So I’ve been using this site as a pretty sporadic blog for a bit now, but there was a time several years back where I actually wrote regularly and this site was pretty much the hub for that. It’s about to swing that way again. I’ve struggled, as so many have, with the tumult of the last several years and what’s happened within them, and the result has been a substantial diminution of my creativity. This last week just about put me over the edge. But. That sort of means they win, right? If we all cover our heads and wail we’re not actively participating in the very type of world the malcontents are so terrified of. And I do like to terrorize them. So I got back to work, partly out of spite and partly out of curiosity to see if I still had anything in me to say. I dusted off about 10 stories in progress and made some choices.

Tonight, less than an hour before Pride fades for another year, I published my first piece of short fiction in about 5 years. It takes place several months after the events of Tessellations, another of my San Keros short pieces that slowly is introducing my city and cast to the world. Bomb(pop) is fun and flirty, sarcastic and unabashedly gay. Like, the gayest thing I’ve ever let eyes other than my own ever read…and it felt good. It’s a beach read of a short story, but it’s also a new beginning.

Expect to hear more from me, here on the blog as well as on Welcome to San Keros. Not every week, not even every month, but I’m finding my voice again and I’m not going to stay quiet anymore. So enjoy some summer sun with Bomb(pop), and I’ll see you again soon!


It’s time again.

Is it telling that so many stories that are percolating are sad? Even those with projected happy(-ish) endings, are mired in either a starting place or a current limbo of bittersweetness. I’m find it hard to break out of that rut, to find the light most of my stories tend to arc towards, either by way of hope or magic or some such thing. It’s been a while since we’ve had any sort of update on the state of my writing life here on the site, so here we go. Brace yourselves, mes amis.

The Miracle Season is on pause, as I try to regroup and reshuffle some of the stories there. I’ve been musing on restructuring and refocusing the entire cycle of tales on something entirely different, and it has me a bit excited so that may be a thing. I just am finding it hard to find a way into this world I’ve built through this new lens. I love the world of San Keros so hard, y’all, and it’s been with me for decades now. I promise I’m not giving up on Hrothgar, Seth, Beth and the gang. Their stories are just changing, as I am, as the world is. I just have to find another door back.

I’m also outlining another universe of stories, and those are a bit further along in the concept stage. If I can truly get back to the writing life, I may have a piece or two from that series out this year. Several are outlined, and some even have partial first drafts already constructed. They’re emotional, very character driven, relatively short pieces that will eventually integrate into a larger, superordinate story. I suppose that describes the Miracle Season, too, so maybe I’ve just got a “type”. If San Keros is a world I’m nostalgiac for wanting to have grown up in as a child and a teen, this new world is a somewhat sarcastic take on what a world like that would be like if it simultaneously didn’t take itself seriously at all and at the same time was serious as a heart attack about all the things. The ridiculousness of our modern world when you’re spat out in your 20s to find your way, but by the way, there’s magic. If that sounds fun to you, stay tuned!

Bucking that trend, I’ve got a few short standalone pieces in outline at the moment, though they’ve been that way for some time with the exception of one of them. One’s a piece of Young Avengers fanfic that spins off the Young Avengers Reverse Big Bang pieces I wrote several years ago. The rest are more slice of life, real world tales that are helping me stretch myself beyond the tropes and crutches the last decade or two of immersing myself in fantasy fiction have instilled in my psyche. So if you’re more of a realist, there’s stuff on my plate that would appeal more to you than my previous work. Feh, I feel like I’m writing my own performance review, and I’m over it. Time for some recs.

So let’s talk about a few things that ARE filling me with joy right now…like Heartstopper, by the incomparable Alice Oseman, which is the very essence of the wonder and hope and heartbreak (in a good way) that I keep finding myself woefully lacking. The books are based on the webtoon, which likewise spawned the recent Netflix adaptation. I don’t want to go so far as to say that the story is perfect, but it’s an iconoclast in its genre because it’s a LGBTQIA+ love story that relies on none of the tragedy porn and depressingly standard classic and dangerous tropes that so much queer fiction has been based on since I was old enough to devour it. It’s also emotionally honest, adorable, and well-paced.

If graphic novels aren’t your jam, maybe try So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens, which is a fantasy that feels more like best friends playing D&D but the fantasy world is real and so is all the mess. It’s epic fantasy that loves to play with and mock its own tropes, with a fresh, young modern voice that keeps its heart and its sarcasm real. I sometimes still yearn, weeks later, for news of more stories from the world of this book. Alas, a lad can hope. I keep finding fiction that seems to encapsulate all the pieces I’m currently struggling to find, that used to be at the core of the stories I used to tell. So I’ll stick with these two for today’s update.

I’m just tired, y’all. So, so tired. Like all the time. I’m fine, for the most part, though–don’t perceive this as a cry for help in any sort of serious way. This is just me trying to remember how to flex my writer muscles after 3-4 years of doing very little in that regard. The world is just a lot these days, and it got harder to find the hope in it I used to. But I promise I’m working on it. I hope you all are too, because the world needs a whole heaping platter of it, sooner rather than later.

And if not you, then who?

“I wish I could tell you I was the white knight of this story, but the truth is I was the dragon, just living in a deep cave of denial.  Also, obviously, full of a hoard of drama and a propensity for torturing allegories until they are well and truly slain.”

–Unnamed WiP


There has always been a slowly simmering, low-and-slow kettle of hope and optimism at the base of me. It has nurtured almost all of my creative efforts, my love of holidays, my desire to play, and my comradery with others. 2016 dealt it a heavy blow, and the flame keeping it all going guttered. The last two years, and the last especially, saw it go out completely. I stopped writing, eventually gave up on reading, stopped reaching out to people, withdrew from a world that exhausted, depressed, and disappointed me.

I’m not going to lie. This is the direct opposite of how I always imagined I’d respond to a world altering threat. I always thought I’d be the one rallying people together, urging them to persevere and grow together. In retrospect, however, this is totally in keeping with how I respond to stress and trauma. My father’s death, the death of friends and other loved ones, the death of Owein, the collapse of Laughing Pan Productions, the fading of friendships…every single time something terrible happens I button up whatever horror I should be processing and get to work soldiering on. Ideally, and perfectly, by carrying others burdens. I push through my grief, my trauma, by helping others do it healthily. By letting it all out, by ritual and empathy and support.

I do not. I move on, in a way I suppose, but there’s no real catharsis. There’s no coming to terms. The emotions are just buried deep and life goes on. Now, obviously that isn’t healthy, for me or anyone…but it’s how I’ve managed to cope with loss up to this point. The pandemic changed all that, of course. Every day is a new micro-aggression, micro-trauma, micro-everything. And over the last year it’s become something…well, macro. Big. Unable to be suppressed. I know I’m not alone in this, there are lots of people going through very similar things, but this is my lived experience and I’m so dreadfully tired of putting on my humdrum, contented face and telling the world that I’m fine, it’s all fine, we’ll all be fine.

I have, at heart, a deep and burning anger at those who’ve kept this Pandemic raging and the society-taxing behaviors that have fed off the culture of this dire individualism. Every person I see maskless, wearing a mask but incorrectly, lying to me at work about why they are doing so…enrages me. Every person who works from home and complains about anything enfuriates me. The people who protest, who ignore medical guidance, and who encourage others to do so under the shroud of patriotism makes me want to scream. Forever, really. I’ve never stopped working. Not for one week. You all had weeks, months to process this new world. Every day, I just have enough emotional werewithal to respond to your reactions to it. That’s all. Nothing else.

Some of my emotional responses are entirely rational to feel, based on the real world we live in. Others are unfair to the victims of my silent vitriol. But I’m just so tired. I’ve worked, exposed to a public that clearly does not only devalue me and my coworkers, but does not treat me like a person. I am, instead, merely an extension of their complacent, entitled culture that views people who provide goods and services to them as nothing but conveyor belts in meat suits. Normally, I’d defend the public if someone came at them with claims like those I’ve just espoused. Like I said, I’m tired. Tired, but maybe not ready to sleep.

Tomorrow, I start my first day in my new position at my actual store for the first time–this, despite being promoted to that position back in August. I’m not back there full time, just partial weeks until everyone at the other store is fully trained. I’m quite nervous, actually. Lots of responsibilities and a mostly-new-to-me staff await me, as do a pandemic-reacting public to whom I have yet to really be exposed. I’m also thrilled. I’ve worked hard for this promotion, not just this past year through all the tribulations I (and we, I know all of us have so much!) endured.

I just set a reading challenge goal for 2021. I’ve picked up a new hobby, possibly, though times will tell. I grew my TBR pile by a factor of dozens since Christmas, just in books I’m waiting to be released. I cleaned today, and it didn’t feel like a burden, like one more thing designed to break me. This past week, I have had the tiniest of sprouts of story I occasionally think about. I spent this morning making spaghetti sauce from scratch, the first time in a year, and I love to do it. I’d forgotten that. I’d forgotten what life was like without the constant pressure of the public, my job, the holidays, my friends and family. What it was like to lose myself, even if just for a few hours, in activities I genuinely enjoy. To be honest, I forgot what enjoying anything felt like for a while now. I’m certain I wasn’t nearly as jolly as I thought I was being towards everyone this holiday season.

So, here’s to a new year, full of crisis already of both political and pandemic proportions. Here’s to roads covered in ice but new cars to traverse them. To new phones after waiting 6 years but needing to wait two extra weeks to get them. To the holidays, though I dread undecorating after them. To a year of trauma, but bravery in recognition of it. To carving out alone time, but having family (and cats!) waiting for you. To mental health, and asking for the help you need to get there for the first time. Here’s to a year that gives as well as takes, that gives me a chance–even a feeble one–to reignite the burner below that pot that’s grown cool but not cold. I’m tired, and the past few years have broken me a bit, but I look forward to learning how to mend.

Sometimes, the smallest of lights is enough when what surrounds you is dark enough.

May you find your light.

Miracles, but make them small.

As a bigger guy I often dread flying, as airlines continue to compress leg room and seat width to squeeze more onto their ever diminishing number of flights. So imagine my surprise when I signed into the Southwest app yesterday to sign in for today’s flight 2 hours late only to find me positioned at A-16, the first general boarding position, for both my flights today. Well, ok! Obviously I got flagged by my rescheduling due to my flight cancellation on 12/31 and they did what they could to make today’s travel as comfortable and easy as possible. Not only that, but I took the window seat per my usual and a kind older lady took the aisle seat… and we managed to be one of only 3 rows without a middle seat denizen! So I’m relaxing as I type this and enjoying the universe paying me back for the stress and tears of two days ago.

I’m starting a 100-Book challenge for 2020, and I’m using the flight to get started. The first book of the year? The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern, a gift from my Michigan Crimmas. So here’s to today, where it feels like luck is bending like a ta’averen around me to send me to my ancestral home.

What a dear for a New Year

Today started with a text notification that my flight from Midway to Albany was cancelled–at 3:42AM. What followed shortly after was me scrambling to get dressed and figure out a)if that was true and b)how to resolve the issue to get me back to Upstate NY for my annual family Crimmas outing. The Chat client in the Southwest app wasn’t active. The Southwest website crashed with error messages every time I tried to use the link provided to change my flight. Their phone line had a 2.5 hour wait time that stretched behind the horizon of when my flight out of Grand Rapids was supposed to depart. I couldn’t just lose the flight, so I gathered my belongings and said goodbye to the cats (each get particular instructions on how to manage the household in my absence when I go on a trip), gathered Andy and into the blizzard we went.

The roads were…honestly, not great, but not the worst winter driving we’ve done. There were a couple of slick spots that made us nervous, and plenty of other drivers who clearly were uncomfortable with their surroundings and were making poor decisions. Like the guy straddling the center of BOTH lanes on MI-131, going 35MPH. That guy was worse that any of the squalls we drove through. But we got to GRR airport only 15 minutes later than originally intended. I waited patiently in line, Andy waited patiently in the cellphone lot. I was told my flight was cancelled. I was told there were no flights available for 2 days to get me to my family. This is because of the holiday, they said, but it’s also because Southwest has over the last few years curtailed a significant number of flights from Grand Rapids and Albany both–a perfect storm that leaves me just a few flights a day to choose from. Why not fly out of Kalamazoo? Because it’s double the price–and I end up with the same layovers in Chicago I try to avoid by having my connection in Baltimore this time of year where the snow and weather are rarely considerations.

So I checked other airlines. I checked about a refund. I checked, and rechecked, and outside of spending (and losing) a LOT of money, there was no choice but to take the delayed flight. And that sucks, not just because I was burning PTO to sit at home and do nothing–but because I only see my extended family once a year, and now for only 4 days. I’d spend half that in transit on either side of the visit! I was already exhausted contemplating the next week as it came into focus. Andy came and picked me up, and the roads were a bit better on our way back. I called work and asked to work today and put my PTO for today, anyway, back in my bucket. Work agreed. We came home, we fed the cats breakfast, and then I went to work on Day 1 of my “vacation.” It was the smartest decision I’d made in days.

For starters, me being there meant my other managers could focus on their own specialties while I focused on mine, making the whole team more productive. It gave me something to do rather than sit sullenly at home while Andy was at work and I was supposed to be half a continent away. But then I took a really hard look at next week, and realized I might be able to eke out some magic out of the situation. So after conversations with virtually every manager on my team, I suddenly had the 2 days AFTER when I was supposed to fly home off. I jumped on the chat client within the Southwest app seconds after my first break of the day began and confirmed it was possible to shift my return trip 2 days without penalty, and that there were indeed seats available. There was a $10 difference between the 2 flights, and the chat client prohibited currency exchange so I had to call Southwest’s customer service line. UGH. Yes, the same line that I sat on for HOURS earlier today trying to get answers and resolution to all of this in the first place. If the wait was 2.5 hours at 4am I shuddered to think what it was going to be now that the day was at full throttle and yet more flights wouldve been affected. My wait time? 1.37 minutes. I was on the phone with a lovely rep who took my payment, shifted my flight, and got me my full vacation back!

Then I called Mom, who cried, and I told her to call the rest of the crew cause I had to go back to work. During that conversation, though, Mom said something that sat with me for a bit: This would be the first New Years Eve I’d be home in at least a decade, due to my retail job forcing me to do family Crimmas back east usually on New Year’s Day. So when Andy picked me up after work, we went to Costco and got some champagne and some snacks, then to the liquor store, and finally to Meijer. We got home, and I put everything away while Andy fed the cats. Then I organized the kitchen–the clutter was killing me–and We settled down for an hour or two of quiet napping/relaxing before we fire up the kitchen and get started celebrating with games, and bubbly, and snacks.

It’s also the first time I’ve had to stop–really just STOP–and relax since the middle of October. No expectations, no gifts needing purchasing or shipping or fretting about arrival, no baking needing to be done, nor house nor tree to decorate. Just quiet and calm (and a bit of snoring from Andy–we HAVE been up since 4am…) And suddenly I found myself pulling out my laptop and writing this. It’s been ages since I’ve blogged, or written anything really. No real reason, except the shitshow that was 2019 really got me down. Still gets me down. It’s sometimes a struggle to retain any sort of optimism at all. In fact, if 2019 could be summed up in a word for me, its tired. Tired of Mr. Treason-in-Chief. Tired of those who support him, and those who pretend to for their own gain. Tired of watching the world literally burn. Tired of what should be obvious being obfuscated, and having to occasionally sell those lies to a public that seems thirsty for them. What’s the point of writing stories about self-transformation and the rebirth of hope if its only audience is a world that grows routinely and ever increasingly intolerant of both? I don’t know. The lack of answer–and my exhaustion–has silenced me for the better part of a year.

But I sit here tonight, with just hours left in the year, under the blue light of my Christmas tree surrounded by cats and a boyfriend who literally drives through blizzards just to put a smile on my face. I have a family who–though I don’t see them nearly as often as I’d like–were brought to tears by just having a couple of extra days to spend with me. I have a workplace thats becoming more collaborative, more supportive, and more of a “bookstore” than its been in ages. I have books by my favorite authors to nestle in during the coming monsoon of bad news 2020 will no doubt bring. I have a lot. I don’t see my friends enough. I obviously don’t write often enough. I don’t work out enough (god, I hate it, but its something I need to get back to doing regularly).

But under this small sliver of blue light, in this still moment, it all feels like enough. I didn’t always think we’d get to the other side of this year, but here we all are. Me with my words, rusty though they may be, and my hopes, dimmer under the onslaught of a year of challenges but not guttered, not failing.

That’s not nothing.

It might be everything.

Time for tiny cherubs with pointy sticks

So it’s that time of year (thank you, Anna & the Apocalypse, for making me sing that every time I say it now) and I thought I’d take a brief second and highlight some current–and future–#LGBTQIA YA books that make for great #ValentinesDay reads. None of these are by me (those are set for future publication!) but I only wish I had half the talent of these folks. So without further ado…

5 Books To Make Your Valentine

Check, Please! Book 1

It’s honestly sinful how utterly enjoyable Ngozi Ukazu‘s YA graphic novel is. Bitty’s freshman and sophomore adventures in hockey, baking, friendship and more comprise this collection of the first half of the popular webcomic. Like the confections Bitty is addicted to baking, this OGN is sweet and full of calamities large and small–and with true to life male friendships at the forefront, it’s an honest –if optimistic–look at contemporary life that you’ll want to eat up with a spoon.

What If It’s Us

This outing by Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. The HomoSapien Agenda, Leah On the Offbeat) and Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End, History is All You Left Me) is not just a love story that seems more real than not–it’s worldbuilding at its finest. Every character is complex and has their own arcs throughout the tale of two very different guys who meet at the post office, and battle fate and their own choices to carve out their own happy ending.

When The Moon Was Ours

Anna-Marie McLemore‘s gorgeous YA novel still haunts my dreams 8 months after I read the story of Miel and Sam and the love and secrets that bind them. The lyrical prose McLemore uses to describe their relationship transforms what would’ve been a beyond the ordinary modern fairy tale into something more–a new myth for our time when we need them more than ever.


One Second Press is really impressing me with the quality of their LGBTQIA YA graphic novels–a niche I didn’t know I desperately needed filled until they started. This OGN by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau is all about baking and teen love, and finding yourself amidst the expectations you and those who love you build around you. In that sense, it reminds me a bit of One Man Guy (another title, I heartily recommend). The art here is simply stunning, from the simple lines to the colorist who honestly ought to be up for an award or two.

The Music of What Happens

This book isn’t out yet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t immediately put it on your TBR pile. Konigsberg has made a career of writing excellent LGBTQIA YA fiction, and this one promises to subvert a lot of tropes and tell a different type of love story all centered around a food truck and the two boys who rally to save it–and maybe themselves.

I hope you check out at least 1 of these great titles. If you do, leave me a comment here about what you thought about them. Did I miss a recent book you feel ought to live in this firmament? Don’t beef, drop a comment and I’ll add it to my TBR. I hope your week is awesome, and full of words that entertain, comfort, and move you!

Diamond Dust and Daffodils

Here we are in February already, and it’s already been a few months since the last update! The holidays were insanity as always, between baking and decorating and gifts and travelling, I hardly had a spare moment! If you follow me on Tumblr or Instagram, though, you saw brief snapshots of what happened. Not much writing, which is why this site lied fallow for the duration. For the month of January I was travelling and being wretchedly ill following that travelling. Also, Andy managed to catch a variation on the bug I fought and we had to deal with that as well.

I’ve managed to come out the other side, however, refreshed from the break and with some fun ideas for what’s to come. I’ve got a writing schedule set for the year to help reign in my procrastinatory impulses, and I’m working on some other hobbies as well.

As far as writing goes, I’ve got several projects running coterminously. I’m hopeful about what will finish first and head to Beta readers, but my writing tends to be feckful and I never know what I’ll sprint ahead on. The part you all care about, no doubt, is that there WILL be new stories this year. More set in San Keros, and other set in new worlds too. I also hope to revisit some of my Young Avengers fanfic worlds from the Young Avengers Reverse Big Bang from several years ago.

So for now, the “current project” tab remains Top Secret because even I don’t know what will release first–but I have a plan.

Stay tuned.

Crimmas Time is Here.

I’m smelling the wafting scent that will encase my home for the next week as the Andy-Shaped-Entity is busy making Latkes to honor my Jewish side of the family.  Ysabel is keeping me company by cleaning my face as I type–she thinks I’m a goofball of a hairless cat that needs perpetual cleaning.  I suppose she’s not  wrong in most of the ways that matter.

Last night we decorated the fifth and final Crimmas tree of the season until just shy of 3am, and thus the decoration of the outside and inside of the house is complete!  I came home tonight and there was a warm glow inside of me as I thought of how festive each room looked, and the thought I put into each decoration, bauble, and piece of art.

Now, though, the heart of the holiday season is upon me.  Not gift buying–Im easily 70% done with that.  No, I’m talking about Cookie Week.  that 1 week a year where I channel the Great British Baking Show and make an assortment of holiday treats that i then bundle up and ship as gifts to friends and family.  I rarely bake cookies the rest of the year–this is a special event for all involved.  So tonight, I’ll queue up Delilah on the radio and bust out some Almond-Lime Zesties (snowballs made with powdered almonds, lime zest, and a not insignificant amount of powdered sugar)…and then the blitzkrieg will start!  I’ll be baking 1-3 different cookies a day until Monday, when I’ll give myself a day of rest (or catch-up, as I usually fall behind) and mail them out midweek next week.

So, in no particular order, these are the cookies on the agenda:

Almond Lime Zesties, Larfleeze Christmas Cookies, Anise Pizzelles, Butterscotch Pizzelles, Cream Cheese Spritz, Spritz Cherry Wreaths, Gingerbread Spritz, Rosemary Shortbreads, Ciambilline Al Vino, Madeleines dipped in Dark Chocolate, & Italian Ricotta Cookies.

Baking can be stressful, sure, but it also is an entire world where you control most of the variables.  Given the last year, I anticipate this year’s bake to be more therapeutic than traumatic.  Stay tuned.

Also…welcome to the return of this blog!

Pros & Cons

I spent this weekend at C2E2, spending the majority of my time walking Artist’s alley and looking for cool merch or new comics to buy.  I got some signatures, commissioned a few pieces of art.  Friday was a good day!  I got through my entire signature list, and got what art commissioned I could.  Saturday, however…Saturday was a rollercoaster.  I got the last artist on my sketch list pretty much right as the doors to the event space opened, and then I felt both empty and at loose ends.  So much of my average convention experience is hunting down creators for autographs, that to not have that…well, it felt off.  Add on top of that I’m over a year behind in a LOT of the titles I pick up every month, and it just made me feel out of place.  As if I didn’t even know what I should’ve brought to have signed, who to seek out, which panels to go to–for someone who structures their convention experience as much as I do, it was very unpleasant.

Or, at least I initially thought that was the problem.  But as I wandered around alone, in this funk, I kept stumbling mentally into wishing I had my laptop with me, because I kept revisiting elements of both San Keros and another cycle of stories I’m writing.  It took imbibing some brutally strong brew on the convention  before i realized that some part of my brain was angry that I had all of this sudden downtime and wasn’t writing.  That part of this dreaded funk I was dealing with was due to me wanting to do–in a way–what these creatives around me were doing–making characters, telling stories, filling worlds with their truths.

Once I realized that, I felt much better.  I wish I could say I ran to the hotel and just wrote the rest of the afternoon, but cons are crazy expensive, yo, and I decided I’d enjoy myself for the rest of this one.  And I have.

Sunday I have 1 panel to attend, and some art to pick up.  Otherwise it’s just wandering the sales floor and seeing wassup.  Then we’ll do dinner at our favorite Thai place with Andy’s niece and boyfriend before we head back to Kalamazoo.

I have Monday off, and I promised myself I’d start hitting the gym after this weekend.  But after that no doubt ugly attempt in the morning, I’m pretty sure I’ve got some worlds of my own to visit.

But don’t worry…you’ll be visiting them soon.

A Different Kind of Revolution

So it’s my day off from the bookstore, and I knew I was going to reserve some time for writing today.  What I wasn’t sure of, until I sat down, is what I was going to write about.  After all, today is the day of the #WalkOut, it’s Pi Day, Hawking died, and then there’s the din of the perpetual horror machine that is contemporary American politics.  Plenty of people are talking about all of those things, though, and I thought I’d stick my neck out a bit and talk a bit about something a bit different.

So let’s talk about Love, Simon.  This film’s coming out Friday, or maybe tomorrow night if you’re lucky enough to be in a city that has an early release.  The movie is put out by 20th Century Fox, and when I say that I mean 20th Century Fox–not one of their smaller art house subsidiaries.  We’ll get to why that’s important in a minute.  It’s a romantic comedy with more than just a nod to John Hughes in its feel and aesthetic.  It has a diverse cast, and some major names attached.  In short, it’s a typical Hollywood date movie that usually fills the months of March and April, while the movie industry holds its breath waiting for the big tentpole action films to run riot over the summer and fall.

Love, Simon is a love story that seems almost nostalgic in its depiction of high school relationships, imbued with a Technicolor light that renders the hope underscoring the characters infectious.  That hope, that yearning, is palpable despite–perhaps because of–the comedy of horrors and errors that Simon and his friends endure.  It’s the hope all of us have–that we will find a place for ourselves, if we expose our truest, most innermost selves to those we care for.  That home can be whatever and wherever the people we love are, and that there is somebody out there for all of us, waiting to be found.

So Simon’s gay.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention that.  He doesn’t either, not at first.  In fact, the entire film is only half a love story in the traditional sense.  The other half is very much Simon Spier coming to love himself enough that he becomes invested in his own happiness.  Now for some spoilers: no one dies, and no one contracts an incurable disease.  This is a rom-com, remember?  I point this out because outside of some art house flicks over the past few years, most of the LGBTQ films put out by the smaller arms of the major studios over the past years have always ended that way.  There are no genuine happy endings, just a flutter of hopeful moments before the inevitable tragic denouement.

Based on Becky Albertalli‘s teen novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Love, Simon is a movie behind its time–and that’s not its fault.  The book itself–and its sequels Upside of Unrequited and Leah on the Offbeat–are heartfelt, relevant explorations of those crucial teen years for LGBTQ youth and their friends and allies.  But even in 2016, when the first book first appeared on the scene, a movie based on it seemed a bit behind the times.  Not because the book doesn’t feel “of the now”, because it certainly does, but because honestly a movie like this should’ve been made 10 years ago.  Hell, 20 years ago if people in Hollywood would’ve seen where the culture was heading with a bit more chutzpah.  But Greg Berlanti (yes, that Greg Berlanti) saw something in those pages he was willing to take a chance on, and here we are.

It’s 2018, and the world is about to get the first LGBTQ romcom about a same-sex romance from any major studio.  ANY.  It’s insane to me that’s true, but there you have it.  20th Century Fox, of all places, has decided America–and the world!–is ready for this, regardless of fear of sales in international markets that might not be open to such a story.  That’s the common excuse by major studios who refuse to allow LGBTQ characters to even exist in their larger franchises, much less have storylines that highlight that particular aspect of their character.  This is a smaller film than Spider-Man or Marvel’s Avengers, but one with the capacity for greater impact.

This film can save and transform lives, and families, and friendships, but it’s going to need your help to do it.  So here we come to why I wrote this post.  As it stands, the movie is supposed to make $15-18 million this weekend, based on current industry projections. It’s budget was $17 million.  I’m sure you can see what I’m getting at here. To have more movies like this, more movies exploring all aspects of the LGBTQ experience in a mainstream, easily accessed format for teens and young adults this movie needs to do well, not just meh.  It needs to surprise, shock and awe hollywood and its establishment with just how well it does, how much we and our allies support them taking a chance on actually showing our stories in the limelight.

I can’t actually imagine what a story like this just existing when I was a teen would’ve meant to me, let alone actually getting to see it in a film.  I grew up in a very white, wealthy upstate New York town, known to many as an art town, but that’s not what it felt like as a teen.  It felt…stultifying.  Filled with so many secrets that I was amazed anyone could look anyone else in the eye.  One of those secrets was my own orientation, and it took years to figure out what that was and what it meant to live openly and authentically.  In the meanwhile, I put on a very brave face and soldiered on, despite the bullying and confusion, despite the self-hatred I was taught and my determination to escape.  It amazes me how many kids just 30 years later don’t have to worry about that.  In many ways, it’s a different world.  The last few generations have made so many leaps forward in acceptance and inclusion.  Kids come out young and in many places, people shrug and simply just accept it as no big deal.

But here’s the thing that probably anyone not LGBTQ doesn’t get: it’s always a big deal.  In many ways, life is a perpetual state of coming out–to ourselves, and to the world around us.  And not just that first time, but every single time you come out.  Your first friend, your first extended family, your first workplace–and every person or situation you find yourself in for the rest of your life.  How are people going to react?  It’s always a choice you have to weigh with every single person you interact with.  It keeps loved ones from holding hands in public is a default, or risking a kiss goodbye or hello.  It keeps people using gender neutral pronouns to cover up the identities of their partners, it keeps us from having the courage to simply be 100% ourselves in the public sphere.  Think about that for a second, if you could.  It requires courage just to hold hands, to do more than a one-armed bro hug hello, to say your partner or spouse’s name.  Yes, it gets better, but.  They always forget the but.  Not every place is safe, not every mind and situation is accepting.  Our media tells us this story, too.  How many of the stories they tell of us feature tragedy, illness, bashing, or death?

This movie, for all that it is most certainly light-hearted, is an opportunity to tell hollywood–and the people you know–that we can have these types of stories, too.  That we can have stories that celebrate us, stories that show us fighting not just battles of social justice but fighting the doubt and self-hatred that so often grows inside us and actually winning.  We can have romcoms and spy stories, fantasies and superhero movies.  We can have these films and not have them be gay movies, but just movies.  Movies who happen to feature people that look and act like us, just like the overwhelming majority of leads depicted as straight without having to be so to the exclusion of all else.  We can have stories that are for us, not just about us.

Every single kid, tween, and teen who sees this movie is going to know there are people who support them, who will love them, and that the required courage is worth the risk. If they invite you to see Love, Simon, they’re already halfway there.  How many conversations will happen this weekend–and into the future–because this film gave people a window to understand themselves and each other?

Will you join me this weekend?  Will you send that message to your son, or nephew, or your student, that you support not just them, but a culture that includes them and others like them?  Don’t let Simon be the only one fighting the Homo Sapiens agenda.

Click the image below to get your tickets.