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!

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.

Art-stress, and a poem about nature

Aw man, tonight I’m not feeling great. I made a self-portrait and it seems to have really messed me up. I feel agitated….really on edge and spacey. I did it in my old style I used to in high school. I guess it just took me back to that time in my life. I wasn’t thinking about it while I was working, I was just sort of in a trance for hours. It’s a really good piece too. I wish I could just feel good about it.

It’s been really frustrating lately that creativity triggers me. Joey suggested that maybe I draw nature and not people if I’m going to do black and white pencil drawings. I do want to make some art of nature, but I want to be able to do all kinds of things. It’s frustrating. I really have to watch out for my mental health though.

I want to take another writing course that will help me hopefully write some short stories. I’m worried about this though, too. Can I no longer do any art that has a dark side to it? I don’t want everything I make to be light and positive. Do I? I mean, it’s a valid question. What is the point of making art that doesn’t feel good? Does it serve a higher function? Or bring a deeper satisfaction long term? I dunno.

Can I write happy short stories? I guess. It’s interesting that it seems shallow for some reason. That seems like an immature outlook, of the suffering artist. I just want to be able to express a range of things in my work. Hmm…

Well, I don’t have to figure it all out at once. What I discovered tonight is that doing portraits in my old high school style probably isn’t healthy for me right now. It doesn’t mean I have to stick with light subject matter forever. I just need to be careful of this. I think I’m going to have to develop new styles, which is actually exciting.

I’m writing this all largely in an attempt to calm myself down. I want to go to bed pretty soon, because I go to bed pretty early and wake up around 5 am. I slept a lot today though. I’m trying to just apply some self love and forgiveness. Here, also, is a new poem about nature. Typing that out will calm me down.

In The Early January Light

In the early January light

yellow-white sun with an orange halo

the song of the cardinal

Blue shadows around snowy foot tracks

mostly human

A trail of paw prints

leading across the frozen pond

to the island

where a fox beds down in the tall grasses

Spots along the bank 

where the snow is dug up

from the deer, eating the grass

The wind whistles low in my ears

I have cold hands

and the world seems just a little bit

fuzzy

Tree-covered hills in the distance

grey

while the trees in the foreground

appear almost black

Four crows

cut across that grey expanse

beneath the white-yellow orb

and the encroaching clouds. 

A Difficult Day

I’m reading live on Zoom in a couple days. Right now I’m freaking out that what I have isn’t good enough. It was a hard day. Why am I insecure? I hold onto past events and project a negative future. I sit in a brain state of judgement, rather than just letting it be. On days like this, I forget what it feels like to even enjoy myself.

*

Sometimes when I look at the horizon I feel nothing. Sometimes I feel empty and lonely and uninspired. I don’t feel I belong. I feel sad and afraid, and sometimes I’m not even sure why. All I can do is accept this, and breathe. Fighting it makes it worse. 

When I was a child, I avoided these feelings by constantly living in a fantasy world. When I got to be a teen, that magic ability wore off and I became depressed. I still miss that escape. My Neverland. It’s what I try to return to when I’ve abused substances or lost myself in another person.

We tell these stories about who we are again and again.We form grooves in our brain. We wear down pathways. Who am I if not my trauma? It’s a very good question with which to start. 

Self-criticism is a knife with which I cross out and delete words. Heaven forbid I appear trite. When sometimes it’s these words that are most true. But I cut out what might seem like crap to others. Who? 

Forget them. What is it I need from writing this piece? 

I’m trying to focus on how much I’ve grown. My resilience is amazing. Just this year alone, I am more independent, happy, steady, calm, secure, creative, confident, and stable than I have been in a long time. I am valuing and taking care of myself. I have an awareness of my mind and body. 

What would it feel like to be secure in myself as an artist? What would it feel like to be secure in myself, period? 

Cravings are intense. For sex, for drugs, even for too much coffee and chocolate. I am still an addict, and maybe one forever. It’s learning how to ride those waves, I suppose. What to consume in moderation and what to abstain from and when.

I hope I feel better tomorrow. That is my intention. But if not, I do think I am doing a good job of accepting my state. No matter what, I’ll be okay. I learned that with the trauma of losing Joey for a while. I lived. The chickens being killed was also a horror I survived. I can deal with sadness. It’s better than the anxiety to avoid it. It will pass. I will remember how to feel good again.

*

Here’s a link to info about my reading on New Year’s Day: https://www.facebook.com/events/730537194245523

Journey with Estrogen, Pt. 3

One of the first things I noticed when I went off testosterone was that I started crying a lot. It wasn’t necessarily bad. Sometimes I cried because I felt grateful. Another very interesting change, at least to me, was that I started getting goosebumps from music like I hadn’t in a very long time. Possibly before I started T. It started happening all the time and it felt really good. Music just became such an emotional, physical experience in a way it hadn’t since I had to/ decided to give up smoking weed and drinking.

I want to reiterate that this is just my experience. I imagine it is different for everyone. A lot of my reactions to estrogen fall in line with gender stereotypes, but that doesn’t mean they do for everybody.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that some of my psychosis can come back when my estrogen is higher. Could be a coincidence, because it’s also happened before on T. But I do notice a pattern that it happens more with estrogen. I started having very paranoid feelings about the safety of our pets and our family. I also started seeing these dark, shadowy shapes all the time. It was scary. Luckily we adjusted my meds and that seemed to take care of it. I was also under a lot of stress with the election and covid.

I started feeling a spiritual connection with the moon. I left crystals out under the full moon light to charge them. I built an altar in the pine woods. I’ve been drawn more and more towards the mystical. I really would like to reach out to people who are pagan and learn more about how I can develop my spiritual side and a spiritual community. I’ve been really needing that, and its something that I struggle with. My interests are Celtic paganism, with a queer and anticolonial lens as I connect with my ancestors. I also really like a lot of the teachings of Buddhism. I feel like I need more structure with this.

I’ve always loved hard, but it feels even harder with estrogen. Sometimes I just look at Joey, or even just think about him, and I’m overwhelmed. It isn’t just emotionally, but bodily. I will remember a kiss and I literally get weak in the knees and have to rest for a moment to collect myself. It was ridiculous seeming at first, but it actually feel great. I’ve been celibate for mental health reasons for about a year, so I can’t say how estrogen effects my sex life. But I can guess it will enhance it. I feel more in tune with the moment. Of course, this is due to lots of factors, but the hormonal shift is definitely when of them. Waiting for sexual attention isn’t as excruciating, and fantasizing is much more rich.

Now, a story.

On one of my ketamine treatment trips, I imagined all the people in my life as a pride of lions. Thinking of holy cat creatures is a reoccurring theme. I imagined myself, and what kind of lion I would be. I imagined a sort of female lion, with some masculine characteristics (a small tuft of mane). I would have the female responsibilities (except I couldn’t be a hunter so….well, whatever.) I would be attracted to male lions and my partner would love me best of all the female lions in the pack. I wouldn’t get pregnant, but I would be submissive in a consentsual way, and I would be joyfully protected.

I also thought about myself in a “primitive” society, more in tune with nature, and how I would be likely more accepted (well, depends, but play along) as a gender nonconforming person, and how colonialism and christianity was what messed that up. I think I’d be an artist, and also learning the art of healing, with herbs but also spiritually. Including the healing powers of psychedelics.

Anyway, lastly physical. It’s weird to know that I can get pregnant right now, if I wanted. I sometimes have longings for it, believe it or not, or maybe just freezing my eggs. I also have very strong desires to get married. I do not wish to give birth physically, and I know I am not ready. But I NEVER expected to have maternal or even parental instincts in my life. It’s very surprising.

Some more bodily changes: curvy hips. More pronounced bottom. Softer skin. My beard grows slower and lighter, as does the rest of my body hair. Slimmer stomach. Honestly, I’m just thrilled with all of it.

Oh and for the record, I still use he/him/his pronouns most the time and I’ll tell you nicely if that changes.

Ok, I guess this is all about my journey with estrogen for now. Thanks for reading this 3 part series. A lot of this stuff is invisible, and I feel like no one sees me for the real me. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to be known. Good night.

A life worth living, pt. 3

For the first time this evening, it occurred to me that I am a “recovering addict.” I guess that’s kind of a loaded, stereotyped term. I have been aware for a while that I struggled with addiction. But I went to my first groups related to the issue this week. My addictions were marijuana and alcohol. Alcohol was more problem in the past, but I would switch between the two. I am not against marijuana usage, and I haven’t ruled out that I will never use it again. It had many benefits and many fond memories attached. But at the level I was smoking, for me, it was causing psychosis. And yet I still couldn’t back off even a little. A lot of people don’t think marijuana is a serious drug, but in this case, it was at risk of really fucking up my life. I wrote more about that in a previous post.

Anyway, today I had a meeting with my partner and my drug counselor and I realized I’m really really hard on myself. I’ve realized this before. But it is to the point where I don’t believe I’m deserving of love. This was a breakthrough for me. I’ve had people suggest it to me, but it never really sank in until today. I don’t trust that I deserve a loving relationship. And that’s why I’m always scared of losing it. That was a lot of the paranoia related to marijuana, and it was a self-fulfilling prophecy as I became a more and more difficult person not to love, but with whom to be in a relationship.

I’m looking back on many things differently now. There was a guy I very much wanted to be with, before I met Joey. I took his rejection very hard, because I took it as more evidence that I was not lovable- even though he was saying he did have love for me, he just didn’t want to be in a relationship with me because my life was honestly a wreck. I think about that differently now. I’m glad things happened the way they did, and I feel really lucky that I found someone who was able to be with me, through my struggles. And we’re still together.

Anyway, this is the part where I would usually berate myself for being touchy feeley or something but I don’t want to do that anymore. I feel blessed tonight and I wanted to share in writing.

The day I did nothing.

Today is already difficult. It’s 8:49 AM and I don’t have plans. I’ll be spending the day alone. I tried working a bit on my novel over coffee, but it feels very strained. My interest isn’t there. I have a number of creative projects in my queue that I don’t feel like doing. I want something new.

It’s at least sunny. I struggle worse on days without sunlight. The trees are bare, but from where I’m sitting, I can see a bird nest. The light is refreshing. November through February are hard in upstate New York. I’m trying to appreciate the sunlight, rather than wish I were somewhere else.

And so, I decided today would be the day I did nothing and to try to feel good about it. It was nearly impossible to feel all that good. I spent most the day sleeping, after picking up the apartment. I read over some of my literature for my mental health-related classes, particularly DBT. “Today,” I thought, “I will just observe.” My legs were sore from walking around Ithaca so much lately anyway. I noted colors of things. I stood outside and practiced 4-point breathing.

The most that can be said about today is I haven’t gotten really upset over anything. So there is the silver lining I suppose.

A mental health post

It seems like I am always acquiring more mental illness labels. This time, it’s psychosis. Of course, it was drug induced. I was smoking marijuana daily. But I think I was still smoking less than a lot of people do. I think I have a predisposition. I read today of a schizophrenia spectrum. I find that really interesting.

I have exhibited some traits of schizophrenia throughout my life. It got really bad this summer, with a combination of pressure and marijuana over-usage. My official diagnosis was, again, Depression with Psychotic Features. It’s a bit embarrassing to talk about, but a lot of it centered on the release of the movie England is Mine and Morrissey’s new album, Low In High School. I avoided these things for a while, because I think I had a subconscious sense that Morrissey is a trigger for my psychosis. I wonder if other people experience this… It makes sense, because so much of his work is about mental illness. But its always been kinda weird, how I have felt like he was singing to/ for me. Other people describe this. I guess it was more like, he was singing an opera of my life. Like our experiences were linking up.

I fall into a line of thinking where I believe he and I are spiritually related. And this summer, when my life and relationship was in flux, there was the new album. And a movie, which I was quite convinced was informed by my books.

I remember, at it’s worse, I was very high, standing in my room with my partner. I had just played “I Wish You Lonely,” I believe. And I said, trembling, “I think he read Refuse, and I think he liked it, and I think it influenced him. And I think he wants to meet me. And I think I am going to finally be in a band and my books will sell and I am going to be rich.”

This wasn’t what prompted my partner to suggesting I be hospitalized. It was when I announced I was leaving, and I wouldn’t say where. We called my doctors. Everyone agreed I needed to be hospitalized….except me. I thought everyone was overreacting. I was also being pretty abusive and accusing others of being crazy.

All through hospitalization, I still held out hope that Morrissey and his band and people were coming for me. I also believed I was on the government watch list…and something to do with Chelsea Manning…and that they would be helping my family and I flee the U.S.

I still believed I was going to meet Morrissey when I went to see him perform in Philadelphia. My friend had bought my front row tickets, and I was going to try to give him Refuse for the third time. I wrapped it and included a neclace. Unfortunately, Morrissey cancelled.

I still was convinced this had something to do with me.

My anti-psychotics were raised. I started to see how foolish I was being. I realized how horrible and paranoid I had been about people in my life. I also lost a great deal of my creative drive.

What is it about Morrissey’s music that has this weird effect on certain people?

I have now accepted that there was no plan for us to meet up. But the malady lingers on. Not psychosis. Depression. Unemployment. The meds make me sleep way too much. I attend classes that are supposed to help me, and I think they are. “Mindfully living with depression.” “Dialectical Behavioral Therapy” ( a more Buddhist, feminist approach to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Maybe even “Help with Employment” eventually. I am lucky that my partner has supported me through all this.

I miss marijuana on a daily and nightly basis. It’s like grief. It made me happy in a way that I hadn’t experienced since childhood. I hope one day, I can smoke again in a safe, controlled way.

Now, my days are mostly empty. This is the most I’ve written in awhile that I’ve felt pretty good about. I’m still in Ithaca. I have shelter. I have food. I have my cats, and some crappy old instruments, a computer, and notebooks. I have some friends that I am trying to get to know better. It looks like we will be here for awhile.

I enjoy yoga. I’m not drinking or smoking. I’m also going to addiction related programming.

I lost my therapist and got a new one. This was hard, but probably for the best. I had come to see her as more of a very close friend. Still, I grieve the loss.

I’m not really able to get into any project. I’m hoping that changes soon. I’m trying to lessen my negative self-talk about being a burden for my family, etc. It doesn’t fix anything. It will get better in time.

I am having lately some horrible conundrum of gender identity. I begin to feel I want to be feminine and lay off T some, and dress differently. But then it switches. Call it DID, being bigender…I don’t know. It’s saddening.

Anyway. This is a blog entry. I feel good getting it out. It makes me hopeful more will come soon.

Ithaca, New York

It’s been four whole months since I wrote on this blog. A lot has happened. We are no longer full-timing in our RV. In fact, Serenity is in Florida with Joey’s dad currently. So what happened? Well, after 9 months away, Joey was really missing our friend Erica who lives in Syracuse. I was also feeling lonely and drawn back to the east. I was feeling the desire to settle somewhere, and maybe part-time RV if we could make it financially feasible. We cut our Pacific Northwest exploration short, and hope to get back someday. We cut across the country, from Oregon to Washington to Montana. We pretty much just drove and slept. The Montana mountains and forests were pretty. Then it was on to North Dakota. The Badlands were also visually intriguing. I saw another buffalo when we stopped one night. It was all a blur, because we traveled cross country in about a week. Minnesota turned to Wisconsin to Indiana to Ohio without much excitement. Then we were suddenly back in New York State, and that was weird.

We ended up back on the west side of Syracuse, staying in Erica’s mom’s driveway. It was a stressful few weeks. Joey had to set up his tent and workshop in the front yard. I felt really lost. It was great seeing Erica and other people again, but everything felt really uncertain and I felt a little trapped. I knew very quickly that I didn’t want to be in Syracuse. Joey was starting to get really depressed, and he still is. The constant stress and work of travelling apparently held it off for him, but now it’s front and center. I was also struggling. We were looking for places to live, maybe for 6 months, in the general Syracuse region. I saw my therapist. I vented a lot about the difficulties of RV life and my fears for the future. I casually mentioned how I wished we could move to Ithaca, because that was probably our best option as queer, trans, and aspie people in Central New York, and I had some internet friends who lived there. My therapist asked me why I hadn’t told Joey this, and I realized I should. He was like, “That’s funny, I was thinking the same thing.” So we started searching for apartments.

We’re about an hour and a half south of Syracuse, but it’s a completely different world. It certainly isn’t perfect. It’s a very white, artsy, hippy, liberal college town. It’s still Central New York. But I feel way safer here, and there are resources. I have a new therapist who is queer and great, and an advocate for my disabilities, and it’s all free. I started a queer writer meetup group and I feel like I’m making some friends and slowly building community. Community seems really important to people here. And there are a lot of trans people. Actually, I feel happier here than I did anywhere else so far.

I realized I need people in my life that I see regularly and who I care about. More than just Joey and Drew and the cats. It’s not enough just to meet passing strangers and do readings in cities once a month. If I’m ever going to live my life to the fullest, I have to get close to people. I’m a lot better than I was when we left Syracuse. I feel like I’ve clarified my boundaries. I’m still super anxious around people, but it’s getting better. I think Ithaca is a good fit.

It’s funny, because my original plan was to go to Ithaca College. I was 17 or 18, and I thought it would be perfect for me. My dad communicated that it was too expensive. I was not a great high school student so I didn’t get aid, and this was before he left on disability (or whatever happened. Early retirement? I’m not sure.) Anyway, I got pretty much no financial aid. I was a traumatized kid too focused on trying to survive and transition to really care, so I let my dad handle most my college finances and decisions (for better and mostly worst). I went for SUNY Purchase, and eventually dropped out. And hey, I never would have written my first book if I hadn’t gone there. And I got more familiar with New York City…a little. Beyond that, I’m not sure I got anything positive out the experience. I can’t help wondering what would have happened if I went to Ithaca from the start. The queers I’ve met here have seemed stable. Of course, I’m older now. But it’s interesting to wonder about.

We have a tiny apartment we can’t really afford on the Southside of Ithaca. It’s quite convenient to the Commons/Downtown area, which means I can bike places. We’re near a Wegmans. I can go to cafes, which is where I am today. I signed up and got a scholarship to take two classes a semester at the Community School of Art and Music. The queer writers group meets once a week. I am biking distance to water falls (which are mostly dried up from drought) and a swimming spot on Cayuga Lake. My needs are being better met. Joey’s business is doing better, even if he is really depressed. My book sales are pretty much the same.

Tomorrow I have an appointment my lawyer and advocate to talk about DSS and the stupid internal hearing for “intentional fraud” that I’m going to have to probably go to. They want $3,000. It’s total bullshit and bullying. I did nothing wrong. I will be glad when the meeting is over, and gladder when I just have SSI and don’t have to even deal with this. It’s been super stressful for me. I also have to see about getting foodstamps and temporary assistance while I’m here in Tompkins County. I have a meeting for that tomorrow too, which my advocate is also coming to.

Anyway, we have the apartment for a year. I really don’t know what’s happening. There’s been some talk of moving to Canada. I don’t know how serious that is, or if I really want it. But we are here at least until next summer. We may take a winter RV trip if we can.

I’ll post again when I’ve got something to say. There have been trips to the Adirondacks, New York City, and Buffalo that I have not covered. Oh well. Until next time. Thanks for reading my thoughts.

A rainy morning in Yosemite

I am realizing how much I missed pine trees, and shade, and rain. It’s such a relief to be here. This is my first time in Yosemite National Park. I’ve barely explored at all yet, but I already am in love. The smell of pine, and rain, and campfires… cool air… It’s wonderful. It’s supposed to rain most the time we are here, unfortunately. Joey and I are going to take a shuttle and go exploring very soon. We have an umbrella.

The AWP Conference in Los Angeles went really well. It was good for me. I sold books, and I’m hoping to reap the rewards long-term. I met people and networked and that kind of stuff that doesn’t come entirely with ease. I’m feeling good about it.

But I’m feeling even better about heading north! It feels like we are finally free. For the longest time, everything was structured around Joey getting surgery. Then I had my big reading in San Francisco, and then AWP. Now we can do as we please. Joey’s business is going well too.

We didn’t end up going through the Eastern Sierras via route 395. It was snowy. Instead we went via route 99 and 140. We stopped briefly at Red Rock Canyon.

Last night we were watching Joey’s Firefly DVDs and we realized that a lot of it is totally filmed in Acton, where we were staying. That was awesome, but I gotta say, I am ready for a long break from the dry south west. Especially Los Angeles County. Especially Antelope Valley.

It’s funny how I have trouble recalling specific anecdotes to share. I have this vague sense of them, but they are just beyond my reach. Memory is weird.

I’ve been stressed about the anti-trans laws and sentiment in the US lately. I’m privileged to currently be able to put some space between me and the realities of civilization.

So yeah, I’m gonna get back to doing that.

OH! OH OH OH. I almost forgot! We went to a wildcat sanctuary! With tigers, leopards, cheetahs, snow leopards (my favorite). It was awesome.