Coming in 2016

It won't be that bad :-)

To come straight to the point, I have two new stories on tap for 2016. Both are set in the 1970s and will be part of something I’m calling The Liberation Anthology.

As the name implies, the anthology is not a story itself. At best it’ll be a collection of stories about ordinary people growing up in America while the gay liberation movement unfolds around them. All of the stories will be fictional, but fiction informed by history; and yet they’re not intended to be historical fiction either.

There won’t be a story about Stonewall, for example, or what happened in 1969, at least not as presently conceived. But there could be a story that helps explain how we got to Stonewall; and there will definitely be stories about how Stonewall and what happened in its wake affected the lives of gay people.

To put it another way, I’m not trying to write a history of the gay liberation movement. But the stories that are part of the anthology may well reference real life people and events that shaped gay life in America for better or worse.

Don’t look for chronological consistency. I’m starting in the 1970s, but could jump forward or back in time if I continue with this project. There’s no guarantee I will, but I’ve been thinking about history lately and it’s hard not to recognize how important Stonewall was or how much has changed for the gay community in America since the riots there in 1969.

There have been bad times and good times since then; and yet sometimes I wonder whether our sense of community is disintegrating with each new success we achieve. We can get married now and raise families. We can live in the suburbs and let ourselves be assimilated, homogenized and blended into the larger culture.

The old days when gay folk dismissed marriage as a trap are seemingly over and done. The days when sex was valued as an end in itself, not the basis for loving, monogamous, and lifelong relationships, seem to be dying too … although perhaps more slowly if Craigslist and Grindr are any indication 😀

The desire for acceptability and respectability seems to be everywhere in our community these days, but the question remains. Will we still have a community twenty years from now?

Perhaps these are the musings of someone with too romantic a view of what it was like to be gay at the beginning of the revolution many years ago; someone who was never entrapped by the police, fired for just being gay, ostracized by family and friends, or trapped in a merry-go-round of sexual escapades that led nowhere.

It’s impossible to go back in time to see what things were like decades ago, but I wanted to give it a try. The tougher question was where to begin? There’s so much territory to cover; and while Stonewall may provide a logical starting point, I’m really not interested in writing history. I won’t even bore you with another recounting of what happened at Stonewall.

If asked, however, everyone will tell you Stonewall was the single most important event leading to the rise of the gay liberation movement in America. And yet the importance of what happened at Stonewall was less well understood within our community at the time.

There wasn’t a neon sign in rainbow colors screaming the revolution has begun; at least that’s what I’ve been told by some of the older men I know who were alive back then.

In the years that followed Stonewall, gay people reacted in different ways. Some came out of the closet while others burrowed their way in deeper still. Some became political activists, often sacrificing personal lives in the process. Others became pleasure seekers, drag queens, or leather men (among other things) depending upon their personal inclination.

To put it more simply, the revolution spawned a rich cast of characters and they’re the ones I’m interested in exploring in these stories. I am especially fascinated by the people the revolution passed by, those anonymous souls we never hear about in all the celebrating going on today.

Hounded by personal demons, disconnected from the larger movement taking place around them, these are the people who never lived to see the revolution succeed or never benefited from its success.

In sum, how people responded emotionally and psychologically to being gay in the wake of Stonewall is the subject of the stories to be told in The Liberation Anthology.

Or at least that’s what the subject will be in my imagination 🙂

In reality it may be something far less. But you have to start somewhere and I’m planning to start with two new stories next year.

Both will be standalone stories. They’ll have a beginning, middle and end. You’ll be able to read and enjoy them hopefully and then set them aside without further thought being required. Collectively, however, I hope they’ll add up to something more.

As mentioned, both of the stories are set in the 1970s not too long after the events at Stonewall. If asked, however, some of the main characters in the stories wouldn’t even know something called Stonewall had happened, let alone what it meant.

The first and shorter of the stories starts in 1973 and ends there as well, at least for now; but it’s going to be an experimental story and that could change if you want. The longer story begins in 1971 and seemingly ends about a decade later. But it could also continue if that’s what you want.

None of the characters in the two stories know one another, at least not as presently envisioned, although I suppose even that could change. For now, however, they live at the same time, but their paths never cross; and yet all of them are affected by events going on around them one way or another.

Like I said, only time will tell where this project goes.

I’ll have more to say about the two stories later, but for now I wanted to let you know I’m planning to take much of January off. Partly I need a break and partly I need some time to reorganize the site for this new project. If you haven’t noticed, I’m running out of space for story titles at the top of the site so I may be grouping some together to provide more room if possible.

As I experiment with the site over the course of the next four to six weeks you may get some notifications I’ve posted something new. I may have, but I may just be experimenting as well so you’ll have to humor me. In any event, once I’ve redesigned the site, I plan to begin one of the two new stories on or around February 15, 2016.

At some point as well I’ll post a synopsis for that story, which I’m tentatively calling First Love, First Time. I’ll probably also send out an e-mail notice announcing the story and when I plan to start posting it at some point as well.

If you’re not on my mailing list but want to get that notice, e-mail me and I’ll add you to it. As people on the list can attest, I only use the list to announce new stories and won’t share your information with anyone else. But you can just check back periodically if you don’t want to share your info.

That’s it for now.

I hope your holidays will be happy and the New Year will bring many blessings to you and your loved ones. Thanks for reading my stories and be sure to come back for two more next year.

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6 thoughts on “Coming in 2016

  1. Your new series looks most interesting. As someone who was in the closet when Stonewall happened and only started the process of coming out in the following years, I will be interested to see if the stories compare in any way with my own experience.

    My first step was in 1971 when I attended the first ever public meeting on law reform in W Australia.

    And thanks Kit for The Opened Door and Stuffed. Despite your comments about Chapter 19 of The Opened Door, I still found it a fully acceptable and even necessary step along Sean’s journey to Harvard.

    1. Everyone’s experience is unique, of course, and then we’re dealing with differing historical time frames for different countries. I think some of the underlying human emotions will be familiar enough, but whether they’ll translate to other societies and cultures is hard to say. I guess only time will tell.

      There won’t be any budding gay activists in the first of the stories, at least not in the brief period of time the story covers. The second story take place over a longer time period and we may well see how events can lead someone to become more vocal and active in pushing for change.

      People have actually been quite nice about Chapter 19, Geoff. Whatever the motivation, I was glad not to get beaten up too badly about it.

  2. Kit, your new Anthology sounds epic in scope. You’ve obviously done your research and you describe that era perfectly. More importantly you understand that we were lone survivors or maybe associated with small local communities. There was no larger gay community as we know it today. So your comment was on-point: “…the importance of what happened at Stonewall was less well understood within our community at the time. There wasn’t a neon sign in rainbow colors screaming the revolution has begun.”

    We had no idea. We were just furtively looking for someone who might offer us a smile or a wink and be brave enough to ask us to dinner. That was so exciting and scary but so full of adventuring and daring that it made the whole cruising experience more memorable than it may have warranted.

    I look forward to your stories about my time in the sun. Meanwhile, enjoy your break. Happy 2016!

    … Dean

    1. Thanks for the comment, Dean. I appreciate it very much. You’re confirming what I’ve been told by the older men I know who’ve been such a big help to me in writing the two new stories I mentioned.

      Not that the stories are finished and done at this point. They still need lots of work and I have to keep going back to the men who are helping me to get a better understanding of what was going on back in the 1970s and what people like us were thinking.

      That’s tricky, of course, because everyone’s experience was unique and personal. But some common refrains did emerge, including how scary it was to be a homosexual back then. That’s the term people used if they were being polite; there were other words that were much harsher that many other people used.

      It’ll be interesting to see whether my older readers think I get it right once I start posting. I’m not promising I will, but the men I’ve consulted with seem to like what they’ve seen so far.

      What the first story I’ll share next year tries to capture is all the ambivalence gay men had.

      For some it was easier; for some harder. Whether the main character in the new story can capture all of that is hard to know. We’ll just have to see and I’ll look forward to your take on that.

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