Can you hear the people sing?

I’m not watching the news today. I’m not avoiding it, but I’m not seeking it out, either. I do want to offer these few photos that I took around ground zero a few years ago. Walking around the memorial four years after the fact really solidified the fact that the world changed that day, for better and worse. I just hope the days of paranoia, increased surveillance and shrinking freedoms are short-lived.

FDNY

Ground Zero Poem

Memories

Rock the Queer

Outer Alliance

Today is Outer Alliance Pride Day. Wassat, you ask? It’s the day that we, members of the Outer Alliance, announce our support and advocacy for all things Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered.

As a member of the Outer Alliance, I advocate for queer speculative fiction and those who create, publish and support it, whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity. I make sure this is reflected in my actions and my work.

Real life, as represented by fiction, should be diverse. We as writers shouldn’t be afraid to tackle sensitive issues. In fact, we should go out of our way to raise awareness of them. We are storytellers of the cutting edge, oracles of the future. We should rush in where religious conservatives fear to tread and show them a future where everyone is equal regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.

When I started writing, I wrote generic characters with no color, no pride, no depth. Bland, bland, bland. I didn’t know any better, because I was learning by example. I’ve learned a lot since then. It’s never too late to change. Writers, write well-rounded characters. Lead by example. Don’t ignore sensitive issues because you’re afraid of alienating readers. Stand up and be heard.

Live from Times Square

We walked through Times Square earlier this evening, hours before the first poll closed. The crowd was large and people were still filing in. Hours later, after the post-trade-show meetings and work were done, I sat down and watched the acceptance speech in awe. A block and 31 stories away, I could hear the people cheering.

Fear of crowds be damned. I left the hotel and let the noise be my drummer.

In Times Square, the people cheered and cried. Chants of “Oh-bah-ma” and “Yes-we-can” rang clear. Cars honking. Passengers waving. Signs waving. Camera’s flashing. Strangers embracing in celebration and saying, “we did it.”. We. A victory for us all. Ethnicity, sexual preference, gender, citizenship, it did not matter.

Empowerment.

I was overwhelmed by the surge of emotion, of hope and possibility. I teared up several times, looking up at the digital billboards proclaiming the historic news: Barack Obama, President-elect. Never in my thirty-three years have I seen or experienced anything like this. It looks like my generation has its Lincoln or Kennedy. A catalyst for change, a driving force for prosperity. It’s about damn time. Maybe the US can shed it’s reputation as the biggest dickhead and start working with the world instead of trying to cram our ideologies down its throat.

Celebrate and cheer now. We’ve a lot of work to do. We still have bigotry and intolerance to fight and a long road to walk before we can hold our head high and be proud of our record of human rights. At least now, we’re on the right road.

In the Big Apple

I made it to New York City with minimal difficulty today. Court went smoothly and traffic was light, so I made it to O’Hare with enough time to catch an earlier flight. One shuttle and subway ride later, I found the Westin and checked-in.

I met my co-workers for dinner at Quality Meats, followed by 40/40, where we co-sponsored a VIP party for the trade show. A fun night, and I got to meet several people I’d only known via email or instant message.

Feeling a little dead tonight. My original flight was canceled and American Airlines decided they needed to call me at 4:15AM and 4:45AM to make sure I knew about it. Between that and the flight I managed about four hours sleep today and tomorrow’s going to be another busy day. Here’s to hoping the beds here are comfortable.

It also looks like I’ll be staying over an extra day, so home again on Wednesday. I’m already missing Andrea and our menagerie of pets. I hear the dogs have been camping out at the front door all day and night, waiting for my return.

I sent in my absentee ballot a couple weeks ago. If you haven’t already, please go vote and make your voice heard. I think we’re on the brink of seeing some real change happen and that makes me feel pretty damn good.