I’ve MOVED!

Hey there, cats and kittens.

Looking for my blog? Well, I’m over here now.

I’ll leave this up as an archive for now, but both the old and new stuff is available over at the NEW Claire De Lunacy. I hope you’ll join us!

Cheers!

Claire

Out and About

So here’s the thing, kids:

It’s National Coming Out Week, and as I do every year, I pause to reflect on the general status of both the LGBT community and the larger world in which it must function. We’re all another year older, another year further down the road to equality, another year further down the road to an apocalypse starring John Cusack.

Rather than try to create something long-winded and deeply philosophical (for a change, cough, cough), I have created two lists this year: one contains hopeful signs that humanity will indeed embrace its angel and not its ape, learning at long last to love and cherish each other. The other list contains signs that God was a little too hasty in promising never to flood this blue rock ever again.

THINGS CONCERNING “THE GAY” THAT ARE PLEASING IN MY SIGHT IN 2009

1) Obama finally owned up to his promise on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Hurray! Barack remembered that he made a promise when he was campaigning to get elected! Now, if he can just come up with WHEN he will repeal it…

2) And speaking of politicians doing the right thing, Governor Schwarzenegger created Harvey Milk Day this year. It’s very encouraging to see the heroes and martyrs of our community being granted the same respect and honor as other key figures in American history. Also, bonus points to Arnie for not trying to shoehorn any catchphrases into the legislation.

3) A Trans-inclusive version of the ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) was finally introduced this year. At last, there’s a real chance that LGBT Americans will be protected from the discrimination millions of us face every single day of our lives. No one – NO ONE – should be denied a job, a home,  or a chance at a productive life because of their sexuality, and when this passes, it will be a huge stride forward for this country and for equal rights.

4) Even without an inclusive ENDA, we occasionally win the respect we deserve. Now, having been on the end of some not-so-subtle discrimination myself, I felt Diane Schroer’s pain when I first heard about this story. You don’t have to be Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius, to see that a job offer that’s rescinded when one reveals that they are transgendered is a little suspect. And yes, I know this is hardly Hollywood-movie triumphant – the administration’s refusal to appeal the decision isn’t the same as saying “Hey, genius, lay off the hatin'” but progress is progress.

5) Iran allowed its first Transgendered Marriage this year. I’m on the fence about this one, actually. Yes, it’s great that transpeople can marry, but Iran, a notoriously oppressive theocracy with zero tolerance for any sort of homosexuality, has embraced transgenderism because (in the case of heterosexual couples, at least), it conforms to the traditional male-female paradigm. And,  as the article notes, there’s very legitimate concern that not all of Iran’s transgendered people are transgendered; in fact, some may be lesbians and gays circumventing the law with what can only be called extreme dedication.

THINGS CONCERNING “THE GAY” OVER WHICH I WEPT TEARS OF BLOOD IN 2009

1) Violence against transgendered people worldwide is on the RISE. Iran may be all set to let us get hitched, but worldwide, it’s still a very dangerous thing for transgendered people to be honest about their identity. It can cost us our jobs, our familes, and, increasingly, our lives.

2) In fact, all LGBT folks are painted with targets these days. Violence is not okay. It’s not okay as a tactic to demean, to defile, to diminish anyone. It’s not okay to incite aggression and hatred for someone because you happen to disagree with their lifestyle.

Violence.

Is.

NOT.

Okay.

OK?

3) We still can’t get married…well, at least not everywhere. Canada, America’s Hat, has it. A sprinkling of US States have it: Iowa; Vermont; Connecticut; Maine; Massachusetts.   Many others allow domestic partnerships, or, as I like to call it, “Marriage Lite.” So what’s the hold up, people? The states where LGBT couples can marry didn’t sink into the ocean or disappear in flashes of light. It’s time to recognize that two people of the same sex can and do share loving, lifelong relationships (many with greater success than their heterosexual counterparts…I’m looking at YOU, Hollywood!).

As usual, I like my “Good” list to be longer than my “Bad” list. I could, of course, go on and and on about the injustices and indignities suffered by LGBT people in today’s world, but I’d rather focus on the triumphs and successes. After all, we’re not solely defined by our LGBT-ness; we’re parents, siblings, children, spouses and friends, and beyond that, we are all (regardless of color, creed, race, gender or sexuality) human beings.

Overall, I’d say things are looking up, and that in a lot of important ways, 2009 will go down in history as an important part of both LGBT history and history in general. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, don’t be afraid this week (or any other week) to be honest with yourself and others about who you are…you owe it to them and you owe it to yourself.

And those of you who aren’t LGBT but have a loved one or friend who is, I encourage you to remain (or become) a supportive and loving part of their lives. Coming out of the closet can be a scary thing, and it’s always nice to be greeted by a friend rather than a fist.

In Which Our Heroine Enters The Fashion Industry

That's right, I actually spent time designing this.

That's right, I actually spent time designing this.

And by “fashion industry,” I of course mean “the novelty t-shirt business.”

That’s right, faithful readers! You can now get a brand-spankin’ new t-shirt emblazoned with my NEW design, “Tweetar®.” Some pals and I came up with this one day a few weeks back, and I decided what the world needs is another shirt, one that teaches as well as entertains.

Because I’m cool like that.

Oh, and also because I need filthy lucre to finance my other, more ambitious projects.

Do you appreciate the Awesome? Do you speak or at least appreciate Español? Do you have some spare cash you’d just spend on candy or lottery tickets anyway, you undisciplined mook?

Well, then, why not blow it on one of my awesome t-shirts instead?

Stop by today, and you’ll be conjugating Tweetar® along with the best of ’em in no time!

http://www.cafepress.com/LaBarceloneta

[The preceding was a paid announcement. No warranty given or implied, although if I see you wearing my shirt I WILL give you a hug and dance around in a circle, so probably best to keep a jacket with you at all times.]

Guestastic!

Faithful Readers:

Later this week, Claire De Lunacy will be celebrating its first blogiversary.  It’s been an interesting year, full of adventures with the courts and virtual attempts to bike to Mormon-filled deserts.  I’ve changed, the world has changed, and so have all of you (except for this guy).

To celebrate my first blogiversary, I’ll be featuring a week of guest posts starting Wednesday next (June 3rd) and concluding on the following Wednesday (June 10th). I’ve got a couple pieces of short fiction, some commentary, and more!

Plus, to commemmorate this (ahem) momentous occasion, I’ll be publishing a FULL-LENGTH short story from the Circe universe on the last day, June 10th.

Each day, I’ll briefly introduce each guest author and then let their words flow. As always, commentary from the readers is both welcome and encouraged.

I hope you’ll join us for the week’s festivities!

Excerpt: The Fugitive

Hey there, cats and kittens. Here’s another excerpt from my upcoming book, Cleo and Meander. As always, I treasure the feedback of my readers and would love to hear your thoughts.

The trouble had started with the damned door. She’d been in a hurry and left it unlocked, which meant that Rafo strolled right into her bedroom instead of being forced to struggle with the lock for ten minutes…and that, in turn, meant that he’d seen her startled face drop out of sight as she slid out the window. She was up and running in a wink, but Rafo’s angry roars were already chasing her before she was halfway across The Commons. By the time she’d made it here, to the Lost Promenade, he’d had his underwardens prowling the entire estate. If she hadn’t been able to reach the loft before he stormed in, tail swishing, she would’ve been caught for certain – and if she was caught, her house arrest might very well become permanent.

Lying in the shadows formed by stacked crates and old bits of stone, Meander thought about her options. Rafo, like most of the Felis, had a keen nose and even keener eyes, which meant that any hiding place was temporary at best. He’d no doubt notified her father of her escape, so in addition to eluding Rafo and his pack of enforcers, she’d have to give the main house a wide berth. Inching forward for a better view, she stifled a gasp when she saw a familiar silhouette illuminated by the torches in the entryway. Her father.

“Rafo, please tell me that you’ve found my daughter.” Daffyd Reynaldo was not a tall man, but nevertheless managed to give the impression of towering over the giant housewarden in front of him. “Er, no, xefe, not yet. I thought she’d be here…in fact, I’m almost sure she is here, somewhere…” His employer’s snort brought him up short. “Rafo, you’re almost sure? Are you telling me you can track a bird by its shadow but you can’t find a girl who has trouble traveling to town without three maps and an escort?” Rafo’s eyes shifted, his tail twitching against his legs. “Xefe, you know how it is with her. She’s…slippery. Especially when she doesn’t want to be found. Remember when she was a child, and she hid for three days because she didn’t want to take a bath? And even then we wouldn’t have found her if it wasn’t for her…” The felis snapped his mouth shut, biting his tongue painfully in the process…but he wasn’t fast enough. “If it wasn’t for her mother? Is that what you were going to say, Rafo? I sincerely hope not, because you know the penalty for even THINKING that name, let alone mentioning it.” For a moment, Daffyd’s eyes glowed almost as brightly as his housewarden’s, and the torches leapt in their brackets. Rafo took a step back, wondering for the second time this evening if everyone in the Reynaldo family was going slowly insane. The light in Daffyd’s eyes winked out, and he shook his head, as if clearing away fumes. “Rafo, forgive me. You know better than most the pain I carry. I should not have threatened you so.” He looked up as Rafo put a meaty paw on his shoulder. “You ask for that which is not needed, old friend. It is not an easy thing, raising a child alone, and it is made doubly difficult when that child grows into a woman as…spirited as Andi is.”

Daffyd smiled, smoothing his silvering hair with one hand, and sighed. “You’re right, of course. And “spirited” is probably the nicest thing I can say about my wayward daughter at the moment. I pray that Inri and Celene will bring her the strength to tame that spirit before it gets her killed.” Rafo, back on firmer ground now that he was reasonably sure he’d live to see the sunrise, smiled as well. “We won’t let that happen, Daffyd. She’s a good girl, she’s just restless. It’s for the best that she’s heading to Academy next month…the change of scenery will do her good.” He turned, his eyes roving over the stone pillars and alcoves of the Promenade a final time. As they passed over the storage loft, they narrowed. “Xefe, I think…” With a plaintive meow, a ginger-colored cat leapt down from the shadows of the loft, startling both men. “Looks like you’re not the only one on the prowl tonight, eh, Rafo?” The housewarden smiled, but his eyes searched the shadows again for a moment before he turned to follow Daffyd into the courtyard.

Coughing as quietly as possible, Meander thrust aside the dusty blanket she’d used as impromptu camouflage and sat up, brushing the dirt and straw from her tunic. Thank the gods for that barn cat! She’d tried to stay hidden, but hearing her father talk plainly with Rafo about matters he’d long since ceased discussing with her had piqued her interest, and she’d moved forward in the shadows to better hear their conversation. Even the faint torchlight that reached the loft was sufficient to expose her to Rafo’s sharp eyes, however, and ducking under the blanket wouldn’t have worked if the cat hadn’t been napping on it when she grabbed for cover. Sighing, Meander stood, stepping carefully across the loose boards to the edge of the loft. After a thorough survey of the Promanade, she decided the coast was clear. She was two rungs down the ladder when she heard soft laughter from the shadows.

“Rafo’s right, you know. The Acadamy will be good for you. It might even teach you some discipline.” Meander gaped, surprised to see her father standing not ten feet away. “Oh, come now, Andi, did you forget whose child you are? It’s a loft, not the far side of Maya.” He took a step forward, his face a white mask of rage that belied his calm tone. “Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to come back to your apartments with me, and you’re going to stay there until you leave for Acadamy next month. You are banned from not only the Lost Promenade, but from any and all stonewalking. I’m sorry, Andi, but you’re too unfocused – and far too powerful – to remain untrained.” A note of pride crept into his voice at the end, and Meander felt an unwilling thrill at this grudging praise. “Father, I know how you feel, but I told you, training isn’t essential. The most powerful stonewalkers weren’t trained at all! Training focuses your power, but it also limits it. Who knows what we could accomplish, if we only…” Daffyd cut her off sharply. “I know. I know what can be accomplished. You can lose your mind, or end up in the middle of a sun, or vanish without a trace into the spaces between the stars. Is that what you want, Meander? To end up like your mother?” To Meander’s shock, her father’s face was wet with tears. “By Inri’s Mirror, girl, do you want to see me dead? Because losing you would kill me as surely as frost kills the flower.” All the anger seemed to drain out of him, and for the first time, Meander could see just how tired and old her father really was. Her eyes flooded with tears of her own, and she moved to step from the ladder to go to him. “Patro, I never meant to…”

Then there was a loud CRACK!, and she was falling.

Even though the loft was only twenty or so feet above the Promenade floor, to Meander the fall was endless. She felt the shattered bits of ladder dig into her calf as she twisted, hands closing on nothing but air. She tried to scream, but her throat was locked shut. Her father’s face appeared at the edge of the loft like a distant moon rising above some alien ridge, calling her name, his voice as seemingly remote as everything else. She felt the roof of one of the pavilions give way as she struck it, and knew the next thing she hit would be the broken stepstone stored inside. Without thinking, she reached out blindly, and as her hand touched the cool white stone, Meander Reynaldo went walkabout.

OSI: Equals

I’m participating once more in the poetry fest they’re hosting over at One Single Impression. This week’s prompt is “Equals,” ostensibly in recognition of the Vernal Equinox but meaning something a little more personal to me. If you enjoy poetry (and I know that you do), get on over to their site and check it out.

EQUALS

I’ve never liked it,
This “new math” they’re using now.
I’m strictly old school.

So you’ll forgive me
If I can’t get behind the
following theorem:

Let “M” be marriage
Let “X” be she, and “Y,” he
And let “L” be love

For all known values,
Let “C” be commitment, with
“T” serving as time.

If one supposes
M=L+ C(t)
M’s a real number

(Provided L is
the sum of X and Y, and
They can multiply).

No, I disagree
Heartily. Because, you see
It was taught to me

L is forever
Irrational,  and cannot
Be limited to

The sum X +Y
As deep C approaches M
There is no limit.

And when L is shown
To be infinite for all
Sums of X and Y.

Then perhaps “new math”
Will make a little more sense
And “W” (we)

Will be equals.

OSI: Farewells

Once again, I’m participating in the sweet poetry fun they’re hosting over at One Single Impression. This week’s prompt is “Farewells.” If you enjoy poetry (and I know that you do), get on over to their site and check it out.

You never say it
So sweetly superstitious
Unwilling to be

The one who conjures
Finality within the
Circle of our love.

Instead you will say
“Later, Alligator!” or
“Hasta La Vista.”

In what may be the
Worst Austrian accent I’ve
Ever encountered.

The word has never
Had such power in my world
(Semantics bore me)

But I’ve said good night,
So long, farewell, and the rest
Often enough now

To know not to use
This shibboleth you’ve proscribed
Because in your ear

The world ends with

Goodbye.