I've been keeping my head down, being a good little professor, staying out of trouble. Well, mostly.
But then last Friday I trampled off to Boston to participate in an author panel at the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association annual meeting. Here's the thing: the panel was romance writers and publishers, and I was appearing as Lee Benoit. In public. In an academic setting. I had never done that before (all my public author-related appearances have been strictly as Lee at Pride events and such; as Gaelan I don't have many conversations about the whys and wherefores of my fiction writing).
I was coming out. Again.
In case you're wondering, I was nervous. Then I got a load of who else was on the panel.
Radclyffe! (Pioneering lesbian romance author and publisher of Bold Strokes Books.)
Cecilia Tan! (Pioneering spec-BDSM author and founder/owner of Circlet Press.)
Judith Arnold! (Bestselling author of nearly ninety -- that's 90! -- mainstream romances.)
How did the inimitable Sarah Frantz, Romance section chair, host, and leading light in the academic study of popular romance, let defenses slip such that the likes of yours truly could crash the party? I was frankly delighted to be in the company of folks I've admired for a long time, and felt more than welcome and heard. The Romance area scholars in the audience were lovely and engaged, and Sarah moderated a lively discussion about the pleasures and pitfalls of contemporary romance writing and publishing.
Aside from juggling my RL and Lee B. business cards rather un-smoothly, I didn't have time or space to fret about the whole "OMG here I am as Gaelan AND as Lee being all authorish in an academic zone...YIKES."
Retiring country mouse that I am, I even found the cojones to join the group for supper! I was very brave and had a lovely time.
What's the bravest thing you've done recently? Comment here (about bravery, coming out in new ways, or just say 'hi') and in a week I'll randomly draw the name of one commenter to receive a $5 Torquere gift certificate. Please make sure I can reach you (that is, if your email isn't linked to your commenting ID).
Lee. Or Gaelan. We're all out here!