No Coronation Content: Guaranteed
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House of Longing
As I write this, it’s just over two weeks until P-Day (a.k.a. publication day) for House of Longing. It feels a little like I should be in a flurry of activity, but actually it’s the lull before the storm. After the years of writing and the months of re-writing and editing, it’s strange to be at the point where there is nothing else to do. I am carefully not reading one of my author copies, because I do not want to know if a typo managed to evade the rounds of edits and proof-reads. Pre-orders are open, which has made the whole thing feel terrifyingly real.
There is something quite bittersweet about releasing a novel with a lesbian protagonist in this time of backlash against the progress made in recent years towards recognising the rights and validity of LGBTQIA+ people. This book didn’t feel possible twenty years ago, and I’m grateful that it’s possible today, but I’m also frightened for my community. It’s easy to pretend that it wouldn’t happen in Australia, wouldn’t happen in progressive Melbourne, but there are actual NAZIs marching in the city and drag storytime events being cancelled due to fears of violence. I didn’t write House of Longing to make a statement, but if I did, the statement would have been this: we have always been here, and we have always been worthy of love. And, to my queer family: please stay safe and look after each other. And stay proud.
The Real Housewives of Kew Asylum
None of the characters in House of Longing are based on specific patients who spent time in Victoria’s lunatic asylums. Instead, they follow some of the broader archetypes of the type of women who were committed to the asylums of the era.
One of these women was Margaret T. who, like Charlotte & Flora, dressed in men’s clothing and travelled to Gippsland. Her case notes describe her grand adventure:
12.01.1900 “Says she went to Moe on foot. The journey occupied 7 days + she slept under trees. She saw several swagmen & several snakes. Says she felt rather frightened lest she should meet people at night. She does not see that her conduct in travelling about was improper. She says that the usual occupation of needlework is not exciting enough for her.”
Kew, Case Book 13, Page 162
And who would blame her?
…is about a Spiritualist cult in 1880s Melbourne, which means I get to read lots of fun books and pamphlets written around that time. Some of the covers and titles are absolute gold, as this book demonstrates:
Out & About
Recently, my wife and I spent three days in Bendigo for the Bendigo Writers Festival. It was a much-needed break from long hours and stress for both of us, and we listened to wonderful writers and ate delicious food. It was great to see so many people there to support a regional festival that has always shown local writers that same support.
We also saw the Drag Legends show at Jeff’s Shed, starring the true legends Jinkx Monsoon, Trinity the Tuck and Monet X Change. All were wonderful, but Jinkx is just so talented and inspirational that it’s impossible not to single her out. My main gripe for the night was that there were so many sequined jackets in the audience and none in my personal wardrobe. (I am not exactly a sequin person, but that is not the point. Shiiiiny.)
Watching, Reading, Playing, Listening
I’m a terribly slow reader at the moment, but recently I finished Limberlost by Robbie Arnott and Selfie by Allayne L. Webster. Very different books, but both fantastic in their own way, and I recommend them both.
TV-wise, we’re currently watching ‘Drag Race España’ s3 and ‘Drag Race Allstars’ s8. My wife is a big fan. ‘España’ was my favourite until ‘Sverige’ recently overtook it, but it’s been a little disappointing this season—largely because it had a lot to live up to with the quality of the first two seasons. We’re also watching s3 of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ (my choice) as it’s the perfect thing to stare at when your brain is all brained out at the end of a long workday.
I’m currently playing the original Darksiders game, which is like a mash-up of the PS3 God of War games and Zelda. I’m mostly enjoying it a lot, although I am not a fan of drawn-out boss battles, so those get a bit tiresome.
It's been out for a couple of months now, but I still have Miley Cyrus’s Endless Summer on repeat. I’m a big Miley tragic and I’m not afraid to say so. I’ve also been listening to Melanie Martinez’s new album, Portals. My wife’s the Melanie tragic, not me, but I do appreciate the range of what she does.
Paying the Cute Tax
Thanks for making it to the end! Your payment is this very cute picture of The Baby reading in the sun. The Baby is not our cat, but she spends most of her time in our back yard despite this. We are very much not unhappy about that and I’m sure you can see why.