very much and asked who would do such a thing?! He said he would call me right back.

It was his mother.

She told him she did it because she thought I might publish the letters one day and they would ruin his life if people knew he was gay (he was presenting as a woman then).

As badly as my heart was broken when he left the kids and I, I was 1000 times more hurt with his words being burned in the fireplace. He knew how important words were to me, having held me as I recounted the stories of others reading and then stealing and dumping my words. Regarding his mother, he apologized dozens of times, but there was no fixing it. (Tears are falling even as I write this.)

paper_burning

When we got back together a few years after that, the first thing I insisted on was his mother apologizing to me. She did. It did not remove one iota of the pain that still lived inside of me.

When I have told this story, people point out: but you blog! I have considered this truth and even worked on it in therapy.

I am thinking that I blog because I get to choose what comes out to the world. I get to share my thoughts. I have control over the experience of who reads my journals.

blog

I do not censor much, my thoughts fall out of my fingers without much planning. So it isn’t like I am not sharing deep, intimate details with you all; I am. But, I feel empowered that it is me who hits the Publish button and not someone who has no right to my thoughts, feelings or words.

And that feels magnificent.

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Breaking Free, mdderouin

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.

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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?

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