Deadline Week

Okay, so starting a new blog project may not have been the greatest idea as my publication hits its August deadline. But, I’m not always one for great timing. I had hoped to write more here, and there is more to write, but time is of the essence when a newspaper must be published.

I am currently the Associate Publisher and Creative Director of an LGBTQ monthly publication that focuses on being a local,  community paper. The Associate Publisher title means I do the business stuff and the Creative Director title means that I do the graphic design work for our print issue. Thank goodness I don’t have to do the web stuff, our webmaster is incredible. There’s a link to the right to the publication, it’s called Out In Asheville. I also sometimes write, but not during the school year. The last two issues have been heavy on my writing, but I have very little, nay, none in this next issue. I needed the break, mostly because of the sinus/ear infection. ugh. my head still swims, but i’m feeling better bit by bit.

And why I tell you about work may prove important to this thesis, as well. I’m a full-time graduate student. And I work full time for very little pay. Community newspapers are not a place to make big bucks. My wife is the editor, and she makes the same as me, so we’re not exactly rolling in it. Add to that the debt we have from our now-defunct queer bookstore/cafe, and well, the bills pile higher than the income. Most times we’re thankful we can breathe and that no one has shut off the air conditioning because it gets fucking hot in Asheville, NC. Forget what they tell you about the mountains being cooler. Last night was the first time it dropped below 70 degrees in a very long time, and it’s been topping 90 for the last week. In fact, it’s the night air that makes this place bearable in the summer.

I’ve had a job since I was 14.5, except for a brief period when Lin and I scrimped and saved so that I could spend my last semester of college not working. Thank goodness, again, for the financial aid gods smiling upon me. Somehow when they find out your mother makes $12,000 a year, her husband is unemployed, and she has two teenage boys living at home, they take pity on you and pay for your college. So we lived on my financial aid and the little Lin was making from other places – the bookstore/cafe was doing better then and while we weren’t taking money out of it, we weren’t putting half our income into it. Actually, when it was doing worst (after the economy slumped and gas prices went up), we were spending 3/4 of our meager income keeping it alive for the community. Many still ask us what the hell happened to that place, and all we can say is our bodies were broken more than our bank account.

I can’t get a bank account on my own because the bank doesn’t believe the poor kid when she says her card was stolen, so they reported me to this check-checking place. I have no idea what it’s called, but I’ve overdrafted before, I admit that. But when my card was stolen, I called the bank to report it and they refused to remove any of the charges because “I had a history of overdrafting, and how could they know it wasn’t just another overdraft situation.” Banks suck. So, we have a joint account now, and hopefully things will get better, but when you had $46 to your name and it was in your bank account, there’s very little to pay the $200 in overdraft charges because someone stole my card, or I lost it and they picked it up.

So, now I work all the time, fit grad school into my spare time, unfortunately, since that’s where my head is, and sometimes where my heart is. But this is the struggle of a trailer park queer who desperately wants to make life better for herself and for her family. It’s not just about me, and that’s how it is for this trailer park queer – it’s about my family, too. I can’t help but try to help them. And my mom is always trying to help me… and she does whenever she can. I love that woman. And she is proud of her life and of what she has accomplished – namely, her children. And I’m proud of her. I find myself always impressed at how she is able to survive obstacle after obstacle, sometimes falling and always picking herself back up, even when that means begging for help. But I’ll write more about that later.



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