On Her Shoulders
There are certain individuals in any movement for social change that, although they don’t start out wanting that pivotal place or to be a catalyst for change, rise to the surface of the mass movement and become a leader.
In the days before social media, before personal computers, before human beings walked on the surface of an alien world, these leaders had less extravagant profiles. They worked in their own corners of their world and began the changes that we see around us every day.
Barbara Grier was one such hero, and she died just a little while ago on the 10th November. The very day I started making notes for this post. Is it any wonder that my Muses are Irony and Serendipity?
I wrote about Barbara on my blog. If you’d like to scoot over there and read up a bit on what I’m referring to, I’ll wait.
To most of the world Barbara was invisible. Even I didn’t know who she was, and the enormous impact she had, until I grew up and began to search for my spiritual lesbian fore-mothers. Turns out there were a whole lot more of them than I ever knew.
Sappho wrote prose and poems to and for women. Radcliff Hall broke a taboo and wrote about love between two women the best way she knew how. Ann Bannon created Beebo Brinker, a butch, in pulp fiction. Katherine Forrest sent a whole tribe of lesbians to another world. And many more than I could ever list here.
Standing in between these fiction artists are the poets, theorists, shamans, political activists, (the act of being alive is political for lesbians) painters, academics, to name a few. Lesbians who have broken through the secrets and shame we placed around ourselves in order to survive, who have contributed to the beauty in our hearts.
Lesbians today stand on their shoulders and reach still higher. We paint, we politicise, we act, we have our own daytime television show, we teach, we Occupy ... we write.
Could I do no less?
It would’ve been easy to follow a formula for my book. To have a villain whose dastardly plots are foiled by a knight in shining armour, or a shiny spacesuit (I do write SF/F after all). Or to write a love story. Girl meets girl, girl loses girl, girl redeems herself and gets girl in the end. (I do write lesbian characters after all)
I could’ve had created a story along any of these lines. There’s a reason those formulas are so popular, they work!
But for me to honour those lesbian foremothers, who created change by refusing to accept the roles that were available to them in the society of their time, I too would have to write outside the standard formulas of my time.
And I did!
Mortal Instinct: Where magic, mysticism, and technology exist side-by-side.
Mortal Instinct: Set in a world of the Gallery - a vast other-worldly web of corridors spun from the body of an Immortal Being. These glittering corridors link the worlds of the Mortal Realm. Anyone brave enough to step through a Portal can journey through them from world to world.
Something is happening to the Gallery, something ... mortal.
Three friends find themselves responsible for a mystical Sphere that has the power to destroy or save the Mortal Realm. Immortal beings interfere, lovers and ex-lovers intrude, egos and politics get in the way. In spite of all these distractions, they must achieve their destiny before the Sphere awakens and decides its own fate.
A Portal glowed fiercely, then shattered. Wind rushed through the broken Hall.
Chalone’s face turned white. She barged through the fleeing crowd to Liesha’s side. “The corridors are being ripped apart!” she shouted above the roar of rushing air and an alarm that no one had thought to shut off.
“I can see that,” Liesha said too loudly as the sound eased, and picked up the headset the gale had swept from her head. She’d had no time to reintegrate her implants and used it to communicate with the ECHO network. “I am going to stop this.”
The alarm finally fell silent. “You can’t stop it,” Chalone said.
“What do you mean?” Liesha suddenly grabbed her arms hard enough to cause bruises. Chalone winced and she released her grip. “Sorry,” she apologized. “Tell me.”
“Mor brought us back in time to the moment just after we left,” Chalone explained.
Liesha looked blank for a moment and then she turned as pale as Chalone. “We are witnessing the beginning of the maelstrom in the Hub!” She looked aghast at the dying Hall.
“Not all of it. Our Portals aren’t enough to create that monstrosity, but if this is happening throughout the Gallery…?” Chalone swallowed hard.
Liesha focused inward, listening to a strident voice issuing from her headset. “I still have to stop it here,” she said with jagged determination.
“You have that kind of power? Why didn’t you use it when we were trapped in the Hub?” Chalone accused.
“I was not able to. It requires many ECHOs, and our communications do not work in the Gallery.”
Vian finished giving orders for crowd control, organized the evacuation of the nearby houses, and initiated the clause in the council charter that gave her immediate and total control of all the resources she ever needed or wanted. She interrupted Chalone and Liesha.
“Hurry,” she said to Liesha. “If you can’t hold at least one of the Portals, then we’re marooned here forever. Everything we’ve all worked for will be lost.”
“I am aware of that fact,” Liesha snapped back at her.
Chalone looked from one to the other. “You both knew this would happen.”
“Not exactly,” Vian said. “The ECHO Hierarchs have suspected something similar for a while. Hence their frenzied attempts to get their communications working inside the Gallery,” she said pointedly and pulled Chalone away from Liesha, gathering up Pirelle and Jalemi. “Let’s leave Liesha to get on with it.”