Thank you for joining Riptide on our 4th Anniversary blog tour! We are excited to bring you new guest posts from our authors and a behind the scenes insights from Riptide. The full tour schedule can be found here. Don't miss the limited time discounts and Free Books for a Year giveaway at the end of this post!
Please welcome Amy Lane to the tour.
The Writing of Christmas Kitsch
I know I’ve said this before, but not for a while.
My parents didn’t really expect Mate and I to make it.
I know people laugh now after twenty-eight years together—twenty-six of them married—but at the time, seriously. Who marries his or her first boyfriend and makes that work?
There were other reasons they were against the match too—we were nineteen when we got together, and we moved out of the house and in with each other. I loved the arts and he wanted to be an engineer. I talked all the time, and he did not.
But it was more than that. They had this mistaken belief that the “spacey-ness” I’d exhibited as a kid meant I didn’t have the smarts to move out on my own—and to work and go to college? Forget about it! They were pretty sure I couldn’t do that and sustain a relationship. (They’re still sort of shocked that I didn’t forget my children in a car seat on top of the car and drive away.) And, to make sure I didn’t succeed in these scary grown up things, they told me that if I did move out with Mate they wouldn’t help me through school.
Pfft. Parents. Who knows, right?
I still don’t get their motivation for doing that. I think it was one last attempt to control me—not in an evil way, but in a “We want you to grow up happy so you have to do what we think you should,” way. I’ve never been great at being told what to do—which is why Mate has never tried, which is probably why we’ve made it so long.
So when I think about kids just starting out, I don’t usually think of kids with time on their hands, or kids who made it all the way through college before settling down to a life. I think about kids like Mate and I: defiant, working and going to school, young, stupid, and broke.
I think about kids who refuse to ask for money, and who are trying with all their might to be grown up in ways that seem real to them. Things like giving Christmas gifts or having people over for dinner—this is important. This means they have a household and other people can acknowledge it.
This means they’re people—adults, and they are capable of making their own decisions.
And if they’re capable of making their own decisions, then their choice of someone to love must be valid and real and lasting.
So when I wrote about Rusty and Oliver, I wanted us to see those needs in them—in Rusty in particular, because he’d been schooled to believe that the appearance of material stability was as important as the reality of emotional security, when the fact was, he’d traded one of those things in for the other.
And I wanted us to remember what it felt like to be young, stupid, and defiant. Because very few people are sure of themselves at nineteen. It takes an incredible act of faith to defy your parents and say, “No! You’re wrong! This is what’s right for me!” The uncertainty that it’s not right is going to eat us alive for a bit, until we’ve proven ourselves.
At least I know it did for me.
But when I wrote Christmas Kitsch, I was not nineteen years old. In fact, I had just sent my own eighteen year old off to college. And while she did not party naked or find her helpmate, I had to think as a parent—what exactly do we want for our children as they age out of the house and assume lives of their own?
And for me, the answer came down to the same answer Oliver’s father arrived at, way earlier. What we want is what makes them happy.
So when I got to the end of Christmas Kitsch, I couldn’t continue to vilify the parents. They were misguided—yes. They valued the wrong things—I firmly believe that. But they loved their son. They wanted him to have an easier life. The fact that what they wanted wasn’t what would make their son happy was a disappointment to them—but if they could get over that? They had some redeeming qualities.
Mostly that they were parents, and that they cared, and that they were doing their best.
As a parent myself, I can’t pass judgment on that. I can only hope my kids—whatever road they take—end up as happy as I’ve been.
About Home for the Holidays
In L.B. Gregg's lighthearted novella, How I Met Your Father, members of a boyband search for happiness years after the fame dissipates, finally coming to understand that home is any place where love dwells.
In Ally Blue's angst-filled novella, Long the Mile, two homeless men come to realize that they are home for each other, no matter their living circumstances.
In Z.A. Maxfield's novella, Lost and Found, an RV-dwelling musician (with a cute dog) has been running away from the idea of home his whole life . . . until he realizes that home is where his partner is.
In Amy Lane's full-length novel, Christmas Kitsch, college student Rusty is kicked out at Thanksgiving for being gay, but at Christmas, his boyfriend’s family shows him what home really means.
20% of all proceeds from this collection are donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York.
Amy Lane exists happily with her noisy family in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head.
She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises house cleaning, low fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies.
She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.
Connect with Amy:
Facebook group: Amy Lane Anonymous
The Home for the Holidays collection is being sold in a special discounted bundle by Riptide this week only. Check out the sale on this series and other bundles at Riptide Home for the Holidays.
To celebrate our anniversary, Riptide Publishing is giving away free books for a year! Your first comment at each blog stop on the Anniversary Tour will count as an entry and give you a chance to win this great prize. Giveaway ends at midnight, October 31, 2015, and is not restricted to US entries.