I love my country…

Okay, I’ve once again missed not one, but two posts… So, for Thursday Things I will say that, though I have serious, SERIOUS reservations about many, MANY of the decisions our lawmakers make – and after spending the last ten minutes listening to Weiner (oh, good Lord) explain how he’s not going to let “the guy in the back of the room throwing the pie” dictate what he says for the next week, I remember the things I’m uncomfortable about… well, even with it’s warts and flaws, I truly believe America’s still the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. And I thank God every day that I live in a country where I can say I love my country but I distrust my government without fear of reprisal. I love America. I think it’s a pretty amazing place to live, and I wouldn’t want to call anywhere else home.

Which leads to Monday ManCandy, a day late… In recognition of Memorial Day, and in great appreciation and gratitude for the men and women who serve with grace, courage, and selflessness…

And then, the story of Bones, Kiki and KeyKey, which you can read in its entirety HERE, which (cuz I’m a crazy cat lady) makes these men even SEXIER…

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Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Aluminum Bats Can Beat Me Black and Blue…

Bullying. It’s a hot topic across the nation. Children and adults harm themselves and others as a result of it. Teens are killing themselves over it. And, to read the papers you’d think it was a new phenomena.

Not so much.

A couple of days ago my sister stopped by the house to drop something off and was approached by a “bald middle aged man” who tried to sell her insulation. When she told him that this is actually her father’s house, he looked stricken.

“VJ?”

“No, I’m the oldest sister.”

“Oh.” He looked troubled. “Will you give VJ a message for me?”

Of course she agreed, and this is the message, more or less, that I got:
“I was a bad kid. Not just naughty, I mean I was really, really bad. I tormented VJ when she was little. I mean, I stalked her. Looked for chances to scare her or make her cry.” At this point he apparently looked up at my sister, who’s a lot more forgiving than I am, with big brown puppy eyes. “Will you tell her I’m sorry? I really regret the way I treated her back then.”

My sister didn’t even have to tell me the boy’s – man’s – name. I knew from the word torment exactly who she’d been talking to.

Danny was a couple years older than me, and from the time I was old enough to ride my big wheel down to the end of our block he made my childhood a living hell. Danny looked for chances to scare me? He succeeded. Like, paralyzed, peeing myself scared. And not just occasionally. It was a daily occurrence.

One memorable interaction was when Danny cornered me about five houses away from my house to tell me all about his new aluminum baseball bat. It was blue. He told me about how much it was going to hurt when he used it to hit me again and again and again. Another time, when I was a little older, maybe ten or so, I fell off my bike just around the corner from his house. I lost about a two by four inch swath of skin on my left arm, and it hurt more than anything I’d ever experienced. I remember holding my breath, trying hard not to cry or scream, even though my arm was a slick of blood and felt like it was on fire. All I could think of was getting away from Danny’s house before he saw me and took advantage of my being hurt to hurt me even worse.

This is stuff that happened thirty, thirty-five years ago. I thought I’d forgotten it. All it took was my sister’s sympathetic face and the words “I could tell he was really ashamed of himself. I felt bad for him,” and it all came back like it was yesterday.

Even as I type, I feel the lump in my stomach and my ears are trying to buzz. My breath wants to come too fast, and I might as well be five again and looking for somewhere to hide until the coast is clear.

I guess this trip down memory lane could fall under two categories. There’s the, yes, bullying today seems more extreme and damaging – mostly because we now have video phones and youtube and cyber-bullying, so there’s more outlet for it, and because the results are splashed across the headlines for all to see… but that’s just perception. Bullying was around thirty-five years ago, and fifty years ago, and a hundred years ago, and will be around a hundred years from now. And it was every bit as hurtful and damaging then as it is today.

And that’s the second “moral of my story.” That kind of damage doesn’t go away. Oh, it fades over time. It gets buried under more recent victories and defeats. But the petty – and not so petty – cruelties children subject each other to never disappear entirely. They help to form who we are, how we look at others, and how we see ourselves. And, clearly, it doesn’t take much to bring that hurt back to the surface.

I’m glad I wasn’t home to see Danny. I’d like to think I could have been all magnanimous and accepted his apology and offered to reminisce over coffee, but as I sit here with my stomach churning with acid, I know that’s not how it would have gone.  I can’t really say what I’d have done, to be honest. I’m glad I didn’t have to find out, though, because the thought of it makes me feel ill.

Monday ManCandy!

Random Hot Guy

In honor of the EC contract (yay!!!!) for Carrie’s Answer and Meredith’s Awakening (formerly of The Worthington Group, now Corporate Affairs), this is my “inspiration” picture of Tony. Sigh…

The undone belt.

The butt cleavage.

The “come hither and let me love you” look in his eyes…

*sigh*

Thursday Things: Blog-Hopping (or “I’ve Got a Crush on You”)

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered the blog “I’m Just Thorny” via the three am follow. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Thorny and his Jazz so much over the last couple of weeks; going back through old posts, eagerly awaiting new ones. (It’s my reward – I get 5-6 posts a night if my writing is all caught up)

Thorny is about as positive and bouncy (and positively bouncy, lol) as it gets, and reading his blog has reminded me of several things I’d forgotten working where I do.

1. Being a young man doesn’t mean you have to be a butt-head.

2. Being a young gay man doesn’t mean you have to be a bitch. (My out loud voice accidentally told someone at work last week that he wasn’t pretty enough to be that much of a bitch. Yep. Time for vacation. Or Xanax.)

3. Being a young gay man (or an older gay man, or just a gay man in general) doesn’t mean you have to automatically be a man-ho who humps anyone or thing that stands still long enough.(This is an ongoing argument I have with my writing partner…)

4. Oh. My. God. Your sexual orientation is a huge deal, but it’s not ALL of who you are. (Easy for my babies to forget – every single one of them identifies by who they’re having sex with – or not having sex with as the case may be).

Seriously. I’ve been repeatedly surprised by how mature Thorny is, how in touch with his feelings and who he is, he is. (Hell, I’m twice his age and not nearly as comfortable in my own skin!). And he’s so fricking FEARLESS in his posts. Again, maybe when I grow up I’ll be that brave. I have a total fan-girl crush – on Thorny, AND on Jazz.

You can find his blog here.  And for a little taste of Thorny’s writing ability, here’s his entry to the Goodreads Hot Days of July thingy. (I’ll mention that, omigod, this is SO Slow Bloom by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox!)

I believe it’s a photo by Dan Skinner

Dear Author,

Everyone keeps telling me I’m too young to really know what I want or who I am yet. Give it time, don’t be rash. But it’s all just noise — just blah blah blah — when I see him.

He’s older, wiser, experienced and he makes me melt every time he looks at me. He’s what I want and his boyfriend is who I am. Well, I’m hoping that’s where tonight will lead, anyway. I’m going to do my damnedest to seduce him, to show him I can give him the sweet and tender I’m betting he needs.

He spends his days being tough and confident, but I know there’s a marshmallow angel inside him. I can take care of him. I can. Even if I’ve never done anything like this before. I have to try.

Sincerely, Thorny

You might also check out the blog 2 Boys In Love. Equally interesting, thought provoking, and inspiring.

You’ve Got Mail! Of course, it’s lost in cyberhell…

I have six email addresses. I check two of them – okay, three of them, but two come to my primary yahoo. account. There are Violet’s two addies, which Sierra pretty much has the run of. Luckily she forwards me most of the important stuff (like royalty statements) and interesting stuff (fan mail!). And, for most of our publishers, I get that stuff at my vj.summers address, too.
I have my super-secret identity address, which I check about once every six or seven weeks – I use it for one specific purpose, so I only check it when I KNOW something is likely to be there. I have my work email, which I check daily – MANY times daily – when I’m working, but pretty much not at all when I’m not working. That’s the big, long, ugly addy. I also have a gmail that I never use, but have so I can have iGoogle and play floodit, and use it to sign in and leave blog comments. It’s a long one – vjsummerswritessmut@gmail – but somewhat makes sense, I think. But I don’t use it, so that doesn’t really matter.
So, the point of my whine is this: none of my “social” email addresses are difficult. So why in HELL do people keep messing them up? People who’ve been successfully emailing me for months – even years in some cases. People who should know better. My primary, personal addy has nothing but letters. No dashes, no dots, no underscores. Just letters. And it hasn’t changed in something like five years. So why, suddenly in the last three months am I missing email – important email, like contracts and cover art, because a random dash has suddenly appeared? Not okay! And, in one notable and important instance, even though I’ve repeatedly emailed the correct addy, I’m still not getting stuff. And
it’s stuff that’s NOT going to either of Violet’s emails, so even if I WAS checking there, I wouldn’t get it.
And another thing. How do people with multiple addies keep up with them all? My sister has FIVE and she checks all of them numerous times a day. AND she works part time, and spends all sorts of time with our mom, and takes care of three high-maintainence dogs and two cats…
I can barely keep up with home and work. And I try REALLY hard to stay off most social sites, because I have no self control and would end up spending all my time playing. I don’t have time for all my obligations, let alone time to play.
How do people do it?

Monday ManCandy: Goodreads Hot July Days Edition

  Goodreads is taking pictures for their story a day thingy from now until the end of May. This was my photographic offering and      set-up. I’m THRILLED that the talented Kate Sherwood (just read and loved Shying Away) has taken their story on!

Dear Author,

I’ve known him for ages.

Forever, really. Or, at least since the first day of kindergarten, when he stole my Lego’s, then shared his cookies with me when he realized he’d made me cry.

He was my best friend. The first person I came out to. My entire support system in high school when no one would come near me for feel of catching “gay cooties” or AIDS.

He’s the guy I gave my virginity to. The guy who taught me to fuck. The guy who taught me to be safe. He doesn’t know it, but he’s also the guy who taught me to make love.

I’m the guy he goes home with when there’s no better prospect at the club.

It was never supposed to be serious. I knew that, I even wanted that. I’m the one who broke the rules.

So, dear author, how do I watch him go home night after night with the pretty boy – or man – du jour, when all I want is for him to come home with ME, and to stay?