Prism & Pen
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Holiday Gifts from Prism & Pen

Prism & Pen stories — December 20, 2020

by Artemis Shishir

Happy holidays!

This year has been nightmarish, but with it almost over maybe we can all relax with some stories and a hot cup of tea or coffee. Unless you prefer something stronger! Whether you like fiction or non, we’ve got great gifts for you.

Liam Heitmann-Ryce offers both fiction and memoir about his travels in Germany. theoaknotes (I’m trans nonbinary, mixed black and white, queer, the child of two moms, a Gen Z, a K-pop fan, a practicing minimalist, a college student, a dancer, a reader, a philosopher, and an expert cuddler) gives us some of their their favorite queer quotes of the year.

And James Finn tells a story about Grandma Finn and how she taught him that religion must never excuse bigotry — all while exposing bigotry in a supposedly charming southern events center.

There’s so much to get into this week! So, let’s get started with our Editor’s Picks!

Editor’s Picks —

Creative Nonfiction
I’ll Have Just One of Those Brownies

Ever been curious to try marijuana? Loren A Olson MD writes about how some untimely experimentation almost cost him his marriage, military career and profession. Don’t expect an anti-drug piece, but DO expect to be entertained!

I opened the door, stretched out my hand, and invited him to descend first. As he passed in front of me, I experienced an overwhelming urge to touch this young man, to feel his body, to kiss him, to fuck him.

The Phantom
Stella Luna (they/she?)

Ever felt like a ghost? I think almost all queer people remember times they’ve felt invisible. And that first time we feel truly seen? Incredible!

“I… I can’t…. Accept…” and that’s all I got before I burst into tears. After months and months of turning myself off for my own protection, settling for being ignored over being abhorred, she finally saw me. I’m not invisible.

What If I Rather Be Ice?

Rather than feeling invisible, GB Rogut imagines what it is like to be ice, to grow cold to protect yourself from the hurt.

I know what it feels like
to stand under freezing rain,
no home to go to,
no arms to cry in,
no hope

Creative Non Fiction Selections —

Germany Diary: Leaving Berlin, New Year’s Day 2020
Liam Heitmann-Ryce

The difficulty of navigating a room choked with cigarette smoke and densely packed with strangers is significantly worsened when all speak a language of which I have only the most cursory understanding. I felt as though they begrudgingly spoke to me in English in the same one way placates a lost child until they can be offloaded onto their parents.

The Gayest Quotes of 2020

Take these quotes, and put them in places where you’ll be reminded of them. Journal them down, write them on sticky notes that can go on your desk or your door, make a desktop wallpaper with them, or set alarms with them. Affirm yourself and those around you, think back and enjoy the bright rainbow spots in 2020, and let’s collectively give 2021 hell.

I Didn’t Know My Trans Heart Was Frozen
Danny Jackson H.

I’d grown up laughing at the “men in dresses” jokes I’d seen in TV and movies. But I hadn’t known that people like that actually existed. As I started reading through their blogs, I was spellbound, particularly by reading the experiences of nonbinary people. I hadn’t heard of them before, but as I learned more and more about them, I began to think that term might apply to me.

A Five-Star Queer’s New Year’s Resolutions

These are my five queer New Year’s resolutions. They all contribute to my broader goal of continuing to deepen my understanding of my various “non-normative” identities through writing out my lived experiences and reading and listening to those of others.

Happy Holidays to my Hidden Friends
Sean Bennett

In the battle social justice, there should be no tribes. There are only those who have equality and those who have not. So, regardless of where you fit into our worldwide family of queer, know that there are people out there thinking of you during these festive days, and wishing you all the very best.

Denying Lesbian Couple Access to Events Venue is Legal

Grandma [Finn] didn’t respect tradition, and she didn’t respect religious dogma. She wanted to life to become better, more just, and more kind — no matter what any religious leader had to say.

Fiction Finds —

The Men Who Bought Saturday
Liam Heitmann-Ryce

Matt’s eyes narrowed and seemed to darken, a sharp transition from hazel to black that Hannah found disquieting. This repertoire of threatening facial expressions seemed to be something else he had acquired from money, something to earn him kudos in board meetings, perhaps, as the new-money yuppie with something to prove in his Ralph Lauren shirt and Fred Astaire shoes. But Hannah saw through that. His cheeks were still too pink, his brown hair too curly; he was, for all intents and purposes, the same thirteen-year-old boy who caught geckos in lunchboxes on Auntie Gina’s veranda.

Poetry Picks —

Frozen Emotion
Tima Loku

…how does one thaw a frozen ocean
without threatening a tsunami of emotion?

Is Being Human Defined As Male Or Female?
Pierre Trudel

All being equal
We share much more than we know-
Female Male so what?

Master Classes —

Writing Queer Crime Fiction

Another note to remind you that author and creative writing professor David Wade Chambers will offer a workshop in January on the queer crime fiction genre, if interest is strong. Don’t miss his fascinating introductory essay, and please reach out to Wade in the comments to let him you’d like to participate.

In the pages below, I have provided a very brief, mostly non-literary, introduction to some of the more interesting writers in the queer detective genre currently available to readers. The great majority of the authors identify as queer themselves or at least would place themselves somewhere on the non-binary lgbtq spectrum

That’s all for today. Sending you all the warm wishes for the holidays. For now, adieu!

Until next week,


Esther Spurrill-Jones, BFoundAPen, Zayn Singh, Ainsley L, Kathy Lee Tolleth, Brian Pelletier, Fred Shirley, Ikedi Oghenetega, neil chapman, David Wade Chambers, Artemis Shishir, alto, Sean Stephane Martin, Gabriela Penelope Carolus, Lois Shearing, b.henriques, Carl Rebeiro 🏳️‍🌈, Rodney Frazier, Simon, Carl Rebeiro, Brian Fehler, Deneishia Jacobpito, Chris Hedges, Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle, Kathy Lee Tolleth, Brian Pelletier, Alex David Bevan, Ikedi Oghenetega, David Wade Chambers, Sean Stephane Martin, Gabriela Penelope Carolus, Lois Shearing, Valentine Wiggin, b.henriques, Carl Rebeiro, Rodney Frazier, Simon Z. Brian Fehler, Cassie Brighter, Deneishia Jacobpito, Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle, James Patrick Nelson, Brigid Maloney, Gabriela, Presley Thomas, Evan McCoy, Loren Olson, Ken Wilson, Chandler Myer, NaNa’sworld, Arabelle J., Liam Heitmann-Ryce, Edis Rune, Prickly Pam, Dawn McGrath, Jonathan | sex & theology, Tabitha Lowndes, Emma Nwosisi, Melissa Speed, Dr. Thomas J. West, Till Kaeslin, Dave Smurthwaite, Ellie Rebecca, Zoey Milford, Edris Quinn C., Dennett, Michael Constable, Jim Martens, Stephen Foster, Kravitz M. Kristen Nadel, William Kuhn, Denisa Bogdan, MSci, Rafaela Mempin, Tre L. Loadholt, theoaknotes, Rachel Brindell, Elle Fredine, Jess Darnell, Emma Holiday, Gabe Evaristo, Joshua Mackey, Steve Alexander, Stevie Wilkinson, Andy Killoran, Nick Bundarin, ElMehdi El Azhary, Bradley Wester, Stella Luna (they/she?), Chuy G. Gonzalez, MS, Aaron W. Marrs, Zada Kent, Tima Loku, Cam, The Transgender Therapist, Sean Bennett, Ty Bo Yule, Abbie Drake




Amplifying LGBTQ voices through the art of storytelling

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James Finn

James Finn

James Finn is a columnist for the LA Blade, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.

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