Browse Author: cara

a place for wolves

Hey so remember when LONG WAY DOWN broke me?

A PLACE FOR WOLVES just did it again.

I finished it at about 4 this morning and immediately closed my Kindle app and sat in silence until sleep claimed me.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. But even the most sensitive among us should read it anyway.

The novel, by Kosoko Jackson, centers around James Mills, a young, gay Black boy adopted into a white family constantly on the move for philanthropic reasons. This time, they’re in Kosovo, and shit pops off almost immediately. The entire read, you’re left wondering just how bad it can get for James and his boyfriend Tomas, trapped in the crossfires of a country exploding into violence.

The answer is real bad.

Like. REAL bad.

I’ve never read anything with such an engaging amount of tension paired with an enormous amount of heart. James is sympathetic and frustrating and real. He makes ugly choices. Ones I’m not sure I could make as someone twice his age, let alone as a teen. It’s heartbreaking and tense and just…a ride.

Highly recommending this. I was tense for the entire read, but in the best way. It’s a peek into a really awful moment in history, but more importantly, it’s just a really wonderful read.

getting to know A8: cara edition

Well hello there! Thanks so much for becoming a patron. We love and appreciate you so much! As such, we’re going to give you a little more insight into who we are! Get excited!

This interview was conducted by none other than my partner E. E was kind enough to take some timeout to ask me questions about writing and me in general. They weren’t paid for this. Sorry, E. Anyway, here’s me!

So! What was the book that made you go “I want to write!”?
I genuinely don’t remember. It’s been a million years. It was something either RL Stine or Judy Blume. Which is probably a weird combination but whatever I was a weird kid.

WANT TO READ THE REST? BECOME A PATRON FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW!

#thxsimon

So. On 3/16, the film version of Becky Albertalli’s book SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA came out.

Heh. Get it. Came out, because…

Anyway. The movie, LOVE, SIMON, serves as an amazing romantic comedy with all the typical foibles of teen comedies but with a slight twist. Which, honestly, is kind of how life goes when you’re not straight. Everything’s normal until it’s not.

But this isn’t about Simon. (Even though the movie is fantastic and the book is fantastic and everyone should just really indulge in both movie and book and then send Becky a ton of support because she’s such an amazing, sweet person and I’ve gotten way off track here I’m so sorry.)

This is about me.

This is about me, and my own journey, and my decision to speak up and speak out thanks to Becky and Simon.

When I was younger, my mother would sporadically ask if I was gay. I’d tell her no, because truth was, at the time, I didn’t have the tools to really figure myself out. I never was angry at her for asking, nor was she asking maliciously. The fact that I never really dated much and talked about crushes at school even less…I get it. It seemed kinda sketch. I dealt with questioning at school, too; my best friend and I were REALLY close and since the whole school assumed she was gay, they thought, well clearly cara is, too. I shrugged it off because it didn’t matter to me.

Truth is, I just didn’t think about it. I didn’t care. Sex wasn’t a thing I was that interested in and the boys at my school weren’t exactly prime stock. I had one major crush in high school, told the guy, got my heart kicked across campus, and that was that. Even in college, I didn’t care or think about it or care to think about it. I just…was. My best friend got married, other classmates started having babies, and I just was.

But during this all, I’d started learning. I read about things like the fluidity of sexuality and the levels of asexuality, and I finally found a label that I thought fit – demisexual. I certainly never had a deeper level of attraction to anyone, really, and it set off a light bulb. Of course! It’s because I’ve never felt a deeper level of connection! And that’s what I labeled myself with for a long time, but something still felt incomplete.

I’m not sure how it happened. I don’t think I just woke up one day and said, “Yep. I am not straight.” But maybe I did! I certainly wasn’t the first to realize this about me. But it’s different when you come to the realization yourself.

Online, I make zero effort to hide who I am. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m queer, right behind knowing that I’m black. But in person, in face-to-face scenarios where I can’t just vomit up a ton of words and feel safe and secure about doing so…People don’t know this about me. So, here I am, reconciling my internet self with my in-person self.

Hello, everyone. I’m not straight.

In more specific terms, I’m pansexual, meaning I have no problem falling in love with someone completely independent of whatever genitalia they sport. It’s like being bi, but a more inclusive term that kicks the gender binary in the face.

Actually, as an aside while I’m here, I’ll double come out – I also identify as nonbinary. I don’t much see myself as a woman most of the time. I’m in this weird floaty limbo of masculine and feminine energy. It’s like the best of both worlds but like not in a Hannah Montana way.

No offense to Hannah Montana. I loved that terrible show.

The reason I’m speaking up now has to do with LOVE, SIMON, but also because I’ve been thinking about needing to say something for weeks now. I’m an astoundingly private person when it comes to my love life (for reasons that are super clear in hindsight) but I’m going to be embarking on an adventure that’ll make it pretty ding dang hard to hide. More on that in the future.

I haven’t spoken much about my partner–not out of shame but out of an automatic privacy shield that I’ve always had. Speaking about me, or things I’m into that aren’t random pop culture touchstones, just feels weird. (Remind me to talk all about dissociation!) But I love my partner, and they’re going to become a pretty huge part of my life, and I wouldn’t feel right about that without being fully, completely, unquestionably out.

So that’s it. All of the queerness–a giant autistic nonbinary pansexual giraffe. And to quote Simon–I’m still me.

long way down

That’s it; that’s the whole review.

Oh, I need to say more? Okay, um…

Okay. I got this.

…I don’t got this. I’m still in my feelings.

You know how sometimes you remember something that happened to you when you were young that at the time seemed okay but then you think harder about it as an adult and you’re like, holy shit that was actually awful, and you feel off for the rest of your life the day?

That’s how LONG WAY DOWN feels.

Jason Reynolds paints an amazing picture of just a few seconds in the life of Will, whose brother was shot as part of some gang-related violence. It’s legitimately just seconds that pass, and yet it feels like hours, days, a lifetime–and not in a bad way.

A series of poems gets us right into Will’s head, into that elevator with him, and we dread each floor down a little more than the last. The setup is brilliant. The imagery is gorgeous. I’m immensely envious at Reynolds’ ability to craft an entire setting in just a few verses.

You need to read this book. Hell I might need to read it again. But, like, later. When my heart stops hurting a little.

so, like, hey.

a whole-ass website! look at that! amazing, right? okay so people build websites every single day but like let’s all just take a minute to praise me, cara, for putting this site together. i am a forking genius.