Welcome to the GayRomLit 2017 Blog Tour! We’re so pleased to have Supporting Author Cal Matthews joining us as our final guest in the countdown to the big event on October 19th. Whether you’re attending or not, I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Cal a bit better!
Let’s Not Pretend That What We Read Doesn’t Matter
A few mornings ago, I saw a fox sniffing around by our garage.
I wore my pajamas under a heavy coat, muck boots on my feet. I held a feed bucket in one hand and my ear buds brought me Soley, strange Icelandic music that fit the morning’s color and mood. Rain drizzled down, making the yard around the house a muddy mess already trampled down by crisscrossing canine feet. In the gray morning, the fox’s orange coat looked particular vibrant.
It looked at me and I looked at it and my heart sank. We have chickens and a literal fox in the hen house meant that death wasn’t far off. I didn’t want to shoot the fox, though. That was the last thing I wanted. We looked at each other across the muddy yard and I was struck with the strange thought that I was the only person on earth seeing that exact sight; a red fox in spring colors, set against a gray sky and dark trees behind. And, stranger still, that fox was the only creature on earth seeing me at that exact moment. No one was around. Just that fox and I, sharing that space, sharing those seconds, until abruptly the fox trotted back towards the trees.
I haven’t seen it since and so far all the hens are present and accounted for.
Going through my books, I wonder sometimes what themes I’m writing, what imagery I fall back on time and again, all subconsciously because James Joyce may have used them effectively, but I am no James Joyce. Flipping through the pages of my own writing, the best common theme I could come up with is: isolation.
Small wonder. There is nothing around me but space.
I live in an isolated place. On my hour-long morning commute, I drive through trees and open fields and past the feet of rugged mountains and now and then another car will share the road. Some days–most days–I see more cows than people.
I’m not complaining. I’ve lived in cities too, and I can’t stand the crush of so many people. Here in Montana I can breathe. Here in Montana I can think.
But it is isolating.
Especially if you, like me, might be a little bit different.
I love Montana but there’s no getting away from the fact that Montana is red. I’m not going to make this political, but conservative is conservative in a lot of ways and most of those ways do not include certain open-mindedness when it comes to the Kinsey Scale. Not to say that LGBTQ people haven’t carved out spaces for themselves here–they certainly have. And I’ll give credit where it is due. For the most part, Montanans are very serious about living and let live. I’ve been to Independence Day parades where the crowds cheer just as loudly for P-FLAG as they do for the rodeo team. I’ve made connections in the small LGBTQ community here. We might have to drive 200 miles to see each other face to face, but we’re here.
Thanks to social media, we’re here. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads and other sites, we can find each other in our vast state, little rainbow buoys in a sea of red.
They say that you write what you know. I guess it is no accident that all my books are set in Montana, in small towns, that my characters are lonely people in lonely places. I’m looking out my window as I write this and I see trees, cold and dark all around and while I love the space, the forests, the deer that eat our flowers and the hawks that grace our fence posts, sometimes I long for a different kind of space. The space to explore the mostly buried side of myself, the part that I can only talk about on-line.
GRL is a more than an event, in that sense. It’s also a raising of the curtains, revealing a world that, for me at least, has existed entirely on screen. A digital world made analog, names turned into faces. This is both a wonderful thing and a terrifying thing. There is some comfort in isolation, after all.
But that comfort is familiarity. I’m looking forward to a different sort of comfort, the call of kind to kind. I’ve never been able to say to another person’s face “Have you read this?” and have them respond, “Yes”. Let’s not pretend that what we read doesn’t matter. The worlds we consume through books create our inner topography and walking that landscape alone weighs on you. I can’t wait to talk with people who have visited the same places, who have fallen in love with the same people.
I’m coming to GRL as a supporting author, someone just getting my writing off the ground. But I’m really going as a reader, too, as someone who lives and breathes our m/m world. I plan to fangirl over my favorite authors. Legends come to life.
Just a few short weeks, friends, and I’ll see you there. In the meantime, I’ll be here in the mountains, reading the books that connect us all, no matter the space between us.
About the Author
Cal Matthews is a writer of paranormal fiction. A Montana native, all of Cal’s stories are set in the Big Sky State and are often inspired by the kooky residents in her small mountain town. Ask her about the time she went on a memorial camping trip—with the recently deceased in attendance. Aside from writing, Cal enjoys long trail rides on horseback, hiking with friends and family, and lifting weights. A collector of college degrees, Cal does one day plan on having a successful career, but in the meantime she continues to add to her student loans and writes books between odd jobs. Cal is the author of the ongoing Thaumaturge Series and the recently released Lupine Road.
About GayRomLit Retreat
GayRomLit is an annual retreat that brings together the people who create and celebrate LGBT romance for a one-of-a-kind, must-attend gathering of dynamic, informal, and diverse fun.
Each year, the retreat rotates to a new city and hosts tons of events from raucous parties to mellow tête á têtes while still maintaining a spirit of familiarity. GRL is the place to connect with old friends, find family you didn’t know you had, and meet with both newly published and established authors in the gay romance genre.
This year’s retreat will be held in Denver, Colorado on October 19-22, 2017 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center.
For more information or to register, please visit Our Website.