Saturday Ramble…

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I am going into the stupid Christmas slump.   I’ve felt it coming on for a couple of days now, I don’t know why…perhaps it’s loneliness, it was quite lonely putting up my Christmas tree all alone…not even sure why I got it out and put it up.  I was trying to brighten up my day, which has been a tough one thus far, I guess.  I thought that putting it up would perhaps bring me to a better place mood wise.  It hasn’t worked thus far.  I even got 3 gifts wrapped and underneath the tree.  It’s a cute tree.  Short and neatly decorated.  I go with the false tree for a couple of reasons.  One I don’t like the idea of killing a tree every year…it just goes against my nature loving soul, and secondly it’s less of a mess to deal with and less expensive.  Plus it doesn’t need water.  Ask any of my house plants and they will tell you I am horrible at watering anything.  I lose more house plants to lack of water than anything else.

I leave for work soon.  The job is going okay.  I don’t particularly like it much, but it’s not a bad job either.  It’s just a bit too boring for my taste.  The store is a more upscale retail environment, less so than the construction contractor atmosphere of Home Depot where I previously worked.  I feel a lot less of a part of a team at this new job.  Whereas at my old job I knew my value to the team and liked that aspect of things.  The new job has better pay, better benefits, company discount and an overall better, cleaner and more organized working environment.  They treat the employees better and I should have nothing to be unhappy about.  But it’s just too slow in there.  They waste a lot of man hours on payroll bringing in too many people on shifts, which again I should not complain about,  but the manager in me sees the waste!

I’m supposed to start barber school in February.  It’s really going to be a hard stretch for me to do it.  It’s six months of 5 day a week schooling…which means that if I continue to work the job at the same time I am going to be one very very tired and overworked Butch.  I know myself too well, I won’t be able to handle both things at once.  So I have to decide here…live more frugally for 6 months, and go to school, or don’t go to school and work the job….If I can get through the schooling I am sure I can make a decent living on the skills, plus I’ll be doing something that I will enjoy and at my favorite place – the barbershop.  The one that I go to has even said they are willing to let me work out of there once I have been in school for a while, I can sort of apprentice with them.  Which is great.  I have some thinking and figuring to do about this…somehow I have to get through the schooling and keep my bills paid at the same time.  This ought to be good.  It’s been weighing on my mind a lot lately…I have to get it figured out before February comes.

Thanksgiving was cool with my family…there were only 8 of us this year, which is the smallest Thanksgiving dinner we have ever had.  Most of my siblings chose to having their own home celebrations with their growing families.  So it was 2 out of 5 siblings and our parents at my sister’s home this year.  I am hoping that Christmas dinner is not going to be like this too…I’d like to see everyone together at least once during the holiday season.

It snowed for Thanksgiving.  We had a great little Nor’ Easter and got about 8-10 inches of snow…the wet heavy snowman building kind of snow.   I’ve been hoping that it would melt off here, but it’s not moving much.  I suppose that tomorrow, my day off, that I will have to go out and tackle what is left in the driveway so that I can park two vehicles in there.  I didn’t even bother to get my shovels out…a friend of mine came by and shoveled out my truck Thanksgiving day, which was great, but I didn’t keep him here to do the whole job because of the holiday.  Thus half of the drive still is full of snow and is blocked by a 3 foot high snowbank. It’s going to be one hell of a chore to get it cleared out.

Ok, I am off to work.  Hope everyone is enjoying this weekend and is looking forward to the upcoming holiday season – which ever one you celebrate!  ~Peace.  ~MB

LGBT Books in My Collection…

There’s an entire world of publishing dedicated to LGBT issues, many, many authors, books and resources. I was giving a list of books to someone special and it made me think about lesbian publishing and books that many of us read. Of course there are copious lists of hundreds of books by Cleis Press, Columbia, Random House, Vintage, Harrington, and Seal…just to name a few publishing houses…as well as many released privately and now with self publishing you can read even more authors. I will talk about a few of my personal favorites here.

Every lesbian I have known has always either read or had a copy of Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg. It was the epitomy of the Butch lesbian cultural writing for many years. Then along came more recently written works like Butch is a Noun by S. Bear Bergman, and One in Every Crowd, Persistence, and Missed Her by Ivan E. Coyote just to name a couple of my favorite authors. Ivan’s latest with Rae Spoon as co-author is Gender Failure…a very striking compilation of Butch to Trans writings. Ivan walks that line so thinly and I can really relate to their writings. I know my own personal reading selection is skewed by the fact that I am Butch, so I am more apt to read Butch centric writings and musings, as well as write from that same angle myself.

There are all of the erotica books. Some compiled and edited by Tristan Toarmino – which are generally my favorites. I like Tristan’s choice of stories in her compilations such as “Take Me There” Ooolala hottt trans and genderqueer erotica for sure. The Harder She Comes by DL King is a great compilation of Butch/Femme erotica and equally as hot.

There are more informational books like Nobody Passes, by Mattilda or Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein, as well as The Lives of Transgender People by Genny Beemyn and Susan Rankin. And I could list a dozen others on the topics of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender studies.

Personally I love to read. I read online, I read printed books, I read magazines, and newspapers. Anything I can get my hands on that interests me I will read. I think my love of reading (and writing) comes from childhood and being taught to love books by my mother, grandmother and various teachers and mentors throughout my upbringing. I’ve always treasured the printed book. While I have pared down my own collection of hard copy books over the last few years, generally related to having to move them when I would move, I have kept and maintain quite a nice collection of LGBT literature and I often will recommend or loan out books of this type.

When I first came stronger into my Butch identity I read as many of these books as I could consume. I would take what made sense to me and leave the rest. It was enpowering to read about strong Butch women like myself; women who felt like me and looked like me. It was also reassuring to know there are women who love women like me…that worried me for a while at first. I had heard the old “…why not date a guy..?” statement one too many times when people would refer to Butch identified people like myself. So of course as I was truly coming into who I am it concerned me that it may be more difficult to find a partner who enjoys female masculinity as I represent it. I now know this was a pretty dumb thought, but hey, it did occur to me that I may remain single forever.

It’s not always easy to be Butch in this world. And growing up Butch wasn’t easy either, there were few books or role models when I was growing up in the 70’s…the early 80’s when I hit adulthood and discovered sex, the only reading you had were Forum magazine and various porn that was lesbian friendly. I laugh at how much of that trash we would read back then. Being Butch in today’s world is a little easier but still difficult. It’s sometimes a daily thing to be given weird looks when I am in public places, to get those looks of wonder – where they are wondering my gender identity.

It can be uncomfortable at times, but I have also found that the more relaxed I am and the more confident I am with people that the more comfortable I can make them, thus the more relaxed I am in general. I understand that my presentation probably fascinates some people, and they just can’t help themselves in giving me that look…either way, I am comfortable with myself, thus all is good in my world. I just am who I am and as long as my comfort level is secure in my own being Butch then those around me appear to be much more accepting.

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the US and I am off to eat turkey dinner with my family. I hope everyone has a great day! Looking forward to watching parades on TV, football, Mimosas and great food, fun, and people! ~Peace~ MB

Leslie Feinberg: Ivan’s Tribute

As most know our community lost a warrior this last week in the passing of Leslie Feinberg, trans Butch lesbian author and activist.  Ivan Coyote wrote the best piece on Leslie’s passing, which you can read here. Ivan Coyote: Blue Not-so-stone Butch

I can’t even put into words what Ivan managed to do so well with this tribute.  Leslie’s authenticity spoke for hir in volumes.  It’s important to convey who Leslie is to younger generations who have not yet read Stone Butch Blues or who ever had the chance to see or hear Leslie speak. Leslie has been a pioneer in LGBT history, and will be remembered as such; as a warrior and for her great contribution to the literary world, as well as to the LGBT community.

Ivan talks about Stone Butch Blues being such a land-mark piece of literature that gave her the inspiration to write down her own stories.  I think that Leslie’s courage rubbed off on many of us.  I know as a Butch writer it’s been because of the courage and determination of other LGBT authors that I continue to write down myself.  Stone Butch Blues was the first book of it’s kind where I could read about someone with similar issues to my own.  I could see myself in Jess and it made me feel so not alone.  I read it and was like “damn! there are others like me in the world!”  Coming from a very rural area, I didn’t have a lot of contact with others on the Butch spectrum, so it was refreshing to be able to read about someone like me.  I think many Butches can relate to the book in some way or another.

RIP Leslie, you will be sorely missed.

Mid-week Rambles…Open Office, Blogging…

I’ve been messing around with this Open Office program (as recommended by butchcountry67, thank you very much!). It seems that I may have found the best program for blogging off line! This is going to work very well and should mean less aggravation with lost posts – which we all have experienced and I must say just sucks when it happens. I had it happen just the other day again, after writing almost 1000 words and POOF it was GONE.

I’ve been thinking also that I need to revamp my own page and bring it more up-to-date as others are also doing! I really liked butchcountry67’s 100th blog and all of the great information that was there for blog improvements. It’s like keeping house to keep a blog organized and fairly fresh. While I write every day, my content isn’t always all that interesting or fresh…which I need to greatly improve upon. I should be doing more “topic” blogging, and less personal blogging here at some point. Or I should reorganize my pages to reflect both styles.

I often use the Daily Prompts that WordPress puts out too. It’s a great tool to use when you are stuck in the whirlwind of writers block! While I generally can find something to write about every day, I do like the idea of using a prompt occasionally.

I’m hoping for a new camera set up soon…perhaps for myself for Christmas this year, I’m not sure yet. That would get me back to doing more photography as I was doing previously, and I could be adding more visuals to the blogs. At this point I am using one of my older Kodak 710’s and my cell phone for photos! I miss my old Sony digital quite a bit! And camera technology changes so rapidly it seems confusing sometimes. But I’m just going to invest in another Sony I believe, as I loved the last one so much and it did such a great job for the amateur photographer that I am.

I am in the process here at the house of replacing the bedroom flooring. Last night I had a couple of friends over and they removed the old carpeting and prepared the floor to receive the new wood flooring. So there’s quite a mess going on in here. And I have this weird issue where when things are not organized around me that I get sketchy mentally. It messes with my thought processes and makes me a bit anxious to have things in such disarray on the outside of me. So, this project cannot be finished fast enough for me. Nola and I are surfing the couch until the bedroom is finished…let’s hope that it’s this week!

It has managed to rain on most of my days off lately…so outside projects and winter preparation outside has been in a holding pattern now for a couple of weeks. It’s just a lot of stuff to keep up with for one person sometimes. I do get to feeling overwhelmed at points, but then I try to remind myself that I am only one person and only so big, so I can only do so much myself. I’m lucky to have a couple of great friends like Josh and Tyler who are always right there when I need to call in the heavy artillery to get things done (like the floor prep!). And my Dad is great too, he’s actually going to help me install the new flooring. Mom is good at reminding me what needs to be done, and she’s always concerned about me and making sure I don’t over stress myself. I love that I have such a great little support network!

One day I will possibly sell this place and look into condominium living. That would take the stress of outdoor maintenance off of me as most associations take care of the grounds as part of their association fee. I think I would prefer condominium living over continuing to try to do all of this myself as I look to the future. I lived in one a few years back that I really liked, a 2 bedroom single story place that was really nice. And they took impeccable care of the grounds, which I like. Here the park owner is really cheap and lazy and doesn’t care for the place as he should, so even though some of us take really good care of our units and make sure they look nice, the rest of the place is less than appealing to me.

Thanksgiving is coming up next week…I am planning to spend the day with my family of course, and we are making a huge dinner together. I like it because they make it an all day event, starting with Mimosas in the morning and ending with football, naps and deserts in the late afternoon. Plus I get to see the kids, or most of them! My younger sister Patricia and her daughter Kyle and her fiance’ will probably come in the morning at least for a little while to do family portraits with us all. I’m trying to decide how to dress…it’s a casual yet no real casual type of gathering. We all try to dress nicely but not over dress…we do the family portraits on occasions like this, generally once a year. My sister Debbie is a professional photographer and will set up and do them for us all. I’ll be sure to post them here afterwards.

I’m open for topics if anyone has anything specific that they think I should write about, or give my opinions on.  I hope everyone has a great rest of the week…today is hump day..so it’s half over!

Peace

~MB

Blogs and Blogging …Nov. 2014

So I have installed Open Office and am going to give it a trial in writing my blog posts from now on. I am tired of losing posts in WP’s format, and having to try to rewrite them from memory – which happened again today. Per ButchCountry67’s blog I am going to try this format and see how it works for me with the blog and with the book I am working on. And because MS Office is out of date on this machine, and wants me to “buy” a new version – which is not happening when I can download this nice program from Apache for free.

Blogging is to some of us a very important thing. I write because I love to write, it’s my passion, it’s something I was always pretty good at and love to do. I blog online for the social interaction, and for the readership. It was a tough thing for me to decided to go public with my writing when I did it years back. I, believe it or not, have always been shy about my writing and until I started blogging I would never let anyone read my writings, essays, stories or poetry. I actually started writing doing short stories and poetry as a teenager. Poetry has stuck with me, but now I find it’s more of an inspired thing and doesn’t come as easily once you are jaded by life’s happenings.

I started writing about being Butch after reading “Stone Butch Blues” and “Butch is a Noun”. Once I realized that I did have an identity as a Butch and I had things to say to the world, opinions to express and rants to rant writing about the LGBT community and issues I faced and dealt with as a Butch Lesbian came very naturally to me. I also write openly about living with HIV disease, living in rural America and about family interaction. What I write about is not as important to me as why I write…I write because it’s my therapy, it’s my way of venting and keeping my head clear of clutter. I have always been better with the written word than I ever was with verbalizing. I can have a great conversation on paper that I can’t really have with spoken words. Some of us are better speakers, some better writers, I am the latter.

I’m not even sure how long I have been blogging online now. I did have a few very old blogs years ago that I have abandoned now. Some of them may still be able to be found out there floating around in Cyberspace, but they are not up to date nor are they actually important to me anymore. My primary blogging focus now is WordPress.com and I do occasionally write in my notes on Facebook when it’s appropriate and on Blogger.com (Google’s site) under Authentically Butch. Because my Facebook page is seen by family and relatives I tend to keep those writings a bit more muted than I would on my MainelyButch: Butch Perspectives blog on WordPress. This is a personal choice, and while some family may still read me here, it’s okay, they know this is my private space and that my passion for writing is important to me.

We all have our hobbies. Mine is writing. I invest in expensive pens, fine papergood computers and anything that will help further my craft and make it more fun for me. One day I hope to compile a book of my stories, my adventures, and my thoughts on my life’s experiences. It’s my dream, to have a published book that might be of interest. And with all of today’s possibilities in publishing, such as self-publishing with things like Kindle Direct Publishing, Create Space, and others I am hoping to do most of the work myself. If it’s good enough perhaps I will approach an LGBT publishing company with something in the future.

I do need to work on being a better blogger in some ways though. I read many other blogs and I am horrible at commenting and responding to comments. It’s part of being more interactive with my audience, and with other bloggers. I am going to really try to do a better job of this.

On the passing of Leslie Feinberg

When other women would ask me about what books to read my first go to book was always “Stone Butch Blues” by Leslie Feinberg.  Leslie was a pioneer in the Butch world. To me she was the Butch of all Butches…King of the Kingdom.  In 1993 when Stone Butch Blues hit the shelves many of us snatched it up and read it cover to cover a couple of times.  Someone had finally written about what it was like to be Butch in the 80’s/early 90’s and done it with finesse and accuracy.  The book was all inspiring to many Butches around the world.  We finally had a sort of doctrine.

Leslie Feinberg died on Nov. 15, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. Having made the choice to move from Butch to Trans* in the journey, Leslie faced many obstacles and adversity, even among the LGBT community itself.  I met hir once at a conference and was inspired to write my own stories because of her and her bravery and courage in writing Stone Butch Blues and hir living an authentic life despite it’s difficulties.  Feinberg described hirself as a “white, working class, secular Jewish, transgender lesbian.” Feinberg preferred the use of “ze/hir” pronouns.

As a proud Butch I was personally inspired by Leslie’s story of Jess, the Butch in Stone Butch Blues.  This book was very eye opening for me, and showed me that I was not alone in my feelings and in who I was in this world.  It was also my first introduction to Butch-Femme culture and dynamics for the most part.  It’s because of hir and other gifted Butch writers that I am brave enough to write my own stories today, and because of them I am out, proud and authentically Butch.

Stone Butch Blues is a novel written by transgender activist Leslie Feinberg. The novel won the 1994 Stonewall Book Award. It tells the story of a butch named Jess Goldberg, and the trials and tribulations she faces growing up in the United States before theStonewall riots. Published in 1993, the novel became an underground hit before surfacing into mainstream literature. It is generally regarded as a groundbreaking work on the subject of gender, and it is one of the best-known pieces of LGBT literature. The novel is a prominent portrait of butch and femme–culture in the late 1960s, as well as a coming-of-age story of the character Jess: a Jewish, working-class butch who runs from home as a teenager and becomes a part of gay subculture.Stone_Butch_Blues_cover

Feinberg’s last words were reported to be “Remember me as a revolutionary communist.

Thank you Leslie, and Rest in Peace.