Diaspora

On the panel of Place in Fiction with Judith Katz and Elana Dykewomon, Elana says that lesbian culture is like the diaspora but without our families. And the odd thing is that in my nomadic life, I’ve never considered that we’re all displaced. That so many lesbians had to leave their homes in order to radicalize, in order to survive authentically. To realize themselves.

For three years, I’ve been having frustrating roundabout conversations with older lesbians wherein I’m accused of abandoning lesbian stories. Of forsaking lesbian mythology. Crossover stories are, apparently, what I write. I believe I write human stories about people who happen to be lesbians. How that’s a crossover, I can’t imagine. Why are we so determined to hold ground? Why do we want to stay on the periphery instead of drawing the center toward ourselves as Toni Morrison suggests?

But now, talking with Judith and Elana, I think I’ve had it wrong. I think I’ve had a circular conversation with women who are angry to feel less and less relevant rather than the women who want to see our stories recorded and expanded. To see our culture survive our wanderings.

I’m too old to be an acolyte, but I’m ready to run with the baton. I’m ready to carry your stories and my own. I’m ready. I see at last what it means to have this culture survive. To build our cities and protest our displacement. To champion our voices. I see how important our connection to one another is. I see at last. And I’m sorry that it took me so long. I’m sorry that my isolation, innate after 38 years, failed to recognize yours. We can build air balloons with our stories. We can build planets and landscapes. I’ll walk to where you are and learn your story. I’ll remember you and tell how it was. How it is. How we’ll make it. How we created our lives as though from scratch and didn’t have to go on remaking them each time from bone because we found paper and pen instead. Because our stories are built to last.

1 thought on “Diaspora”

  1. Wow. That’s it. That is exactly why I write what I write. I would be as happy as anyone to have the succes of Rowlings but sacrificing the stories I want to tell wouldn’t pay, after all, would it?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

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.

More info →
Buy from GoodReads
Buy from Powells
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon Kindle
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.

More info →
Buy from GoodReads
Buy from Powells
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon Kindle
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.

More info →
Buy from GoodReads
Buy from Powells
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon Kindle