Stone Butch Blues

I read  Stone Butch Blues.

 It is magnificent.

 Not a false note.

You pick it up, you can’t put it down.

I had high expectations. This book exceeded them.

I intend to buy several copies to give as gifts, it’s that good.

This book should be required reading .

 It deserves to be on the same bookshelf as :

The Diary Of Anne Frank,

 If This Is A Man by Primo Levi,

 and To Kill A Mockingbird.

The same courage,

 indomnitable spirit,

 senseless cruelty and,

 power of the human spirit. 

Jess, the main character, suffers so much and is treated so unfairly by life’s bullies and yet,

 she never loses her humanity.

 She is  treated with hatred and violence or at best, disgust,

 and all she wants is what we all want,

 to be accepted.

The prose is tight, Feinberg is a talented writer.

This book is not depressing nor is it upbeat it is — hard and True.

To quote Leslie Feinberg’s afterword from 2003:

Never underestimate the power of fiction to tell the truth.

It is about a specific time and place and a marginalised segment of society and yet, it is universal.

1950’s Buffalo, New York becomes, anywhere and everywhere.

Great Literature does that.

I’m grateful I read this book.

 I’m grateful I was born, when I was born,

 and that brave women like Leslie Feinberg came before me.

If you have not read Stone Butch Blues.

You Must.

Later girls


The power of fiction to illuminate

Yesterday, I picked up Stone Butch Blues.

 I have only read the first chapter.

 I think I’m going to like it.

From memory, I would say I have never read any work of fiction that deals with transgender topics.

 I wonder why?

Can’t say I have read much about bisexuality either.

Maybe one of the reasons I have sidestepped Stone Butch Blues all these years,

 is because I hate to read about suffering and abuse.

I’m a bit of a wimp that way.

I have always had trouble dealing with novels whose main theme is abuse.

 I  know it exists, I hate that it exists.

Child abuse, incest, all are topics that disgust me.

I realise that most people feel that way, maybe it’s my inner ostrich coming through.

A friend of mine asked me  to read Bastard Out Of Carolina, she told me it was very important to her

 and that she kept coming back to it.

So, I read it.

I hated it and loved it, at the same time.

The voice was so true and it was so painful to read.

When I finished it, I felt physically sick, like I might vomit.

I’m glad I read it and I will never read it again, no need, it is imprinted on my brain.

I would encourage people to read it, it is strong and powerful.

I know, Stone  Butch Blues,  is not about that kind of abuse.

 It is about ignorance and abuse of power.

I also think, based on what I have read about it, that it is about being who you are.

Not an easy task in a world that doesn’t accept you.

I’ll let you all know what I think of it.

Fiction has the power to illuminate.

I’m hoping that Stone Butch Blues, will help me to understand transgender issues. 

Not to accept, I accept, who am I not to accept?

Understanding is something else.

Bisexuality also leaves me a little perplexed.

I get fluidity,

I get being attracted to both sexes,

I get evolution in one’s life and being different people at different times.

Maybe, I get bisexuality and don’t realise it.

I must try and find a novel that deals in a truthful manner with bisexuality.

Any suggestions?

Later girls



Gonna get me some classics

Tomorrow I’m going to the bookstore, to shop for some classics.

You would think, I would like to get away from bookstores but, what can I say it’s a disease.

I want to pick up Stone Butch Blues, I don’t understand how come I have never read it, puzzling.

I’m also going to pick up, Ties That Bind, the Sarah Schulman non-fiction. I believe Sarah Schulman is one of the most daring and thought provoking writers I have ever read. I’m really looking forward to it. In the coming weeks I plan on posting some thoughts on her books and Stone Butch Blues. So tomorrow I spend what is left of the gift certificates.

Later girls


Of childhood, and the love of a good woman

The French writer, aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is quoted as saying,

We are of our childhood, as we are of our nation.

I read this recently in a column in a newspaper, it struck me, so true and so simple.

I am a quote junkie, I collect them. I write them in a little black notebook.

For me and now, a little bit, for you.

I believe we really are of our childhood, we learn about love and what it means at a tender age.

Not only the love that we receive but, the example of our parents’ love for one another.

I am lucky in that way,

I come from generations of imperfect people who loved each other imperfectly,

 but, love each other they did.

Quite a legacy.

We learn also to see the world in childhood, in fact many worlds, imagination is also a potent world.

We can be anything, when I was 8 or 9, I wanted to be in movies.

 Later, I wanted to make them,

 later still I wanted to write them.

I haven’t given up on that,  yet

A girl must dream even if she is a middle-aged bookseller   ( All in all a pretty cool job).

The point is I have always believed. I learnt that in my childhood.

I don’t mean to be reductive, we are of many things, childhood is very important but, so are other things.

Friendship, health, education, all of these factors impact our worldview.

The love of a cherished partner is also a major determinant, in our happiness.

I love the phrase, the love of a good woman.

I know it is slightly old-fashioned and perhaps a tad paternalistic, originally.

I don’t see it that way, I long to be some one’s good woman loving and to have it reciprocated.

Just a few random thoughts I wanted to share with you.

Later girls (or guys, I don’t discriminate)


Jane Austen, I love her.

Yes, I know Jane Austen is not a lesbian.

 I suppose also that she is not considered terribly butch.

 I like many authors who could be considered butch in both senses of the word (macho and queer),

 think Hemingway, London and Sarah Schulman.

Deep inside of my romantic heart, I also have a yearning for girl stuff.

I don’t mean Shopaholic and stuff  (although Bridget Jones’s diary is hilarious), I mean classic female Lit.

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is to me , a magical novel that I never tire of reading.

I discovered it when I was way past an  impressionable age and yet I read it, and I am twelve again. 

My favorite early female novelist is, Jane Austen.

A few years ago my mom and I decided that we would read all of Austen’s novels.

It was by no means a gargantuan task, there are only six Austen novels.

Pride and Prejudice,

Sense and Sensibility,


Mansfield Park,

Northanger Abbey,



The only one I had read was Pride and Prejudice when I was a teenager. I remember thinking it was O.K.

I flew through Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, I loved them.

I liked Mansfield Park. I had a lot of trouble with Emma, I found the heroine extremely annoying.

The one I liked the most was Persuasion, it seemed to me to be a mature woman’s Pride and Prejudice.

I couldn’t make it through Northanger Abbey.

 I can’t stand gothic.

I’ve tried, it just doesn’t work for me.

I don’t like vampires either.

I’m probably in a minority there, as both heterosexual women, as well as lesbians find vampires really sexy.

( One exception a story by Katherine V Forrest about a lesbian vampire on a space ship, that was really hot.)

Back to Austen. I love her work.

 Her novels seem to be about,    not much.

Women looking to marry, going to parties.

Yet,  Austen is an astute observer of her times and has a real eye for illuminating human nature.  

She wrote these novels in the 18 th century and they  are still fresh and insightfull today.

Austen is a quiet pleasure, sunday afternoon under a tree without a care in the world.

I had to learn about those kinds of pleasures before I could enjoy her.

So, for my recent 45 th birthday, I bought myself a copy of Northanger Abbey.

 This edition also includes: Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sandition. Little known or unpublished in her life time works.

My summer project is to read them. I’ll let  you know what I think.

I figure all those rabid Jane Austen fans can’t be wrong. Jane is no fad, she is a classic.

Later girls


Romance and the single butch

I could have called this post, sex and the single butch,

 or love and the single butch

but, this single butch seeks romance, above else.

Ah, romance, the courting and ultimate seduction of a woman, it’s what makes life worth living.

The problem is  I have not been very successful at it for years.

When I was young I was something of a stud.

It was about swagger and bravado.

Of course, it was all an act, who knows anything at that age.

But, since I got top marks in high school drama class, I was believable.

I managed to convince a few women that I had more experience and was more worldly than I really was.

It was great, I learned so much, and a truly good time was had by all.

I was goal oriented, I wanted to learn how to please a woman.

My studly life was over when I met a special woman, who I loved.

We were happy for many years, and then, unhappy for many years.

I wasn’t a very good partner, but, I was and am her friend.

I am grateful to her, for her patience and friendship.

I lived with guilt and hurt for many years and aside from a few meaningless sexual encounters,

I lived without love in a romantic sense.

I was in a coma.

A few years ago I fell madly in love, I really thought she was the one,

she wasn’t,

 she broke my heart.

I don’t think she meant to, we just weren’t on the same page.

She was wrong for me, she wasn’t even a reader,

 can you imagine?

Anyway, to say I am gun shy and confused would be an understatement.

Does the possibility of romance still exist  for a middle aged bookish butch?

The world is more open to sexual minorities than it ever has been.

People  identify themselves with greater ease  as gay, bisexual, whatever.

Sexual encounters are always possible.

But, true connection body, heart, soul and mind?

Flowers and poetry is it possible still?

Followed by  love, not perfection, love.

I hope and believe  it is,

 and this butch in spite of numerous bruises and strike outs,

remains optimistic.

Tell me girls,

 do you?

Am I crazy and naive?

Thanks for reading this and sharing my thoughts and ramblings.

Later guys, next time

Books, Books, Books.


The two kates of lesbian detective fiction

It is unseasonably hot in Montreal right now.

I am an insomniac under the best of circumstances, but this heat is making me cranky and crazy.

So what to do? 

Read, what else.

I read mysteries, I love them.

Yeah, I read a lot of things but, mysteries are a particular fascination of mine.

Some of my favorites are: Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Sara Paretsky and Carol O’Connell.

I really like Mysteries with female detectives and if they happen to be lesbians, all the better.

I already said I enjoy romance because it gives me hope.

 With mysteries it is about smart, tough, women struggling with incredibly difficult jobs in worlds rampant with sexism and homophobia and, making it.

Two of my favorite dyke detectives are Laurie R King’s, Kate Martinelli and Katherine V forrest’s , Kate Delafield.

Both are homicide detectives, Martinelli in San Francisco and Delafield in Los Angeles.

Both are closeted because of the danger of them being out.

 Both struggle to keep relationships afloat.

Both are good and profoundly flawed people

 and I love them,

 they kick ass. 

The women who write these books are mature, thoughtful and accomplished writers.

King, I believe is straight and Forrest is a lesbian icon and it makes no difference one is as credible as the other.

I think there should be more lesbian fiction heroines.

 I’m glad these two are pretty mainstream as far as mysteries are concerned. 

I often suggest them to customers and use them as a litmust test for their tolerance.

These are just preliminary thoughts on lesbian mysteries.

More soon

Later guys


Top ten lesbian romances part 4

Love in the Balance by Marianne K Martin, is a beautiful love story.

 Connie is an accountant (not the sexiest of trades , but, Connie is)  Kasey is a master carpenter. Connie is straight and Kasey is the dream butch, perfection. Kasey hires Connie’s firm to help with marketing etc,

 from the moment they meet they click.  This book is romantic to the extreme, it even includes a weekend at a cabin in the woods. The two heroines are likable and torn. Connie because she has never been with a woman, Kasey because she has been crushed by a bisexual woman who “went back” to men. It’s romantic and really sexy, the love scenes make you feel like a voyeur. This book has as a major theme homophobia and how it destroys lives, literately.

A book that makes you cry and explores the prejudices we all have, gay or straight. A must read for the lesbian romance fan.

Emma Donoghue is a serious literary fiction author, her book Landing  is a love story.

Sile and Jude could not be more different. Sile is Irish-Indian, a flight attendant and lives in the cosmopolitan city of Dublin. Jude is much younger, is the curator of a small Ontario local history museum. The meet and strangely enough fall in love. Can a long distance relationship work?

This book made me feel good, made me laugh, I was charmed all the way through, I love an old fashioned love story. Girl meets girl. Girl sweeps girl off her feet.

Well, I think that wraps posts about my favorite lesbian romance novels. I hope you enjoyed them. Let me know what your favorite are and why.

Later guys


Top Lesbian Romance novels part 3

As I look over my list, I’m struck by how many of them deal with loss and grief. 

 Lisa Shapiro’s Endless Love deals with the death of a young woman’s lover and how she climbs out of the abyss of that grief.   Andrea (I’m pretty sure it’s Andrea) in the first part of the book  is a college student in a New England college.  Andrea is a loner and a brain. She needs extra money so she starts to tutor, Ryan.   Ryan, is a jock theology student.They fall in love, and Ryan dies. 

 In the second half of the book, Andrea is working in an ad agency, writing copy. She is still a loner and her trust issues are worst then ever. Her parents are divorced and her sister is dealing with severe mental illness. In walks Gwen, her new boss. Gwen is very beautiful and accomplished and has had to start all over again after a massive heart attack nearly took her life.

Both of these women have lots of pain in their past, and don’t trust that love will ever happen again. In spite of themselves they fall in love. It is a very hopeful novel. Bad things, even tragic things, happen to all of us. Lisa Shapiro in Endless Love, helps us to believe that you can find your way back and that love will make it bearable. 

This book is about quirky, oddball types who make it. It gives hope to all the quirky oddballs out there and I know that represents legions of us. 

Watermark by Karin Kallmaker is also about grief. Rayann and Louisa have been together a long time , they are very happy. An accident takes Louisa, and Rayann must rebuild her shattered life. She has friends, she has family but, she no longer has Louisa, the love of her life. She takes a new job and meets Reese, a young woman who is nothing like Louisa. Louisa was much older, Reese is much younger. Rayann resists Reese, she is still in love with Louisa, but Louisa is dead.

Again this book is about grief and how difficult it is to surmount. It is beautiful and sometimes difficult to read because of the pain the characters are experiencing.

A good novel takes you on a voyage, both of these novels do that. They are not happy voyages but, voyages nonetheless.

You feel for and even with, the characters. Everyone has unresolved pain and issues. Reading about fictitious characters dealing with hard stuff  helps to put context and texture to your own baggage. It brings solace and you don’t have to open things up publicly. Novels are cheaper and more fun than psychotherapy, and for most of us, all that is required.

Later guys


On Being Butch

This morning, I have been thinking about being butch and what it means.

I often experience strange reactions from people, mostly straight women, when I refer to myself as butch. It seems some of them think that I am putting myself down when I describe myself as butch, and try to tell me 

“You’re not so butch”

To which I reply  

 Of course I am.

Being butch, is not a badge of honour nor is it a source of embarrassment, it is what I am.

I have always seen a butch as a  gentlemanly woman.

I use gentleman because I can think of no feminine equivalent.

I like the word butch. I like the word queer. I like the word dyke.

 I believe they empower.

 I use them.

My friends use them.

Butch is not about macho or aggressivity.

 It’s  about style and philosophy.

 It’s about a code of conduct the unwritten,

 Book of Butch

A butch acts in certain ways,

 with class,

 with strength,

 with dignity.

She treats women well,     always.

 She accepts no for an answer, even if it pisses her off.

Butches are romantic, send flowers, remember birthdays.

They rarely dye their hair. They usually wear boots.

They like to appear stoic. Think Gary Cooper.

 Yep, Nope.

They would all like to be handy alas, some of them,

( us) are bookish and  hire other butches or even,

 men to renovate.

They like to think of themselves as the most considerate and accomplished of lovers.

Butches have illusions about themselves like everyone else.

It’s fun, it’s silly, it’s serious.

I like the aesthetics of butch.

All of this is my interpretation and how I see it. Your version might differ and that’s fine.

I just wanted to let you in on some of my thoughts on the subject.