Tag Archives: romance

I’m A 9th Generation American Homosexual

Front Cover 4 FBMothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, lovers, friends. With a public declaration on page one, this candid chronicle reveals how the thoughts and emotional conquests of women who love women differ instinctively from those of their parents and the male dominant heterosexual ideologies of a patriarch society.

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Through lyrically warmed words engendering levity and benevolence these forty-nine relatable narratives shed insight on the simple dignity of an endangered female culture vanishing-by-assimilation into an age of artificial equality.

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Spanning the course of 70 years, each story embraces a different kind of love and loss that bears witness to women who triumphed in spite of the tokenism shown by both straight society, and the preponderance of recorded gay history that virtually ignores the female perspective of people and events.

There’s never been a colored, a Jew, a Democrat, a Yankee, a queer, or a woman as Mayor of this town and there never will be! Page 167 • Entire worlds exist of just two people in love. Page 78Life is a silver lining for those of us willing to scrape the surface of adversity. Page 198 • So let’s stop telling kids that bullies are a schoolroom problem graduation solves, or law enforcement can control, or Congress can legislate against. Page 35 • Sometimes life is a sleepwalk in which we see everything clearly and deny it. Page 147 • I never danced on a grave, but I did steal something from the dead, once. Page 143 • Our existence evolves through exchanges, most of it involving how we choose to spend our time in pursuit of people, places, or things on which we place the greatest value. Page 15 • Eighty days after Bobby Kennedy kissed me, he was killed. Page 111 • I wonder if any other daughter remembers the first time she made her mother cry. Page 183 • There was this dog we loved and lost on Christmas morning, 1951. It changed everything. Page 95 • Back then, those of us in love with another woman conducted our lives without a need for labels or social acceptance. Page 13 • I want every woman to fall in love with the person who has fallen in love with her. Page 63 • There sat a black cat yowling through quivering whiskers. Page 47 • Because I didn’t know that Ann had been told I was queer, and I didn’t know Ann told all our mutual friends her mother said I was queer, and I didn’t know her mother told the parents of mutual friends I was queer, and I didn’t know certain teachers were warned of the same. Page 68 • But I don’t think he understands that most of us don’t want to be enslaved by the duplicities of straight society. Page 176 • et cetera

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Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?

by Marguerite Quantaine

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NOW IN PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON

FOR RELEASE ON KINDLE MAY 13,  2019

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Paperback • Bookstores • Libraries  • Special Order • May 31st

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Thank you!

 

 

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TWENTY-FOUR SEVEN

The Golden KeyIn order to love truly and long, one must always put words — especially those spoken in spite — within the context of the moment, and decide whether past words spoken in love are more precious and true than those spewed in anger.
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Ultimately, ones capacity of heart is judged, not by what another forgives, but by what you forgive — and not by what you choose to remember, but by what you choose to forget.
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Truth is seldom what an outsider looking in concludes. More often, truth becomes what we need others to believe in order for us to survive during dire times we helped create. Truth can be deceptive and troubling and biased. It always has an agenda.
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Never choose the weakness of today’s truth over the power of tomorrow’s forgiveness. That’s like betting your heart, in a fixed race, on a blind horse named Regret.

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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist, author, and animal rescue activist. She is the author of the highly praised IMOGENE’S ELOISE: Inspired by a true story © 2014.

Her second book, Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?, is a collection of true stories demonstrating how women who lead heartfelt lives find purpose and feel joy.


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THIS BEARS REPEATING

Bears RepeatingSixteen friends called it quits in March. Adultery was cited as the cause in 5 of the 8 couple splits. I’m saddened when I learn of such heartbreak. Here’s why:
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I once knew a woman who was a serial cheater, oozing charm whenever she wanted to seduce someone. Mostly, she targeted women with troubled lives. To gain their trust, she claimed to be the victim of a failed relationship. She fed them with words she knew only damaged women longed to hear. She raised them up while having her way with them. She promised them a future. She convinced them that they needed her. Eventually and inevitably, she ditched them. And, just to ensure none would chase after her, the last words she spoke to each woman she cut loose were: “No wonder nobody loves you.”
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Infidelity is such an old and popular game of deception, you’d think women would have learned to avoid cheaters by now.
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But no. Women persist in thinking they’ll be the one to tame the fox welcomed into their henhouse.
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The fact is this: Every woman on earth has been victimized to some extent during her lifetime. Every . . . single . . . one of us.
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Where love is involved, some choose to be perpetual victims, always eager for the ‘ideal’ person to choose them, accepting of similar characteristics in new partners to replace the former, growing old and stale like hard candy until all traces of sweetness have dissolved into bitterness.
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A toxic indicator of having been victimized is chronic rage, a corollary of post-traumatic stress syndrome. When physical, verbal, or emotional abuse is experienced for extended periods (especially during childhood) it never leaves you. Certain words or actions push buttons in your brain creating a fight-or-flight frenzy, unleashing the dormant fury.
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The thing is, we all tend to blame others for rages directed at us — while excusing our own rages directed at others — in order to justify the decisions we make.
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This is where the intent of the heart comes in.
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In the aftermath of tears and loneliness that are sure to follow once rage erupts, you must learn to measure the intent of your heart against the intent of the heart of the person who hurt you. You must. Only then will walking away be easier than staying; leaving be easier than being left.
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The death of love is intended to be the hardest learned lesson in the test of time.
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Because the reward of love is priceless.
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So, try to remember the journey you took with the other person — not from the end of it looking back, but from the memory of the start. Chart how it soared. Determine if you made every effort to catch it when it began to teeter, every effort to shore it up when it started to crumble, every effort to revive it before you let it die.
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Own that you aren’t innocent. Own your part in the turmoil. Own the buttons you pushed. Own the choices you made that enabled the demise of your life together. Own the carrot of false hope you dangled long after hope in you was gone. Own the lies you told to yourself and others.
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If you’re hurting, join a support group to find comfort and get help. You can’t recover alone. But don’t allow the group to become your only source for self-esteem. Have an exit plan from it.
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Then, every morning, face yourself in the mirror and ask: Have I cast myself as a victim? Do I look like one? Have I presented myself to others as such? Do I enjoy being seen as a victim? Is victimhood my aspiration?
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If not, don’t adopt that image. Don’t encourage or allow others to attach that tag to you. Don’t become a poster girl for victimhood.
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Because, in the short term, you might find the comfort you need and the support you deserve — but in the long term, there are only two types of people you’ll attract:
(1) Those who embrace their suffering, dwell on their past, and treat being victimized as their red badge of courage.
(2) Those who will target you as prey to be used and abused again.
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Victims say, “I am who I am because of …”
Survivors say, “I am who I am in spite of …”
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Be a survivor.
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If  you enjoyed this essay, I’d be grateful if you’d please leave a REPLY and/or hit the LIKE button and be certain to share it on all your social media sites. Without your generosity to share, many of the essays you enjoy online never get read.

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On behalf of all essayists and authors — my heartfelt thanks!

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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist, author, and animal rescue activist. She is the author of Imogene’s Eloise: Inspired by a true story © 2014 and Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?, due for release on Amazon in April, 2019.

THIS DIAMOND RING — GIVEAWAY

"It's a dainty little ring."

“It’s a dainty little ring.”

I don’t know if it was so for my three brothers, but whenever we three girls asked my mom what she wanted for Mother’s Day, her birthday, or Christmas she’d invariably say, “A diamond ring, a fur coat, and a trip around the world.”

Nowadays, such requests may not seem that unreasonable, what with seven year olds pocketing iPhones, college students making pilgrimages, and fur coats being faked well enough to warrant splattering by PETA paint.

But back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, these were all big ticket items for the vast majority of American women.

Since my mom wasn’t elitist, extravagant, or pretentious, I didn’t take her wish list seriously. She had a mink-ish stole she dearly loved and wore from time-to-time. She managed to travel to every country and place she ever dreamt of going before she passed away nine years ago at ninety-three. And, she appeared satisfied with wearing her wedding ring during 31 years of marriage and 37 years of widowhood — a wafer thin band of gold, originally mounted with 7 miniscule diamond chips, two of them missing from forever ago.

“This diamond ring doesn’t shine for me anymore,” she’d chime along with Gary Lewis and the Playboys back in ‘65.

“Are you planning on taking it off and selling it?” I once asked.

“No,” she admitted. “Remember, dear, the first ring represents your beginning and shouldn’t cost more than what you can safely afford. The last ring shows how far you’ve gotten. It may weigh more and the stone will  be bigger — but that ring is less about who you are, and more about who you just think you are.”

Mom's wedding ring.

Mom’s wedding ring.

Costume jewelry was more my mother’s style, mostly sets of necklaces and bracelets with complementing clip-on earrings, cloth flowers with pin backs, hair combs studded with rhinestones, and watches with exchangeable bands. It was while rummaging through these, kept in an old cedar box stamped Souvenir of Gaylord, that I detected the faint fragrance of her Yardley Lavender still lingering there as I matched each pretty piece of paste to memories of the outfit she wore and the special occasion that warranted the wearing. That is, except for one out-of-place, unfamiliar, etched gold band with a solitaire diamond setting that seemed a perfect starter ring for a young (or young-at-heart) someone who hoped to commit, or celebrate a first anniversary, or wear on the pinky until presenting it as a simple act of friendship to another.

It’s a dainty little ring, perfectly capable of stirring up tender emotions — but one I’d never wear since it wasn’t given to me by my lifelong love.

So, I decided to let someone else create a warm memory by giving the ring away. No strings attached. No expectations of return. Quietly and without adieu, certain my mom would approve.

 

Besides, it’s not as if I’m giving her wedding ring away.

Never.

That tarnished band of holes and chips has resided on my pinky since she passed, and it will remain there until I do, as a testament to the woman whose namesake I am, and the cherished memories of her I wouldn’t sacrifice — not even for a diamond ring, a fur coat, and a trip around the world.

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Copyright by Marguerite Quantaine 2015

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I’M EATING CROW HERE

#7 ad

I remember when the first articles were published by researchists revealing that hot dogs were dangerously bad for us (I stopped eating them), as was peanut butter (I cut back), and eggs (I wasn’t dissuaded), and donuts (get outta town!).

Much like telling those who bet on the horses that races are rigged, or lottery hopefuls that the odds are stacked against them, or fans that an event is sold out, or kids younger that seven that there is no Santa Claus — learning the dire details involving comfort foods did more harm than good, because (regardless of fact accuracy and well-intended truths) it robbed the partakers of the enjoyment of doing what wasn’t necessarily wise, or profitable.

And that’s about all my 15 hour post, And The Winner Is … Not Me, accomplished. It exposed something that everyone probably knew, but no one wanted to admit, because the happy habit was universally shared, and the group addiction did no harm.

I was wrong.

I apologize.

I took the long way down a wary road best navigated by denial, when only the end result was required reading.  That, in essence, is this:

The finest award a writer can be given is the feeling of joy that comes from writing a worthy book. It’s incomparable. It can’t be taken away. It’s what makes you a winner.

And, should your book receive a good review, or is given as a gift, or mentioned to friends, or ordered by a library, or suggested to a book club, or introduced at meetings, or touted at functions, or buzzed about on buses, or pondered by strangers, or discussed by family members, or serves as dining repartee  — well, that’s the mustard on the hot dog, the jelly on the Jif,  the sun in the sunny side up, and the icing on the donut.

Gobble, gobble.

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Copyright by Marguerite Quantaine 2015


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SIGNING OFF

Me, Minus 33 Years

Me, Minus 33 Years

My face popped up in the right hand corner of the screen as guest anchor, Peter Jennings, introduced the closing story on ABC World News Tonight one Friday in 1981. I’d authored an oversized, limited edition reference book under the Americanized spelling of my last name and it somehow engendered enough interest to garner a mention on national television.

I look back at it as pure luck now because, as any author (past or present) will confirm, writing a book can be exhilarating — but marketing it is exhausting.

Back then, individualized press releases were expected to be composed and printed to accompany personally written letters, each snail-mailed at considerable expense to those listed in Editor & Publisher Yearbook nationwide. Even for a book as minor as mine, the effort required to sell it seemed mammoth compared to the time it took to write. That made getting featured during prime time on ABC with Peter Jennings equal to an eagle feather in a yarmulke.

The follow-up was a headline and shout-out in the Sunday New York Times — not by a book reviewer, but by the much respected and often feared antiques and arts columnist, Rita Reif. I’d caught a wave, did some appearances, signings, a few more interviews, and a stint on PM New York, all culminating in a monthly column syndicated in a dozen trade publications for a couple years. It was a flattering, generally enjoyable, often tiresome experience that I was grateful ended after it contributed to resurrecting a fad that others were tooth-and-claw dedicated to treating as a full time endeavor.

Because, regardless of how glamorous it may sound or look, that’s what even miniscule fame and fleeting fortune boils down to; an eagerness and need to become the product by foregoing (and oft times, forgetting) the person.

I was never willing to put anything before my personal life.

I’m still not.

Fast forward to the present when everyone can be an author, cyberspace has taken over the vast amount of book promotion, cable and YouTube have obliterated the allure of network news, and most the magazines and newspapers in which my name, or byline once appeared are history.

In a time when Amazon gives every author a one-time-only opportunity to write a description of one’s novel for access by book reviewers nationwide — and even after being reminded that the 25,000 word maximum description must entice those reviewers to choose my novel over all the other hundreds of cyberspace book releases bombarding them every week — I chose to submit just 35 words about Imogene’s Eloise in free verse form:

“This is a history you haven’t read elsewhere,
about people you don’t realize you know,
containing phenomena you’re unaware of,
within a love story you’ve never heard,
that has an ending you can’t possibly predict.”

Thank you, Peter Jennings.

And, rest in peace.

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This essay is copyright by Marguerite Quantaine © 2014.

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A CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION

B1

The preliminary police report rendered me dead upon impact.

A drunk driving a Marathon cab fitted with an extended, reinforced steel bumper had broadsided us. He was clocking up to 70 in a 30-mph zone when he ran a red light and collided with the VW Bug I was easing into a parking spot as Liz sat next to me in the suicide seat.

The impact was ferocious. While peripheral vision allowed me a glimpse of my killer, there was no other warning. No screeching of brakes. No screaming of pedestrians. No sense of impending doom. Just a mild feeling of astonishment before whispering, “Oh my God, I’m dead.” That’s what I said.

Our car was ripped apart (lengthwise) from hood to trunk, welding the sheared pieces to the front end of the taxi. Twenty feet away, our flung wreckage had come to a halt at the entrance of a branch bank. I hung down twisted and broken through the remains, my face hovering just above the pavement, my auburn curls resembling a red rag mop.

Most gay couples are drawn and quartered by such tragedy. They’re impeded by laws awarding jurisdiction to distant family members. They’re intimidated by protocol and prodded by propriety. Their feelings and wishes are summarily dismissed as irrelevant. Barred from the ambulance. Excluded from intensive care. Denied decision-making.

“She’s my sister,” Liz lied emphatically. It instantly ended any question of her authority.

The first time she lied was to the officers who barricaded the wreckage, then tried to restrain her from reaching back for me. They’d dragged her clear, insisting I was beyond help.

How she broke loose, and what transpired is a wonder.

I must have responded to the energy of her touch. I must have been warmed to the blending of her tears in my stone-cold eyes. I must have sensed the silent incantations of her heart imploring mine to hold the course of ‘us’ as one, against all obstacles and odds.

“Hey, babe!” I breathed.

Her second lie was to the ambulance attendants. The third, to emergency room doctors. The fourth, to nurses. And then to technicians, aides, and investigators. She didn’t hesitate to claim me as her sister, knowing involuntary deceit had long been coerced from gays in lieu of being banished and public humiliation.

Lies were once our only conceivable lifeline.

Fortunately, I was a corporate executive for a large conglomerate. It gave me special insurance privileges that provided her with unlimited hospital access. She stayed in my room. She partook in every detail of my care and was privy to all my medical information. My doctors consulted her. My nurses kept her updated.

Nevertheless, when it came to certain courses of action, not everything suggested was automatically allowed.

It’s because (even now) most lesbians mistrust the medical profession. We cringe at the prospect of contact with male doctors. We shy to probes pertaining to our personal lives and intimate behavior. And, even though many older women entered conventional relationships in an effort to hide their true sexual identities, there are vast numbers of lesbians who have never engaged in intimacy with a man. Women who know being gay goes far beyond an aversion to heterosexual sex; that the differences in our genetic codes include a wiring that circuits a deep-seated aversion and basic incompatibility with all dominant aspects of the opposite gender.

It’s as if (equivalent to the distinction found between Asian and African elephants trumpeting in the night) science will someday discover that we, too, are a similar — but different — species.

So it came as no surprise to Liz when I refused to be catheterized, even though catheterization was necessary to save me. Regardless of the brutal total body trauma I suffered, this perfectly natural anomaly had triggered my sense of dignity, demanding decorum. Only the empathy and courage of a surgical nurse named Christine could clear the emergency room of male doctors and provide me with the symbiosis I needed to survive.

Forty-one years have passed since the crash that forever altered our lives. I insist the change was for the best, even though I pass each day in fluctuating degrees of pain, and walk with a cane, and sleep with my neck and left leg braced. My brain still spasms on rare occasions, jerking my head violently to the left. My hand sometimes trembles. My body sometimes buckles. My ears burn shades of crimson whenever my emotions run high, or my energy runs low.

And, even though I can no longer sit for more than 30 minutes at a stretch, nor walk for longer than 20 without resting, nor stand on cement surfaces for any length of time, from all outward appearances you’d never suspect there was anything amiss with me.

No criminal proceeding ever materialized since, back then, drunk driving was a misdemeanor. And it took well over a year before the civil action found its way onto a court docket. By then the driver had vanished, while both the taxicab company and its insurance agency filed for bankruptcy.

That left the state to assume jurisdiction over the proceedings, and it would only approve payment of a dime on every dollar litigated, with a preset ceiling attached.

My lawyer told me to settle for $30,000 against bills that would total 10 times that in just 10 years.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you lied about being sisters,” he said. “And if we went to court, that lie will come up. It’s a character issue. You’ll have no presumed credibility.”

“A character issue?” charged Liz. “Whose character?”

My attorney remained silent except for his shuffling of documents.

“The drunk driver?” she asked. “His employer? The insurance broker? The court demanding a decision?”

“Settle,” he suggested a second time.

“And if I don’t?” I challenged.

“I’m not certain my firm can work a trial date into our calendar. I’m afraid, if you don’t settle, you’ll have to find other representation.”

So I settled.

Honestly? I was just so damn happy to be alive, grateful for every second of every extra day.

“And, when you think about it,” Liz reasoned as we left the courthouse heading home, “for the rest of our lives they have to be them. But we get to be us.”

It’s a cause for celebration.

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This freshly updated essay by Marguerite Quantaine first appeared in the third person in The St. Petersburg Times (2008) and Venus Magazine in the first person (2010).  Copyright by M. Quantaine © 2008 / 2010 / 2013.

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