Golden Crown Literary Society Author Spotlight

>>From the Library of
Congress in Washington, DC.>>Nicholas Brown:
Good morning everyone. Hello. Welcome to the
Library of Congress. I think this is one of the highest
proportions of out of towners at the LC Globe even that we’ve
ever had, which is really exciting. So, thank you all for
visiting the library. And thanks to the library
staff for coming out today. For those who don’t know me or
haven’t been on my recent tour, my name is Nick Brown, I’m the
Chair or Library of Congress Globe, which is the Library’s
LGBTQ Employee Association. I’m also a music specialists
here at the library which is why I get paid the
big bucks I guess somehow. It’s a great honor to be working with the Golden Crown Literary
Society and their annual conference for the event today, which
is an author’s spotlight. Going to feature four
authors that are members and involved in the society. LC Globe has been very involved
in pride programming here at the library, and this
is our concluding event. I know it’s beyond June, but
pride is needed every day, especially this year,
so we keep on going. We really appreciate all of
you being here to learn more about what lesbian fiction is. And to hear some really good work
read by award-winning authors who are representing a
really great genre of writing that the library hasn’t
perhaps addressed in a public program before. So just some housekeeping notes
for you, before a colleague from the Golden Crown Literary
Society will do the introductions, this is being filmed for the
library’s digital collection and for being released online. So be ready for that. The format of the event will
be about 10 minutes of readings from each of the four authors and then we’ll do a group
discussion after that and Q&A. And concluding the event
will be book signing, which will take place
actually up here, and you can purchase
the books in the back. We have three of the authors
represented with books back there and the prices at $13 and $15 and
you can pay with cash or card. So, that’s exciting. We hope you support the authors by buying their books,
or not [laughter]. You are allowed to get
them out of the library. I’m a library type right, so
I know, but I’m not allowed to be a salesman, officially
on duty. So, I bought them already
so there you have it. So, without further ado, or
actually before I introduce Mary, a couple things I’d like
to draw your attention to. In the back, there’s a nice
little prideful bookmark that tells you a bit about
our LGBTQ collections. There’s also a copy of our
latest issue of “The Library of Congress Gazette” in
which you can read a bit about out LGBTQ collections
development work that is ongoing and getting a kick in the pants
lately as a result of the efforts of many people in this room. So, check that out. Also, check out our pride
month portal, One day we will get the q in there. And then also if you want to
keep in touch with LC Globe and our fabulous community
here at the library, visit our Facebook group which
is And we’re also on Twitter
at LC_globe. Great. So, I’m going to introduce
Mary Phillips who’s going to speak a bit about the Golden
Crown Literary Society on behalf of the board and also
introduce the four authors. So, thank you. [ Applause ]>>Mary Phillips: Good morning
everybody and thanks for coming. I’m Mary Phillips. I’m the executive director of the
Golden Crown Literary Society. And for those of you who don’t
know about this society, it is; our mission is to educate, promote and recognize some fantastic
authors of lesbian literature. Be it fiction, nonfiction, poetry. Anything written by
and for lesbians, or for anyone for that matter. And one of our premiere programs
that we have to help in the area of education, is our
writing academy. And we will have some brochures
back there for you to pick up. The goal of this program
is to give aspiring authors and current authors additional
opportunities to master their craft. We have professors, academic
professors who teach our program. We have content experts who come in. Whatever you need to know about the
FBI, or whatever you need to know about health, and nutrition
and medical. We have content experts within
our membership that participate in panels, etcetera to help you get
more information for what you need for that book you’re
aspiring to write. So, that is our writing academy. We also have a conference
every year, annually. And this year we’re here in DC. And what a great time to be here. We are loud and proud [laughter]. [ Applause ] And so, with us today are four
members from our literary society. Wonderful authors. Great friends. And I’m really glad
that they offered up their time to come and do this. We have Jewelle Gomez. And should they come on up now, okay
just come on up and grab a seat. I’m just, yeah just go get a seat. No, you’re not going to be in
the spotlight just [laughter]. Although you deserve it, but anyway. And for those that don’t know
she is the 2016 recipient of the Golden Crown Literary
Society Trailblazer Award. [ Applause ] So, this is her book and she’s
going to be reading from that and I will get into a little
short bio in a moment. Next will be Ann McMan
and this is her novel. “Backcast,” come on up. Let people see you. [ Applause ] Next, is Melissa Brayden. And I don’t have a book. There you go. Hold it up. There you go. Come on up. [ Applause ] And with us we also
have Marie Castle. [ Applause ] And in their bios you’ll hear
a little bit more about them. Do you want me to go ahead and
introduce all four at one time and then they can just go?>>Why don’t you just, no.>>Mary Phillips: Do one at a time?>>A short one.>>Mary Phillips: Okay, okay. Well we’ll start with Jewelle and
she’s going to give us a reading, I’m assuming from “The
Gilda Stories.” That is her, it’s the 25th
anniversary of that book. And she is a double Lambda
Literary Award-winning author for “The Gilda Stories.” And this is its 25th
anniversary special edition. She’s done adaptations of this
book was called “Bones and Ash” and it was performed by the New York
based, Urban Bush Woman Company. And it toured 13 US cities. She’s done so much and
has had so much impact on the lesbian community, literary and she’s just a gosh
darn wonderful person. And without further ado,
I will have you start. You have room there?>>Jewelle Gomez: Okay,
yeah, I’m good. First I want to thank the
Golden Crown Literary Society for honoring me this
year, but more importantly for the conference every year. I think it’s a destination for
writers and it gives writers hope that there really is somebody out there reading your
darn work [laughter]. So, I’m going to read a short
section from “The Gilda Stories” which was published
originally in ’91. It was the first black
lesbian vampire novel published in the United States. There really is a value to
finding your niche [laughter]. It has been in print, since
it’s been in print for 25 years. It was originally published by the legendary lesbian
feminist press Firebrand Books. The new edition that’s just come
out this year for the anniversary is from the equally legendary
City Lights Books. So, it’s you know Gilda
and the beat poets. You know. I’m going to read a
section right from the beginning, which isn’t particularly vampirish. But, it’s at the beginning and
it’s kind of where I want to start. The girl slept restlessly
feeling the prickly straw as if it were teasing
pinches from her mother. The stiff moldy odor
transformed itself into her mother’s starchy doe smell. The rustling of the girl’s body
in the barn hay was sometimes like the sound of fat back frying in the cooking shed behind
the plantation’s main house. At over moments in her dream, it
was the crackling of the brush as her mother raked the bristles
through the girl’s thicket of dark hair before beginning the
intricate pattern of braided rows. She had traveled by night for
15 hours before daring to stop. Her body held out until a deserted
farmhouse, where it surrendered to this demanding sleep
hemmed by fear. Then, the sound of walking. A man moving stealthily
through dawn light toward her. In the dream, it remained
what it was, danger. A white man wearing the
clothes of an overseer. In the dream, the girl
clutched tightly at her mother’s large black
hand praying the sound of the steps would stop. That she would wake up curled around
her mother’s body on the straw and cornhusk mattress next to the big old stove
grown cold with the night. In sleep, she clutched
the hand of her mother, which turned into the warm wooden
handle of the knife she had stolen when she ran away the day before. It pulsed beside her heart, beneath
the rough shirt that hung loosely around her thin young frame. The knife crushed into the
cotton foals near breast, was invisible to the red-faced
man who stood laughing over her, pulling her by one leg from
beneath the pile of hay. The girl did not scream, but
buried herself in the beating of her heart alongside
the hidden knife. She refused to believe that
the hours of indecision, and finally the act
of escape were over. The walking, hiding, running
through the Mississippi and Louisiana woods
had quickly settled into an almost enjoyable rhythm. She was not ready to give into those
whom her mother had sworn were not fully human. The girl tried to remember some
of the stories that her mother, now dead, had pieced together
from many different languages to describe the journey
to this land. The legend sketched a
picture of the Fulani past, a natural rhythm of
life without bondage. It was a memory that receded
more with each passing year. ‘Come on, get up gal,
time now, get up.’ The urgent voice of her mother
was a sharp buzz in her dream. She opened her eyes
to the streaking sun, which slipped in through the
shuttered window opening. She hopped up rolled the
pallet to the kitchen, then dipped her hands
quickly in the warm water in the basin on the counter. Her mother poured a
bit more bubbling water from an enormous kettle. The girl watched the steam
caught by the half-light of the predawn morning rise
toward the low ceiling. She slowly started to wash hard
bits of moisture from her eyes as her mother turned back
to the large black stove. ‘I’m going to put these biscuits
on gal, and you watch the cereal. I’ve got to go out back. I didn’t beg them folks to let you
in from the fields to work with me to watch you sleeping
all day, so get busy.’ Her mother left through the
door quickly, pulling her skirt up around her legs as she went. The girl ran to the stove,
took the ladle in her hand, and moved thick gruel
around in the iron pot. She grinned proudly at her
mother when she walked back in. No sign of sticking. Her mother returned the smile as she
swept the ladle up in her large hand and set the girl onto her next
task, turning out the biscuits. ‘If you lay the butter across them
while they hot, they like that. If they’s not enough butter,
lay on the lard, make ’em shine. They can’t tell’ [laugther]. ‘Mama, how come they can’t
tell butter from fat? Baby Minerva can smell butter for
it clears the top of the churn? She won’t drink no pig fat? Why can’t they tell
how butter tastes?’ ‘They ain’t been here long enough. They just barely human. Maybe not even. They suck up the world. Don’t taste it.’ The girl rubbed butter
over the tray of hot bread, then dumped thick doughy biscuits into the basket used
for morning service. She loved that smell and
always thought of bread when she dreamed of better times. Whenever her mother wanted to offer
comfort she promised the first biscuit and real butter. The girl imagined the
home across the water that her mother sometimes spoke of as having fresh bread
baking for everyone. Even for those who
worked in the fields. She tried to remember what her
mother had said about the world as it had lived before
this time, but could not. The lost empires were
a dream to the girl, like the one she was having now. She looked up at the
beast from this other land as he dragged her by her leg. His face lost the laugh
that had split it and became creased with lust. He untied the length of rope holding
his pants and his smile returned as he became thick with anticipation
of her submission to him. His head swelling with power
at the thought of invading her. He dropped to his knees before the
girl, whose eyes were wide seeing into both the past and the future. His center was bright and
blinding as he placed his arms, one on each side of the girl’s
head and lowered himself. She closed her eyes. He rubbed his body against her
brown skin and imagined the closing of his eyes was a need
for him and his power. He started to enter her, but before
his hand finished while it still tingled with her softness. She entered him with her heart
which was now a wood handled knife. He made a small sound as
his last breath hurried to leave him, then dropped softly. Warmth spread from his
center of power to his chest, as the blood left his body. The girl lay still beneath him until
her breath became the only sign of life in the pile of hay. The blood washing slowly down
her breastbone and soaking into the floor below was
like a bath, a cleansing. She lay still letting life
flow over her, then slid gently from beneath the red-faced
man whose cheeks had paled. She moved quietly as if he
had really been her lover and she afraid to wake him. Looking down at the
blood soaking her shirt and trousers, she felt no discussed. It was the blood, signaling
the death of a beast and her continued life. The girl held the slippery
wood of the knife in her hand as her body began to
shake in the dream memory. She sobbed, trying to understand
what she should do next. How to hide the blood
and still move on. She trembled, unable to tell if
this was really happening to her all over again, or if she
were dreaming it again. She held one dirty hand up to her
broad brown face and cried heartily. That was how Gilda found her
huddled in the root cellar of her small farmhouse on the road
outside of New Orleans in 1850. ‘Wake up gal.’ Gilda shook the thin
shoulder gently, as if afraid to pull loose
one of the shuddering limbs. Her voice was whiskey rough,
her rouge face seemed young as she raised the smoky lantern. The girl woke with
her heart pounding, desperate to leave the dream
behind, but seized with white fear. The paleface above her was a woman’s but the girl had learned they too
could be as dangerous as their men. Gilda shook the girl whose eyes
were now open, but unseeing. The night was long. Gilda did not have time
for hysterical child. The brown of her eyes
darkened in impatience. ‘Come on Gal, what you
doing in my root cellar?’ The girl’s silence deepened. Gilda looked at the stained torn
shirt, too big pants tied tightly at the waist and the wood
handled knife in the girl’s grip. Gilda saw in her eyes
the impulse to use it. ‘You don’t have to do that. I’m not going to hurt you. Come on.’ With that, Gilda
pulled the girl to her feet, careful not to be too rough. She could see the girl
was weak with hunger and wound tight around her fear. She stared deeply into the girl’s
dark eyes and said silently, ‘you needn’t be afraid
I’ll take care of you. The night hides many things.’ The girl loosened the
grip on the knife under the persuasive
touch of Gilda’s thoughts. She had heard of people who
could talk without speaking, but never expected a
white to be able to do it. This one was a puzzlement to her. The dark eyes, and pale skin. Her face was painted
in colors like a mask, but she wore men’s
breeches and a heavy jacket. Gilda moved in her small bone frame
like a team of horses pulling a load on a sodden road, gentle,
and relentless. ‘I could use you gal, come on.’ Was all Gilda said as
she lifted the girl and carried her out to the buggy. And thus, begins the girl’s journey
into freedom and immortality. [ Applause ]>>Mary Phillips: Wow. See, I’m going to have
to buy the book now. I wanted more, which
is what writers do. They write well enough
that you want more. Ann McMan. Our next award-winning author. I could go on and on
about how much she means to the Golden Crown
Literary Society. But I won’t [laughter].>>I want to hear it.>>Mary Phillips: She was a 2014
Lambda Literary Award Finalist and is a two-time winner of the GCLS
award for short story collections. She’s funny. She’s bright. She’s talented. And she’s here from
her hospital bed.>>Ann McMan: Fresh from it.>>Mary Phillips: Ann McMan. [ Applause ]>>Ann McMan: I bet you all
are wondering what for, right? I’m not going to tell you. Let’s just say, I’m a little
lighter than I was a week ago. I am going to read from
my newest book “Backcast.” “Backcast” is a novel that deals
with perception and reality and all of the gray areas that lurk between. Simply stated, it is a novel about
13 lesbian authors who congregate on the shores of Vermont’s
Lake Champlain for a two-week writers’ conference. While they are there, they
enter a tournament bass fishing competition [laughter]. This is an epic work full
of mythic themes [laughter]. Auspiciously what they are doing
is they are writing companion first-person essays that will
be paired with sculptures funded by an NEA grant to commemorate
transitions in women’s lives for Women’s History Month. And the book is as much about
structure as it is narrative. It has 13 chapters. And the 13 chapters are separated by the 13 first-person essays
written by the authors. These are presented
without attribution. So, it’s kind of up to the reader
to figure out who wrote what. I do actually tell you at the very
end, but you’re not allow to cheat. So, what I’m going to do is
read one of the essays for you. This is essay number
2 “Found Objects.” I’ll never forget the day my parents
sat me down and explained to me that I had been born
with ambiguous genitalia. Really? I’ve never felt
ambiguous a day in my life. Well, maybe just that
one time at Christmas when my Aunt Tootie took me to
Toys R Us to redeem a gift card and asked me to choose
between Western Barbie, who kind of looked a lot like
Jennifer Aniston but came with a really cool
prancing Palomino. Or the remote-controlled
special ops spy car with rockets and a rear firing cannon. I stood there staring
down into the depths of that bright red shopping cart
for so long that Aunt Tootie, who really had the patience of Job,
finally started cracking her wad of Dentyne just to let me know she
was thinking about getting annoyed. In the end, I went with the Barbie,
but only because I like the fringe on her shiny white
outfit and like I said, the plastic yellow horse
was pretty awesome. It looked a lot like Mister Ed. My aunt never found out that
later when I got Barbie alone in my room I cut off
most of her hair and renamed her Wilbur [laughter]. Even then, my tastes
were pretty eclectic. At least that’s how my mother
described them to her guests when I showed up at one of her
Tupperware parties wearing a pair of mukluks and a camouflage
jacket over a pink to tutu. I’ve never been afraid
to take a fashion risk. Growing up, it didn’t much
matter to me that I had a penis. In fact, it’s really
just a supersize nub, but I’ll talk more about that later. I mean, I knew I was a girl, mostly. I didn’t even know there was
anything unusual about me until I was 10 and I saw
Melissa Boatride in the shower at the Y. I learned
some other useful things about myself that day too. Like it suddenly became clear to
me why I wasn’t really interested in boys the way most of my
friends were starting to be. You see, Melissa was
3 years older than me and she looked pretty great
stark naked and dripping wet. And unlike my Western Barbie I had
no desire to cut off any of her hair to make her look like a guy. I thought she was just
fine the way she wants. That’s when I went
home and asked my mom to explain just what
was up with my body. And why didn’t I look like
other girls, down there. She gave me one of those looks,
the ones that always met we were in for a long conversation. And said we talk about it
later, when my dad got home. Okay, that meant it was a
bigger deal than I thought. For the very first time
in my life, I felt afraid. Why was I different. Why hadn’t anyone ever said
anything to me about it. What was it going to mean? And why did my nub get
bigger whenever I thought about Melissa in the shower? That night, after we ate our
pot roast and cream spinach, my parents pushed their
plates back and faced me with identical pairs
of folded hands. ‘Pumpkin,’ my father began. ‘There are some things that
mom and I never told you about the day you were born.’ I glanced over at my mother. Her face had that pinched up look
it got whenever Sally Struthers was on TV talking about
sick babies in Africa. I look back at my father. ‘What is it? And why does mom look so scared.’ He shot a nervous glance at my
mother and cleared his throat. I knew it was bad now. I was sure he was going to
tell me that I was adopted. That had to be it. My whole life was a sham. How would I ever hold
my head up in school. And how would I ever break the
news to Wilbur and Mister Ed. We were orphans now. My eyes started to
fill up with tears. ‘I’m adopted, aren’t I?’ My father looked surprised. ‘No, honey, that’s not it.’ ‘It isn’t?’ I wasn’t sure I was
ready to believe him. I mean, he waited all this time
to tell me whatever it was. ‘No.’ He looked at my mom again. She took up the explanation. “Sweetie, when you were born
the doctors weren’t sure about whether you were a
little girl or a little boy.’ Okay that’s not my surge of panic. ‘Why not?’ I asked. My mother leaned
across the table and reached out to push my bangs
away from my eyes. ‘Well, honey you know how
little boys have penises and little girls have vaginas?’ I had a pretty good idea about
where this was headed now. ‘It seemed that you
were born with both.’ She said, ‘And,’ my father
chimed in ‘the doctors wanted us to make a choice about which
sex we wanted you to be.’ ‘But,’ it was my mother’s
turn to talk again. I felt like I was watching
a tennis match on TV. ‘We didn’t think that
was our decision to make. So, we decided to wait.’ ‘Wait? Wait for what? Wait for my nub to drop off, or
for me to have to start shaving? You gave me a girl’s name.’ I said, ‘And you bought me dolls.’ I said it like I was
Matlock cross-examining a witness [laughter]. ‘We also bought you
trucks and guns.’ My father corrected, it
seemed like he’d had time to prepare for this conversation. ‘And your name is a
family name that could work for either a girl or a boy.’ My mother added. That was true. At least they had named
me after Aunt Tootie. Then I might’ve had a reason to
use one of my toy guns [laughter]. I looked down at my lap. ‘Is this why I have a big nub?’ I asked my father chewed
his bottom lip. Nobody said anything for a moment. I could hear our dog, Rex, getting
a drink of water in the kitchen. ‘Yes, honey,’ my mother
finally replied. I signed. It was true that
my big nub was unusual. I knew that now. But it was a part of me. And I was used to it. Plus, it was feeling
pretty good these days. I didn’t think I wanted
to have it go away. My panic started to creep back. Is that what this conversation
was about? Were they going to
make me lose my nub? I knew that right then I
probably looked a whole lot like Rex whenever mom got
the vacuum cleaner out. ‘Can I keep it?’ I asked. ‘Oh honey,’ my
mom was starting to cry. ‘Of course you can keep it.’ Dad was now staring at something
fascinating in his own lap. Maybe all this talk about
losing nubs was making him think about his own [laugther]. Gross. ‘Okay,’ I said. ‘Is there anything else
you’d like to ask us about?’ My mom was still leaning toward me. I shrugged. It occurred to me to ask if they
ever thought that Joey Heinz, who lived in the apartment upstairs
looked just like the Unabomber. But I knew this probably
wasn’t the kind of question she meant,
‘Not right now.’ I said instead. My father had apparently
finished contemplating the crease in his trouser leg. ‘Just know that you can always
talk with us about this.’ He said, ‘or anything
else that worries you.’ My mother nodded in agreement. ‘Don’t ever let anyone make you
feel like you’re odd or strange. You are a perfectly
wonderful and normal person.’ Right then, I realized how
lucky I was that she didn’t know about Western Barbie’s
new hairstyle. I’d grown tired of the buzz
cut and colored her head with a black marks-a-lot. She had a beard and
sideburns now too. ‘Can I go out and play until dark?’ ‘Did you finish your math homework?’ She asked. We were doing long division
at school and I hated that stuff more than cream spinach. I looked down at my plate. I’d done a pretty good
job at hiding most of it beneath what was left
of my Parker House roll. I knew it didn’t really
fool my mother. But she usually let
me get away with it. ‘I did most of it.’ I said, ‘I need help with
some of the harder ones.’ Mom started to protest,
but dad interrupted her. ‘You can go out and play, but when
you come back inside we’ll sit down and solve the rest
of your problems.’ I pushed back my chair and
raced for the front door. Not wanting to waste anymore
of the soft, warm night. It was only later, as I fell asleep
wrapped in the snug awareness that my parents would always
do exactly what they promised, that I realized how lucky
I was to be born me. [ Applause ]>>Mary Phillips: Thank you. Our next author is Melissa Brayden. She is a multi-award-winning
author of lesbian romance. She has 7 published novels
with Bold Strokes Books. She is a favorite on our
conference rotation of panels, and presentations, and workshops,
and just an all-around favorite. Melissa. [ Applause ]>>Melissa Brayden: Hi, everybody
I will be reading to you today from my upcoming new
release “First Position.” And I guess it can best be
described as a romantic comedy with some angst tossed in. And the backdrop for this particular
book is the New York City Ballet. And it features Natalie, a
ballet dancer who was brought into the company under some
irreverent circumstances to add a bit of edgy
contemporariness to an upcoming peace
in the fall season. And what she learns in the audition
is that she will be sharing the role with the company’s
resident ice queen, Anna. And as you can imagine,
they clash quite a bit. Even their skill sets go
up against one another as Natalie has the character, she
has the grit, she has the passion. But Anna is the one
with the technique. And so, the scene that I’m going
to read to you today is a moment where they start to understand that
they can perhaps help each other on stage and maybe offstage as well. Picture-perfect extensions, impeccable turnout,
unmatched control. Natalie stood there
awed as she watched. Anna exhibited a weightless
existence as she moved quickly on her toes through the
expanse of the studio. Natalie shook her head and drummed
her fingers against her upper lip. The more she watched Anna dance,
the more in awe she became of Anna herself, of her
ability, of her physique. ‘Until tomorrow everyone.’ Roger shouted. ‘We’ll be in the larger studio
incorporating the background dancers as they appear in the
underworld sequences. Natalie you’ll be up first. Come prepared, please.’ ‘Got it.’ Natalie stood and stretched somewhere
there was a bucket of ice water with her name on it. Icing down her muscles would be the
only way she could dance those same combinations again the next day,
because God her body screamed. ‘Are we still on?’ Anna asked toweling off. After dancing the last hour,
she still had energy for more. She was kind of a ballet
machine, this girl. Natalie stared up at her. ‘I’m game if you are.’ ‘Great. Why don’t we take
15 and meet back here. We can go over the opening
and I can show you a couple of tricks I think might
smooth out your transitions.’ ‘Cool. See you then. Natalie took the time
to roll out her muscles and decompress a little
in the green room. When she returned to the studio. The lights were at half and she found the place empty
everyone having already gone home. She stared at her reflection in
the mirrors that lined the wall. Her hair was up, but
strands had fallen here or there throughout the day. She pulled the rubber band out entirely gave her head a
little shake, prompting her hair to fall to her shoulders. In the corner of her eye she saw
Anna’s reflection watching her from the doorway and something
decidedly sensual moved through her, making her very aware of her body
and the effect of Anna stare on it. ‘Hey,’ Anna said still
in the doorway. ‘I’ll put on some music
and we can go from there.’ In the empty room her
quiet voice echoed. ‘Ready when you are.’ Natalie said and took her
spot in the middle of the room for the opening sequence. Something about the one-on-one
work session had her nervous that her flaws would
be clearly on display. She shoved the unease aside and
took a deep settling breath. Once she heard the
music she was off. But it was only a matter of moments
before the room came to a halt in silence, causing
her to halt as well. She turned to see that
Anna had paused the music and was now walking
toward her with purpose. ‘The thing is, you’re too
liberal with your movements. Too loose. You bring this whole reckless
quality to the character, and it works, but for the sake
of form you have to tighten up.’ ‘Right, right, I’ve heard
that before from Roger. Okay, cool I’ll try it again.’ Except when she did the
results were much the same. Anna shook her head. ‘The choreography is there
but you lack precision. You have to finish each
extension before moving on, or the transitions are muddled.’ ‘I thought that’s what I was doing.’ ‘It’s not.’ Anna said matter-of-factly. ‘You’re rushing. But don’t get frustrated. It’s going to take time. Tell you what. Try and focus on that one
thing on this next run through. Finish what you start.’ Natalie dance until
the music stopped again and turned to her tutor. ‘Better. You did just what I asked. But now I need you
to pull yourself in. Keep your hips underneath you.’ Anna moved until she
stood behind Natalie and met her gaze in the mirror. ‘Feel that?’ Anna asked and placed her hand
against Natalie’s abdomen. Natalie nodded, hyperaware
of the contact and the warmth that hit her cheeks
and the downward. ‘I do.’ Anna’s voice
was quiet in her ear. ‘You’re going to pull in here,
and push through the toe.’ Natalie nodded at Anna in the
mirror, the contact unbroken. She could feel Anna’s breath tickle
her neck and with Anna’s hand still on her body her mind wandered to
places outside of her control. As if sensing the shift,
Anna took a step back and released Natalie moving them
on from the very charged moment. ‘One more time.’ Natalie nodded and focused
on what she needed to do. As she spun on her toes
she took Anna’s advice, pulling in just beneath the touch
she could still feel on her skin. She closed her eyes, concentrated
and before she knew it, she’d made it to the
end of the variation.’ When the music came to a stop
this time Anna didn’t say a word. ‘Well?’ Natalie asked, ‘any better?’ Anna blinked back at her as
if awakening from a dream. ‘Yeah, that was beautiful,
actually.’ And then she seemed
to find herself again. ‘Okay, are you ready to try
the whole thing together?’ Natalie raised an eyebrow. ‘All of it? It might be kind of
hard without Jason.’ ‘I can fill in for
anything that’s not a lift or the flying shoulder sits,
we can just mark those.’ Anna shrugged her hoodie
off her shoulders. ‘Wait, you’re dancing with me?’ ‘Don’t look at me like that. It’s not like I haven’t seen the
choreography a million times.’ Natalie stared at her
in mystification. Her mind rolling through the
sequence that she’d come to know and imagining it all happening in
Anna’s arms instead of Jason’s. The idea alone made her heart
stop and her stomach tighten. She tried to smile through it,
but she faltered because the idea of the intimate contact was
overwhelming her senses. But she didn’t have time to
linger as Anna joined her in the middle of the floor. Natalie assumed her opening pose
and Anna wrapped an arm around her from behind, just as Jason would’ve. Only it felt nothing like Jason. Not even close. Is this even the ballet? The music began and they leapt
into motion, dancing side-by-side. Anna took her by the
hand and led her upstage, never breaking eye contact. Natalie moved into her
body and then away, just as always only this
time her temperature climbed. She spun. They danced. Anna’s hands on her waist,
her stomach, her thighs. The flashes of emotion,
the give-and-take of the characters added
a whole new element, and dancing through that dynamic
with Anna had her body thrumming. They skipped the lift, but
Anna caught her at the end of the pas de deux
and pulled her close, ending the sequence
flush against each other. ‘You did great.’ Anna said in her ear and
held her a moment longer as Natalie’s breath came
in short little gasps. Anna release Natalie
solemnly, nodded to her and headed back to the bench. Okay, so she hadn’t
been the only one who had felt the electricity
back there. That much was now clear. She stared at the ceiling
understanding that this was a slippery slope they
were on, and she had to find a way to maneuver it gracefully. [ Applause ] [ Laughter ]>>Mary Phillips: Wait, I need
something bigger [laughter]. Wow. Thought I was hot before. Thank you, Melissa [laughter]. Some words will take
on a whole new meaning. All right. Maria I’m sorry. That’s a tough act
to follow [laughter]. Well, but you know what
a segue into vampires. Our next author is Marie Castle. Her book is “The Devil You Know.” She was born in Mississippi
and is an award-winning author of the paranormal “Dark
Mirror” series from which you’re going
to read as I understand. She enjoys good reads, bad
movies, and sassy women. And I know she likes sassy women,
because I know who she’s with. And so without further ado. [ Applause ]>>Marie Castle: So, this is a
lesson of be careful what you put in your bio, because it might get
read out everywhere, apparently. Okay. So, I’m visually
impaired, which is why I’m going to be reading from a Kindle. It just makes it a
little bit easier to see. And she mentioned I’ll be
reading from “The Devil You Know” which is the second book
in my “Dark Mirror” series. The first novel is
called “Hells Bell.” And it begins with our
main character Kate DeLacey who is a Southern Bell, who
guards the gates to hell. Yeah. Okay [laughter]. Yes. So, this scene is from
the beginning of the book and is set outside an
old farmhouse located in the fictional town
of Gandsi, Mississippi. We began as our heroine Kate DeLacey
finds a very unusual creature having breakfast on the grass
in her backyard. Of course, Kate herself
is an unusual creature as you will soon find
out much of the series, including this scene is told in
Kate’s first person perspective. Shoo-shoo. I jabbed the broom at the pony sized
hell hound lounging on my back lawn. The bristle then stopped feet shy of
contact, halted by the swirling blue and green watered energy
well separating us. My late great-grandmother, Grams had
used a similar broom more than once when chasing our evil hell spawn
of a cat, Hex, who had a knack for creating trouble where
trouble wasn’t wanted. The demonic doggie, a female
I assumed from her larger size and darker coloring
blinked black eyes at me, then resumed gnawing on deer haunch. We had houseguest this morning. As soon as they finished breakfast
some would leave the safety of the wards and head home. No doubt my grandmother, Nana
would consider it unmannerly to let our guest be
eaten by hell hound. That sort of thing just wasn’t done. If I couldn’t get the hound to
move on I was in for a lecture. ‘Scat cat,’ I waved
the broom over my head. The hound gave me an offended
look before rolling her eyes at the broom. She was more intelligent than
the hounds I had met previously. Of course, those had been
trying to rip out my throat, so I am hadn’t been inclined to offer an IQ test
before dispatching them. ‘You don’t like being
called a cat, so noted.’ I pulled hellfire from within myself
lit the broom ablaze and used it to gesture toward the woods, ‘Now scram before I send you
back to hell the hard way.’ The hound barred wickedly sharp
teeth, bloodied with her breakfast. Safe to say that was a no. I returned the gesture,
showing her my meanest smile, ‘You have a little
something right about here.’ I pointed to my upper right molar. ‘They call it floss, honey, invest
in some, and it’s been a rough week. You’ll have to do better.’ The hound flicked a
tongue across her teeth. Hunched a shoulder as if to say,
‘whatever’ and returned to her food. ‘Don’t be fooled by my sweet
disposition and southern drawl.’ I shook the fiery broom, ‘I could
fry your ass if I wanted to.’ The hound turned her back
on me and waved her tail in a clear, ‘bring it gesture.’ Oh, I doused my flames. ‘You obviously have no idea
how stinky fricassee hell hound carcass is.’ I waved the broom for
emphasis before lowering it. The crunch of bone
was her only response. My nose twitched. Smelling smoke, I looked to see
the broom’s bristles were singed. That was the third this year. Nana would be ticked. Even more so if I killed
a hell hound on the lawn and didn’t clean up. Little Miss Sassy Paws
was getting a reprieve, so long as I could
ensure she didn’t snack on our company once
she finished the deer. I had the sinking suspicion, no matter how things went I
would still get a lecture. Damn it all to hell and back
I hated Mondays [laughter]. I blew a block of raven
black hair from my eyes. It curled in the high
humidity and fell back against the side of my face. I couldn’t believe I was arguing
with a hell hound on the back lawn. While in the house, my
family was serving breakfast to a passel of ware tigers. More importantly, I couldn’t believe
this hell mutt was even here. We had recently killed two hell
hounds nearby on the front lawn after they had attacked us. That was when I had learned
roasting demonic creatures created a nasty mess. You would think the remaining
stench would deter further visits. Maybe I’m losing my touch. It could be I wasn’t
intimidating this morning, what with my bare feet, cut off
Jean shorts and showered up hair. I was already a petite woman, topping out at 5 feet
5 with my boots on. People never took me
seriously until a knife pressed to the ribs drove home the point. Or maybe the hound knew
I couldn’t come for it without lowering the ward
door and exposing myself. Even so, the beast should
have been a little scared. According to my mother’s twin sister
Helena I was half witch, half demon and more trouble than the cat,
which was saying something. Unfortunately, recent events
had proved my aunt right. I was trouble, or at
least had mad skills when it came to landing
my ass in it. My family were guardians. We had the power to open and
close the hell gates at will. With that power came
the responsibility of policing the dark mirrors,
what we call the Blackstone Gates that cross the void between worlds. When the Supernatural Council
Sherriff Farah said a dark sorcerer named Nicodemus was looking
to open a dark mirror and bring his demon masters
army through, I had no choice but to accept the help for contact
former council operative Detective Jacqueline Sloan. With smoky gray eyes, auburn
hair and a dimple that popped out when she grinned,
Jac turned out to be as alluring as she was mysterious. From the very moment we met, we
had been drawn to each other. There was something frighteningly
powerful growing between us. But neither of us seemed to have
the good sense to run from it. I wasn’t sure where
this relationship with Jac was going,
where it could go. We have what you might call
a major incompatibility. I was mortal, she immortal. But I knew I was falling
in love with he. The showdown with Nicodemus
had been last night. Now there was work to do and
guests to see on their way. Jac and I had our first
official date tonight. The chivalrous woman wanted
to quote unquote, ‘court’ me and I was of a mind to let her. Our timing wasn’t the best,
but I’d had enough of death. I want to live. And that meant time
alone with a woman who warmed my heart
and made me feel alive. I turned my attention
back to the hound. Now, savoring the last stubby bones. Maybe my witchy Spidey
sense was busted. I wasn’t alarmed by
the hound’s presence. I still had the feeling
something big was on the horizon. A storm not finished with Nicodemus. But my gut said this hound wasn’t
part of it, which didn’t make sense. Why else would a hell hound be here? Hell hounds were rare. Usually staying in well, hell. Or at least they had been
rare until a few days ago. But this hound was different. She hadn’t joined the
two-head that rushed us. Instead she peed on my truck
then stolen my floppy-eared bunny slipper. Annoying yes, but not
exactly aggressive. And she was familiar,
for a more recent reason. I stepped closer to the
wards, examining the bites and scratches marring
the hound’s flanks. A memory formed in my mind. I was driving to confront Nicodemus,
two of his raptor creatures tried to stop me, but something rushed
out of the night and caught them. I thought it was a ware
in animal form even as I knew that couldn’t be. The wares were moving in
from the opposite direction. It had been this hound. The cuts and scratches match those
the wares had gotten while fighting the raptors. Why would you help me? I asked softly. The hound picked up the
deer bones with her mouth and paced toward the wards. She dropped the bones near a blue
ley line arch and backed away. Steamed blew from her
nostrils before disappearing in the sultry summer air. ‘Seriously,’ I snorted, making
a face, ‘if you’re going to give a girl a gift stick
with chocolates or diamond. Slobbery bones went out
of style with cavemen.’ My laughter died in my throat
as my eyes met the hound’s. For an instant, our mind meshed. She blinked and we separated. But that moment of connection had
been enough to transmit a message. I let out a long breath confused. The bones aren’t the gift. You are the gift. The hound’s head dipped
in acknowledgement. Who? why? I stopped as Nana yelled out the open kitchen door,
“K, the wards are fine. I checked them this morning. Come say goodbye to our guests.’ She paused. ‘And you better not have
burned my brook again.’ The bushes separating us
kept me from seeing Nana. But I knew her faded green gaze
would be turned inward as it was when she saw a vision
of the past or future. ‘I hate it when she does that.’ I muttered. Turning back to the hound. The lawn was empty but
for a small pile of bones. Assured the hell hound was
gone, I lowered the ward door and levitated the bones
into the woods. As I walked back to the house, I
broke burnt bristles from the broom, and wondered, who would
send me a hell hound? A sarcastic stubborn hound no less. I didn’t have a clue. But I can guarantee
I would find out. Such a gift deserved
a proper thank you. Nana would certainly agree. It was the mannerly thing to do. [ Applause ]>>Nicholas Brown: Thank you
all that was really fascinating. It was really exciting
to hear such diversity in terms of topics and themes. And I hope this has opened a whole
new world of reading to those of us who might be new to your work. So, thank you for that. So, we’ll open up the
floor for questions now, or if you all have
questions for each other, or? Just raise your hand, ask away. If you don’t ask anything
I will ask everything and that gets boring
after a while so. So, one question I would have to start us off would be
what was your experience in getting a publisher as an author,
and in what ways do you think that you had a different
or a similar experience from other types of authors? No you can just hang there, they
have the area mic coming so.>>Jewelle Gomez: Well,
when I was published in ’91 it was still the heyday
of lesbian feminist publishers. I had originally I had
a really excellent agent and the book was turned down by
every major press in New York. It was interesting comments
like well the character’s black, they’re lesbians, they’re vampires. It’s too complicate [laughter]. So, I said well I’m
two of those three.>>Ann McMan: Which two? [ Laughter ]>>Jewelle Gomez: I couldn’t say. It was very strenuous work and
then finally Firebrand Books, had always been interested and I thought you know I just
want the book to be out there. I want people to be able to read it. I’m not expecting to
retire off of the funds from the sale of this book. And so, I took it to Firebrand
and I had a wonderful, really wonderful experience
because it had been a collection, it had been short stories and
Aubrey Moore told me to turn it into a novel, so you know
if Aubrey Moore tells you to do something you do it. And so, we spent a year editing with only one two-week break while
Anita Hill was being cross-examined by the beast of the hill. And but we just spent
that solid year. And it was really fabulous to have
a lesbian feminist press who was so supportive and knowledgeable. And really, really
supported the book. Because it still seemed to be
confusing to a lot of people.>>Ann McMan: I’m almost embarrassed
to talk about my experience. I actually came along during
the whole Zena fan fiction era. And had written this 10,000-page
tome called “Jericho” and threw it in the drawer and was never
going to do anything with it. And had a friend who just you know
bugged the tar out of me and said, you need to try to get it published
and I was like nobody’s going to want to read this book. So, she pushed me to actually post
it at one of the many posting sights on the internet, where you know
you can throw things up for free and people could make
comments and write back to you. So, I kind of clumsily chopped
the book up into ten chapters. And thought I would post
it, a chapter a month. So, I created a pseudonym and
a different email account, because I was so sure the
book sucked [laughter]. And I threw it up there
and you know about three or four days later I sort of timidly
went to check the email account and there were like
4000 messages in there. And literally within you know
10 days I had authors to publish from four different people. And it was completely
different world then. So, I was extremely fortunate to
kind of you know slide in that way.>>Melissa Brayden:
Well, I had a manuscript and I didn’t really
know what to do with it. I was an avid reader. And didn’t know a ton
about the publishing world. And submitted to my
publisher Bold Strokes. And I received, I don’t think
I’ve talked about this before. I received back an
email with an attachment of pages and pages of notes. And I was like well
what does this mean? If I’m not accepted,
but am I not rejected? Because there’s notes here. And basically, what had happened,
and I’ve been told sense, Rod, Cliff and I have talked about this
is we don’t really often do this. They liked the book,
but I think they were, I think it was a test,
if I had to guess. They were seeing, okay would
I be able to take these notes, and what could I do with it. Well, that was great news to me. I was ready to get to work. And so, I took those notes
and I worked on a book and I sent it back to them. And we were in business. And yeah, going strong since. But, yeah I think that had I just
taken those notes and been like, no. I don’t know that we would be
sitting here together right now. So.>>Nicholas Brown: Cool.>>Marie Castle: Some more
short story like Melissa. I began writing sort of as
just a way to deal with stress. My aunt had breast cancer and I
was sitting with her every day as she was going through chemo. And things and it was just
it began initially for, you know begin a story get
my head somewhere else. And then, I ended up running
a business and had no time for writing, I barely had time for
sleeping for about a year or two. And so, we put the story aside
and my life completely changed. I had all this drama, dynamics, starting a business,
losing a business. Going into the corporate world. Came back to writing and
found out that I had changed, and so my story had changed to. And so, I threw out I think
every bit but like two chapters. And I started writing again. And I was also coming out. And I was dealing with
people who are like thinking that you know [inaudible]
we’re demonic you know and stuff like that. And I thought well I’ll
just use this as therapy and make my character and I
co-demon and let her deal with it. [ Laughter ] And I felt like there needed
more novels like that. I was having trouble finding
lesbians paranormal stuff. And I just looked up
about ten publishers. I started looking inside the
books that I like to read, and that I thought
were written well. And started opening
up the title covers and seeing who’s publishing these? And I picked a couple
of the publishers that I thought they
write great books. They’re well-edited, well-presented,
they’re getting out there and just started submitting, too. And I was fortunate that
the first person I submitted to accepted the manuscript with the
idea that it needed to be edited because mine was close to 600 pages. And then they were like, you
know J.K. Rowling doesn’t edit, but we want this to be edited. And I said well I’m
not J.K. Rowling, I’m just somebody else
who’s starting out and I will take any
advice that you’ll give me. And went from there.>>Nicholas Brown: Cook. Neat. One other question would be
how do you all balance your writing with other interests or other
professional activities? And has that changed over the
course of your writing careers? [ Laughter ]>>Jewelle Gomez: Well, for
years I worked my day job, I did philanthropy. And so, I always wrote at night. I used to, write vampire
novels from 10 to 1 [laughter]. And I was also, you know and
still consider myself an activist, as a lesbian feminist activist. So, you know, by the time
you get finished with work and then a meeting, and then
you know it was 10 o’clock. So, I was always writing at night. And on the weekends. And it was very, that’s why the
book took a long time to finish. Because I didn’t have a lot of time. And you know right as the
AIDS crisis kind of expanded, and I got involved in some of the
political activism around that, my writing really didn’t happen
a lot in the mid-eighties. But I recently retired from
all of those day job things. So now I write whenever
I want to [laughter]. And I’m happy to say I’m one of
those people who never had a, you know what do you call those
things when you can’t write?>>Ann McMan: Writer’s block,>>Jewelle Gomez: Writer’s block. See I can’t even remember
what it is [laugther]. I’ve knock on wood,
I’ve never had that. But I always worry once I stop
working would I then start to have a writer’s block you know. When you’re working, you only have
a limited amount of time so you sit down and you start writing until you
can’t keep your eyes open anymore. But it has not happened since I
now have, I can write full time. I still don’t have writer’s
block, knock on wood, to this day.>>Ann McMan: I have always
wanted to be one of the writers who talk about their muses. I don’t have a muse. I have a foot up my butt, my own. And writing to me is work. It’s hard work. And it’s a discipline. And you’ve got to really, or at
least for me I have to really want to do it and I have to make
myself do it most of the time. And one of the things
that I struggle with, I think we probably all struggle
with now is the world we live in, where particularly in our genre,
publishers are cranking books out about every 12.5 seconds. And if you want to stay vital
and you want to stay viable, and you want to stay in front of people you have to
get books out there. And it’s really difficult to
try to do good and serious and thoughtful work when
you’re, I was thinking about the little was it Ira
Gershwin’s little metric thing? And I sort of feel like
I have one of those in the back of my head all the time. You know so that’s a
struggle to me, because I want to write really meaningful stuff,
not just stuff that’s expedient and getting you know
it shoved out quickly and when you have a
fulltime day job, and you have a couple
of full time other jobs, I also design book covers,
you know and all that. So, a lot of times, the writing
is the thing that you know kind of gets shoved to the side. So, I have a tendency to get up
super, super early in the morning and that’s my writing time. So, that’s what I do.>>Melissa Brayden:
To speak to that. To the, to having to balance
it all, it can be really hard. I know when I first started, I was a high school theater
teacher during the first three books that I wrote. And it was about steeling time. It was about a 30-minute
lunch break, well maybe I get a hundred
words down, and then maybe after work you get done
a couple hundred more. There were, back then I was
shooting for around 500 words a day. And I was happy with that. Then, I went to grad
school [laughter]. And the thing was that the books
were paying for grad school. So, I had to keep writing, because
that’s what I was living on. And affording myself to
go to school that way. So, I needed to write
even faster than I did when I had the fulltime job. And so, then it got really crazy. But interestingly enough I had
the same exact fear as Ann, about if I go any faster
am I going to lose quality. Well, one of the things I’m learning
about myself is that the books that I’m like this is not
good, this book is not good, and I don’t know what I’m going
to do, those are the books that do the best [laughter],
and people like the most. I’m like that’s, so I’ve learned
not to listen to myself necessarily. I don’t seem to have a good gauge. But.>>Marie Castle: When I wrote my
first two novels I was working just left my business and gone to basically taken a
pretty non job working for a corporation answering
phones, quality control. And I took a different call
like every 8 minutes or so, I spoke with a different person
from all over the country. And sometimes, out of the country. And I had to find time on my
lunch break, or I’d carpool in with people because
I don’t drive. I mean I can drive a car, but you really don’t want
me doing it [laugther]. It’s that things get
in my way [laughter]. Things, people [laughter]. So, I would carpool
a lot with my mother, who worked a 12-hour
shift at the hospital. So usually I would get to work
either three or four hours early, or have to stay three or four
hours late waiting on a ride. So, a lot of times I was in like
a break room or a lunch room, or sitting out front
scribbling in a notebook, and then later typing
on my computer. And I found that the corporate
press was really good encouragement to do something else with your life. And it was very inspiring for work. Now, I don’t have a corporate job. I’ve left to write fulltime. And my biggest thing is my family
has a farm, so now they’re like, oh you’ve got a lot of time,
come help with harvest, come help with [laugther]. Are you free to pick peaches today? And the blind part doesn’t work
because my family knows that even with my low vision, I’m
still extremely capable. So, I have to say you know I’ve got
a deadline, I’ve got to get it done and then you have to log
yourself out of Facebook. Because you’re like no
social media for me today. I’ve got to get work done. And that’s the biggest
distraction, so yeah.>>Nicholas Brown: Yeah, definitely. Yes? Question in the back?>>Is there a limit as to how much
time you can actually spend writing in the sense that you know, there’s
a certain amount of concentration that you have to have writing and
then, say, do you have to stop after two hours because
you’re exhausted or bored with it, that kind of thing?>>Ann McMan: I feel, sometimes
in life, if any of you have any of you read Albert Camus’
novel, “The Plague?” Remember the? Remember the writer in that book who spent his entire life
rewriting the same sentence, you know so I find when I get to
that point, you know when you sort of naturally get to a
point where you know, George Pierce is an expert on this. You know where you’re kind of like
looking at anything else to do, you know that it’s sort of
like a natural time to stop. You know take a break. And some days that might be,
you might knock out, 3000 words. Or it might be 250 [laugther]. You know it might be one
really superlative dependent clause [laugther].>>Melissa Brayden: I have about a
four-hour window I think I’m good and creative on and then I
need to move on to something, and it can still be work-related,
it just might be more in tune with marketing, or
communication, or returning emails. But after about four
hours of trying to write, regardless of the word count,
yeah I dry up a little bit.>>Marie Castle: I’m with Jewelle. I write a lot late at night. I’ve found one, like people don’t
call, or bug you or nothing. But back to going to
the corporate job. I used to, the only time I
could really get a long break for writing was on the weekends. And I would start on Friday night,
write until I just passed out, and hopefully not on the computer,
although that happened once and I think my forehead
typed something really ugly, but [laughter] get up the next morning and
just write, write, write. I think the most, my
record is like 30 hours, just over a weekend so would write. I did sleep. I did sleep [laughter]. And.>>Ann McMan: You should give
yourself to science [laughter].>>Marie Castle: I
think ‘m more creative when I’m tired, when I’m fuzzy. I mean I can’t edit. Some of it’s poorly edited. But some of my best scenes that
my editors complimented me on, after I’ve gone back and edited like
10 times, that were very creative, I’ve done in those moment where
I’m just exhausted and it’s like the ideas come to me. Some of them I’m kind of like fuzzy like the next morning,
dang you write this? Wow. But yeah. I like writing for long
stretches and wearing myself out.>>Jewelle Gomez: I can go
usually four hours is a nice chunk. I feel like I’m really
going pretty well. But I’m a person who
gets up and down a lot. If I don’t have something else in my
day scheduled, I can go for 10 hours and feel really good, energized. But of course, it depends, as
you said, on where you are. If something pops out of
you and you get going on it.>>Ann McMan: How much vodka’s
in your drink [laughter].>>Jewelle Gomez: It also
depends on the genre. I mean with fiction and I don’t know if other people are
writing other genres, but with fiction I can go very long. I can just go for hours and hours,
but when I’m working on my plays, I tend to work in shorter spurts for
some reason, because I have to get up and walk around and
say the words aloud and leave them alone,
and then come back. So, I think. I think I go less at
a clip with drama.>>Ann McMan: Can I share one
positive, it kind of relates to what Marie was talking about some of my favorite literary
antidotes of all time. There’s this great story
about the poet Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett. And one of the first times
they met, she was a huge fan of his work, which
is terribly dense. And she had this one
particular passage in his poem and she showed it to
him and she said, you know I’ve really been struggling
with like this right here, can you tell me what
you were writing about. And then he took it and read it. And he said, you know
when I wrote that only God and Robert Browning knew what it
meant, and now only God knows. [ Laughter ]>>Nicholas Brown: Wonderful. On that note, unfortunately
because of time, we’re going to have to conclude the formal discussion,
but I would like to invite you all to consider purchasing
the books in the back. And then coming up to
say hi to the authors. Ask some more questions and
also get the book signed. And thank you authors for being
here this has been very wonderful. [ Applause ] And also, a couple other thank yous. First off to the library’s
humanities and social sciences division and Meg Metcalf is one
of their [applause] yes. We’re very appreciative
of that division’s support with all LGBTQ work at the library
and especially this even today. And they’ve helped us
with getting this filmed. Meg is our new woman’s gender and
LGBTQ studies reference specialist. So, she is our new rock star. She has only been at the
library for under a year, so we love Meg [applause]. And also a huge thanks to Mary and
the Golden Crown Literary Society and to Liz Gibson who we’ve been
working with for several months now to make this all possible. So, thank you, enjoy the rest
of your conference here in DC. And thank you also to
my colleague Kathy Jones from congressional
research [applause]. And we’ll see you again soon. Thanks.>>This has been a presentation
of the Library of Congress. Visit [email protected]

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