New Novel: Dean Angeles, A Queer Shapeshifter Love Story

Exciting news! I’ve decided on a tentative title for the novel I’m working on. Dean Angeles, a queer shapeshifter love story. A novel about gender, magic, addiction, and queer love by the award-winning author of Refuse.

“Dean, an anxious transgender addict, moves to the country to write in solitude. He instead begins a romance with a magical shapeshifter, who challenges him to let go of his rigid ideas about gender and sexuality.”

I grabbed the domain name and made a simple site: deanangeles.com .

I’m going to be sharing my journey as I write, as part of the Writers.com 2022 Novel Writing Intensive. I’m doing this on a Facebook group where I’ll post thoughts about writing, updates, sneak peaks, related pictures and more.

I’m also hosting a live virtual event where I’ll be reading an excerpt, answering questions, and talking a bit about my program and process.

Hope.to see you on the group and at the reading!

On Novel Writing, Sobriety, and Virtual Events

I’m not sure I wrote about this before, but I was selected for the Writers.com 2022 Novel Writing Intensive Program. It started this month! A few days ago we had a meet-and-greet with the students and instructors, and today we had a workshop on publishing and marketing strategy. Bottom line: no one is going to do it for you. The good news is, I already know quite a bit about self-publishing from my projects between 2011-2016. I’m working on building my platform. I want to use the name Dean, but for now, Elliott DeLine is the name I have established, so I will be using that.

Yesterday I went to a thing called “Palm of the Hand Memoir Workshop” with poet Michael Czarneki. I found it very valuable, as it validated for me that my current writing style for my novel in progress is a good one. The idea behind Palm of the Hand writing is basically flash fiction, but for memoir. I don’t know too much about flash fiction, but I would say I am writing it. Flash scenes, at least. And my fiction writing, as in the past, has a lot of memoir elements as well. So I found this style helpful to learn about.

Besides the novel writing intensive, I have some other things going on. I’m taking two workshops this winter with poet Susan Vespoli, also through Writers.com. I love Susan’s writing circles and have signed up for them consecutively since I discovered them. The first one is “Writing Poems for Gratitude and Hope” and the other I forget the name of, but we study 8 poets styles and incorporate it into our own work. I’m planning on including some poetry in my novel, and I’d like to publish it otherwise. A publication I’m especially interested in is Anti-Heroin Chic, because of my poetry about addiction.

Addiction recovery goes well. I’ve been sober from all substances for a little over 2 weeks. I’m happy to say I’m finally giving 12-Steps a real try. And it’s actually right for me this time. I have a sponsor, I’m going to an LGBTQ meeting everyday at noon, and I’m doing the work. As I said today at a meeting, the sky is starting to look beautiful to me again.

Other projects of mine:

The Pandemic Poetry Open Mic Featuring Susan Vespoli, January 16th. I’m very excited about this. It will be perfect timing for the release of her book Blame in on the Serpent. I really enjoy Susan’s work, especially her poem “Chicken” and her poetry about addiction in her family. It looks like over 100 people are interested on Facebook, so there should be a good turnout! I’m going to read as well, and I’m looking forward to hearing what other people bring. I plan to doit every month. In February we will feature Ithaca poet Nora Snyder. Stay tuned!

Queer Writers Meetup on Discord, meeting pretty much daily at this point. This has been a HUGE help to me, as I’ve made a few friends I write with regularly. We set a time for 30 minutes, write, then share if we want and give feedback. Then we do it a second time.. I was a little skeptical that this would be a good idea– don’t want to edit too much as you go — but it’s been such a motivation to write everyday. We also have free writes with prompts on Sundays.

I’ve written quite a beefy entry, so I think I’ll end here for now. I haven’t even gotten into life on our land, which is starting to come together again. This summer/fall was….a mess. But we’ve got this! Next spring we are going to get back to work on planting, building, and more. We have a couple, Rima and Kris, who will be moving to the land soon, and collaborating with us. All very exciting. I will write about that soon. In the meantime, here is their blog, Half Hectare Homestead.

I also started a Discord server for my partner Joey’s company GenderCat.com. That has been rewarding, interacting with the trans community.

If you’re interested in following my progress on my novel, please continue to follow me here, or add me on Facebook, or Instagram.

Oh and lastly, I will soon have an interview coming out on the blog Bitchin’ Chickens, about my poetry and our chicken saga. Stay tuned!

Pandemic Poetry Open Mic!

The way it works:

-Show up at the Open Mic on Zoom (dates coming soon!)

-Sign up for a reading slot (3 poems or <5 minutes)

-Listen to the featured poet (and tip if you can!)

-Listen to all the other poets and share.

-Exchange contacts and build community!

Starting January 2022. Join the Facebook community to get updates: https://www.facebook.com/groups/406881367613620

Gina (a poem)

Good morning friends,

This is my first poem in a series about ex-girlfriends. I love feedback, but no pressure. Feel free to send me something of yours as well! If you wanna join my poetry mailing list, shoot me an email at elliottdeline@gmail.com. Have a great day.

Gina

by Elliott DeLine

This morning I showed Christen 

Golden The Ponyboy,

A stuffed horse, made of maroon corduroy.

The outer skin is cut from women’s pants, the pocket seams visible on the right side of the pony’s bottom. 

The white stitching of the maroon pony is rough, done with an untrained hand.

The tail and mane are made of strips of fabric, the sort you’d find in a box outside for free in Ithaca, beside the local craft store. 

Brown plaid pattern and a white fabric adorned with little red flowers, green leaves, and ladybugs. 

Golden the Ponyboy’s legs do not hold his weight

So he sprawls with them spread in four directions, like a starfish, 

on the dark wood table 

where we sit. 

“Gina made him for me,” I say.

Christen laughs because I named a chicken after Gina because– well, forget it, it’s mean. 

Why be mean about ex-girlfriends anyway?

At 33, I’m only just realizing this.

I once brought Golden

To art school

Because I was proud of him.

I placed him on the table

Along with a drawing of him I had made.

That teacher told me

My work was immature

And asked wouldn’t I rather

Be a writer?

And now I sit with Golden

As I type this

And I wonder

Is Gina still alive?

I mean seriously.

She has no Facebook.

Seriously, Gina, are you out there?

Are you ok?

I heard a rumor that you 

Moved to Texas?

Really Gina, are you ok?

I really hope that you’re ok.

4th Puberty (Testosterone Journey)

A lot of trans people go on hormones and talk about 2nd puberty. Makes sense. I’m on my 4th. 

I was born a girl. Or assigned female. I went thru puberty at 14 and grew breasts, got wider hips, body hair, a period, etc. I didn’t like it much at all. I liked girls best but didn’t consider myself a lesbian. I was just a boy that was unfortunately a girl, if that makes sense. I heard the term Female-To-Male at 17 from a friend and it clicked. I did some old-school internet research (Hudson’s FTM resources anyone?)  and started going to a clinic at Syracuse University to work on a letter for hormones. It was…awful. Akin to conversion therapy in my opinion. You had to be binary and straight to transition. And abusive, invasive questioning. But anyway. Such was the times.

When I was 20, I went on testosterone. This was….2008. I was at SUNY Purchase College in Whiteplains, NY. It’s a pretty queer school. Gotta be the queerest SUNY school at least. It’s the definition of hipster. It’s where I learned that I was not unique but in fact a hipster.  Ouch. Also I became more of a hipster (skinny jeans, big glasses….) It’s also where I learned that actually (sometimes) we like being called queers, dykes, etc. Anyway, I rode the train to Callen-Lorde in NYC where they did Informed Consent and I got my t. After a torturous Syracuse summer, which I have chronicled elsewhere. 

After that I lived as a pretty gay, writerly loner dude for….wow….over 10 years, mostly in Syracuse with frequent trips down to NYC. Mostly with my parents. I went to SU and finished up my English BA. The trans community leaders and resources in Syracuse were FUCKED UP. I have also written about this elsewhere. There was a right and wrong way to be transgender for sure, and people of color and nonbinary people always got it wrong of course.  And were shunned. Shrug. I didn’t stand for it, neither did my future partner Joey…We shook shit up, fell in love, it was beautiful…. Also difficult. I have a lot of trauma (but also just kinda sucked sometimes). But lots of good times with my new chosen family that included the wonderful Drew, Joey’s son, and two cats. Both on the road in our RV and in the crazy, lovely/ infuriating little college town of Ithaca, NY. Also chronicled quite a bit in this blog. 

Anyway, Joey made me comfortable enough with my feminine side that I went off T, on it again, and off it several times over 6 years, usually going with a low dose. But, when covid hit, my alter ego Ellie was just like “I NEED TO EXIST DAMNIT” and so I…detransitioned? Not completely, because I never went out. And I never presented as female around Drew ( like with my breast prosthetics, makeup, wig, etc). I went with femboy. But I was a girl. “On” estrogen. And really longing to exist out in the world. But, well, covid. 

Then, this summer. moody gay transsexual Dean (featured in my first book, Refuse) was like, “I’m back and uncomfortable in my body!” and Ellie was like “Well…I can work with T. I actually think I’m nonbinary and more of a femboy and tomboy, and also girls can have beards!).” And then there was Ryan (who is currently typing) who was like…”dude I’m a stereotypical masculine trans guy who wants to lift weights… and I’m bi but I’m like really hot for fem women especially.” Everyone else was like, “Noooooo you are somehow inherently problematic with your privilege!….But then….No wait, I guess you really aren’t actually. OK. Hi Ryan! You can exist too.” Ryan hadn’t been around in, well, decades. So here he was. He was formerly named Laura in my head, which was my birth name, and I kinda just “deadnamed” him outta existence. But he’s real. And he wants to be called Ryan. 

Don’t freak out tho, you can call me Elliott or Dean or Ryan or Ellie and I won’t mind. Elliott is probably easiest for most. Or I’ve heard it’s cool to name your D.I.D. system. We are “The Angeles Family.”

Anyway.

I learned about D.I.D. and autism from Joey and that made sense of A LOT. Forgot to mention that. 

So in August, Dean went back on T. And now here I am, Ryan, on .5 cc (decent dose), living in the country, lifting weights, doing pilates, posting shirtless selfies on IG…yeeeeah. I’m a bit of a harmless bro, which drives Dean a little crazy. But that’s ok. Because I realize everything about this sounds crazy, and I don’t mind. 🙂 It’s me. And yes, Dean is around often, to write and be a sub and listen to Depeche Mode and wear eyeliner and all black, and the others pop in pretty regularly too. 

Anyway. 

I’m not sure what to say about being back on T yet again except that I’m experiencing gender euphoria and it’s beautiful. Also, my partner invented GenderCat.com and that is also largely contributing to the euphoria. Woot woot. 

Sorry if that’s TMI. Shrug. 

Anyway, if you wanna check out my posts back when I went on estrogen you can look back a little ways in this blog.. 

And if you wanna check out my books, you can look them up under Elliott DeLine. Beware, I was pretty miserable. 

And I guess that’s it for now, I’ll write another post if something comes to me. Peace.

Little update- November 2021

Posting in the middle of a weekday as per usual I suppose…

SINCE I LAST WROTE: JOEY AND I ARE GETTING MARRIED!

Probably in June? Stay tuned.

I did some stuff to actually promote my writing this morning. I also got accepted into a writing program– a 9 month intensive at writers.com. Writers.com actually has some pretty awesome stuff going on. I’m taking a poetry class there that has this thing called a Writing Circle. it’s run by Susan Vespoli. Here’s a link: https://writers.com/classes/writing-circle-gratitude-hope-new-year

The goal is to finish a novel. I am not ready to share it’s synopsis. But it will be a continuation of the “Dean series.”

Life on the farm goes. We have the chickens for eggs and the goats for milk. Hoping the fruit trees make it!

I’m really interested in creating online writer communities to share work, especially with other queer especially trans people. 🙂

Hit me up if this interests you- deanangeles88@gmail.com

Oh, and I am going by the name Dean now.

Little update

Life has been really good. This is my favorite time of year. Ritalin is still really helping me with positive energy, focus, drive, and calmness. It’s a huge difference. Almost as huge as my first ketamine treatments.

Right now I’m sitting outside with my chickens. There are two left still. We lost another. I’m not sure how much longer these ones have but I’m enjoying them while I can. Please, never buy “meat birds” to eat or for pets. I love them, but we made a mistake. They are bred irresponsibly.

I’m playing guitar and writing a lot. I’m also doing things around the farm. Morning chores have gotten much easier. I am enjoying caring for the animals and even constructing some stuff with Joey! I’m learning and it’s really cool.

I have a chapbook coming out and I’m doing a reading/giveaway over Zoom. Here is the link for the facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/244591984129216 .

Well, I can’t think of a whole lot more I want to say at the moment. Been thinking a lot about intentional community and what the future might hold. Been thinking a lot about poetry. Been feeling good.

Ritalin, goats, & new writing

Today I started taking Ritalin. I feel so calm and steady. I’m guessing this confirms that I have ADHD. The first thing that comes to mind is, “I don’t feel like a chicken running around with my head cut off.” Unfortunate idiom, given that I found one of my chickens dead yesterday. That was hard, but we placed her body beneath a tree and adorned her with a bouquet of dandelions. There are 3 of the white chickens left, my favorites.

The land is beautiful here in May. It’s one of my favorite times of year. It feels like a real farm, with all the animals around. A few days ago we brought home three goats. Our puppies will be coming home soon.

I’m taking several writing classes on Zoom right now. It’s really helping me. I’m starting to enjoy the process of writing again, and not just beat myself up that I’m not “producing” enough. I’m taking classes in poetry and creative nonfiction. I’m working on a lot of poems, and in particular, a chap book about chickens. I’d like to get that published or publish it myself. I’m also working on a novel, but that’s very slow going and I want to keep that secret for now as to not curse it. It’s pretty light-hearted though, and a nice change of pace. I also want to put together another collection of personal essays….something sort of between Show Trans and No Poster Boy. I want to weave stories together. I’ve been through so much these past 6-7 years since I published those. I’m ready.

There’s a robin in front of me trying to eat a worm that is too big for it. It’s pretty funny. We also have barn swallows, Canada geese, blue birds, owls, deer…. Feeling good on my new meds, I can see how awesome my life is right now.

I’m gonna post a few poems that I haven’t shared yet. They aren’t formatted with line spacing and returns exactly how I want them, but you get the idea. Hope you enjoy.

*

Pure Joy

Sometimes the chickens are enough.

The four fat ones tottle out of their coop

to munch on the grass and slurp up worms,

their enormous bodies

almost covering their orange scaly legs and feet.

Like obese dinosaurs

they roam among the dandelions,

running and flapping with pure joy,

or huddling down in the dirt,

rotund bodies pressed together

to wiggle and shake

and throw dirt in the air.

Some lands on me

as I try to keep a straight face

on my Zoom call.

One finds a crunchy June bug

and the others abandon

their demure nature

to peck at her beak

trying to secure a taste.

They buck and groan and chortle

talking amongst each other

between bites of blades of grass

as a mild breeze

blows through the yard

rustling their cream-colored feathers. 

*

A Poem From My One Rabbit, Beau, to the Other, Theo 

I love you through our cages.

I’ll snuggle with you through the bars.

Though you bite me

and tear at me with your claws.

I still need the warmth

of your body

pressed against mine.

*

Why We Haven’t Had Sex in Over A Year

I drink a cup of coffee

And immediately ask

“Where is my next cup of coffee?”

Over and over again

With no end

And it’s sad because

Coffee in the morning 

Was our special time together

But I ruined it

With too many caffeinated questions

“When do you think we’ll have coffee again?”

“Was the coffee good for you?”

“Will we drink coffee again tomorrow?”

“Can we have coffee this afternoon?”

“Are you busy or can you have coffee again in 

Ten minutes?”

And when you say you’ve had enough

I pout

Or plead

For this manipulation

You will not stand

So I’m left alone

Bare feet on the cold kitchen floor

And there’s no milk in the refrigerator

So I drink my coffee black

Cup after cup

And it’s bitter

And I don’t even enjoy it.

*

Walking Uphill in Ithaca

It’s getting dark.

I’m walking up Aurora Street

on the cracked sidewalk

past different colored,

two-story, city houses,

porches with pumpkins, plastic skeletons,

and rainbow flags

and leaf-covered yards

with signs that say, 

“Black Lives Matter”

and “Bernie 2020.” 

As I round the corner

wafting from some student’s bedroom,

the smell comes

and hits me-

I mean really hits me-

with memories.

Giggling marathons of

Star Trek: The Original Series

under our fleece blankets.

The makeshift green and red light shows

we projected on the walls and ceiling,

and great sex 

with Indian music playing

in the dark, in the glow.

The heat of our campfire 

in the summer

in Southern Oregon

beside the RV

and the deep green creek

where we really heard Jimi Hendrix

for the first time

over my bluetooth speaker.

And we joked we would be famous

 as the two guys who just sat there

for eighty years. 

At our spot in the forest

in the hammocks,

conversations about

how humans are the apes

who were kicked out of the trees

as we looked up at the bright green leaves

of the canopy.

Arguments in bed

over whether I’d had enough. 

Then me, threatening to leave

with a packed suitcase

and no jacket

in an Upstate New York blizzard.

The itchy feel 

of the hospital gown and socks.

The cold steel telephone

through which you told me

you couldn’t do it anymore. 

And still, in that smell,

the empty promise of another life

in which I am “chill.” 

So I cover my nose with my soft grey scarf

and keep walking uphill.

3 months later…

Wow, I haven’t written on here since February.

I’m doing…okay. Right now I don’t really even know how to phrase the stuff I’m going thru.

I haven’t gotten the vaccine and I’m pretty down about it. I could go into all the reasons but it basically boils down to: 1.) I don’t trust how it would interact with my autoimmune disorder and 2.) We live in a place where we can isolate. I don’t go anywhere. So the whole family is waiting for now.

But that’s just the problem. I feel so fucking isolated.

I’m also struggling with gender confusion and dysphoria.

I wanted to say more but I don’t know what to say right now.

Maybe I could elaborate on feelings of isolation, or the gender stuff?

Isolation: meh.

Gender stuff: Sometimes/often/currently(?) I feel more like a demigirl than a guy but have no energy/confidence to present that way I want to look more feminine but I don’t know how right now in a way that would be comfortable. This makes me feel further invisible on top of the fact that I barely ever see anybody.

If anyone can recommend places I could find support online, that would be awesome. I’ve been trying to find nonbinary support groups this evening. Waiting for approval from some facebook ones. It feels super awkward to just write about my problems to strangers though. I don’t know.

My writing group also ends in a few weeks and I’m wanting to find a way to continue to be a part of a poetry community. It’s been really critical during this past year.

Anyway, blah blah blah. Maybe I’ll write more later or tomorrow or you know, 3 months from now.

Brief update

I haven’t written in awhile. I’ve been depressed the past few weeks and haven’t had much energy for anything. I’m feeling pretty directionless waiting for spring to start planting. I’ve been writing some, especially in my writer’s circle/class.

We had another incident and we lost some chickens. Some more were injured, so we aren’t out of the woods yet, but they seem to be doing well.

Wow, I’m really struggling to come up with anything to say. Otherwise, the past few weeks have been pretty unremarkable. I guess this will just be an entry checking in. Hopefully I’ll have more to report soon.