Posts Tagged 'Provincetown'

Women’s Week in Ptown

By Heather Blackmore

Tell Me Something Good panelists (L-R): Radclyffe, Aurora Rey (moderator), Melissa Brayden, KC Richardson, Tina Michele, Holly Stratimore, Heather Blackmore

Tell Me Something Good panelists (L-R): Radclyffe, Aurora Rey (moderator), Melissa Brayden, KC Richardson, Tina Michele, Holly Stratimore, Heather Blackmore

Under the Gun panelists (L-R): Carsen Taite, Ashley Bartlett, Ali Vali, Samantha Boyette, VK Powell, Sophia Kell Hagin

Under the Gun panelists (L-R): Carsen Taite, Ashley Bartlett, Ali Vali, Samantha Boyette, VK Powell, Sophia Kell Hagin

Women’s Week in Provincetown, MA is a celebration of all things lesbian. It happens annually around Columbus Day, this year October 10-16th. There’s music, comedy, art, films, local tours, LGBTQ information, author readings, theater events, get-togethers over food, sailing, sports, and wine, and more. And while there are plenty of organized offerings, it’s fun just to walk down the street. You bump into people you know. It’s a safe, welcoming, warm environment where LGBTQ people, especially lesbians, can simply be themselves.

It’s Getting Hot in Here (L-R): Melissa Brayden (moderator), Charlotte Greene, Maggie Cummings, Kris Bryant, Sandy Lowe, Fiona Riley, MJ Williams

It’s Getting Hot in Here (L-R): Melissa Brayden (moderator), Charlotte Greene, Maggie Cummings, Kris Bryant, Sandy Lowe, Fiona Riley, MJ Williamz

 

This was my second time at Women’s Week, and for readers, it offers an exciting array of choices. Bold Strokes Books put on a bunch of author events (more on that later). Bywater Books was there, Indie authors were there, Golden Crown Literary Society members were there, as well as others. The town swarmed with some of my favorite writers in the lesfic community, from everyone on the BSB list below, to non BSB authors such as Lynn Ames, Georgia Beers, KB Draper, and Rachel Spangler.

 

Badges, Stripes, and Medals book signing (L-R): Jessica L. Webb, KC Richardson, Jean Copeland, Emily Smith

Badges, Stripes, and Medals book signing (L-R): Jessica L. Webb, KC Richardson, Jean Copeland, Emily Smith

One of the things I love about lesfic is the massive choice we now have in genre selection. From short-stories to non-fiction, romance to erotica, historical fiction to the paranormal, science fiction to mysteries, young adult to romantic intrigue, there’s something for everyone. Author events at Women’s Week give us a chance to sample from these options, learn about new authors, and hear from veterans.

 

 

Another thing I love about Women’s Week is the camaraderie. I met a ton of authors and readers. From formal meet-and-greets to informal get-togethers over meals and drinks, these readers and authors are mostly just down-to-earth, nice, fun people. The established authors are generally gracious and warm, the newer ones are excited and nervous, and those in between are in turns chillax, giddy, anxious, or troublemaking. The whole week feels a bit like lesbian summer camp (except for bouts of chilly weather).

Books!

Books!

 

 

The reason for this blog is to encourage those of you who enjoy lesfic and are wondering what it would be like to attend Women’s Week, to try to make it up to Ptown for a few days next year. There really are dozens of daily events of all kinds, so you don’t have to spend all your days inside listening to readings and Q&A sessions. Ptown is gorgeous and Women’s Week has a lot to offer.

 

Emily Smith and Laydin Michaels

Emily Smith and Laydin Michaels

 

But when you do want to learn about new books or listen to or meet some of your favorite authors, Women’s Week provides plenty of opportunities for you to do so. This year, BSB put on 8 diverse panels and 4 Q&A sessions and brought 30 authors to Ptown. All events are free and there is no hard sell. Obviously BSB would love to sell books, but there’s zero pressure. As with the meet-and-greet I attended 2 years ago, this one also offered anyone with the slightest gumption to walk up to their favorite authors, introduce themselves, and chat. There is nothing intimidating about it, except for the usual hurdle some of us introverts experience in social situations!

Love is in the Air Q&A (L-R): Aurora Rey, CA Popovich, Fiona Riley, KC Richardson, Sandy Lowe (moderator), Kris Bryant

Love is in the Air Q&A (L-R): Aurora Rey, CA Popovich, Fiona Riley, KC Richardson, Sandy Lowe (moderator), Kris Bryant

 

If you haven’t seen the BSB schedule, here were the authors in attendance this year:

Ashley Bartlett, Heather Blackmore, Samantha Boyette, Melissa Brayden, Kris Bryant, Jean Copeland, Maggie Cummings, Jackie D, CF Frizzell, Charlotte Greene, Sophia Kell Hagin, Sandy Lowe, Laydin Michaels, Tina Michele, Jaycie Morrison, C.A. Popovich, VK Powell, Radclyffe, Aurora Rey, KC Richardson, Fiona Riley, Emily Smith, Holly Stratimore, Carsen Taite, TJ Thomas, Julie Tizard, M. Ullrich, Ali Vali, Jessica L. Webb, and MJ Williamz.

Sealed with a Kiss panelists (L-R): TJ Thomas (standing), Jean Copeland, Melissa Brayden, CF Frizzell, Aurora Rey, Maggie Cummings (moderator), CA Popovich

Sealed with a Kiss panelists (L-R): TJ Thomas (standing), Jean Copeland, Melissa Brayden, CF Frizzell, Aurora Rey, Maggie Cummings (moderator), CA Popovich

 

Obviously I can’t guarantee what next year’s lineup will be, but I’d love to plant the seed for you to consider taking a few days off next year to experience a delightful getaway at Women’s Week in Ptown.

 

The Amazon Trail

Searching for Old Dyke Tales

By Lee Lynch

Lee Lynch by Sue Hardesty

 

The only information I had on old gay people when I came out was that we were doomed to be alone and thus miserable. Oh, and lesbians would have leathery skin while gay men would become pitiful predators.
At least, that’s how old perverts were portrayed in the pulps, and in non-fiction about criminology and juvenile delinquency.
First off, let’s define “old.” I’m seventy and happier than I’ve ever been. If you’re under, say, 64, you think I’m old. If you’re over seventy you think I’m a spring chicken. One of my Tai Chi instructors is 80, the other is 88. My best friend is 81 and still writing novels. It’s impossible to define old.
I couldn’t look leathery if I tried, nor could any of the dykes or gay men I know. I’ve seen plenty of people who might be described that way, gay or not, but they’ve usually spent years broiling in the sun on beaches other than Fire Island or Herring Cove in Provincetown.
It’s funny how, most of my life, perfect strangers recoiled at the sight of my androgyny. With white hair I’ve become invisible, even to other dykes. Where once I’d get a smile or nod of recognition in the street in response to my own, the gaze of younger lesbians slides right off me, like I’m a lampost or a (shudder) straight person.
In my thirties and forties, I made up old lesbians in my stories. Perhaps I was looking for my elders. There may have been many around, but the generations before me were so very closeted I was aware only of a vacuum.
Once I got to know some actual true-to-life old dykes, I totally forgot there was an age difference. They treated me as an equal and we developed long, respectful friendships.
But I did such stupid stuff as a kid, made such risky, reasonless decisions, I could have used the guidance of an old dyke. In those younger years I was Alice falling down one rabbit hole after another.

Young Lee in Provincetown

Young Lee in Provincetown

Could I have learned from old lesbians and gay men or would my eyes have slid away from them the way baby dyke eyes do from me? Would I have listened? Yes, I was like that, very respectful of experienced people. As a matter of fact, I longed for such counsel, or at least for tales from people like me.
Would I have used their hard-won knowledge? Would I have followed recommended paths? I have no doubt I would have—and asked for detailed maps.
Would old gays have given me the kind of advice I needed? It would have been tricky for them to even associate with gay kids. Say I doctored my birth certificate (which I most certainly did) so I could go to gay bars. Say Joe Gay or Josie Gay, age 64, taught me how. Say my mother, a teacher, found out, or, worse, the bar was raided. Could Josie or Joe trust that this scared child would withstand a browbeating aimed at naming names?
Very few of us have biological or adoptive lesbian mothers. Where can we find guidance for our early gay adulthood? A local physician calls our mutual friends, the pianist and the handydyke (both 70 plus), her lesbian mothers. The pianist tells of the day a younger woman rushed up to her in the grocery store and announced that she and the handydyke were her lesbian aunties. The pianist knew another young lesbian, in the military, who had her suicide carefully planned out until two gay men stepped in to save her life. She also talks about a student, a homeless high school lesbian who lived with her and the handydyke for a year and who once said, “I wonder what an old lesbian looks like?”
There’s an obvious crying need for links between our young and old. The Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project,* started by Arden Eversmeyer in 1997, seeks to document our lives. Books published by the project offer our stories. I would have devoured every word right up into my thirties, looking for who I was and who I could become.
The Trevor Project has a huge presence on Twitter that seeks to encourage gay and transgendered kids.
Reportedly, 40% of homeless youth are LGBT. They so need adults to model themselves after, ways of living gay to try on, in order to find themselves. Some have lost their families; some have families to whom they’re unable to relate. Who can hold their hands when they’re slipping on the icier, dicier spots of life? In whose footsteps can they follow on the paths of relationships?
There are more and more visible role models: Edie Windsor, Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon, Ellen Degeneres, Greg Louganis, Anderson Cooper, Janis Ian, who give gay kids something to strive for. But what about the non-celebrities, the lesbian Boy Scout leader, the gay male crossing guard, the hairdressers and auto painters, the farmers and pilots—how do we get them into the lives of lost children, lgbt college students, young gay barflies? Wouldn’t any of us, even now, love a gay grandparent who could teach us to garden or build a boat and rap our knuckles, or at least warn us, at any age, when we leap into the arms of ridiculously incompatible lovers?
The good news is that now we’ve begun to have voices, we have started to display our images, we know the young people are out there, seeking as we did. Our very openness is a way of offering ourselves.

http://www.oloc.org/projects/herstory.php
Copyright Lee Lynch 2016

The Amazon Trail

Staying Home

We are not traveling this year. Definitely, positively, no ifs ands or
buts. No one can make me.

For the last eight years we’ve flown or driven across some or all of
the United States two to six times a year. And moved three times. And
endured three major surgeries between us. We’re tired and we’re taking
an eighteen month break. It didn’t help that the dentist and the
veterinarians ate all our travel money.

It seems as if, for those years, we were continuously either packing
or unpacking. Or both at the same time. My sweetheart enjoys making
reservations, plotting routes, organizing both the luggage and me. I
love the excursions she comes up with: long, narrow roads, high-end
thrift stores, new birding sites. But enough is enough. Even she cried
uncle this year.

We were in such a quandary. How could we bear not to see our friends?
So many of them go to the Golden Crown Literary Conference—and it’s in
New Orleans this year!  Also in NOLA is the Saints and Sinners
Literary Conference which we haven’t been able to attend for a few
years due to creeping exhaustion. Then there is Woman’s Week in
Provincetown.

We won’t get to see our birth families this year either. Will they
ever be able to travel here? We dearly want to show off our little bit
of Oregon. When you grow up on the East Coast, the Pacific Northwest
may as well be a foreign country and anyone who moves here seems to
have dropped off the edge of earth.

I am rubbing my hands with glee, though, because we’re withholding our
funds from the dreaded airlines. Oh, the agony of flying these days.
If not for friends, families and readers, so far away, I’d never get
on a plane again. As if the inhumane overcrowding in the name of
profits were not enough, on our last flight east we were stuffed into
newly designed seats. I didn’t think the travel industry could make
the darned things any more narrow, but they’ve achieved maximum
narrowness and minimum cushioning. Subway seats are more comfortable.

Staying home will make life easier for my sweetheart, of course. I
might finally stop losing my glasses, keys, cash, bookmarks, favorite
pens, pills, to do lists and—the dog! Oh, no, did I leave the dog
outside?

The stress of  travel (or anything else) causes my misplacement
malady. Giving up travel for a good long while may help me stop
forgetting appointments, and chores, and where I parked the car
and—the dog! Oh, no, does the dog need to go out?  She’s sixteen
and—whoops.

Other symptoms of my too-much-travel syndrome include tripping and/or
knocking over one out of every several items in my path. Dropping
small, large and medium items and everything in between. Making plans
and forgetting them. Listening to someone and tuning back in after I
realize I’ve tuned out. Doing everything too fast, as if being pursued
by the monster under my bed. Trying to remember if the cat is still
out on the fenced but roofless catio, exposed to the eagles. Doing
hand-to-hand combat with the book I’m working on to make it reveal
itself.

The house is blanketed with index cards which act like an external
hard drive for my memory. But can I find them when I need them? Why do
I expect to remember that I’ve written down something I was likely to
forget? I’m really looking forward to the peace of stability. It’s
been three months since our last trip, when we finally had time to use
a gift certificate and got a one-night honeymoon at a hotel half an
hour from home. It was a relief to return home the very next day.

Yet I am repeatedly tempted to renege on our vow to stay put.

I was going to take my sweetheart to Pat O’Briens in NOLA for her
first time. I had my inaugural and last mint julep there the year of
Stonewall and never forgot it—obviously.

My friend Carol and I always spend an afternoon buying each other
birthday gifts in Provincetown. I’ll miss that in particular this year
and probably next as we may be limited to one trip a year.

And my new Dunks’ mug? Where can I use that? Dunkin’ Donuts hot tea
and jelly donuts are a New England tradition. As is the first view of
the Atlantic Ocean driving into Provincetown.

There is nothing like spending days with all lesbians all the time.
Last year when we left the Golden Crown conference I felt 20 years old
again. Those amazons, those lesbians, and the gay guys in Ptown and
NOLA, are the essence of why I write The Amazon Trail. I need their
inspiration.

At least I won’t be bereft from missing the cat and dog this year,
although they may be better off with our pet sitter. She’d never
misplace them.

Copyright Lee Lynch  2015

Author’s Note: Lee Lynch will be at GCLS NOLA in 2015 to present Rita Mae Brown with the Lee Lynch Classic Award

The Amazon Trail

Oh, No! Not the Pradas!

Lee Lynch

 

In the face of the racist, puritanical, self-serving, money-mad, avaricious U.S. citizens and politicians whose votes and campaigns against fairness and reason won out in the recent midterm elections, we need to keep laughing, working to retain what we have gained, and believing in miracles.

This fall, at Women’s Week in Provincetown, Massachusetts, I got my little miracle.

Of course, Tex is taking all the credit. First off, Tex was Best Butch at our wedding four years ago. She had a bad cold at the time and left before the wedding cake was served. We have been hearing about her tragic disappointment ever since. This year, the bakery was open thru Women’s Week. My sweetheart ordered a smaller version of our cake.  In the swirl of lesbian events, socializing—and searching for my lost glasses—I was trying to connect with Tex to get her some cake.

The evening before, I discovered that my glasses were missing. I’ve been wearing glasses, full-time, for over 60 years and my particular visual issues require a very expensive prescription, so this was no small deal. I spent the morning recreating my perambulations of the last 20 hours. I was pretty sure I lost them coming out of a book signing with writer Rachel Spangler because we were chattering with the excitement of the event and the week and reconnecting.

I switched my clear glasses for sunglasses, carefully slipping the case into my brand new Human Rights Campaign (HRC) mini-messenger bag. I suspect that the glasses, in their case, slipped right on through and out the front flap of the unfamiliar bag. A little posse of us searched every inch of the area that night, but no glasses.

My sweetheart posted the loss on Facebook. That didn’t find the glasses, but it did prompt our optician, back in Tampa, to respond, in horror, “Not the Pradas!”

Well, yes, the Pradas. I am not in the habit of buying high-end frames, but I was having a heck of a time finding anything I liked until the other optician in that office, who clearly would understand the tastes of a lesbian butch, quietly left his seat and returned with a pair from the men’s section.

Photo Credit by Sue Fagalde Lick

Photo Credit by Sue Fagalde Lick

Love at first sight. Denim in color. Best. Frames. Ever.

And now, in Ptown, they were lost for eternity.

We had a lunch date with librarian pal M.J. and writers Karin Kallmaker and Pol Robinson. By this time a good percentage of the Women’s Week attendees, shopkeepers, hotel clerks, parking attendants, wait staff and police force were on the lookout for my glasses. Someone at our table suggested we check the Women’s Week info center in the old firehouse on Commercial Street to see if they’d been turned them in.

But first I had to find Tex and get some long-awaited cake to her. We agreed by phone to meet at the Farmers’ Market. My sweetheart, M.J. and Pol headed off to the HRC store and I set out to find Tex. On my way, I passed the firehouse and asked about my glasses. They didn’t have them.  When I found Tex she dragged me back to the firehouse in search of a Women’s Week t-shirt.

Tex was trying on the shirts and choosing colors, and I was advising her, as were all four volunteers, including Massachusetts State Representative Sarah Peake and her wife Lynn Mogell, owners of Heritage House, as well as a woman from another Ptown inn, Ravenwood, and yet another helpful woman.

A woman leaned into the firehouse from the street, held an arm up to display something, and asked, “Has anyone lost this?”

I’m aware that my jaw has dropped. I stare at my glass case, unable to speak, as we have torn apart the town, our luggage, the rental, and the car looking for this. I also scheduled an emergency eye appointment the day we got home—a matter of a 5 hour round trip.

Tex keeps saying, “Lee-ee, are those your glasses?”

Everyone in the firehouse is, by this time, holding her breath. Astonished to the point of paralysis, I manage to yell, “Yes!”

Then the excited women are cheering and hooting and talking all at once and I go down on one knee to thank the woman and thank the goddess and introduce myself and the poor woman, Colleen, seems overwhelmed and flees.

The Ravenswood woman and I talk about the confluence of energies that led to this reunion with my glasses like it was a spiritual thing. If Colleen hadn’t picked the glasses up, if she hadn’t kept them safe, if Tex hadn’t wanted that t-shirt, if my sweetheart hadn’t ordered the cake…. The scene was total revival hall; the music from across the street was “Hallelujah.”

Then Lynn Mogell asked, Did you say you’re Lee Lynch? and fesses up to having been a long-time fan and is thrilled and that’s when everyone introduces themselves and a few minutes later I call my sweetheart to tell her to stop searching and she says, “I know!” because Colleen-the-Finder happened to stop at the HRC store next and knew Karin Kallmaker and announced that she’d just returned Lee Lynch’s lost glasses and the HRC store erupted in excitement and cheers and Karin had the presence of mind to get the woman’s card and wouldn’t you know it, Colleen’s job is very similar to the one I retired from and I will send her my book and there is rejoicing in the world.

Obviously, it all happened because Tex led me back to the firehouse.

The little miracle was getting my glasses back. The big miracle was all the gay people pulling together to make that happen.

Imagine if, next election, all the gay people pulled together to make more miracles, like giving kids safe homes and schools, spending our tax money on health care and good food for everyone. If it can happen for a pair of Pradas, it can happen for politics.

 

Copyright Lee Lynch  2014

Whatever Gods May Be during Women’s Week in Provincetown

 

By Sophia Kell Hagin

 

I’m taking up Kathi’s offer to post for a couple of reasons. One is so I can introduce myself and, more importantly, introduce my novel, Whatever Gods May Be, which will be available from BSB in October. The other reason is to blatantly pimp all the BSB events during the upcoming Women’s Week in Provincetown (October 9-16).

My friends seem surprised when I tell them what Whatever Gods May Be is about; apparently they don’t think of me as the sort of person who’d write that sort of book (you can check out an excerpt over at This Month’s Book Excerpts)

Fact is, I couldn’t help it. A few years ago, I found myself thinking about the various reasons people go into the military. Then I started wondering what might happen to a young woman who joins up in a time when there’s no ban on lesbians and, also, women can qualify for combat jobs. Pretty soon, I could see her. Then I began to notice her surroundings in a time just a little ahead of now — ten years out, or twenty or thirty. Hard to tell exactly.

And, of course, I had to write it down.

Whatever Gods May Be is about someone young and alone and desperate ending up in the middle of a war — who she meets, who she loves, how she copes, who she becomes.  Writing it was a powerful, rewarding experience because both the characters and the setting seduced me.  I hope it turns out to be as rewarding for readers.

The official release date of Whatever Gods May Be is October 18.  But it’ll be available before that during Women’s Week in Provincetown. 

A lot goes on in Provincetown during Women’s Week, and one of the best parts is all the BSB activities that make it easy and fun for readers to connect with authors and get a sense of the range and variety of BSB novels available to them.

Last I heard, 18 BSB authors will be coming to Women’s Week 2010.  Eight different BSB author readings/panels (followed by book signings at Now Voyager) have been scheduled — and this year they’re themed, so readers can get a good taste of the kinds of BSB novels they might like.  Also, each panel session begins with a Spotlight on a particular author — and then that author moderates the panel that follows.

I’ll be participating on two panels — Cliffhangers: Writing Un-put-down-able Books, moderated by Radclyffe, and Bad Girls, moderated by Nell Stark and Trinity Tam (guess that tells you something about my novel, huh?). 

This will be my second Women’s Week as a BSB author.  Last year, as a newly-signed author, I did a very brief reading that I can barely remember to a SRO crowd at Gabriel’sCliffi Henderson moderated it, and she had us authors pull questions out of a hat (yes, literally!); somehow we all maintained sufficient presence of mind to respond to whatever was on the piece of paper we each unfolded.  In front of that SRO crowd. 

My brain refuses to recall the question I ended up with or what my answer was.  All I remember now is being totally grateful that I didn’t get the question about the state of the contents of my underwear drawer (is it neat or…?).  Anyway, at least I lost my author-reading virginity that day. 

This year my novel will actually be available, so I’m even more nervous and excited than I was last time.  But hey — did I mention that this year my novel will actually be available and you can buy it and read it and if you want I’ll sign it …?


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