whimsical

Everything is (finally) so Gay

SarahAmy018

And it’s kind of amazing.

I went for a hike yesterday morning, so I was away for many hours of the initial celebration. A friend texted me when they released the decision, so I wasn’t completely taken by surprise when I returned to the internet where everything, literally everything, was covered in rainbows.

My wife and I married in 2012 without any of the legal bits. If you’d asked me then to make a gander as to when I thought marriage would be opened up to everyone, regardless of sex, I would have said seven years, five if we were being super optimistic. But only a year later, it was legalized in Minnesota, the state we wed (and again, legally). Last year, in Arizona, the state we live. And now, everywhere. A round of applause for 2015, guys.

I still wonder if we should have waited. But then I remind myself that that’s nonsense: we couldn’t have known then. As I told Dr Lady and my family, it’s not fair to ask us to plan our lives around the whims of the majority and the courts. Now here we are, married for three years, legal for one in our own state, and now legal everywhere.

This means a lot for us, for everyone. It means we don’t have to narrow our job search to just certain states. It means when we have a kid, we won’t have to jump through more and more legal hoops in case we move. It means we can travel with that kid wherever, and not have to worry about hospitals or other stupid things. It means the United States is finally catching up to the world in at least one small, but still important, way.

It also means we’re not done. Not by a long shot. Homeless LGBTQ youth still need protection. Heck, LGBTQ youth in general are still vulnerable in many places. Transphobia is still very alive and very deadly. Racism is still imbedded in our system and culture and LGBTQ of color have their own problems that we need to address.

This is all beautiful and wonderful and the show of support from every corner has been heartwarming. Over the past fifteen, ten, five years I’ve watched so many friends and family come to accept that being gay is just another way of experiencing life. But in the back of my mind, I can already hear people brushing their hands of our issues, of related issues, and saying we’re done here. I sincerely hope that’s not the case.

For this weekend, anyway, I will choose to believe it’s not and bask in the rainbow-hued love.

writing

Camp NaNoWriMo or How I (Re)Learned to Love NaNo

I first hopped onto the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) bandwagon over ten years ago, during my final year of high school. It was a wild experience that taught me both the perils and benefits of writing so much, so quickly. I loved it so much that I did it again a year later in college, and again and again until I finally failed while foolishly trying to do both NaNo and write my thesis at the same time.

After graduating, I only did NaNo a handful more times before I had a falling out. I thought – erroneously – that I was above and beyond NaNo. In a way, I was – I was already writing every day, even if it wasn’t in great 2k+ bursts. I focused on rewriting and editing what I already had and steered further away from the NaNo community. I even got into a little bit of NaNo bashing, back when that was in vogue. NaNo encouraged shitty writing! NaNo wasn’t conducive to editing and rewriting! NaNo was a celebration of amateurism!

I’ve since moved on from such sentiments, realizing – in part – that NaNo never aspired to be anything more than writing and writing quickly. Some people can actually write a decent book in a month. Some people can’t. All NaNo cares about is that you try. At the end, you’ll have 30+ days of effort, a greater appreciation of authors, and either a will to keep going or an understanding that writing isn’t your thing. And that’s more than enough.

But there’s something else NaNo teaches writers that I think frequently gets glossed over or outright ignored because it’s not sexy or exciting enough: the beauty of a word graph.

Just. Take a moment. Picture a graph. Picture your projected final wordcount on the y-axis. Picture time in days on the x-axis. Imagine putting in your word count at the end of each day and watching the bars or the line slowly rise. Now, picture missing a day. You don’t want to, do you? Picture missing two days – oh god, that’s awful. Look at that sad line. All you want to do is write 50 or 100 words just to make that line move towards it’s goal. So you do. And it does. And you write a little more.

Word graphs are simple but powerful tools. They’re like that little story Seinfeld would tell about his own writing process, where he buys a blank calendar and makes a big red X on every day that he writes. Soon, it’s impossible to break that long streak of X’s. I propose that word graphs are better, because it’s a reward for writing, not a punishment for not writing.

I’ve come back to NaNo in recent years just for that word graph. I made my own, of course, using an excel sheet, but – while it helped me tremendously to stay on track – it lacked that sparkle of magic.

Unfortunately, NaNo right now lines up with my editing and rewriting months. But there’s this thing called Camp NaNoWriMo that’s smaller and takes place in July. Even though there are far less participants, you still have that camaraderie, that social push to write, and – yes – that beautiful graph.

Anybody else going to participate in Camp NaNo this year?