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As we enter a season

·         which is hard for many of us

·         which is supposed to be joyous and celebratory

·         which dangles glistening gewgaws and pricey presents before our eyes

let’s remember to be grateful.

     Under my seasonal tree, shrub, bush, I spot one gift of gratitude for Karelia Stetz-Waters, who asked me to fill in for her (all nine feet of her—how tall are you anyway, Karelia?) at Lit Crawl, a Portland Queer Literary Arts Event.

My stand-in performance (all four feet eleven and one half inches of me) introduced me to the world of the Kates: to the literary and political brilliance of Kate Gray and Kate Carroll de Gutes. In their aura, I spoke of the dual burden and joy (dark and light, Kate) of coming out à la Pina and Katie in Death and Love at the Old Summer Camp in the 50s, 60s, and 70s and for Queer youth now. And thank the heavens for that aura’s shadow--it hid my blush as I read a sexual teaser from Love and Lechery at Albert Academy due out from Sapphire in June 2018.

Gratitude offerings number two and three go to Kate and Kate for their fine literary works (Kate Gray’s poetry and Kate Carroll de Gutes’ memoirs), their warmth and open-armed embrace of this newbie, and their dedication to Queer writers, Portland booksellers (Elisa Saphir of Another Read Through) and the Pride Foundation (Katie Carter). Thanks to them, too, for the theme of gratitude at the November meeting of Incite: Queer Writers Read (and to Positive Psychology).

Thank you notes also flutter on the boughs for Kylie Schachter, Susie Frank, Lori Ubell, Elena Wiesenthal, and Mary Rose, the women of my writers’ group, and to Lori Lake, Luca, and the POLEWGS (no, they’re not a doo-wop group). I so appreciate their including me in their October haunting reading.

My last gaily wrapped package of thanks tags Sapphire Books and the Sapphire family. Heartfelt thanks for their support and conviviality, especially at LCLC.

I am so keenly aware that as I ask us to remember joy and gratitude, many of us are dealing with illness, loss, and painful memories and memorials, as are my wife Terrie and I. And yet, I say a humble “thank you” for our connection to all of you and to those family, friends, and fictive kin I failed to mention by name. Thank you for your presence in our lives.

Dolores Maggiore is the author of the YA book, Death and Love at the Old Summer Camp. Watch for her next in the series, Love and Lechery at Albert Academy this June