Recently I was mentioned in Bev Prescott’s blog – I don’t like tofu-dogs, nor do I want to be one. I had posted a quote on Facebook and it was of some assistance to her. That pleased me immensely – I highly respect both her blogs, and her amazing classic, My Soldier Too. This novel addresses the treatment of gays and lesbians in the military.
Her blog was brilliant, and she explains so much of the writer’s soul in so few words. Bravo, Bev.
That spurred my own thoughts about my generation’s love affair with the printed page. Also our quest to find literature. Yes, it was a struggle to find information on lesbianism. It was a hushed, scorned, and suppressed topic.
Unfortunately, in many areas of the world, it remains so. Yet with each level of elevated education – and empathy, there is a breakdown of bigotry. We continue marching. One paragraph at a time and one book at a time continues our legacy.
Now, there are bookstores for lesbians and gays. There are online opportunities. The publishing world is expanding and flourishing.
Sapphics are helping Sapphics – we are supporting one another. Many of us recall the days when we were coming out – with only limited support systems in place.
I want to take you back with me to my college days of exploration. In the mid-sixties, my friends and I went on a scavenger hunt to find lesbian literature. When we arrived at the small storefront, I was selected to go into the dive that sold the books we wanted. The other two women hung back. They thought I was the least contentious, so would be up to the task.
I sidled into this questionable retail shop. Being sold were items that might be seen in a petrol service station, a thrift shop, and a porn salon – if they had conjoined into one shabby store.
Trembling, I made my way to the counter. I whispered to the clerk, “Would you have any women’s….er, books about women? Women together?”
His eye gleam told me he planned on playing with my request. “Women together, hummmm.” He rubbed his chin for impact. I glared at his obvious enjoyment. Those rheumy eyes were alive with some weird, lewd, sexual fantasy. “What’s a nice girl like you want with girlie-girl trash? Get rid of the dykes. You can get yourself a guy.”
I’m thinking he should get rid of the bulge in his groin area. Also, I think he’s an absolute p-word, that rhymes with sick. “Do you want to make a sale, or not?” I questioned.
“You’ll buy the book. You can’t find your kind of books in the library.”
He reached under the counter to pull out a few shopworn books. With edges lifting, and with torn, stained covers, these books were my connection to who I am. We were all hidden away, with souls moldering. For literature keeps souls healthy. And ours literature was difficult to come by.
I selected Querlin’s Women Without Men; Bannon’s I Am A Woman; and Rule’s recently published Desert of the Heart. It was a treasure trove, to be sure.
I’ll forever remember that night, and other times we searched to find our tradition. When I read Bev’s words, I thought about the stream of energy that is today’s great sunburst of our culture.
And it’s nice to know that we contribute to one another’s magic – as it is happening. Thanks, Bev. And thanks to all my Sapphic sisters – the writers and readers that keep us inspired.
In an interview a few months ago, I mentioned that I believe we are in a splendid lesfic golden age. I’m proud to be a part of this era. We shall continue to expand freedom – our heart’s and our mind’s freedom. Not only for Sapphic women, but for all women.
Ending as I began – a quote for today:
But since everything is an eternal beginning, I think that in the future there will still be fine days ahead for both men and women. ~ Marise Querlin, Women Without Men, last line in her book, (1965)
If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.