Crazy Dreams by Sandy Lowe

Everyone thought I was crazy. Seriously.

I suppose that’s not an unfair reaction to the news I planned to move half way across the world to work for a woman I’d met online and a company no one in my, then limited, circle of acquaintances, had ever heard of. Bold Strokes Books, an LGBTQ publishing company located in snowy upstate New York, was a far cry from the sandy shores and baking heat of Australia’s Central Coast. I’d planed to become a social worker and had the degree to prove it before I met surgeon/publisher/author extraordinaire Radclyffe and decided to turn my life around.

So, yes, perhaps I was a little crazy. But I didn’t feel crazy. I felt exhilarated, and also nervous. And also, like I wanted to puke in case this whole intercontinental move thing turned out to be a huge mistake. Did I mention there is snow in this part of the world? Knee deep and dirty grey by February. But in the end, my heart overruled all logical objection because BSB offered me something priceless and something I value every single day: the opportunity to work with LGBTQ people and to be part of the literary legacy of the LGBTQ community. I have the privilege of going to work every day and helping our authors craft stories of the heart, that speak not only to the wonders and woes of falling in love but the unique and compelling struggles and triumphs of LGBTQ people, during a time they’re most vulnerable.

Win Things: Three free eBooks, winners choice from Bold Strokes Books, to people who comment on their craziest decision that turned out great

At a recent romance conference, a panel of experts posed the question “Do we live in a post gay world?” Can and should we write stories where the characters who fall in love just happen to be LGBTQ? After much discussion the panel decided, and I agree, that no, we don’t and we couldn’t. The LGBTQ community has made remarkable progress in the last decade, but marginalization and discrimination still exist. More to the point, no one just happens to be queer. Being queer is more than who you get naked with, or fall in love with. It’s about identity, and yes, it’s also about difference. We’re different. Not abnormal or less than, but not just the same as the approximately ninety percent of the heterosexual population either.

Our perspective and experience is filtered through the lens of our difference and exerts itself in ways we may not even think about consciously. We talk about coming out as if it is an event rather than a lifelong correction of the, often perfectly understandable, assumption that we are heterosexual. We can’t just walk into any random bar or club looking for a date; we need to be more intentional in our choices. We seek locations and build communities based on our difference and our desire to be understood. Not merely accepted or welcomed, as the nation is taking steps to do, but understood, gotten, known in a way only the LGBTQ community’s shared experience can give us.

So everyone thought I was crazy to leave the safety of what I’d grown up with and become accustomed to. I was fortunate enough to live in a country that did not persecute me for being a lesbian and born into a loving family that came to accept me, but it took Radclyffe, BSB and a 10,000 mile plane ride to the coldest damn corner of the earth for me to find home. I am grateful every day and I hope that by doing my small part working to publish our stories, others may find the courage to make their own crazy decisions and live their dreams.


Win Things:

Three free eBooks, winners choice from Bold Strokes Books, to people who comment on their craziest decision that turned out great.

And don’t forget to enter the massive QRM physical book giveaway pack!


About Sandy Lowe

sandy-lowe-headshot-2015

Sandy has a Master’s degree in Publishing from the University of Sydney, Australia. In her capacity as Senior Editor, she reviews submissions and proposals, edits and develops content for publication, and oversees publication production.

 

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Really, there are colder places than Upstate New York. Like Buffalo or Ogdensburg. But what a brave, crazy move.
    We are not a post-gay world, and I’m glad that people understand that. I’m sick to death of “mainstream” culture (books, movies, theater, songs, you name it) tossing in a circumstantially LGBTQ character and thinking they’ve done their duty.

    That’s why these books – whoever writes them and supports those who write them – matter.

  • Thanks for sharing your wonderful story! I am happy your risk turned out so well for you (even if you have to freeze for it).

    A major decision that I made that family/friends thought was kind of “crazy” was to get married at 20 while still at university. Well, we are still married a quarter century later. So, I think I made a good choice. :-)

  • I can commiserate! I moved to the US from Australia15 years ago. I think it was last year I finally got to the point of not needing to wear ALL my clothes when the temperature dropped below 50F. ?

  • We moved from Germany to Macao for two years. That was crazy but also the best thing that ever happened to us. It was a life altering experience and I even started to study sinology since we’re back in Germany.

  • Everyone raised an eyebrow at my choice of art history as a college major, but it really taught me how to think and develop arguments when I write…

  • Thank you for sharing your story. My family always say you have to take risk to make it and I’m glad everything worked out and you took a chance on BSB.

    I don’t know about any crazy risk really that I took. I did move away for college and up to that point I wasn’t even sure I could make it since I always had family nearby to help. I did finish school and I learned how to take care of myself since I knew I couldn’t just get a member of the family com over.

  • You were really brave, Sandy! I do not know if I would be ever dare to take such a step. I’m so glad you succeeded. Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zones to be able to achieve our full potential. Thank you for your inspiring post!

  • I joined the Air Force to be with a guy (bad decision) but developed MS while on active duty. Now all my medical care is taken care of because I was granted medical retirement. Not funny but true.

  • Lovely story, Sandy. As a former upstate New Yorker (from the not-so-wilds of Saratoga) I can only image *all that snow* was a shock! I’m so glad you made that leap though and are helping push the genre forward at BSB with all the wonderful books y’all do!

  • Great post :) Perhaps one crazy decision, as it was far outside my comfort zone and my introverted nature, as well as prior career choices, was to retrain to be a teacher. It helped my self confidence, that was one of the important things.

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