Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Words matter: creating culture, saving lives

The Lambda Literary Awards were presented last night. It sounds like a wonderful evening. There's a write-up, including a full list of the winners, here.

I took part in it, from the other coast, via Twitter, following the official LLF account, @LambdaLiterary (run last night by @annericefights, a former student of mine), Cecilia Tan (@ceciliatan, wonderful writer and editor of erotica), Sassafras Lowrey (@sassafraslowrey, another great writer), and Charlotte Abbott (@charabbott, who edited The Blue Place--yes, it's a small world...)

Anyway, for me some of the best moments were quotes from honorees:

@ceciliatan: Kate Millett: "I thought I was the only lesbian besides Sappho. And now we're like a nation!", accepting Pioneer Award

@charabbott: "This award matters to me more than any other recognition I could have" - Armistead Maupin, accepting Pioneer Award

@sassafraslowrey: "We're opening up the world to each other and testifying about out lives" Armistead Maupin

@sassafraslowrey: "We all have someone further down the line from us that reaches out to us... " Armistead Maupin

@sassafraslowrey: "there was a moment when all we had was our words to each other " Armistead Maupin

@ceciliatan: "We're all so connected to each other. This revolution was led by writers." -Armistead Maupin

@charabbott: Justin Torres so inspiring about his LLF fellowship & how it helped him become a confident writer as young gay man.

@LambdaLiterary: "Books told me I wasn't alone in the world." Rahul Mehta

@LambdaLiterary: "#LGBT writing saved my life." - Kate Clinton

They all come down to the same thing: writers need community--and writers create wider community; we create culture. Books save lives. Queer books save queer lives.

So, if you're wondering, this is why I spend so much time talking about the Lambda Literary Foundation and Clarion West. Thank you to everyone who reads, who writes, who supports both. Words matter.
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