Allies

When you’re pregnant, people will come up to you and tell you the most horrific stories. “I came into the room, and there was my wife, sprawled on the floor, covered in blood.” Or, “My labor was at 42 hours when they decided to try the seaweed.” You listen to these stories, and think, I’m sorry you were so frightened. I am frightened too. Now, even more so. They’re trying to tell you that they can’t think about pregnancy without thinking about that moment — the seaweed, the wife prone and bloody. They remember the pain.

And this is how you learn the difference between pregnancy and birth. The difference between the preparation, the process, and the final, glorious achievement. There he is, the squalling, furious beauty. There he is.

I think we do that with coming out stories too. I think, sometimes, what we remember are the hateful things said to us, the meanness. When, for me, most of the reactions were loving and generous. A reader asked me to write about some positive experiences from friends and family, and I have been unable to remember a single time my friends or co-workers weren’t supportive and amazing. They came en masse to my wedding. They ask about my son and my wife. They have never, not once, treated me differently from my straight co-workers or my straight friends.

My religious friends have been as accepting as my secular and pagan friends. They have behaved, in short, the way the world should behave. As though my being gay is just another thing about me, like my tendency to gush about my kid, or my habit of glazing over the moment you talk about crafting. Not the focus, just a fact.

I went to a wedding last night, and Mary and I were readers, with another married couple. And that’s the way we were presented. The married couples will read …. This is not the world I expected as a child, sitting in the pew when the nasty little man in his suit shouted that the homosexuals could stay in their closets with the rest of the cobwebs. I’ve been telling the scary labor stories, and haven’t spent enough time telling you about birth. About the ways I am loved and nurtured. Loved and nurtured. Loved and nurtured.

The truth is, most of us want our friends and neighbors to be happy and productive. That’s a value. And a worldview. And it’s more prevalent than we realize sometimes.

1 thought on “Allies”

  1. Excellent post and so very true with pregancy stories and coming out stories. Thanks, we need more birth stories not more horror stories. Thanks for the posivie side of life. 😉

    linda

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Jill Malone

Jill Malone grew up in a military family, went to German kindergarten, and lived across from a bakery that made gummi bears the size of mice. She has lived on the East Coast and in Hawaii, and for the last seventeen years in Spokane with her son, two dogs, a hedgehog, and a lot of outdoor gear. She looks for any excuse to play guitar. Jill is married to a performance artist and addiction counselor who makes the best risotto on the planet.

Giraffe People is her third novel. Her first novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, was a Lambda finalist and won the third annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. A Field Guide to Deception, her second novel, was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley, and won the Lambda Literary Award and the Great Northwest Book Festival.

Giraffe People

Giraffe People

Between God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain’s daughter isn’t resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she’s content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.

And then, of course, there’s Meghan.

Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole’s parents. They’re delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.

But one night that relationship changes and Cole’s world flips.

Giraffe People is a potent reminder of the rites of passage and passion that we all endure on our road to growing up and growing strong. Award-winning author Jill Malone tells a story of coming out and coming of age, giving us a take that is both subtle and fresh.

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A Field Guide to Deception

A Field Guide to Deception

In Jill Malone’s second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, nothing is as simple as it appears: community, notions of motherhood, the nature of goodness, nor even compelling love. Revelations are punctured and then revisited with deeper insight, alliances shift, and heroes turn anti-hero—and vice versa.

With her aunt’s death Claire Bernard loses her best companion, her livelihood, and her son’s co-parent. Malone’s smart, intriguing writing beguiles the reader into this taut, compelling story of a makeshift family and the reawakening of a past they’d hoped to outrun. Claire’s journey is the unifying tension in this book of layered and shifting alliances.

A Field Guide to Deception is a serious novel filled with snappy dialogue, quick-moving and funny incidents, compelling characterizations, mysterious plot twists, and an unexpected climax. It is a rich, complex tale for literary readers.

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Red Audrey and the Roping

Red Audrey and the Roping

Occasionally a debut novel comes along that rocks its readers back on their heels. Red Audrey and the Roping is one of that rare and remarkable breed. With storytelling as accomplished as successful literary novelists like Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters, Jill Malone takes us on a journey through the heart of Latin professor Jane Elliot.

Set against the dramatic landscapes and seascapes of Hawaii, this is the deeply moving story of a young woman traumatized by her mother’s death. Scarred by guilt, she struggles to find the nerve to let love into her life again. Afraid to love herself or anyone else, Jane falls in love with risk, pitting herself against the world with dogged, destructive courage. But finally she reaches a point where there is only one danger left worth facing. The sole remaining question for Jane is whether she is willing to accept her history, embrace her damage, and take a chance on love.

As well as a gripping and emotional story, Red Audrey and the Roping is a remarkable literary achievement. The breathtaking prose evokes setting, characters, and relationships with equal grace. The dialogue sparks and sparkles. Splintered fragments of narrative come together to form a seamless suspenseful story that flows effortlessly to its dramatic conclusion.

Winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, Red Audrey and the Roping is one of the most memorable first novels you will ever read.

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