This after several weeks of teenage suicides. Recently, writer Liz Green shared with me yet another one: this one in Norman, OK. She said this one is especially heartbreaking for her because it's her hometown. "I know it's bad everywhere. I know my story, and his story, are not unique. This was just especially hard news to bear," she writes.
I think for any living queer (past high school) this is very hard to deal with. Our community is falling apart here. Our tribe is dying. It is definitely better now to be queer than in the past: but it's still hard (I can go onto a whole sociological analysis of all this...but that'll be like dissertation size, with a lot of unanswered questions [until I can get research done] so I won't). Obviously.
I am not part of any nonprofit organization. I can't say that I'm an activist in that I stay in an office and do work to help past laws. (After many interviews, I don't think I can truly be an activist in an office). But what I am is a writer. I am a part of culture. I am culture. (All writers and artists are). As a writer, I am doing what I can. I'll do the only thing that I can do. Write. And edit.
Thus, my Better Book Project.
Inspired by Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project, this is a project for the queer literary community. It is our chance (it's our duty), to use our words to their full extent--to save lives, to communicate to our distant selves. Think about yourself as a teenager. What story, what poem, what words would've made things better, in the face of bullies and unapproving family members, in a small town without a car perhaps, with no visible community? What would you tell them?
I am looking for words--stories, poems, essays, short memoirs--for an anthology tentatively titled BETTER: Stories, Poems, Essays, Words for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Teens About Growing Up, Surviving, Living, and Thriving. Publication is set for Summer 2011. Publication will first be through Lulu. All profit from this will go to a nonprofit that supports queer youth. Therefore, sadly, no payment. Think of it as a literary donation for a good cause. No word minimums or limits, but remember that this is an anthology. Will seek publication through a publishing house for larger distribution (I'm thinking about where this book can be physically avaliable to kids, and public libraries don't buy self-published titles), but we'll see then.
Send all submissions (in .doc format) to firstname.lastname@example.org by
No simultaneous submissions.
No previously published materials. (Blog posts are okay).
More info at http://www.betterbookproject.blogspot.com/.