Wednesday, September 29, 2010

But Does She Know Dick About It?

Once again Maia has saved me from brain-lock about a blog post. (Thanks, Maia.) As I started to type a comment to her post on being outed, I realized my response was long enough to be a post all its own. Coming out—whether as a lesbian or as a writer of gay erotic romance—is a process that never ends. After all, it's not something tattooed on my forehead. (Though that might save a lot of time. I'd have to grow out my bangs, though. Hmmm.) There are always new people in my life, and while it's easy to slip a mention of my wife in casual conversation, saying "And oh yeah, I write steamy romances about gay guys" is a little more awkward to toss out there. Of the two, my identity as a writer evokes far more astonishment than my orientation. Couple them together and you have anything from confusion to the guffaws of my nurse practioner OB-GYN. I can still picture her bent over with laughter sputtering, "Really? Really? C'mon, no, really?"

When Custom Ride made its first appearance to my awesome critique group, no one was particularly astonished at my ability to squeeze so many sex scenes into a short story. After all, they'd been reading my work for a year, but what I heard was, "For a lesbian, you know an awful lot about dick." Three years later one of those same critique partners told me about her husband pausing in the middle of disposing of some old manuscript pages from her office. He had started reading one of mine, and confessed to enjoying a scene he said he could picture between a guy and a girl—until things went "too far." After his wife confirmed that yep, the writer was "the one who's gay" he asked, "How does she know so much about the cock and the balls?"

There have been many variations of that question in the past few years, and far from being offended, I love the opportunity to answer it. With a wink and a grin I'm proud to say, "I guess I just have one hell of an imagination."


Anonymous said...

That you do, K, that you definitely do! :)

Zoe Nichols said...

Oh, KA, you clever, creative thing you.

Anonymous said...

Do I remember you're a teacher, too, KA? I know that's been a big worry of mine - being "outed" for what I write. It was "bad" enough when Violet's "straight" erotic stuff came out, but now that I'm published solo with a m/m story, I cringe to think of the parent outcry! I can't wait for the day when I can proudly out myself and tell the world what I read - and write!
VJ Summers

K.A. Mitchell said...

Thanks, guys.

Yes, VJ, I'm a high school teacher. I teach in a private school and both my past and current principals are aware and for the most part amused by my writing career. (I think the amusement usually comes from the fact that my professional attire has been described as that of a postulant nun, or on my less formal days as an old-fashioned schoolmarm. i.e. I don't look the "type.")I guess I don't look like a lesbian either, but I'm out to all my coworkers.

I am fortunate in that since our students are mostly in placement due to neglect, parents don't have an interest but I am vigilant about keeping my penname and titles secret from the students. You can't find K.A. Mitchell if you search my real name. We don't even have common initials. If students ask about my books, I tell them they're not appropriate for school discussion. It gives me street cred. They all think that I write urban books.

Maia Strong said...

Glad my familial trauma could help, KA. ;)

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