Girls of Summer cover reveal + giveaway

So. Election day is over–sort of, if you don’t count Georgia and Florida. Despite the “Big Win” a certain tweeting madman immediately claimed, the Democrats managed to flip the House of Representatives, which is allowing most of us in the LGBTQ+ community as well as other minority groups to breathe a bit easier. There’s still the looming constitutional crisis that accelerated yesterday with the firing of Sessions, the specter of a conservative Supreme Court for decades to come, and serious questions regarding the hackability of our electronic voting infrastructure, but hey. At least we’ll be able to subpoena the crazy dude’s taxes, am I right?

Sigh… I know, it’s always darkest before the light. I’m just afraid we haven’t gotten truly dark enough yet to qualify.

GoS-kindleAnyway, on to writing news, specifically regarding the upcoming fourth book in my USWNT soccer series, the Girls of Summer. Honestly, submerging myself in fictional 2014-15 America–when Obama was still president and gay marriage was about to be legalized across the entire nation!–has been a wonderful balm to my anxiety-ridden 2016-18 self. I hope my books might offer the same sort of refuge for some of you, as well.

As I mentioned in a message to my mailing list last week, the fourth (and possibly not final) book in my soccer series, Girls of Summer, is due to be released in December or January. The new cover is at right, though of course, I reserve the right to change it (as per usual) before publication. I’ll be giving away 2 copies of Girls of Summer one week before the novel is available for download. To qualify for the drawings, read on!

I’ve released three titles in the past few months:

To be entered in the first drawing for a free, early copy of Girls of Summer, you need only have purchased a copy of one of the three books listed above. To be entered in the second drawing, pen a review on Amazon or Goodreads for one of the three books listed above. Once you’ve purchased one of these books or written a review, send a note to kate (at) katejchristie.com, and I’ll add your email address to the giveaway(s). The deadline to sign up is December 1, so that gives you some time. On December 2, I’ll draw the winners and notify them by email.

I’m relying on the honor system, so no proof of purchase or review is necessary. But please do consider writing a review if you haven’t already done so. Word of mouth helps books find readers, especially in a smaller niche like lesbian fiction.

In the meantime, happy reading and keep resisting. Also, best wishes to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on a speedy recovery! And I mean, speedy…

 

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Posted in Giveaways, Lesbian Fiction, LGBTQ+, Queer books, Women's soccer | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Theory of Love Available for Pre-Order

A Theory of Love, my new contemporary romance, is now available on Amazon for pre-order. The official release date is October 18, but I’m hoping to get it done a bit sooner. I’ve uploaded the semi-official excerpt–the first three chapters–on my website here.

What is the new novel about? Well, here’s my one-sentence tropey description: Jock meets nerd in this slow-burn lesbian romance where women’s rugby, the sociology of romance fiction, and an occasional appearance by Neil deGrasse Tyson provide the backdrop for an opposites-attract love story.

To be clear, Neil deGrasse Tyson does not actually appear in the story as a character. But he is mentioned once or twice, and I wanted to hint at the meaning behind the cover without being spoilery.

Speaking of covers, below the blurb you’ll find an image of the (probably) final ATOL cover. We are still a few weeks out, though, so you never know.

ATOL Blurb – AKA the Dust Jacket Copy

Here is the mostly final book blurb:

Eva DeMarco isn’t looking for a relationship. Fresh off a year’s family leave, she is hoping for a quiet return to her teaching and research career at Edmonds University, where she is still in search of the holy grail of tenure. Given that she has recently chucked her Serious Research Interest in the visual arts to study romance novels, she’s pretty sure her best bet is to skate under the radar of university higher-ups for the foreseeable future.

Cassidy Trane is only in Washington State for another few months. Soon she’ll be resuming her hipster lifestyle in San Francisco, making good money in the tech industry and cheering for her ex-teammates on the local pro rugby side. She certainly doesn’t intend to fall for an academic, especially not one at the university where her golden-boy twin brother literally teaches rocket science.

But as fate conspires to bring Cass and Eva together, they learn that sometimes plans have to be flexible–that is, if they want a chance at their very own Happily Ever After.

As soon as this book is out, I’ll return my attention to wrapping up Jamie and Emma’s story in book four, Girls of Summer, the last planned book in the series of the same name. I should have a cover and pre-order link to share in October, with publication coming in November or December. I’m writing as fast as I can, so think good thoughts!

As always, thanks for your interest and support, and happy reading!

Theory-Front-Cover-NEW

Posted in Fiction, Lesbian Fiction, Queer books, Second Growth Books, Writing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Queer Mama Book Recs

Mommy-Mama-MeWhen my wife Kris and I started our family nearly a decade ago, we were given a board book that we proceeded to read to our daughters every night for years, until it literally fell apart: Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman. (Actually, one of our daughters might have chewed off the binding during a particularly fraught teething stage, but I digress.) We supplemented this bedtime routine with a handful of other favorite children’s titles: Time for Bed by Mem Fox; Pajama Time by the wonderful Sandra Boynton; The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood; and, of course, Heather has Two Mommies, the queer mama classic by the amazing Lesléa Newman.

As our daughters have grown, we’ve sought out more books that feature same-sex parents of the female variety because we want our girls to see our family reflected in the stories we read—more of a challenge than it should be, really, in the twenty-first century. We’ve also looked for books that normalize donor conception, since that’s the way our family came to be. The lists I’ve come across at Goodreads and on assorted library sites tend to be either too broad or don’t include enough information on the age group or availability of the titles. Which isn’t to say I’m not grateful those compilations exist. It’s just that in my parenting experience, I’m generally so exhausted from the daily grind that I don’t have the energy to sort through each entry. What I’ve long wanted is a curated list of books that feature two-mom families and, preferably, include a lesbian parent’s personal review.

family-faves

Our family favorites

So, just as I did when I couldn’t find the exact queer retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that I wanted to read, I’ve decided to create a curated list of queer mom books myself.

Below, you’ll find titles that feature lesbian moms and diverse families as well as a couple of stories about donor conception and a few middle-grade books with queer girl characters. I’ve included brief descriptions and/or reviews of each story, which are completely subjective and potentially inaccurate as are all book recommendations and reviews. I hope our list of family favorites and to-be-reads helps other families like ours. And if not, at least Kris and I now have a curated list to call up in the future when even more of our parenting memories have been lost to the blur of time.

A Quick Note on Other Lists

A year and a half ago, our local librarian recommended taking a look at the Rainbow Book List, compiled each year by the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table. These annual bulletins present a “bibliography of quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content [that] are recommended for people from birth through eighteen years of age.” I am incredibly happy that the ALA provides such a resource, for obvious reasons. 

reading3

A typical scene at our house

However, I have found in my semi-permanent, sleep-deprived state that the ALA compilation, which is organized by year and contains a broad range of LGBTQ+ topics, offers so many options that I soon become overwhelmed and click away. But check it out if you get a chance. It’s as fabulous as our local librarian, who just happens to sit on the ALA Rainbow Book List committee.

Another list I wholeheartedly recommend can be found on the Welcoming Schools pageGreat LGBTQ Inclusive Picture and Middle Grade Books.” This page contains many of our favorite two-mom stories as well as the gay-dad books we either own or check out from our library over and over. And finally, Goodreads has a list calledChildren’s & teen fiction featuring lesbian mothers” that contains 90 (ninety!) titles. Obviously, the number of titles available in the lesbian mom and queer girl genres has grown immensely since our first daughter was born in 2011.

I hope you have as much fun browsing our family favorites as Kris, the girls, and I did compiling this list. Now, we’re off to read some of these nearly forgotten gems…

Picture Books

Children’s Books Featuring Two Moms

Mama, Mommy, and Me by Lesléa Newman
As previously noted, this two-mom board book is a family favorite that we read to our daughters nightly for years. And years, and years… Our oldest daughter was just reading this list over my shoulder, and she crowed in delight when she saw this first title. Then she said, “Isn’t that the one Ellie chewed up?” And yes. Yes, it is.

Heather has Two Mommies by Lesléa NewmanHeather-two-mommies_sm
We initially owned the classic 1990s version of this book that offered more detail on conception than the girls could assimilate when they were super little. Happily, the updated version reads more like Mama, Mommy, and Me, with colorful illustrations that won’t make moms born and raised in the Midwest (ahem) blush.

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager
This is a sweet story from the point of view of a young boy with two moms. We don’t own it, but we have checked it out from the library more times than I can count.

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco In-Our-Mothers-House
Our daughter’s school librarian recommended this gem about a twentieth-century rainbow family in the Bay Area. Kris and I were a bit doubtful at first—we hadn’t heard of the book or the author—but we both teared up by the end of our first read. What a lovely, lovely book, told from the perspective of a grown child of lesbian moms.

Donovan’s Big Day by Lesléa Newman
I just read this story today about a boy preparing for his moms’ wedding. Donovan has an important job to do in the ceremony, and the narrative follows him as he goes about getting ready for “his” big day. Another gem from the inimitable Lesléa Newman.

Molly’s Family by Nancy Garden
I haven’t actually read this one yet, but I am a huge fan of Nancy Garden and her wonderful books, so I’m putting it on my list!

Children’s Books about Diverse Families and People

The Family Book by Todd ParrThe-Family-Book
I have yet to find a Todd Parr book I don’t like, and this one about all the sizes, shapes, and colors that families come in is no different.

A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary
This is another library read that we’ve enjoyed multiple times. Like Heather has Two Mommies and other similar books, the story revolves around a classroom discussion about the broad diversity of family types—including same-sex parented families.

It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr
Another winner from Todd Parr, this book seeks to normalize differences and assures kids that no matter who they are, they are special and loved. Yay!

Skin Again by bell hooksSkin-Again
A wonderful, beautifully illustrated poem by one of my favorite writers about opening your heart to who people are on the inside, this picture book has been a grown-up favorite in our household as well as popular among the younger set. Every time I read this book, I feel hopeful about our collective future, which in today’s political and environmental climate is quite an impressive feat.

Red: A Crayons Story by Michael Hall
This emotionally affecting story about identity features a crayon who is red on the outside but feels blue on the inside. At first Red struggles as his family and teacher encourage him to live up to his “red” label, but life improves immensely when he embraces who he really is on the inside.

Annies-plaid-shirt

Annie’s Plaid Shirt by Stacy B. Davids
Another book about identity, this story explores a child’s distress when she is told she has to wear a dress to her uncle’s wedding. I totally was Annie, only I’m pretty sure I wore a blue sweatshirt everywhere instead of a plaid shirt, and I did end up having to wear the detested dress. Happily, this story ends better for Annie.

The Big Book of Girl Power (DC Super Heroes) by Julie Merberg
This board book features strong girls and women who, despite their generally skimpy clothing (ugh), pack a powerful punch of one type or another. The cover features Supergirl, who falls in love with Lois Lane in DC’s Bombshells United; Wonder Woman, who is canonically bisexual; and Batgirl, whose counterpart Batwoman is canonically gay in The CW’s latest addition to its superhero line-up. Boo-yah.

Children’s Books about Conception and Donor Insemination

Zak’s Safari by Christy Tyner Zaks-Safari
An engaging main character (Zak) and lovely images accompany this story of how one two-mom family came to be. For those looking for a simple way to explain donor conception within the frame of same-sex parenting, this book is the mother lode! (Sorry, couldn’t resist the terrible pun.) Visit the author’s website to read the book online and/or watch the vlog of how this book came to be.

It Takes Love (and Some Other Stuff) to Make a Baby by LL Bird
Like Zak’s Safari, this book employs colorful images and age-appropriate language and concepts to explain how kids in many lesbian-parented families are conceived through donor insemination. The author’s original crowd-funding video is still available on Vimeo if you’re curious.

It’s So Amazing: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families by Robie H. Harris
Grade Level: 2-5. 88 pages. This book came recommended by my sister-in-law, who is not only an awesome human being but a certified social worker. It offers a detailed look at conception, and while it does focus at first on heterosexual reproduction, the book offers information on alternative conception as well as on how twins form and grow in utero. We’ve read through portions with our kiddos, but I suspect its clinical approach will find a more attentive audience among our daughters when they are a bit older.

Chapter Books & Middle-Grade Titles

Books with Lesbian Moms

best-friend-next-door

Best Friend Next Door by Carolyn Mackler
Grade Level: 3-7. 224 pages. Our seven-year-old read this library book over the summer and thought it was a “fun” read. She says she enjoyed that it was written from the perspective of two girls who live next door to each other, one of whom has two moms. They were born on the same day and their names are palindromes, which she thought was especially interesting. The online reviews say “charming, engaging, and supportive,” so there you go.

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue
Grade Level: 3-7. 336 pages. This was a family read for us, and Kris and our kids really enjoyed this book. I wanted to love it too, but alas, I didn’t. Sumac, the POV character, is nine years old when her grandfather with dementia moves to Toronto to live with her large, racially diverse family. Sumac has two moms and two dads, and the two couples co-parent their many children in an enormous Victorian house. As we made our way through the novel, the adult characters began to feel overly eccentric and Sumac too mature for her age. Four parents should offer an excellent safety net, but Sumac is left to parent herself through most of the tale and, as children are wont to do, does so imperfectly. While it’s an interesting and well-written read, I’m too ambivalent about the parenting style(s) to recommend this novel wholeheartedly.

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker BradleyThe-War-that-Saved-My-Life
Grade Level: 4-7. 352 pages. We read this book as a family and absolutely loved both it and the sequel (see below). There were some very intense emotional moments, particularly around the main character’s abusive biological mother who appears only briefly (fortunately!), but the emotional upheaval is handled with sensitivity. Ada’s guardian, the central queer character in the book, ably helps her work through her trauma on her way to a happy-ish ending. Our oldest daughter thought the book “had really cool WWII facts,” and all three kids learned a lot about the Battle of Britain. They also learned about poverty, child abuse, class privilege, and found family in 1940s England. I can’t recommend this novel enough, although you might want to read it with/to your kids so that you can skip or explain some of the more intense sections. We omitted a couple of pages that went into detail about soldier injuries during the evacuation of Dunkirk—just a heads-up.

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Grade Level: 4-7. 416 pages. Sequel to The War that Saved My Life. Same as above. We adored this book, but it does have adult elements—descriptions of anti-Semitism and concentration camps, for example—that we discussed with the kids at length. For us, this was another family read, although I expect that our girls will read both books in the series on their own when they’re older.

This-Would-Make-a-Good-Story

This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy 
Grade Level: 4-7. 320 pages. The main character has two moms, one of whom is actually named Mimi (like me) and is even a writer! The story, written in epistolary format, details the main character Sara’s cross-country train journey with her family the summer before she starts middle school. The narrative includes journal entries by Sara and assorted written materials—notes, blog posts, postcards—from other characters in the story. Full disclosure: we haven’t finished this book yet, but we definitely will.

Books, Comics, and Graphic Novels with Queer Girls

Princess, Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill
Princess-PrincessGrade Level: 3 and up. 56 pages. Our girls went through a major princess stage (doh), so I was delighted to discover this alternative fairy tale that, for a while, we read at bedtime every night, over and over. As ComicsVerse writes, “Princess, Princess is basically a queer Disney fantasy, complete with adorable plus-size dragons and a wonderfully cute romance. The comic’s depiction of racially, sexually, and bodily diverse young women demonstrates that… one can be both a princess and a heroine at the same time—and discover love and self-validation along the way.” The book isn’t perfect—the evil older sister is troubling, and the characters call each other cruel names at times. But this queer-themed graphic novel got Kris and me through the princess stage, so we will forever be grateful to its author.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Grade Level: 4-8. 240 pages. This graphic novel is another favorite family read that we revisit regularly. Astrid, the 12-year-old protagonist and daughter of a single mother in Portland, falls in love with the sport of roller derby the summer before sixth grade. The novel explores her growing interest and proficiency in the sport during a multi-week summer derby camp—and her slow evolution away from her best friend from elementary school. While Astrid isn’t explicitly queer, she is definitely a tomboy who doesn’t understand her best friend’s interest in boys. Plus, you know, the book is about roller derby. Enough said.

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part One by Michael Dante DiMartino and Irene Koh
Turf-Wars-oneGrade Level: 4-7. 80 pages. I bought this comic for myself after bingeing the Legend of Korra TV series from Nickelodeon when I was sick last year. In this follow-up to the series, Korra and Asami, the kick-ass female protagonists—*SPOILER ALERT*—become a couple. I’ve purchased each installment both for the representation and the story-telling, which is as excellent as the artwork. The Legend of Korra Turf Wars Part Two is similarly queer and awesome, and I can’t wait for the upcoming (September 4, people!) series conclusion, The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part Three. At this point, my kids have read the comics on their own, but I don’t think they find them as interesting as I do since they don’t understand the larger context. I plan to introduce them to the Korra TV show when they’re a little older.

Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee
Grade Level: 5-8. 304 pages. I enjoyed this middle-grade novel about a twelve-year-old girl with a crush on the new girl at school. The class play—Romeo and Juliet, naturally—provides a backdrop for the narrative, which is lighthearted and easy to read. I would probably plan a reread before my kids start it since I wasn’t thinking in terms of them as the eventual audience, but in my imperfect memory, this was a sweet, enjoyable read. In fact, it has inspired me to consider tackling my own middle-grade queer girl novel someday, once I winnow down my to-be-written list.

As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman
As-the-Crow-FliesGrade Level: 6 and up. 250 pages. I recently read this graphic novel based on a popular webcomic series and really enjoyed it. Thirteen-year-old Charlie, the story’s black, queer protagonist, is excited to head out on an all-girls Christian camp’s backpacking trip. But over the course of three days in the wilderness, she comes to realize that many of her fellow campers—and the adult trip leader herself—are racist and homophobic. The artwork, done in colored pencil, beautifully evokes the peace of hiking even as Charlie struggles with feelings of alienation. There was a bit much of the God stuff for an agnostic like me, and some of the dialogue skews a tad stilted and academic. But overall this graphic novel is really well done. I’m hoping an eventual family read will give rise to some good discussions about race, gender, religion, and feminism.

Supergirl: Being Super #1-4 by Mariko Tamaki
Grade Level: 5 and up. 208 pages. This limited four-book comic series is another one I bought for myself. I am a huge Supergirl (the TV series) fan, and this coming-of-age tale is one of the first Supergirl comics I ever read. In this high school story about the Girl of Steel, Kara’s best friend Dolly is an out lesbian who, as one reviewer notes, steals every scene she appears in. My girls haven’t read the series yet, but eventually, when they’re older, I imagine they will.

Our Current To-Read List

Books with Lesbian Moms

Love, Penelope by Joanne Rocklin
Grade Level: 3-7. 240 pages. Ten-year-old Penelope writes letters to her soon-to-be sibling, describing their moms, their city (Oakland), and the winning season of her beloved Golden State Warriors. And because the story is set in 2015, Penny also details the marriage equality decision that irrevocably (I hope) changed life in America for families like ours. I’m excited to get this one from our local library and share it with the girls as a family read.

The Pants Project by Cat ClarkeThe-Pants-Project
Grade Level: 4-9. 272 pages. This story features Liv, a boy born into a girl’s body. Like many of the books on my list, having two moms is more peripheral than central to this particular tale, according to the reviews I’ve read. Instead, the story revolves around Liv’s challenges as a trans kid in middle school, which, I imagine, presents more than enough conflict to propel the narrative. As a non-binary person who often skews more to the masculine end of the gender spectrum, I’m looking forward to reading and discussing this novel with our kiddos, too.

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennari
Grade Level: 5-7. 128 pages. Set in the early 2000s when civil unions were brand new in Vermont, this novel explores homophobia more than any other I’ve included on my list. According to the book’s blurb: “Twelve-year-old June Farrell is sure of one thing—she’s great at making pies—and she plans to prove it by winning a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair pie competition. But a backlash against Vermont’s civil union law threatens her family’s security and their business.” From the reviews I’ve read, this would be another family read for us. While our kids know homophobia exists, they have mostly faced micro-aggressions rather than blatant bigotry. We would definitely want to talk through June’s experiences with them and offer additional information on the recent historical context.

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney GardnerYoure-Welcome-Universe
Grade Level: 7-9. 304 pages. Julia, a teenage graffiti artist with two moms, transitions from her deaf school into a mainstream suburban school with mixed results. As School Library Journal says, Julia “inhabits many minority identities (disabled, a person of color, the child of same-sex parents, an English language learner) without any one of them being the engine for the story… [T]his is a well-told, artsy coming-of-age tale that is also an excellent representation of a Deaf protagonist.” Looking forward to this one when the girls are a little bit older.

Books and Graphic Novels with Queer Girls

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
Grade Level: 3-7. 320 pages. When I was a kid, my hometown, Kalamazoo, was hit by a massive tornado that killed a number of people and left the city without power for a week. Maybe that’s why this book looks particularly interesting to me—it features a destructive tornado, sisterly bonds, a girl with a crush on another girl, and twins. This might just be another good family read for us.drum-roll-please.jpg

Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
Grade Level: 3-7. 336 pages. Speaking of Michigan, I just discovered that this writer is from Kalamazoo, too! Maybe that’s why her recent YA novel, a story of a young queer girl away at a summer music camp located in the wilds of Michigan, resonates with me. Another potential family read, I’m thinking.

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender
Grade Level: 3-7. 224 pages. Set in the Caribbean, this story features a queer girl of color in a coming-of-age tale that includes “a dash of magical realism,” according to School Library Journal. Once again, maternal abandonment (à la The War that Saved My Life) and a massive storm serve as plot points. This book would probably be a family read so that we could talk about some of the more serious elements—bullying, ghosts, and racism, to name a few.

Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware The Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Grade Level: 4-6. 128 pages. This is the first volume of the highly rated Lumberjanes comic series, which features diverse, bad-ass teenage girls solving assorted mysteries at a summer camp for “Hardcore Lady Types.” According to School Library Journal, “Spunky, lovable characters sparkle with exuberant personality and challenge gender stereotypes.” Add in the developing relationship between two of the campers, and this sounds like a perfect match for our family a few years down the road.

not-your-sidekick.jpg

Not your Sidekick by C. B. Lee
Grade Level:  5-8. 296 pages. I’ve been hearing about this novel ever since it was published in 2016. The queer POC main character, Jessica Tran, has superhero parents, no powers of her own, and, embarrassingly, a crush on her parents’ nemesis. Assorted reviews call the story sweet, engaging, and lighthearted. I’ll probably read it on my own with an idea toward recommending it to the girls when they’re a bit older.

Straight Honorable Mention

There are, of course, countless books without queer content that we adore. I thought I would include some of our favorite pro-girl and pro-women titles. Pro-patriarchy content need not apply, naturally.

Children’s Book Faves

Happy Like Soccer by Maribeth BoeltsHappy-Like-Soccer
This book is nearly perfect in our family’s opinion: beautifully written and drawn; emotionally affecting without being overly sentimental; and, of course, focused on soccer. Sierra loves playing soccer, but her aunt’s work schedule prevents her from cheering Sierra on—until one night when Sierra makes a call and asks for help. Kris and I both cry pretty much every time we read this story, but in a good way. In the best way, really.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
A gorgeous, empowering story that features a woman whose grandfather, an immigrant, extracted a promise from her that whatever else she did with her life, she would try to make the world a more beautiful place. Feminist underpinnings and beautiful imagery make this story one that both moms and kids in our house have happily read again and again. 

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie LevyI-Dissent
A picture book about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her lifelong commitment to standing up for what’s right? Um, of course we love it. I often walk into the living room to find the girls reading this book on their own, and it makes me happy every time.

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton
Chelsea Clinton has become my Twitter hero of late. I also love her children’s books (as does the rest of our family of five) and, in particular, this one’s fabulous blurb: “Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists, and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.” Heck yeah!

Middle Grade and Chapter Books

Harriet-the-InvincibleHamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible (Book One) by Ursula Vernon
Grade Level: 3-7. 256 pages. This is book one in our favorite ever feminist alternative fairy tale series. Harriet isn’t your usual (rodent) princess. She cliff-dives, defeats monsters, and outwits fairy curses. Not only is Harriet a refreshing take on the prototypical fairytale princess, but Vernon’s snarky humor keeps parents laughing, too. We own the first five books and are about to pre-order book six. While we started the series as family reads, our girls are now reading these novel/comic hybrid books all on their own.

Target Practice (Cleopatra in Space #1) by Mike Maihack
Grade Level: 3-7. 176 pages. Historical sci-fi fantasy—is that a category? If not, it should be. The Cleopatra in Space series is fun and features a kick-ass heroine, but has some mature themes. A side character sacrifices himself to save his friends, and other characters are injured (or worse) as well. I’ve read these with my oldest daughter and skipped over the more violent parts. Probably not for younger or sensitive readers, but a fun concept that is well executed.

Zita the Space Girl (Book One) by Ben Hatke
Grade Level: 3-6. 192 pages. As long as we’re talking sci-fi and fantasy graphic novels that include strong girls, I should mention Ben Hatke’s story of a brave, confident Earth girl who inadvertently becomes an intergalactic heroine when she sets off to save a friend. Interdimensional portals, alien planets, and a variety of otherworldly characters make this a fun, satisfying read that, once again, engages adults as well as kids. I haven’t read books two and three, but their reviews are similarly positive.

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria JamiesonAlls-Faire-in-Middle-School.jpg
Grade Level: 4-7. 248 pages. This graphic novel from the author of Roller Girl is another family read (and reread) favorite. Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has practically grown up on the grounds of a Florida Renaissance Fair where her parents are full-time actors in residence. Home-schooled up to now, Impy has made the fateful decision to go to public middle school. As you might imagine, her transition into the world beyond the Renaissance Faire gates does not exactly go smoothly.

Miscellaneous

Reading the Rainbow: LGBTQ-Inclusive Literacy Instruction in the Elementary Classroom by Caitlin L. Ryan and Jill Hermann-Wilmarth
This book was written by friends of my aforementioned fabulous sister-in-law, and explores in depth an issue I am very interested in: the inclusion of LGBTQ-positive books and concepts in the elementary classroom. We need more early elementary curricula that include diverse families and individuals, dang it. That’s the only way (in my not remotely humble opinion) we will wipe out homophobia in our schools and communities. That’s why the books I’ve listed here are so important: They have the power to positively impact life for kids—and families—like ours.

Whew.

I’m sure I’ve missed some fabulous two mom and queer girl books, so please add your favorite related titles in the comments section, should you feel moved to do so. Word of mouth is one of the best marketing channels for authors.

In the meantime, as always, happy reading!

Posted in Book review, children's books, LGBTQ+, Parenting, Queer books | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Homodramatica, the Excerpt

All right, only a few more days until Homodramatica: Family of Five releases! In the meantime, I’ve posted the Official Excerpt on my website and thought I would include the Introduction here. Happy reading!

Introduction

For those who may not know me, I’m a writer of lesbian fiction, a gay-married resident of the Pacific Northwest, the mother of three awesome daughters (including fraternal twins), and a ginormous soccer fan. In fact, I intended to publish this book before the 2018 Men’s World Cup started, but alas, I missed my self-imposed deadline. So here we are a bit late. If the US men had made the World Cup, this book would probably be even later. But that’s a whole other story.

Homodramatica: Family of Five is a collection of essays that started out as random posts on my blog Homodramatica and eventually coalesced into a quasi-coherent story of our family’s beginning. Each chapter presents a text-based snapshot of daily life for my wife, three young daughters, and myself at a particular moment in time. Woven through this writerly scrapbook, as I’ve come to think of the collection, is the theme of gay marriage in the United States. What are the flashpoints in the cultural conversation about same-sex marriage? How does the debate impact parenting in general? And how does the political climate impact the life of our gay-married, same-sex parented family in particular?

As the saying goes, the personal is political. For our queer family, caught up in the culture wars of the early 21st century, the two have often been inextricable.

Homodramatica the blog wasn’t actually my idea. In 2009, after nearly three decades of dreaming of becoming a “real” writer, I signed a contract with Bella Books to publish my first novel. Solstice came out in early 2010, followed by Leaving LA and Beautiful Game in 2011. Somewhere during that pre-parenting gold rush of novels, my editor suggested I start a blog, one of the easiest marketing tools for a writer to manage. At the time, my wife Kris was eight months pregnant with our first child. Not only would a blog help me connect with readers and other writers, I decided, but it would also be a place where I could jot down my thoughts about “lesbian fiction and life,” as the tagline says on Homodramatica, with a spotlight—or dare I say focus—on the family.

Seven years later, my kids are now old enough to understand that Mimi is a writer of grown-up novels that they won’t be allowed to read until, you know, never, if I have my way. They also know that I occasionally write about our family, and they seem intrigued by the idea of appearing as central characters in one of my books. For my part, I’m glad I recorded so much about their early years because after 88 consecutive months of disordered sleep, my memories of past events are a bit blurry, to be honest. My wife, Kris, agrees.

For the purposes of the story this book attempts to tell, I have fleshed out the original pieces from the blog and added several previously unpublished and/or significantly altered essays, marked in the table of contents by an asterisk. It turns out that while I have rarely lacked for blogging topics, I have often lacked the follow-through to post that content online. Like many would-be chroniclers of daily life, my intentions were good when I started the blog. However, I’ve grown less efficient at posting in recent years as my family, day job, and fiction writing have been higher on the priority list. As a result, my goal of a thousand words a day—the minimum daily word count Ray Bradbury recommends in Zen in the Art of Writing—has tended to be reserved for fiction.

Still, I’m glad I started the blog, even if the guilt at not posting has sometimes taken up more room in my psyche than it probably should. But thanks to the demands of self-promotion, my kids now have a book they can hold in their hands and say, “This is the story of our family. This is how we came to be.”

So read on, and I hope you enjoy this prose scrapbook of the early years of our family of five.

To read more of the excerpt, including the first two never-before-published essays in the collection, visit the book page on my website and click Official Excerpt.

Homodramatica book cover

Posted in Family, Nonfiction, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Homodramatica, the Book

I’ve been meaning to collect some of the essays from this blog for a while, specifically to tell the story of my young family’s beginnings. Our origin story, as you will. Not only have I wanted to create something I could pass along to our kids, I also see our experiences over the past few years–as attitudes and laws around same-sex marriage and queer parenting have shifted in this country and beyond–as a type of living history.

And, too, I have observed the longing in younger queer people to read stories of older LGBTQ+ people with good lives. So much of our representation in the media is problematic that I believe it’s important to tell stories of relationships that last, of families that include same-sex parents and healthy kids. I may not be able to offer a Happily Ever After story because none of us know how things will end, but I can certainly write a Happy For Now tale.

As such, I am pleased to announce that Homodramatica: Family of Five is now available for pre-order on Amazon’s Kindle store for only $3.99. The official publication date is July 28, but if you order now, the book will be delivered to your Kindle on July 27. For those of you who prefer a print version, the paperback will be available in early August.

The blurb and cover are below. I don’t think either will change, but there’s a still a month to go. You never know…

By the way, for those wondering about the Girls of Summer series, book four is still on track for a November publication date! I’ll share the blurb and cover later this summer.

Homodramatica: Family of Five

In 2011, shortly before the birth of her first daughter, novelist Kate Christie started a blog called Homodramatica. Over the next few years she would write about queer parenting, lesbian fiction, same-sex marriage, chronic illness, and the joys and challenges of raising three girls under the age of three. Now, in Homodramatica: Family of Five, Christie has reshaped her nonfiction writing into a book that tells the story of her growing family—and of her own growth over the same period.

From the introduction: “Each chapter presents a text-based snapshot of daily life for my wife, our daughters, and myself at a specific moment in time. Woven through this writerly scrapbook, as I’ve come to think of the collection, is the theme of gay marriage in the United States: What are the flash points in the cultural conversation about same-sex marriage? How does the debate impact parenting in general? And how does the political climate impact the life of our gay-married, same-sex parented family in particular?”

While some of the pieces in this collection will be familiar to readers of Christie’s blog, the book also contains content not previously published, including birth stories, parenting notes, and essays on Prop 8, DOMA, and the 2015 SCOTUS gay marriage decision.

As the saying goes, the personal is political. For one queer family caught up in the culture wars of the early twenty-first century, the two have often been inextricable.

Homodramatica book cover

Posted in Family, Nonfiction, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Let Me Tell You About My Mother

ERA YES! Mom in DC, 1978

Let me tell you about my mother.

She is an amazing woman. Not an easy woman, but then neither am I, as my wife would undoubtedly tell you; as my daughters will likely someday agree. My mother is a strong woman–a brave, independent woman who is determined to face death in the exact same manner in which she has lived her life: on her own terms.

At seventy-three, my mother has lived her seven-plus decades boldly. As avid outdoors people, she and my father instilled in my sister and me a lifelong love of adventure. Before we could even walk, our parents took us car camping in and around Southwest Michigan. As we grew older, our family adventures expanded to include dune running on Lake Michigan beaches, camping trips to Northern Michigan, canoe excursions along Michigan waterways, and epic road trips to the East Coast, the American West, and,  memorably, across Canada and Alaska.

Backpacking in Grand Teton Natl Park, 1981

We climbed mountains in the Grand Tetons, hiked the shores of mountain lakes in the Canadian Rockies, explored the tundra of Denali National Park. We marched on Washington for the rights of women and veterans, fished for perch and rainbow trout in Michigan lakes and rivers, and watched the Alaskan sun set and rise again in the space of a single hour on the night of the summer solstice. There was laughter and yelling, but not in equal proportion. Like many families, there was happiness, and dysfunction, and abiding love.

My mother was not an easy woman or an easy parent to live with, but she was always completely herself—someone I have loved and respected even as I’ve struggled at times to escape her shadow.

She was herself; the choice of tense is deliberate. Over the past decade, my mother’s sense of self has altered significantly. In 2007, at the age of sixty-three, she was thrown from a horse in Wyoming and broke two vertebrae in her back. Within six months of the accident, my sister and I noticed that she was beginning to change. Her memory, never her strongest suit, began to slide noticeably. She experienced abrupt mood changes, got lost more easily, and demonstrated other early signs of dementia.

My mother’s mother

We were intimately familiar with these signs because my mother’s grandmother, mother, and older brother had all been diagnosed with—and eventually died from—Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing that the condition tends to run in families, we weren’t surprised when my mother was eventually diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), sometimes described as a precursor to Alzheimer’s. Still, her mother and grandmother had been older when dementia began to rob them of their dignity and independence. My mom was only in her early sixties when her symptoms started, and none of us was prepared to lose her so soon—including her.

We were fortunate that her cognitive impairment plateaued and remained stable for many years. But a few years ago, it became clear that the plateau was shifting beneath her feet whether we were ready or not. Kris and I asked my mom and dad to move closer to us so that they could help us with our growing family and we could help them, in turn, with what the next stage would bring.

World Cup 2015, Vancouver BC

And so, in the summer of 2015, we helped them find a condo on a hill overlooking a beautiful lake not far from our house. My parents moved to Washington State during the first week of July—just in time to accompany us to the World Cup final match in nearby Vancouver, BC. Another rousing adventure for the family scrapbook.

Only a few weeks later, my mother fell during a hike in the North Cascades. She and my dad were a mile from the trailhead when she missed a step and face-planted into the boulder-strewn trail, sustaining injuries that left her unable to walk. A group of young hikers happened upon my parents, and four of them took turns carrying her fireman-style back to the trailhead. An ambulance met my parents halfway home and transported her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a broken leg and concussion. It was her seventy-first birthday, and she realized then, she told me later, that her days of hiking in remote wilderness settings were numbered.

After her leg healed, she seemed to stabilize again briefly. But last summer, a year after her hiking accident, we noticed the decline accelerating again. She was still able to walk on even surfaces without difficulty, but she was increasingly unsteady on the trails she loved to hike. She was still driving, but she was getting lost repeatedly. While she had never loved to cook, she had always enjoyed baking, and now she was doing little of either.

Mom helping Alex read

Most significantly to her quality of life, she was having trouble reading. A self-described “voracious reader” and a writer in her own right, she was now struggling to retain any written material more than briefly. Until recently, my mother had read everything I’ve ever written and was, in fact, my earliest champion. She was the first person to read and comment on early versions of Solstice, Beautiful Game, and In the Company of Women, and helped shape me into the writer I am. I knew her dementia was getting worse when she failed to read either of the novels I published in 2016. What was more, she and my dad knew it too.

There was something else we all knew: My mother was (and still is) adamantly opposed to nursing care. She watched her mother and brother die in dementia wards and has said for more than a decade that she would rather die than go into a nursing home. Literally. So when my parents learned last fall about a local workshop on dying with dignity, they immediately signed up, eager to find out what options were available in their new home state.

At the workshop they were disappointed to learn that Washington’s Death with Dignity Act does not cover Alzheimer’s patients. Those who are in the early stages of dementia are ineligible to request life-ending medication because they do not have an immediately terminal diagnosis, while those in later stages have cognitive impairment that renders them ineligible for the program. The only legal options available to Alzheimer’s patients, even here in a Death with Dignity state, is traditional suicide during the early stages of the disease or something known as VSED: Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking.

At first I thought that VSED sounded barbarous, inhumane. Voluntarily dying of starvation and dehydration? Um, no thank you. But then, a month after the workshop, my parents invited me to a meeting with a local “death doula” who they had seen speak. The doula provided a ton of information about VSED, and my opinion began to change. If done correctly with a doctor’s support, on-call nursing care, and hospice medication, VSED can be a peaceful, empowering way of escaping an agonizingly slow dementia death sentence.

End of Life Washington, an amazing resource

“That’s what I want to do,” my mother declared. “So how do we do it?”

The doula pointed us to the End of Life Washington website for more information and important legal paperwork, and then suggested we work with a local elder law attorney who is a VSED and Death with Dignity advocate. In addition, she recommended we find out if my mother’s geriatric specialist would support her decision to hasten her own death. If not, we would need to change to a physician who would.

We were lucky on several fronts. Coincidentally, my parents and I were already clients of the attorney the doula recommended. Also fortuitously, my mother’s physician had assisted other patients who chose VSED and readily agreed to help us determine when the right time would be for my mother to start the process. She also agreed to prescribe medication that eases anxiety and physical discomfort during the VSED process—an absolute must to avoid undue suffering during the days or weeks it can take for the body to completely shut down.

Is VSED a pain-free way to die? Most experts say it isn’t, not completely. But will it allow my mother to remain in control of her own life until the end? Absolutely. Will it allow her to escape the steady cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s and the reality of facing her last days in a dementia ward, something she considers a fate worse than death? Yes, it will. That’s the whole point, really.

The attorney instructed my mother to write a statement of intent to do VSED while she was still fully competent. Here are some of my mother’s reasons for choosing VSED, in her own words:

I do not wish to live in a long-term memory care clinic. I watched my mother deteriorate from a vital, active first-grade teacher to simple memory loss to a completely lost soul wandering the hallways of her assisted living facility, unaware of where she was or who her children were. Many hearts were broken, including hers… I worried about my mother every day because she was being cared for by strangers. I do not wish to expose myself or my family to that risk.

Phyllis Shacter, a Western Washington resident who helped her husband carry out VSED in 2013, has written a book that describes this path in detail: Choosing To Die: A Personal Story. Her website, phyllisshacter.com, also includes many good resources, including a link to this incredibly powerful, moving video in which a nursing care provider explains why she supports VSED for dementia patients:

So this is the path I am on with my family right now. Since we finished the legal arrangements last spring and obtained verbal commitments from my mother’s attorney and physician to assist with the VSED process, we have been able to focus on enjoying life without worrying as much about what the future holds.

Mom and Dad in Alaska

My parents traveled to Wyoming and Alaska this summer, two of my mother’s very favorite places, and they have continued to explore Western Washington and the Olympic Peninsula by ferry, car, and foot. It’s very much an exercise in Zen, I have to admit, and I am not always up to the challenge. I have found comfort in spending time with my wife and daughters, in hiking with our dog, in returning to meditative practice. Live in the moment, be in the moment, be the moment—that’s pretty much the goal right now.

It isn’t easy, of course. Like my mother, I have good days and bad days. There are moments when the slightest negative interaction sends me into a grief spiral that I know has little to do with the conflict at hand and everything to do with the fact that my mother is dying; that one day sooner rather than later I will likely be seated at her bedside holding her hand as she lets go of this life and transitions to whatever comes next. But my mother is at peace with her decision, and despite her increasing impairment, she is leading the way for the rest of us. She is tackling Alzheimer’s with the same strength and refusal to compromise that she has brought to every stage of her life, including raising my sister and me to be strong, fierce, proud women just like her.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my writing interests have shifted in the past year. I find myself attracted more to stories and characters embroiled in life and death situations, as well as to various memoir projects—basically, trying to make sense of the past and present through story-telling. I’ve been writing about my mother and father, about the steps we’ve taken and the obstacles we’ve encountered, most of our own making. I’ve been writing about my same-sex marriage in a country where same-sex marriage only became universally available two years ago, even as I watch my parents’ fifty-two year union near its inevitable end. I’ve been writing veritable rivers of words, jotting down snippets of scenes and conversations, recording ideas and themes to include in one project or another. And yet I haven’t published a book this year, even though I quit my day job eight months ago. I haven’t finished the third book in my soccer trilogy, I haven’t finished the sci-fi novel in progress, and I haven’t finished either memoir yet.

I will. I know I will. I’m just not sure when. I’m trying to be okay with that fact; I hope it will be okay with my readers as well.

Mom and the girls

For now I’m trying to enjoy walks around the lake with my mother and daughters; weekend lunches and trips to the ice cream parlor with the whole clan; and Friday night pizza and movie nights at our house, the twins snuggled up on the love seat with Grandma and Grandpa, Alex and the dog snuggled up on the couch with Kris and me. I’m trying to be in this moment for as long as my mother is still here because one thing is certain: She won’t be present for much longer. One way or another, the woman I’ve known my whole life is leaving.

A few days ago we took the girls to the beach with my folks. While my dad and Kris took the girls beach combing, my mom and I sat back on a blanket and looked out over Puget Sound.

“So how are you?” I asked.

“I’m okay,” she replied, slipping her baseball cap lower to block out the sun.

“You seem, I don’t know, at peace with everything,” I said.

“I think I actually am. You know what a control freak I can be–”

I started laughing and she joined in. “I do know, Mom, because I got it from you.”

“I don’t know about that–I still have it,” she said, her usual reply whenever I claim to have inherited something from her. “But I think I’ve finally accepted that I have no control over what’s happening to my brain. I realized at some point that I could either accept it, or I could keep fighting and be miserable. I’m choosing to try to enjoy my life as long as I can.”

“That sounds  wise,” I said, meaning it.

Mom at the beach

Last winter, when I explained to my former boss that I was giving up my stable, good job to spend more time with my parents and young children, he told me that the last lesson our parents teach us is how to die. What my mother is teaching my sister and me, our spouses and our children, is how to go out on her own terms as herself, before Alzheimer’s can rob her of her dignity, her capacity to feel joy, her connection to the people she loves most.

One of the tangible legacies she will leave is a video that the attorney recommended we record in which my mother explains her decision-making process. It didn’t have to be fancy or especially long, the attorney told us, just honest and direct–ways of being in the world that come naturally to my mom. Once the paperwork was complete, my parents and I sat down in their living room and I “interviewed” her with my camera phone, asking her a variety of questions about how she defines quality of life and why she is choosing to hasten her own death.

Towards the end of the video my mother says, “I feel very strongly about the decision [to do VSED]. It’s my life. It’s my future, or not, and I have the means within my reach to make this decision and follow through with it. I don’t want to hurt my family, but I think it would be more hurtful to see me with my brain not working, wandering up and down the halls of a nursing home alone and not even knowing who you are. I have been there, and I know how painful that is for family members. I don’t want to do that to you or to me.”

“Do you have any doubts about your decision to do VSED?” I ask.

“I have no doubts whatsoever,” she says firmly. “I feel very strongly about it. I feel strongly about it enough that I would be willing to fight anyone who tries to convince me that this is not the right plan. It isn’t right for everybody. Maybe it isn’t right for most people. But it is very much the right thing for me to do. And I intend to do it—when the time comes.”

We both pause, and then: “Thank you,” I say from behind the camera. “I love you.”

“Thank you,” she replies, smiling at me. “I love you too.”

“Okay.”

Okay.

Posted in Death with Dignity, Family, VSED | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

What the Literal Hell is Going On?

Yesterday Donald Trump decided to enact a wide-sweeping ban on Middle Eastern refugees and immigrants that led Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to detain and even, in some cases, deport individuals arriving in airports across the country. By late afternoon, the ACLU had won a stay of the ban in federal court—the first of many anticipated legal defeats for the week-old administration. What should adanielshave happened next was that anyone being detained should have been released, and all attempts to detain and deport foreign nationals based on the Executive Order should have ceased.

Instead, Homeland Security issued a press release indicating that judicial rulings wouldn’t affect the “overall implementation” of Trump’s EO. Um, excuse me? A FEDERAL COURT ruled that the ban is unconstitutional, and therefore cannot go into effect as currently written. How exactly does that ruling not impact the ban’s implementation? And, sure enough, according to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), one of the groups that sued the federal government in New York, attorneys at US airports are still waiting for Homeland Security to release people being detained under Trump’s order.

“We continue to face Border Patrol non-compliance and chaos at every airport across the country and around the world,” said Marielena Hincapié, NILC’s executive director.

BORDER PATROL NON-COMPLIANCE? What the literal hell? Judicial orders are not optional. They are legally binding. In fact, in cases where individuals and/or entities decide to disregard judicial orders, the federal courts often call in US Marshals for assistance in enforcing those decisions. In this case, if the courts were to do so, we would have US Marshals being tasked with confronting non-compliant CBP and Homeland Security agents. Would the Marshals even do it? Is it possible that we could have federal employees from one agency firing upon federal employees from another agency? Or would individual agents simply choose which side they agree with politically?

I feel like we’ve officially entered the Twilight Zone because apparently our federal government needs a refresher course on what the government is and isn’t supposed to be and do (I’m looking at you, Trump, and you, Congress). So let’s just quickly review the basis of American democracy, as established by the Constitution (and illustrated at usa.gov):

3-branches

Why three branches? Because the Constitution says so. And why is power distributed across multiple branches? Again, from usa.gov: “to ensure a central government in which no individual or group gains too much control… The U.S. federal government seeks to act in the best interests of its citizens through this system of checks and balances.”

Let me repeat: Each branch ensures that no other branch gains too much power. And for 240 years, this has been the way America has operated. Has it been perfect? Um, no. Has it been better than a dictatorship? Absolutely. Have we Americans grown accustomed to our supposed freedoms? You betcha. But in one weekend, Trump has thrown away two and a half centuries of operating instructions, and now our very form of government is being threatened by a businessman with zero experience in government of any kind.

Is this how people felt when Nixon obstructed investigations into his political activities? Because that’s the last constitutional crisis the US faced. Unless you count Congress refusing to vote on President Obama’s choice to replace Scalia on the Supreme Court for hundreds upon hundreds of days, which [spoiler alert] I DO. Unfortunately, most historians do not, so there’s that.

Other notable constitutional crises in US history? The contested election of 1876, which was decided ultimately by an ad-hoc Electoral Commission; the secession of seven Southern states in 1861, which led to [cough] the CIVIL WAR; and Britain’s Stamp Act of 1765, which first raised the issue of taxation without representation—you know, the whole reason we fought the Revolution and created a Constitution that would prevent any individual or group from gaining too much control over our government…? That’s right—constitutional crises led to both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. I don’t mind saying I feel a tad sick to my stomach (and at heart) trying to figure out how we will dig ourselves out of this one.

So yeah, we’re in dire straits already, and the orange dude has only been president for a week. Peachy.

Oh—and in other news, while we were all foaming at the mouth over this power play and the resulting chaos, Trump removed the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the National Security Council and replaced them with—Stephen Bannon, his white supremacist chief adviser. Because Bannon obviously has the global experience needed to keep America safe.

If you get a chance, check out this piece in The Atlantic: A Clarifying Moment in American History. And hold on tight, friends. Because here we go…

Posted in History, Politics | 1 Comment