Thursday, April 19, 2012

A new kind of out

Hi friends!

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!


Lucia said...

Wow, that does sound like a great time and it took a lot of courage :) I still have to do a brave thing in the near future. The future wife of my brother has a bachelorette party in a few weeks and I will go. It takes a lot of courage for me because I know almost no-one there and I am VERY shy in a group with new people... But I am stepping over my shyness for her :)

tracykitn said...

Dunno if it counts as brave for your purposes, but... well, we're at the very beginning of my husband's 3rd deployment (the first 2 were to Iraq, this one's Afghanistan) leaving me behind with 3 kids, 2 dogs (one an un-housetrained puppy) and 2 cats. I'm going to meetings where I know NO ONE. And tonight, I'm thinking about taking my kids to Savannah to watch a free concert that's liable to be PACKED -- last year they saw 10,000 people at this same event -- the Charlie Daniels Band is playing. It's hard going out with the kids with just myself to keep track of them; I'm always worried -- they're 11, 8 & 6 -- but I'm determined not to miss stuff I really want to do.

Lee Benoit said...

Hi Lucia! I hear you on the "out in a group of strangers" thing. And those kinds of parties -- the ones that celebrate such a normative notion of love and get twittery about sex in the bargain -- always leave me wrong-footed. I did buy a nice vibrator at a bachelorette party once, though, so maybe there will be pleasant surprises in store for you too!

Lee Benoit said...

Hey there Tracy! Just being at the beginning of a deployment takes family-sized courage, I would imagine. And it DEFINITELY counts as brave to continue doing things you love. I hope you did go to the concert -- Charlie Daniels Band rocks -- 'cause there's nothing that transports a body quite like live music. Plus, your kids will get a great example of self-determination and carrying on in the face of Scary!

Lee Benoit said...

Hi Lucia,

I rolled a die that made you the winner of April 19th's drawing on the Romance for the Rest of Us blog and...failed to let you know! I'm sorry. :(

I can get your gift certificate code to you right away -- is this the best email to send it or do you prefer another addy? (Please email me at leebenoit at charter dot net.)

Lee xo