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Plot driven foreign films are like my respirator. They give me life. Ask any of my friends. I make them watch foreign films with me. I have even opted not to tell friends, when they let me pick movies to see, we’re about to watch a foreign film until taking our seats in the theater.
You know this is subtitled pass the popcorn, I say quickly to a hiss of something nasty whispered beside me.
I prefer well-thought out dialogue and direction over CGI and pretty
boring actresses. Madam Sata, Brazilian, is one of my favorite foreign films. The movie is about a black Brazilian cross dressing pimp who creates a pseudo family with a prostitute (he dubs as his wife), the prostitutes daughter (he dubs as his daughter), and a black gay male prostitute (he dubs as their maid) he pimps out. My closest friends and I are like a pseudo family. My best friend, Shuan is like my brother. My close friends, Mike and Shaymus are like my wise, older uncles. They give the best advice.
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like love. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival — C.S. Lewis.
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being a floridian i love oranges. the color like an august moon. the smell, fresh, powerful, a memory, sprays in the air peeling them. for my birthday i drove down to miami. along I-95 there are acres of orange groves. i stopped at one in fort pierce, on my way back home to jacksonville, to take a picture.
funny story. my love for oranges grew in college. i went to school in atlanta. there were baskets and baskets of oranges in the cafeteria. i’d take three. sometimes four. and i’d eat them throughout the day. i think that’s why my hands are so rough. that’s the story i tell people. lotion is a luxury i can’t afford. when i run out i don’t run out and get more. besides lotion is another thing to do to do. to add to the regimine of the day. wash face. brush teeth. eat cereal. pay bills. something to take away from writing.
i’ve been picking at dead skin and scabs around my fingernails all day. i have all these things floating in my head. what chapter to edit next? does this line make sense? why can’t i find a publisher? the always question – why can’t i find a boyfriend? all while i’m packing at my nails. when i’m published i can worry about putting on lotion. i can’t now. i have to write.
- picking at scabs (victoryates.wordpress.com)
each step. his face turns away from me.
it couldn’t be from anywhere else.
forever. to say. he turns sideways.
for now. he means.
i know forever is never forever.
it’s another word
so easy to use
can you handle me for now he says.
Lina Jaros Series titled “Beyond the Walls”
i looked at my cell phone. mom called. i didn’t hear the phone ring. i purposely set the ringer to silent. hearing merry Christmas or happy anything makes me a bundle of nerves. the holidays remind me of family. i try to distance my family to keep the unspoken things between us unspoken. how do you articulate mom i’m gay over the Christmas turkey. mom that’s why i have never brought a woman home for the holidays. holidays are too awkward as a gay black man. there’s always an empty seat at the table.
i tend to disappear around the holidays. they remind me how lonely gay life can be. the longest relationship i’ve had lasted one year. we were young and thought we loved each other. i think we loved the idea of being intimate more. relationship building was a foreign language to me.
my dislike for holidays started in 99. my boyfriend and i were in college in atlanta. we were inseparable. i was supposed to spend the holiday with my family. i decided to spend time with my boyfriend instead. he had an apartment off-campus near lenox mall. i remember calling my grandmother saying that i would call her on Christmas eve. i didn’t call her. i didn’t call on Christmas either. i called the day after Christmas. i said i would call her the next day. i didn’t. i stayed at my boyfriend’s apartment until new years day. we watched the countdown on TV drinking Asti Spumanti champagne (I threw the cork and label away two years ago) and fell asleep on his fire engine red sofa bed. i caught the marta and bus to my grandmother’s house in stone mountain. the garage door was open, which wasn’t strange. i saw grandma on the cordless phone talking. she looked upset like she was crying. she was crying. she looked up at me, jumped up, and gave me a big hug. i thought someone had died. she thought i had died or something tragic happened to me because i didn’t call her. that stayed with me for a long time.
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yesterday it just felt like this thing was missing from out of my body. i just wanted to sleep. i couldn’t.
i started writing a book, the taste of scars, four years ago. did i think it would take this long? no. four years is a long time. i graduated college in four years. i was in ann arbor working at the downtown public library circled by published authors, how-to books and hadn’t heard from a guy i was talking to. books became my significant other (i hate that term) after he stopped calling me. i was walking to another library, on campus at umich. it was late evening. i saw a guy, probably a college student, walking my way. his face was shadowed. a cigarette twitched on the side of his mouth. he pulled out a lighter and lit his cigarette. seeing that inspired me to write my first sentence. virginia wolfe started writing her books waiting to get a first sentence.
i started writing. i knew the book would be auto-fiction. based off actual experiences but fictionalized.
how does someone who has never written a book write a book?
how does someone who has never taken a fiction-writing class write a book?
i didn’t ask those questions before i started writing. i should have. all writers should.
i didn’t know what i was doing. my sentences read like the romantic poets and writers my senior year high school teacher loved reading to us. jargon connected to jargon. reading it now, the first draft, i had no idea what i was saying. i wasn’t writing for my generation (my editor told me that). writing for your generation is important as a writer. your audience will get bored if they can’t follow your ideas.
over a hundred drafts later i’m done.
dog collars are to control
black, something written on it, in silver
he jumped up
i picked him up
men shouldn’t be so heavy
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- The Damaged Good, G. Winston James
- Redbone Press (LGBT Black publishing house based in Washington, D.C)
- Cleis Press (Largest LGBT small indie press)
- Strebor (Author Zane’s imprint with Simon & Schuster)
- Alyson Books (Largest LGBT commercial press)
- Vintage Entity Press (Small chapbook press with an impressive collection of Black gay and lesbian authors)
- Tugson Press (Very small Black and Gay publisher found by Leo Shelton)
PUBLISHERS RECOMMENDED BY LAMBDA LITERARY FOUNDATION
- Pulse (based out of New York, through GMAD, a black urban magazine)
- Bleu (based out of New York, a black urban magazine)
- Swerv (based out of DC, a black urban magazine)
- SGL Weekly (a one man team based out of LA, a black urban magazine)
- Curve (a mainstream lesbian magazine with celebrity interviews, news, politics, pop culture, style, travel, social issues and entertainment)
- Callaloo (a non-gay-specific literary and cultural journal of the African Diaspora based at Texas A&M)
- David (mainstream Atlanta-based print magazine)
- Gay Chicago Magazine (an online-based mainstream magazine)
- Mary: A Literary Quarterly (a literary magazine published quarterly that showcases queer/gay writings of artistic merit started by Black-nerd cutie William Johnson)
- HotSpots Magazine (Florida’s largest gay publication covering news and events in South Florida)
- Ambiente Magazine (The first & only LGBT publication offered in English, Spanish & Portuguese, produced bi-monthly, offered free of charge, and distributed digitally around the globe to thousands of our readers)
- Windy City Times (a Chicago-based print newspaper)
- Cave Canem (non gay-specific but gay friendly Black poetry retreat at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and workshops in NYC)
- Fire and Ink (Devoted to increasing the understanding, visibility and awareness of the works of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender writers of African descent and heritage normally held in October)
- Atlanta Queer Literary Festival (an all-encompassing literary festival held in June)
- Saints and Sinners (an all-encompassing New Orleans literary festival)
Check out the companion piece to this article All Things Black, Art-sy and Gay: Resources for Black LGBT Artists featuring film festivals, bookstores, networking organizations, and additional websites.
**Will update every month**