Oh hello there, brand new website showcasing authors of Canadian lesfic. Aren’t you looking mighty fine? And it looks like I am writing one of the first regular blog entries. Good thing there isn’t any pressure or anything. I mean, if I fumble the ball, I will probably screw this entire fledgling enterprise and all of my co-conspirators will turn upon me and eat my delicious brains, but what the heck- I write books about gay bondage pirates; the hell do I need brains for anyway?
I considered using this blog post to babble inanely about some of my favourite Canadian authors. I considered using this blog post to babble inanely about myself, because that is a thing that you must do when you publish, and if you balk about doing it, your publishers install a chip in your head (science fact). But considering what is happening this minute on the other side of our spinning spaceship Earth, I think it would be worthwhile to take a minute to dwell on some of those bigger issues…such as why we write, and why we read.
You know what is fantastic about queers? All right, yes, I know; I can’t count that high either. One of the specific fantastic things about queers, probably around line item number sixty-four thousand seventy-two, is this. We are the paratroops of diversity. We drop past enemy lines. Take a family anywhere in the world, make them as intolerant and inflexible and hidebound as you can possibly imagine, assume that the very idea of difference makes their hackles rise, then leave them to marinate a few years and all of a sudden…Oh whoops Dick Cheney guess you’re hanging out with your openly gay daughter now well that’s cool.
I’m not claiming, of course, that queers are all beacons of light. (Especially considering our abysmal record when it comes to supporting our transgendered brethren and sistren. Could we please stop being terrible about that, because it is embarrassing and wrong. Kthx.) Nor does some former homophobe become a saint just because they have a come-to-gay-Jesus moment when they realize that their own son or daughter is a member of the tribe. Still, I do believe that there’s something essentially healthy and good about the way queers shake things up. So long as people go on having children (and that seems to be a pretty well-ingrained habit), we’ll keep popping up everywhere from Vladivostok to Newt Gingrich’s fantasy moon colonies. And wherever we sprout, there will be people- family members, friends, and we ourselves- forced to confront the idea that maybe they were wrong when they thought they had all the answers about life and love.
That’s a good thing.
Like most of us, I’ve been intermittently rolling my eyes about Vladimir Putin’s new, innovative policy of standing with his head in a bucket of cement and repeating, “Gays? What gays? I see no gays!”, over and over. I haven’t been expending too much of my precious angerjuice on the situation, to be honest, because it’s been covered pretty completely by the rest of the world, and I’ve been unleashing my fury on crappy situations closer to home. (Everyone who is being a jerk to the senior citizens of Ontario? STOP IT. I MEAN IT. I will LAWYER YOU IN THE FACE.)
Anyway, since Russian politicians keep claiming that there are no gays in Sochi, I’ve been offering to parachute into town to address the critical shortage. And each time I make the offer, my mind drifts away to a pleasant picture of a gay humanitarian airdrop, a hundred thousand rainbow parachutes billowing open, boots crunching gravel, and then queers of all varieties springing into action to save the stray dogs and sort out the hotel situation. Then we’d meet up with the Russian gays- who have been having a hell of a time of it, from all accounts- and there would be blini and vodka and things.
There won’t be a queer airlift any time soon, alas. But there will always be books. For anyone who lives in loneliness or fear, whether in Sochi or Toronto, Iran or Washington or under the sea, books are a both a chance to escape and a way to connect. They reassure us that there are people out there who are exactly like us, but also bring us face to face with things that are new, and different, and frightening.
Books get into our heads, in other words, and they tear the walls down.
So, from Canada with love to all lesbians in Russia: we hope you find something fantastic to read tonight! And when you have a chance, let us hear from you. Can’t wait to read your stories.