Welcome to Sweet ‘n Sexy Divas! I’m Adriana Kraft, and on the 15th of every month, I’m here to share LGBTQIA+ stories with you—sometimes one of my own, and often, as today, stories from other authors that have moved me. Author Rick R. Reed joins us today, and I have added my review of his book at the end of this post.
The Impossible Childhood of My Dreams and Inspiration
A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed
When I wrote my novel about a trans woman awakening to her truth while within the confines of a long-term gay male same-sex marriage, I wanted to do two things:
1. Give much-needed representation, dignity, and voice to a transgendered character. I felt there was a need for such representation, because the gay male romance genre has very little portrayal of such characters and their truth.
2. Follow my inspiration for the book, which I’ll talk about in more depth below. Please read on!
Inspiration, for me, comes often from small things—a glimpse of a person in a public place, a dream, a news item, and, especially the rich tapestry of my own queer life.
Inspiration also comes from asking the question writers of good fiction have asked for an eternity—what if?
The Impossible Childhood of My Dreams touches both those small observational moments that inspire and the classic what-if question.
One Sunday in church here in Palm Springs, I spotted an older couple making their way up the aisle for service. Since this is Palm Springs, they were in the majority—older and most likely gay. One of the men dressed as any cis male of his age might—a plaid shirt, khakis, and a pair of sandals. His partner, though, was much different. They also wore male clothing, but had accented those drab clothes with bright pops of something different. They wore a colorful scarf, women’s kitten heels, a touch of makeup, and carried a purse.
I watched them and got the idea these were two people who truly loved each other and were devoted. I picked up on that from their body language, the way they spoke to each other, and the way they touched.
And that’s when I wondered, what if? What if I came to my husband, Bruce, and said I wanted to transition to the opposite sex? Could our marriage withstand such a change? On the one hand, we’ve been together for more than two decades; our commitment is real and runs deep. I’d still be me, but in a different wrapper. I also respected that if Bruce couldn’t accept such a life-altering change, I would be understanding, if not disappointed. He never signed up to be married to a woman and I could see how he might not want to continue our marriage. I examined the what if from the other end—if he came to me and said he wanted to make this change. In my heart of hearts, I knew I’d stay by him (or her), regardless. Love is love and Bruce would still be the same person at the core.
And thus, my idea for THE IMPOSSIBLE CHILDHOOD OF MY DESIRES was born. I would explore how a long-married gay couple might deal with such a change. I wanted to do so with sensitivity and the kind of truth I believe most transgender people experience at some point. My pivotal scene—the one that opens the book and asks what’s different about this day—would be one where Roberto comes home unexpectedly from work to find his husband, Carl, transformed into Cara:
Roberto swung the door open and paused.
His breath vanished.
He swore his heart stopped for an instant. He clutched his chest.
Carl turned away from the mirror and stared, mouth open, as if Roberto were some ghostly apparition. He didn’t appear to know who Roberto was. The shock and confusion on his face reflected that. He’d gone a sickly shade of white. Even the foundation he’d painted on couldn’t conceal his pallor.
It wasn’t the look on Carl’s face that caused Roberto to breathe faster and to question his grip on reality. It was the makeup. The dress. The high heels. The red wig.
“Who are you?” Roberto mumbled.
This revelation starts the whole book in motion—Roberto, stunned and with his moorings lost—separates from Cara and flees to his brother’s home in California, to try and sort his feelings out. Cara, alone for the first time in many years, and literally forced out of the closet, begins to gradually come to terms with her authentic female self. She begins going out, dressing as she feels most comfortable, and begins to not only discover there are people like her, people who would become friends and support, but also comfort in her own skin—as a woman.
The journey for both Cara and Roberto isn’t easy. And I won’t put a spoiler in here to let you know how it all comes out, but let’s just say that both of them have to find a way to live under a new normal. What will their lives be like going forward? Will they be able to find the strength they need to do what’s necessary and true?
I believe how I answered those questions—after a lot of exploration of both characters—will be very satisfying to readers, especially those seeking a happily-ever-after. But what constitutes happy? Is it the same for every couple?
Read THE IMPOSSIBLE CHILDHOOD OF MY DREAMS to find out.
FIND RICK ONLINE
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rick-R-Reed/e/B000AP5H2G
My Review, by Adriana Kraft
I don’t know what the “R” in Rick R. Reed stands for, but I think he should have a second middle initial – “A,” for Authentic. The same word could be used as a one-word review for his book, The Impossible Childhood of my Dreams, a love story about a transgendered women who, already in a gay marriage as a male, makes her transition at midlife. I am not transgendered, and neither is Rick Reed, but many who are have validated the authenticity of this profound and moving story.
Love is love, a human emotion truly unfettered by a host of gender-related labels. We can’t always explain when or how love happens, nor can we necessarily know ahead of time what kind of earthquake might be required to shake it loose. The earthquake that is at the heart of this book is palpable and emotionally gripping. The setting in which it takes place—Chicago, and then Palm Springs—is as richly detailed and authentic as the characters themselves. Having lived in Chicago for over two decades and now living in the southwest, where my husband and I make frequent trips to Palm Springs, I especially appreciated how the author’s love and respect for both locales, flawed though they may be in part, shone through in his narrative.
I dare not give away the end of the story, so I will just say that it brought unbidden tears to my eyes and I found the entire journey richly satisfying to have witnessed.
Thumbs up and Five Stars, highly recommend.
This sounds like a book I'd really enjoy. The core conflict seems all too plausible.
Welcome to SNSD as our newest Diva, Adriana!
Rick's story sounds great. Definitely something I need to read. :)
Thanks so much for allowing me to talk about one of my best books, for reading that book, and for showing it the love that you did.
Rick, you are more than welcome. A powerful and much-needed book.
Lisabet and Tina, I know you'll be as moved by his story as I was. I want to send it to anyone who doesn't "get" transgendered.
Post a Comment