I had a moment at the gym (while lifting an exercise ball over my head and slamming it down again) when I thought — oh, starting with the anniversary party would be the perfect frame for the memoir; it’d let me introduce all the major topics. But reading this over, it has no real plot tension, and no thematic depth yet (and of course, I haven’t put it in any description yet, so you can’t see the scene). I don’t even know how to end this section — I just…stopped.
I’m not sure I like any of this at all — may toss it. Trying to ignore the internal editor at this generative phase, but it is HARD.
I’m standing in front of a few hundred people, dressed in my fanciest clothes, giving a thank you speech with my husband beside me. Dozens of children are in the audience, including our own two, Kavya and Anand. It’s our 25th anniversary, and that is where the resemblance to anything conventional ends.
Kevin and I have been together twenty-five years, but were only actually married a few years ago, when a diagnosis of breast cancer made decisions long delayed feel urgent; we argued about marriage for decades before that. The MC for the party is Jed Hartman, my co-editor on the science fiction magazine I founded for many years,but not incidentally also my mostly long-distance romantic partner of almost twenty years. Also in the audience is Karina Roberts, who flew all the way to Chicago from Melbourne; she is Kevin’s and my ex-girlfriend, and for three years, many years ago, we were a threesome. Several other exes are in the crowd, which I know some will find hard to understand. We are not inclined to let people go,.
The unconventional choices carried over to my professional life. Instead of becoming a doctor as my parents expected, I spent my 20s writing and publishing erotica, posting it in a blog that eventually became one of the five oldest on the internet. I generally made of myself a scandal and a hissing, though that was never my primary goal.
In my 30s, I started writing immigrant fiction, family stories centered on Sri Lanka and the ethnic conflict. I am Sri Lankan Tamil, from a mostly traditional family; I admit to being a little surprised (and delighted) that so many of my brown cousins came out, joining me and my sisters for such an unconventional celebration. Also present were friends from childhood, high school, college, grad school, SF writers and academic colleagues from my current position as an English professor and Kevin’s as a math professor, neighbors and new friends made during my recent run for local office.
I live at the intersection of identities that are rarely found together.