Unlikely Luddites

This blog post about the editors of magazines being stubborn about not accepting electronic submissions wouldn’t be half so amusing if it weren’t about the “big three” sci fi magazines.

That’s not to say editors shouldn’t have their cranky prerogatives. They should, and generally they do. I’d be disappointed if, say, Lewis Lapham didn’t. Older people who knew more than the average 20 year old – or even the average 40 year old – can even dream of knowing are allowed some room.

But it’s still funny when when it’s the editors of Analog.

Colbert Report’s “Stonewalling”

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word – Stonewalling
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Mark Sanford

(I got myself in trouble a long time ago for writing a short story about a lesbian teenager who went to her first support meeting at The Gay Center & who found her voice silenced by the voices of the young men around her. I called it “Stonwalled” and my gay but closeted writing professor was not happy with me about it.)

(h/t to Lena Dahlstrom)

Recent Interview

While I was in Milwaukee, I did an interview for a local paper and entirely forgot to mention it. It’s a little more recent then a million others I’ve done, so it might answer some questions about what the hell I’m doing in WI & other mysteries of life. (I especially love the bit about how my “writing exudes a Midwestern no-nonsense practicality.”)

Intermodal Travel Day

I’ve made it back to Milwaukee again, but this time I’m just passing through the Intermodal Terminal – how great a name is that for a train/bus terminal? – right now utilizing the free wifi and waiting for my train to Chicago to board. I take a train from Chicago to DC which takes about 17 hours, and luckily I’ll be in one of those nifty “roomettes” for that trip. Then from DC to Philly.

& Whilst plenty of you think I’m insane, I really prefer nothing more than sitting and looking out a window listening to music and thinking. Writing. Reading. It’s all the stuff I do anyway, but somehow doing it while moving feels more productive.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m on my way to the Liberty Conference in Philly, and yes, I did think I would be living in NYC when I said yes. I speak at Saturday’s luncheon about How We Love You (Trans People) and then later the same day about sex being a four letter word. Do come if you can.

Sunday, I get back on the train and do the whole thing in reverse, but not in heels.

(Was a) Contender

I got a phonecall today, just moments after Betty finished talking to my Trans Lives course. It was a woman from A Room of Her Own Foundation <start holding breath>, who wanted to talk to me about my application for the $50k grant that they offer yearly.

She wanted me to know that I was among the top 6 finalists this year, and that the committee were very impressed with my work and hoped that I would keep writing.

& Then she clarified that I was in the top 6 finalists but had not won it. </end holding breath>

That close. Yes, I am happy to hear I was in such esteemed ranks. They received 750 applications, & someone who is better at math can tell me what percentage I made it into as one of the top 6. My name and my work will be featured in all the publicity materials about the award, and that’s cool too.

But wow. $50k. That close nearly hurts.

Still, I am incredibly pleased to be recognized as – well, as a contender.

Some Cool Stuff

Here are some cool things I’ve unearthed in recent weeks that I’ve been meaning to blog about at length but find myself to busy to do!

I am writing and reading a lot this fall, and most of the writing is not for publication, sadly – like my personal statement for my Ph.D. application, amongst other things. So keep sending me cool stuff, or I may start posting descriptions of classes I want to teach, and other odd things.

Old Drugs

I know I’m often somewhat cynical about scientific studies, but this one especially seems to take the cake. Not because it’s not smart, or comes to wild, unfounded conclusions, but rather because it’s – well, obvious: thoughtful people tend to get depressed.

Verhaeghen, who is also a novelist and describes himself as a “somewhat mood disordered person,” had a particular interest in the connection between creativity and this ruminating state of mind.

“One of the things I do is think about something over and over and over again, and that’s when I start writing,” he said.

Psychologist types can tell me if anything specific is meant by “ruminating” – that is, if the term is used in your field to mean a kind of obsessive thinking and reviewing of thought – because otherwise, to us lay folks, ruminating just means thinking, reviewing. I don’t think of it as being a negative activity by any means, or even an obsessive one.

What they seem to miss – or don’t articulate – is that writing is a kind of thinking for a lot of writers. It’s a way of kind of nailing down a certain kind of looped thinking, following wild hairs to their logical end, sorting out complex connections. In other words, it’s a kind of sanity-making thing to do when you’re thinking all the time.

I had a writing prof who used to say that it’s impossible to tell if people who have a lot of vivid dreams become writers or if writers have a lot of vivid dreams – that is, whether the inclination to write causes someone to dream & think very intensely, or whether people who naturally dream & think intensely find writing is their only good outlet for all the stuff going on in their head. Writing, to me, is an anti-depressant, but in a certain sense it creates this other place you get to go, and like with other drugs, maybe you just get to a point where pushing the button doesn’t result in relief anymore. With DFW, it would be easy to come to that conclusion – he wrote so intensely, so intricately, for a long while, & it’s as if the moment he stopped – he couldn’t stand it anymore. Maybe, as with other drugs, we have to be careful how much we press the button, because we become resistant to its palliative qualities, eventually.

Back to Mike

It looks like the person we’ve all come to know as Christine Daniels is de-transitioning, and has returned to work as Mike Penner.

Kevin Roderick of highly-respected LAObserved.com reports late Monday that “Eighteen month after writing a column about becoming Christine Daniels, veteran sportswriter Mike Penner has quietly returned to work at the Los Angeles Times, according to multiple sources close to the LAT’s Sports staff.”

Anyone know any more than this? All of the articles/blog posts written by Christine Daniels are gone – sports ones, as well as the ones about the transition.

If anyone has more information, let me know. As far as I know, this is the most famous person to de-transition I’ve ever heard of, and it’s surely going to cause additional confusion to people who are just starting to get why people transition in the first place.

So – why do people de-transition? I’ve met people who did because they couldn’t find a job as a female, especially if/when there were dependents in the picture. Others realize they weren’t transsexual – and that is the point of RLT, after all, & that means it’s working. Any other reasons people have come across?

Conservative for Obama

A remarkable, short column by Wick Allison, a former Editor of The National Review and current Editor in Chief of D Magazine, where this piece appears.

This sentence, especially, stood out:

It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

Do read the comments and reactions; it’s a very interesting set of opinions, all pretty articulate.

Post-Blogging the DNC

I didn’t blog tonight because I was busy worrying about Betty and having dinner with my sister.

I don’t care what anyone else thinks — I think (Bill) Clinton’s speech was mediocre. For him, & for this campaign. Were I his speechwriting consultant, I would have sent him back to the drawing board. It was too safe, nearly mealy-mouthed. This is the man who defined what is is, after all.

Who did rock tonight was John Kerry. His talk left me thinking, as I did with (Hillary) Clinton’s, where the hell was that during their own campaigns? Kerry had his claws out, & that was lovely.

Biden’s rocked too (though it’s not yet up on YouTube). & Yes, I’m biased, since he’s a good Catholic boy from PA. But I just love that he’s made up for his stutter by being someone who speaks, sometimes too much, in public. In front of thousands. I haven’t liked him much since the Anita Hill fiasco, but he’s a good VP for Obama, and he gives good emotion. I especially liked what he said about America regaining the world’s trust.

What’s funniest is that I find myself agreeing with Pat Buchanan (who’s a regular commentator on MSNBC): Where’s Guatanamo? Where is the criticism of Cheney, that fucker? He’s a traitor and a shit and his approval rating is something like 18%. What about Rove? What about Valerie Plame? ATTACK, DEMOCRATS, ATTACK! These guys suck.

Here’s another thing: someone needs to get up & try to undo (Hillary) Clinton’s poison against Obama, specifically her charge about his “rhetoric.” We need rhetoric right now. Great leadership is not just about policy. It’s about Fireside Chats, and “nothing to fear but fear itself,” and “once more into the breach.” It’s about motivating people. & While no, we don’t need a motivational speaker as President, it doesn’t hurt when a guy as smart as Obama can move the masses with his words. I know I’ve needed someone to tell me to have hope, what with paying $900/month for health insurance that covers who the fuck knows what.

Queer + Catholic NYC Readings

I’ll be reading with other Queer + Catholic authors on September 4th & 5th in NY. Do come!

Queer and Catholic is an essay collection that examines the culture of how being raised Catholic informs and influences, positively or negatively, our queerness and how our queerness affects our Catholicism, our vestigial Catholic nature or even our flight from and continued struggle with the ʽthe Church of Rome.ʼ  Whether we embrace or reject our Catholic upbringings, they affect and shape who we are and bump up against our queer identities. Examining the culture of Catholicism, rather than the dogma or letter of it, these essays and short stories do not seek to address whether or not queers and the Catholic Church can reconcile or how and why the church should change, but instead explore the impact that growing up Catholic and queer has on us as individuals, writers, and political agents.

Join editor Amie M. Evans and contributors Helen Boyd, Joseph de Marco, Anthony Easton, Stephen Greco, Vince Sgambati, Charlie Vazquez and Emanuel Xavier as they read from their contributions to the anthology.

  • Thursday, September 4 at 6:30PM, CUNY Grad Center, 365 5th Avenue, Skylight Room, (Rm 9100, T. 212-817-7000)
  • Friday, September 5th at 7PM, Bluestockings, 172 Allen St (btwn Rivington and Stanton Street).

edited to add: the San Francisco reading is tonight at SF’s Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, 6PM.


I’ve been a little off with blogging lately; I think my brain has decided it needs a summer vacation, because I can’t seem to put a sentence together even when I want to.

Mostly I’ve been going to work, and coming home, & playing computer games, & being, well, a regular person. It’s kind of nice, playing with the cats & not worrying about a book I’m supposed to be writing.

To Erma Bombeck, With Love

As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with my weight & fitness for the past couple of years. I was in pretty great shape when I met Betty, & got lazy, for starters, which was then exacerbated by (1) pretty extreme depression after 9/11; (2) quitting a job that was very active for writing, which is not; and (3) getting older and having my metabolism slow. Effectively it’s been a decade since I worked out at a gym regularly, which is embarassing to admit, though I have almost always walked regularly, and some distances, do some yoga, work out with free weights & calisthenics, & of course try to watch what I eat.

Recently, I joined a gym again because watching what I eat and walking a lot and doing at-home workouts wasn’t helping.

But – I know this is going to be a shocking revelation – I am totally out of shape. I go to the gym in my baggy sweats and t-shirt, and get on the Precor elliptical machine, which is kind to my flat foot and bad knees, and start pedaling. In minutes, I notice how much slower I am going than anyone near me, and yet – and yet – my heart rate shoots straight out of any health zone, weight loss or cardiovascular. I slow down a little more, take breaks, watch my heart rate respond, and then notice I have become the literal tortoise to the hares pedaling around me. Continue reading “To Erma Bombeck, With Love”

Neil Gaiman Fan Club

Reason #428 why I love Neil Gaiman.

Despite his self-doubt, he’s given me two of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever gotten:

  1. Finish what you start.
  2. You can only get up to make more tea.

After that, it’s just a bitter fight to turn your brain off so that you can not think well enough to write.

Fuck Seal Press?

I came back from visiting Betty upstate to find out that there is a huge mess involving Seal Press (my publishers) which came right on the heels of BFP’s departure last week.

So without pointing out every phrase and person involved, I’ll just say a few things as a white feminist who really only consciously became a feminist after reading Michele Wallace, and who, for nearly 10 years, worked for author Walter Mosley, who has written and talked about the absence of POC in the publishing industry, specifically.

The under representation of WOC in publishing has been a problem for a long time. The under representation of POC has been as well, in general. It’s not just chronic; it’s really fucking awful. Continue reading “Fuck Seal Press?”

Lambda Lit Transgender Finalists

But despite the absence of Whipping Girl, I do want to congratulate the finalists:

  • Transparent, Cris Beam (Harcourt)
  • Male Bodies, Women’s Souls, LeeRay M. Costa, PhD, (Haworth)
  • The Marrow’s Telling, Eli Clare (Homofactus Press)
  • What Becomes You, Aaron Raz Link & Hilda Raz (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Nobody Passes, Mattilda, aka Matt Bernstein Sycamore (Seal Press)

I have an essay in Mattilda’s Nobody Passes of course, but I especially wanted to congratulate Eli Clare and thank him for all the work he’s done in/for the trans community.

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself

I was going to write a column about why, as a feminist, I’d rather be voting for Barack Obama and why, precisely, I’d rather not vote for Hillary Clinton, but one of my students beat me to it.

As smart as she is, however, Hillary is a seriously repugnant actress. Anyone who has sat through a community theater rendition of Shakespeare might know how I feel when I watch Hillary on TV. You are literally crawling out of your skin by the time intermission rolls around. Hillary is like Lady Macbeth and Ophelia rolled into one, and that, my friends, is a very unfortunate combination of ambition, madness, victimization, and desperation.

Do read the whole of the article, since it expresses so much of what feminists who don’t like Clinton don’t like about her.


Recently, someone from Brazil inquired as to whether or not a Portuguese translation of My Husband Betty existed. Sadly, the answer is no. Neither is there a Spanish or Japanese version — which are the ones I’m most often asked about.

Seal Press owns the translation rights for My Husband Betty, but I’m pretty sure I own them for She’s Not the Man I Married. Not 100% sure, but nearly. So if you – or someone you know – is interested in publishing a different translation of either, do let me know, or contact Seal Press. Likewise for Audio versions. Personally I’d like to see all of these happen, but so far, no luck.