Posted by: eshne | March 29, 2008

Fictionalise lesbian women – why?

What makes us want to fictionalise gay characters? Why is it so important that lesbian women are given space to be real people and not just two-dimensional personalities that are defined by their sexual preference?

To me it’s really important that people I relate to in real life are represented in the films I watch and the books that I read. I want to feel like I’m not the only one. Other people are struggling with the same kind of decisions that I am. Do I say I’m gay and therefore condemn myself to a relationship where children are not a given? Do I out myself at work and risk people only seeing my sexuality, rather than the person that I am as a whole? These are just some of the questions I ask myself, and I find comfort knowing there are other women wrestling with the same kinds of conflicts.

I don’t know if I’m unusual but I do not have a large gay circle. I’ve been out to my core group of friends for about five years and I have one good lesbian friend. All my other friends are straight. I went to a Catholic school where being gay was a sin, my university was a very main-stream place, and it wasn’t until I went traveling in my early twenties that I managed to meet some gay women – outside of my limiting social circles. Since that time I’ve struggled to broaden out my friendships.

I don’t want to collect gay friends simply because they are gay. I want to form a connection with people that goes beyond and yet includes their sexuality. And that can be hard, especially when you’re living in surburbia.

Writing, films, tv or whatever the medium may be that translates a life into a story that resonates with my own is endlessly satisfying. Maybe it is a symptom of my isolation. I’m looking for something I cannot have in real life. I want to submerge myself in a life I’d love to lead, live vicariously without having to deal with the fall out. Fiction allows that. It enables a leap from the mundane into the dream world.

Sometimes I think we need fiction as a way of imaging how lives could be before anyone finds the courage to live that actual life. The fiction is a bit like a prototype or a test that you play around with in your mind before making it into something real. So before you commit yourself to a life with a woman you sketch out that life in your mind’s eye. Or if you’re feeling weak you picture yourself as a heroic warrior, and suddenly that’s it, you become the thing you imagine. But it’s the imagination part that has to come first.

I’ll leave you with a quote that inspires me endlessly, though I still seek to live it.“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” GoetheDo you feel the same way I do? I’d love to hear from you.
x
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Posted by: eshne | March 29, 2008

TV helped me realise I was a lesbian

Help! I’ve just lost another hour of my life to YouTube. How does that happen? All I planned to do was look up a clip from ER and I got completely sucked in to reliving the whole drama between Dr Weaver/Kerry and Kim (Laura Innes and Elizabeth Mitchell). Do you know it? If not take a look at the video clip below.

I wanted to track down a few scenes of the romance because it was whilst watching the relationship unfold on my TV I thought, Sh*t I think I might be gay. I say first time, because it took quite a few more moments like that before I fully embraced my love of women. (So I can’t honestly say that Elizabeth Mitchell turned me to the dark side… as much as I wish I could.)

What got me thinking about Kerry and Kim in the first place was a post on the Awakenings blog of The Recovering Straight Girls Twelve Steps to Becoming a Lesbian. I agree with almost every point on the list, although there is one very important one missing. Introducing point number thirteen..

13. We have searched the internet far and wide for lesbian films, lesbian tv shows, books with gay women and poems about sapphic love. And once we have watched all the bad ones, (wondered why Lost and Delirious is so melodramatic, wished there was more sex in Imagine Me & You), read the okay ones, cringed at the awful ones, and fully saturated ourselves with YouTube clips we finally admit to ourselves that we might like to go out into the world and try some sapphic love for real.

Do you agree? Should number 13 make it on to the list? 🙂

In case you’re interested here are some other defining media moments, in no particular order:

  • Pausing the video when Sharon Stone uncrosses her legs in Basic Instinct.
  • Being disappointed when Keira Knightly wasn’t gay in Bend it Like Beckham.
  • Loving Maura Tierney in a leather jacket.
  • Feeling more than intrigued when Anna Friel kissed her best friend in Brookside.

I want to compile a list of defining TV moments so if you feel like sharing, please add yours by commenting on this post.

Cheers,
x

Posted by: eshne | March 29, 2008

Where is the lesbian on the family tree?

Last night I visited my Grandparents and my Grandad talked me through his family tree. He’s Irish so it’s quite an extensive one…!

It started out with my Great Great Great Grandparents back in the 1800s and snaked all the way down to 2004. What shocked me was the number of my relatives who either immigrated to America, or lived there for several years in their early twenties before returning home. My Great Grandmother sailed to Chicago when she was 18 and only returned to Ireland when she had enough money for her dowry five years later – more on that in a moment. Some of them who settled never came home again because of the poverty they lived in.

As I looked down the different tracks, calculating how old the sons and daughters were when they got married, when they had their first child, I began to wonder if any of my ancestors had been gay. And it made me sad to realise there was no way I could find out. All I could do was wonder about the sons who never married or the women who became nuns. Did they remain unmarried because they loved another of their own sex? Were they really dedicated to God or in need for the company of all men/all women? Were any of the married women RSGs?

Now that marriage is legal for same-sex couples I wonder if any of us will feature on the family trees of the future. Finally our relationships can be recognised by a marriage date; Children can be born into the world with two female parents. Have you been able to identify any gay men or women in your ancestry?

Back on to the point about saving money for a dowry, in the Irish farming community a woman could only marry into another farming family if she had a sufficient amount of money to trade for her place as a wife – you either had to earn the money yourself, or if you had a brother and he married, his wife’s dowry would become yours. So in some cases, a woman could only marry once her brother found himself a suitable wife. How scary is that! We really have come a long way since then……

If any one knows of a good book on British or American lesbian history I’d love to hear about it.

x

Posted by: eshne | March 29, 2008

My Coming Out Story

I broke a silence and fell, a child, into a foreign game.

It all began with the offer of a baguette, half eaten and wilting in the stagnant heat. The days had been long. The sun seemed to rise high into the sky, then rest, for hour, after hour, after hour, and I would find myself wishing for the cooling shadows of night to slide across the world and swallow me up in their midnight embrace.

For five months I had casually crossed the boundaries of the world as only westerners can do. New Zealand, Australia, now Bali, soon Malaysia. I had marvelled at snow topped mountains. I had gaped open mouthed at the vast receding Australian horizon. But it was too much. Too much. My eyes clouded. A professional sightseer, as the days passed I felt myself being squashed tighter and tighter into a branded box, only capable of uttering inane slogans – the set script of a tourist.

So it all began with the offer of…or was it before then? Was it in fact weeks before, on those long and dusty bus rides that the idea took seed? Was it when thoughts were allowed free reign and the censor within retired and took off his respective hat? A self fulfilling prophecy then, that took shape, faltered, never quite knew how to end.

It was a night of cooling shadows. Soft breezes rippled through the creases of air. Lights flashed in the streets below and motorcycles whined as the midnight sky dropped her petticoats and shrouded us in stars. I believe it was then that Time grabbed me by the hand and pulled me in a crazy sprint through the light of day, the dark of night.

Trying to visualise her now is like attempting to draw all the colours of a rainbow to a single point. Shards of emerald green give way to flashing yellows, swinging pinks to an ocean of azure blue: a beacon in a vast audience of people lost at sea. Navigating her way through life, those she touched grew like flowers tasting their first heady mix of morning dew. Least that’s how it seemed.

She was striking. Quietly striking. Striking, because to know her was to feel winded, knocked down, awoken. Quietly, because it didn’t happen quite at once but covertly while the wind paused for breath and the sheets billowed against her porcelain skin.

Time was a witness as I launched my marble and struck her soundlessly in the chest. A strange absence settled where the obstruction had lodged – tongue loosened, jaw relaxed. Once begun confessions spilled from my lips, bubbling up like a spirited brook. Even then I could feel another confession building…but the music had begun. I had taken the first step and allowed the music to take control. The steps were unknown, the moves unpractice d, yet somehow my patched attempt succeeded and the two of us spun on to the dance floor, laughing, turning, eyes glittering, oblivious to the audience we knew would never see Us (for people see what they want to see).

As those lips pulled away I fell into a deep consciousness. Though in darkness a bright sunshine burst into my life, and with eyes closed I let the flickering shadows play beautifully across my face…and let the feeling linger on.

© Eshne Knight 2008

I’ve just come across a unique blog called Le chateau de vent by Madame Finistère that has some eye-opening posts. I couldn’t resist stealing part one of an inspiring Jeanette Winterson interview she’d found – you can view parts 2 to 5 on her why be happy when you can be normal post. I listened to another Jeanette Winterson interview via a BBC World Service podcast earlier this year, and apparently her adopted mother had a heart attack and died whilst watching the TV sex scene of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit! Can you imagine…

Posted by: eshne | March 29, 2008

Eshne’s Blog:From Live Spaces to WordPress

Hello all lady lovers,
I used to write my blog on Live Spaces (imaginativewomen.spaces.live.com) but it didn’t work out so I’ve moved on to WordPress – if you used to read my blog there, thanks for tracking me down!

I decided to start writing this blog because I wanted to interact with fellow lady lovers online and discuss my favorite subject – lesbian fiction, film & drama – as well as the real life drama of being gay/lesbian.

I’ve added a few of my older posts to get things going, but will be adding more new stuff over the weekend.

I love to hear what other people think and to discuss ideas, so if you want to comment on any of my posts then please do and I’ll make sure I reply.

Eshne

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