Okay– so some interesting feedback from a variety of places, much of it contradictory, has come to my attention.
It reminds me that not everybody knows who I am.
I mean, sure, I’ve been doing the blog for 12 years, and I’ve been writing for DSP for nine–but some people JUST met me, JUST read my books. And there’s a lot of them. And they might not know what to expect from me.
So, who am I?
Hello–my name is Amy Lane.
Except it’s not my real name, it’s a nom de plume, but it’s so close to who I am that even people who’ve known me as my other name still call me Amy.
Who am I?
I am a mother of four children, ranging in age from 12-25. The oldest has a communication handicap that has shaped my job history and my own personal values and my sense of empathy. The others are highly individualistic. Two of them are queer–but I didn’t know that when I started writing gay romance, so lucky me for being exactly the kind of mother those kids needed to be comfortable and happy with themselves. Go them, for being born my kids! I couldn’t be luckier.
I used to teach high school–for 18 years. I let my job writing interfere with my job teaching and lost that job. I miss it–the kids, anyway. Not the administration, because for the most part they were shitty white people (I believe I called them “puckered angry white men” 8 years ago during the “divorce proceedings” and I haven’t changed that stance even a little.
I taught in what was basically an inner city school– gun lockdown drills, gang problems, drugs, alcohol, whatever. What people forget about being a teacher in a school like that is A. The kids who are respectful but still question everything are your golden children and you prize them above diamonds, and B. Teachers don’t bring guns, and believe teaching should stay that way. It was our job to DEescalate situations, not to pull out a gun and shoot. Guns don’t belong in schools. Shame on anyone who thinks they do.
The entitled white kids were the bane of my existence. I had no problems with my diverse population–and I let them teach me as much as I taught them. It’s one of the reasons I miss teaching–I used to learn so much.
I’ve seen the way this nation treats it’s children of color. It’s shameful. I’ve seen it in the budget. I’ve seen it in the administration. I’ve seen it in the teacher’s room. I’ve heard it coming from the students’ mouths. I’ve seen it so institutionalized even the people in the institution didn’t recognize it until we stand outside looking in. Before “Black Lives Matter”, and before “progressive values”, and before an ignorant maggot issued the epithet “libtard”, I used to look out at my incredibly diverse student population and say, “We. Are. Failing. These. Children.” And as time goes by, and I see more and more how and why that was true, I get angrier.
I think ICE is the fucking devil. Besides students whom I loved, my children and I have people in our lives that have lived here legally for many years, and the fear of this illegal batch of storm troopers fucking with their lives is terrifying. There is no excuse for them–except fear, prejudice, and xenophobia, but since when were those things excuses for anything?
I believe in faith–any faith, really, even humanistic faiths–and I loathe dogma. That means that sometimes the “counselor” or “confidante” or “sage” in my books is a kindly therapist. Sometimes it’s a wise father or a kooky old aunt or a middle-aged female vampire. And sometimes it’s a rabbi caught sneaking a smoke behind the synagogue. Faith. Not dogma. Faith in humanity, a benevolent force in the universe, the capacity for human joy, the power of kindness–faith. Not dogma. Not even scientific dogma, although I am a big believer in science and education.
I believe in family, found or born. Or furry.
I believe in health care. I’ve got good shit now, but I’ve been pregnant while on welfare, and let me tell you, if I’d had Thing 3 under the same health care with which I had Thing 2, Thing 3 would be DEAD. The hospital would have kicked us out after 12 hours and my son would have stopped eating and died. And that’s me. Educated white lady–albeit usually a soft spoken one. The hells that shitty health care can visit on a family are TREMENDOUS, and Obamacare (ACA) was not perfect but it was a start and we goddammit should have fixed what we had and not tried to dismantle it.
There is enough mental illness running around my family to fund an entire season of after school specials. If I went there in fiction, odds are, I’ve been there IRL, at least in some capacity.
Feed the hungry. Clothe the poor. Educate the masses. House the needy. Tend to the sick. I’m not Christian or Jewish or Muslim–am, in fact, pagan–but you don’t need to have a religion to believe these things are important.
Just a faith, even if it’s in human beings and not in divinity.
Or a conscience.
So that’s me. There are other things, more personal things–I mean, I’ve been blogging for a lot of years, there’s gonna be some stuff I missed.
If you didn’t know before, you know now.
If you’re surprised by anything I’ve written, I’m pretty sure you can go back and see my values reflected there. I’m not trying to scare anybody off, really. I just want to spare you the surprise.
You can’t really separate the beliefs from the books. If you don’t like my beliefs, you probably won’t like my books. Writing is personal that way–but criticism doesn’t have to be.