There remains (and probably always will) a very real part of me that still cannot believe that I’m a published author. That’s before I even let myself try to come to terms with ‘Kicked Out’ being two-time ALA honored and a Lammy finalist! I certainly didn’t grow up thinking that this was the sort of thing that could happen to a kid like me. Thursday night I had the opportunity to be part of the NYC Finalist Reading for the Lambda Literary Awards. The event was hosted by Bluestockings, one of my all-time favorite independent bookstores and what I consider to be my home store. The Lambda Literary Awards themselves are really expensive to attend, so it was also a fun opportunity for friends to come and support Kicked Out.
One of the most powerful parts of the evening for me was that Eileen Myles’ book “Inferno” is also a finalist this year (seriously good book, if you haven’t read it yet you should) and she was part of the reading. Eileen Myles is one of those queer authors that I discovered very early on. I was introduced to her words first as a crusty baby-dyke by some traveling kids. In their backpacks they carried a very old, over burned, CD of Sister Spit. The trade for letting them crash on the floor of my basement apartment, was that I got to burn it as well. I listened to those stories constantly. I would stick it into my beat-up old
diskman wherever I went and get swallowed by the words and miss my bus stop. I even used to play the CD on loop to put myself to sleep (when I didn’t have a date). It was a time when I was starving for dykes, where I was desperate for stories. Eileen and the rest of the folks on that CD were so influential to me both personally and as a writer.
Now, all these years later to be part of a reading with her with ‘Kicked Out,’ the book I first began dreaming of during that period of time in my life was the kind of precious experience I know I’ll never be able to forget.