America. Fuck Yeah.

whitehouserainbow

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a rough week for assholes.

First, we all kinda realized that flying the flag of an enemy nation comprised of treasonous, slavery-defending jack wagons was a weird thing to be doing in 2015. Then the law which has already seen a thirty-five percent drop in the uninsured rate was upheld against a blatantly ridiculous legal challenge.

Then, the big guns came out today as the Supreme Court affirmed the basic human rights of all Americans to marry the consenting adult of their choice.

I should say now, I’m not a gay man, any more than I’m a black man, or someone with a preexisting condition that would prevent me from getting health insurance. I’m a straight white man who runs half marathons. I like my women smart, athletic, and sassy.

But I am a geek, and an atheist. And as a geek and an atheist in his mid-thirties who grew up in a rural, religious, conservative town, I do have some insight into what it feels like to be ostracized and alone. I remember vividly the feeling that my community didn’t care about me, rejected me, hated me.

And then I remember the moment when I moved away from Westfield, Wisconsin, to a larger community with new people who didn’t hold preconceived notions and biases about who I was. Who didn’t look at me with disdain. I started building a life there, friends, the beginnings of a family, and the dam burst in my heart.

All of the pain, all of the anguish, all of the isolation and rejection I’d grown up feeling melted away. I became a whole person for the first time. Strong, confident, and happy.

America just did the same for all of my gay and lesbian friends. America jus told them that they weren’t alone anymore. That they can build families, lives, and futures for themselves, no matter where they live, no matter who they love.

I’m crying as I write this, because I’ve never been prouder of this beautiful country I call home. I feel like we’ve turned a corner this week. We’re facing injustice and hate in a way I’ve never seen in my lifetime. It is glorious, and it’s just the beginning.

America.

Fuck yeah.

CONvergence 2015

drunk-idiot

Hey gang. Just a quick update. Next weekend, I’ll be joining dozens of other writers, editors, agents, and other publishing industry professionals in Bloomington, MN for CONvergence.

If you’ve never been to this four day bender of reckless geeky hedonism, you’re missing out. We stuff about six thousand thirsty nerds into the Double Tree Hilton, most of which spend Friday and Saturday nights walking around the pool, sashaying from one themed room party to the next on two different floors, drinking simply hazardous amounts of booze from all across the galaxy, appreciating the copious talented cosplayers, and making awkward passes at the opposite sex, or the same sex, whatever, do you.

Anyway, somewhere in between bouts of binging, fighting over parking spots like they were a gallon of fresh water in Cali, and eating at TGIFriday’s, attendees at CONvergence also have access to an excellent and growing literary track.

Here’s my schedule:

http://schedule.convergence-con.org/?s=Patrick+Tomlinson#.VYgcv5VRG00

I’m particularly looking forward to the Adding Humor panel. Something tells me that’s going to be right up my alley. Anyway, weather permitting, I’ll be riding my bike up from Milwaukee, so if you see me Wednesday night and I smell like sweat, gasoline, and bug guts, it’s only because I haven’t found a shower yet. Also, I’ll be living off of only what I can stuff inside a single back pack and rooming with two other dudes for the weekend, so now that I think about it, the situation is unlikely to greatly improve.

 

 

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Don’t quit your day job.

As an author and aspiring comedian, it’s a refrain I hear constantly. Sometimes directed at my friends and colleagues, sometimes at me. Sometimes it’s sincere advice given by people who have already passed down these roads, know their perils, and know what it takes to walk the path successfully. But more often than not, it’s just a mean-spirited attack launched by snarky assholes who make themselves feel better by disparaging what others are trying to build.

To those people, all I can say is this. Don’t quit your day job, either. Don’t nurture the ambition necessary to take a leap of faith. Don’t dedicate yourselves to developing your talents and honing your craft. Don’t build up the courage to follow your dreams.

Just stay right where you are, in your safe little cubicle, avoiding the risks and never chasing the rewards that a life of creative pursuits may bring. Continue counting off the days until you either retire, or your boss replaces you with an equally bland, faceless cog in an uncaring machine.

Stay at the foot of the mountain, where it’s safe. Some of us will risk the climb, and the few lucky enough to reach the summit will wave back down on you and smile. And even those who fail will have reached higher than you ever dared.