Last night, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival sponsored a screening of Love Between the Covers, a documentary about the romance novel industry. After, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel of local romance authors answered questions about the genre, our work, and the business of writing.
But the screening was first, so I settled in with my Diet Coke and let myself enjoy the ride. The film was great. It was fun to laugh at the cliches of book covers, to feel a resonance with wonderfully talented women who are confident and successful, but still forced to defend their work on a daily basis.
Then Radclyffe was on the screen talking about a time when there were no romance stories for lesbians, about working to create that space in the genre. Seeing her included was exciting and empowering. Knowing the premise of the film, knowing she’d be in it, it was exactly what I expected.
Then there were shots of the Bold Strokes Books headquarters. There was footage of the BSB writers’ retreat and the Lonestar Lesfic Festival. I saw Carsen Taite, VK Powell, Ruth Sternglantz, and so many of the amazing writers I’ve gotten to know. People I respct and admire and call friends.
My heart swelled in my chest, overwhelmed with a mixture of pride and affection. I liken it to that feeling when a member of your family accomplishes something extraordinary. In that moment, it struck me: These are my people.
It feels a little silly to say that, having attended GCLS and Women’s Week. I’ve spent time with these women, interact with them online almost daily. I already know that they’re my people. But this was something more.
Maybe it’s the big screen. Maybe it was being able to introduce myself as one of them in a setting detached from the cocoon of lesbian literary events. I’m not sure. There was something about it, though, and the warm and fuzzies are still with me.