Great Books

I went to the local Barnes & Noble bookstore tonight to order Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan E. Coyote and had the luck that the bookstore had been overrun by a local kids band that was playing Christmas carols on the platform of the magazine section. They had the place completely mobbed.  I did, however, manage to get the book ordered and should be getting a call from the store in a few days when it’s in for me to pick it up.  I’m looking forward to reading this new book by Ivan.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the other books written by Ivan and can’t say enough about them.

Most recently I read Stilettos & Steel by Jeri Estes, which was one of my all time favorite books!  It’s a Butch/femme romance and action book.  Set in the 60’s in San Franscisco complete with mob influence and seedy nightlife.  I found it to be a very easy and quick read.  Although it could have had a bit more sex, still it was really good and kept me quite interested from beginning to end.  The book is based on a true story and Jeri Estes really brings it!

I am always on the lookout for new books to read, especially about the LGBT culture and stories of living in our community.  I feel like they are becoming harder and harder to find as the internet takes over our visual fields and minds.  When was the last time you read a good book?  I mean really sat down and read it from front to back?  I know that before Stilettos & Steel it had been quite a while for me.  I pick up my daily reading now from my laptop, like most other people today.  I tend to look to people like Cleis Publishing – who publish a wide variety of  books from LGBT authors – for most of my reading list.

What is on your reading list?  Have you read any good books that you can recommend?

 

 

 

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MainelyButch Goes to Work…

So I have rejoined the workforce of America.  Yeah, I got a fucking job.  It’s about time huh?  I know I’ve been not working for too long when I am even bored with being bored!   Anyway, started working, got through the training and started on the front end counter today.  It’s nice to be around so many people; to see people I know from around town who come in and to meet so many new people as well.  And the crew that I am working with seems to be a pretty good bunch too.  I know most of them a little bit from my own frequenting of the store prior to getting a job there.  That’s basically how I got the job, I would go in there at lest once every day or two for something and I kept seeing the “help wanted” sign so finally I asked one of the guys I knew who already worked there and he took me and introduced me to the manager, who granted me an interview and offered me a job.  I love how connections and networking can lead from one thing to another, and you never really know where you’ll end up sometimes.

So, I like the job, it’s actually quite entertaining in some aspects.  I love interacting with people and believe me at a large convenience store/truck stop you find all different kinds of people frequent it.  I love to people watch (thumbs up to my Vancouver friend who also loves to people watch, it makes me think of you!) and there’s plenty of it to do at this place.

Today after work I stopped at Old Navy and bought a new pair of pants – pants now, not jeans – for work. I had to get some tan khaki pants.  The uniform at my new job is the company’s signature red polo shirt with the company logo on it and issued to you when you are hired, and either black or tan pants/jeans.  If they are jeans they have to be pitch black and not faded or ripped up.  I happened to own a nice pair or black Levi’s already which I have been wearing and washing every night to wear again the next day.  Now that I have another pair I can alternate and get away with doing laundry every couple of days.  They gave me 3 polo shirts, so once I pick up another pair of pants next pay day I can stretch the laundry out to twice a week.  Logical thinking huh?  *smirk*   Anyhooo…the pants are quite comfortable as I got the Broken-in Straights type so they’re not all stiff and stupid looking.  I’m so used to wearing blue jeans that this is all quite a change for me.

Nola and Lulu have settled in pretty much already to me being gone all morning.  I’m working the 7am to 1pm shift, only 6 hours a day, Monday through Fridays.  It’s a great shift, busy enough to keep me happy and the perfect hours for me to have the rest of each day to do other stuff, make appointments as needed and take care of other business.  Plus I have the weekends off – which is always a bonus!   I suspect that the dogs just sleep all morning but I leave the TV on for them just in-case they want to watch GMA (Good Morning America) hahaha.  I do miss that morning show, but I been getting up at 5am to catch the morning news and have a couple of cups of good coffee before I shower and head out the door for my shift.  When I get home they come bounding off of the couch to greet me at the door, all wiggly-giggly at my feet.  They are definitely happy to see me.

So that’s been my last few days, just getting used to this new endeavor of working once again; settling into a new schedule and enjoying it.

It’s been some fucking cold – and I mean it, FUCKING COLD – here in the Northeast lately.  Today the wind howled like holy hell, whipping the snow into a frenzy of dust storm proportion. It’s drifted the snow everywhere, especially into my previously shoveled driveway and walking path to the house.  I am hoping that the wind and temperatures will be better in the next 2 days so I can get it cleaned up once again before the storm rolls in this weekend…yes, we are predicted for a good sized storm this coming weekend.  I suppose that it was bound to happen, winter was bound to catch up to us. We’ve been extremely fortunate up til now with not much snow and actually very mild temps.  It  was just a matter of time before the real winter weather kicked in.  I am figuring that we’ll probably get beat on from here on out til late April…unless we get some kind of lucky!

I’m off to catch up on some reading here on WordPress, I see some of you have posted since I was last able to sit down and really do some good reading and I want to try to catch up tonight.  I hate falling behind on my blog reading and my news reading.  I always enjoy reading all of your blogs and am trying to keep myself up with comments and responses like I said that I would.

Peace!

~MB

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About My Blogging

I am following suit again and blogging about my blogging experience and my take on things related to blogging, another great prompt from Opinionated Man. or was it Confessions of an Average Mom?  The web is spreading!

I started online blogging way back in the hay-day of AOL, remember them?  I blogged about my daily life there, about my experiences as a horse farmer in southern Maine.  I recently discovered a hard copy of the old blogs from AOL, which I had conveniently printed out.  I say conveniently because I have long since lost my user name and password to that site, and I believe I do still have a profile on there, which is now FAR outdated!  I’ve pondered how to reconnect to AOL a few times with the intention of deleting my profile.  I never have followed through though, because I have no idea HOW to!

Originally I started blogging as a way of venting and also to allow my “friends” on AOL to get to know me a bit.  I had stories to tell and kind of wanted an audience to see if any of them were interesting enough for others to want to read.  Reading back over them, I can now see that my writing has matured quite substantially over the years since then.  I stopped using that platform in 2008, and never have figured out my old user name and password!

Then I started a Youtube channel in March 2009, yes 6 years ago this month!  Happy Vlogging Birthday to Me!  I enjoyed Youtube, or YT as we’ll now call it so I don’t have to type it out a million times, because at that time it was a fast connecting community of people video blogging – or vlogging – about all kinds of personal topics, and less about commercial production like it is now.  I built an audience on YT, mostly of other LGBTQ people because much of my vlogging was about issues and subjects that would interest my LGBTQ community.

When I started blogging on WordPress (WP) I had to basically start over in building a new audience, this time of readers instead of watchers.  I used YT to sort of promote the start and continuation of my written blog, mentioning it in my videos as I saw fit, by linking the two sites wherever possible.  As of late I haven’t been “vlogging” very much, in lieu of the fact that I enjoy “blogging” more.  I’m never going to be a video star, but I am and will continue to be a published author.

WP has been a great experience, and I like the platform because it looks and feels more like I am truly a writer — which I tentatively call myself in moments of self-confidence.  In my opinion actual blogging “sites” such as WP or rival Blogspot/Blogger, and others seem to be primarily about reading and writing and not about building the most beautiful or interesting “profile” like sites such as AOL and Facebook are about.  The difference clearly is that those are “social networking” platforms, and while WordPress has some social networking ideas behind it, it’s mostly about the writing.

It’s been like a game of connect-the-dots in a way.  I’ve been trying to build an audience for my wares, which in my case is about my writing and my writing is about my experiences and opinions about things that are parts of my life.  I try to write about things that I know about, and if I don’t know enough about something but wish to learn more then WP becomes my jump-off platform for gaining the knowledge that I need to write about whatever it may be.

Probably the best blog I have read about how we are weaving “intricate webs” through our interactions and blogs is by a young woman who has a blog called Confessions of an Average Mom.  In this blog “Blogging about Blogging”, she really lays it out very clearly how we each benefit from the other through influence, inspiring one another, reading, and feeding of of one another’s creative energy as we each build and share our audiences.

My blog has gone past the point of being “directed” toward the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community these days.  Now I write for a wider audience, for my any and all readers who fall all across the human spectrum of identities.  I think I used to limit myself by thinking I could “direct” my writing to just the LGBTQ crowd.  While lots of what I write is from the perspective of a Butch Lesbian, it’s not all about my being queer anymore…it’s about my life and my world these days.  I know that I do have a fairly large following by my community and by supportive allies.  That still matters to me, but it’s not all that matters.  I just want to have a diverse audience, and want to make my writing better, more interesting and sometimes hopefully helpful to someone.

I’ve gained some great insight into blogging from Harsh Reality’s Opinionated Man who seems to be the super blogger and has some great, thought provoking, inspiring and even aggravating at times, posts on his blog.  I wish I could think as fast as he does!

I have much admiration for many of my fellow bloggers such as ButchCountry67, and A Boy and Her Dog’s Jamie Ray, as well as from many others other than the ones mentioned above. I tend to follow most of my favorite bloggers on a daily basis, because for me reading and writing is a daily activity, it’s not a hobby or a sport, but more something I have to do daily or my day just doesn’t feel complete.

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