I posted yesterday about something that happened to me during final edits for an upcoming book about tea dance in gay culture, and I just wanted to elaborate on why I’ll probably vet gay content…or gay cultural content…even more now.
But I’m not going to go overboard either, and I also wanted to get into why it’s important not to add too much information in fiction. Tea dance for me and thousands of other gay men of all ages…it’s not an age thing or a generational thing; I know gay men that range from age 21 to 91 who go to tea dance in Sunday afternoons…is something we don’t even think about twice. I e-mailed good friends yesterday to back me up and they agreed with me. But I do understand how many people who are not gay, or familiar with all the details of gay culture, would not know anything about tea dance. So I added a few lines to the book in an appropriate place to explain tea dance.
But only a few lines. I didn’t go into a long dissertation with multiple paragraphs on tea dance or the history of tea dance. I didn’t want to stop the story to do that, I didn’t want to lose the reader, and I think the explanation doesn’t disrupt anything in the book. If I had gone into a long explanation of tea dance I would have run the risk of boring the people who do know what tea dance is, and even boring those who don’t know what it is. In other words, the book is about a Palm Beach rake (bad boy), it’s not about tea dance in gay culture. And it’s important to stay focused on the story and not the elements surrounding the story.
As for all gay content in general, I’m going to be thinking differently now whenever I write something into a book where I mention something dealing with gay culture that I take for granted. With all the blogs and information I see out there at a glance, I honestly did think someone, somewhere, had posted about tea dance and I thought it would be redundant to explain it in the book. But I’m not going to assume anything anymore. There are blogs I see sometimes that post up to five five or six times a day about gay history and gay couples, but now I’m starting to wonder how deeply those posts go. In other words, I’m starting to think all these articles flashed on blogs and social media are nothing more than excerpts and quotes from other practical academic sources with very little original content that’s based on any personal…or solid…experience about gay culture.
One of the things I find most difficult, as a gay writer, is finding good solid information about anything online dealing with gay culture when I need a resource. For example, in this article/post that deals with gender power in m/m romance, everything is based on academic information you can find in a text book in any community college. It’s a good article; it can’t be disputed. I completely agree with it. However, I find it lacking like most other gay content I find online. And that’s just a very small example. The majority of information I read online always seems to skim over gay content, with haphazard pieces about gay couples in history, or famous people who may (or may not in some cases) have been gay, always leave me wondering why no one ever digs deeper. It’s one thing to post about Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas on the surface and say they were gay, but it’s another to really get into a least a small part of the dynamics behind their relationship.
When I wrote the Titanic historical gay romance over a year ago (which will be released soon with Ryan Field Press as a .99 e-book) I found basically nothing about gay men in the Edwardian era when I was researching. And that’s because the word gay with regard to sexuality didn’t even exist back then. If they weren’t referred to as homosexuals, they were queers and fags and a variety of other pejoratives I would rather not repeat here. And no one talked about it openly, so no one recorded anything. And the best we can do now is guess about what it was really like.
But things have changed, and gay content isn’t that difficult to find anymore. The big problem I see right now are the sources where the gay information is offered is often lacking in substance, and lacking in content because it’s not coming from people who know how to dig deeper…or want to take the time to dig deeper. As a result, nice people take for granted that’s all there is and they don’t question anything because they don’t realize they aren’t getting all the information. And that’s where it’s important to vet gay content these days. In other words, don’t just take what you see on a blog that posts tons of gay articles daily and think it’s valuable information. It’s information, and it’s most likely correct, but it’s not going to tell you about things like gay tea dance. I’m going to try to work harder on this in the future.
More Paula Deen Issues
It was announced yesterday that now Wal-Mart and Caesars Entertainment will be backing away from Paula Deen. And there might be more to come.
Walmart and Caesars Entertainment joined Smithfield, a food company specializing in pork products, which dropped Deen on Monday. The Food Network also decided not to renew Deen’s contract after her remarks.
QVC told TMZ.com it was “closely monitoring these events and we are reviewing our business relationship with Ms. Deen. In the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC.”
Equal Rights Blog Hop
A blogging buddy of mine sent me information about a blog hop for his new web site that’s focused on equal rights.
From my inbox:
The Equal Rights Blog Hop
As most of you know, equal rights are something that the GLBT community (or whatever acronym you prefer) has been fighting for across the world for some time now. The right to marry whomever we love. The right to be protected against discrimination in the workplace. The right to be protected from acts of violence that stem from who and what we are. We are making gains in some areas–many more countries are recognizing same-sex marriages as a legal right. We are losing ground in others, such as the increase in state-sanctioned violence against homosexuals in Russia and transgendered people in Greece.
July the 4th marks the celebration of Independence Day in the United States. We invite you to take place in a blog hop to celebrate our own march toward independence!
Queer Town Abbey is hosting a blog hop July 4th through 7th and we want YOU to participate! We’re calling on writers across the GLBT genre to join us: our theme is “What does being a member of the GLBT community mean to you?”
Please write a blog post on this topic and post it on your site on the 4th July. Feel free to also promote your books, too. Consider offering a prize to readers who comment on your post, as this will help ensure that people circulate the entire blog list.
This is a serious subject but we want you to have fun too! Share with us what being a member of this fabulous community means to you while taking the opportunity to introduce yourself to new readers and potential fans.