I am a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS). In fact, I’m a member of the Board of Directors. The GCLS is a 501(c)3 organization that focuses on education, promotion, and recognition of lesbian literature. We have a Writing Academy with a year long program for new writers. We hold or attend events that help support and promote authors of lesbian fiction. We hold an annual awards ceremony each year to recognize excellence in lesbian literature. We’re growing by leaps and bounds! Over the past 3 years, we’ve seen about a 20% increase in attendance at our annual conference each year. In the past 2 years, we’ve added about 200 new members. The number of nominations for the Goldie Awards increased from 250 in 2014 to 394 in 2015. This year, we’re already at 314 nominations…and the nomination period doesn’t end until December 31!
Needless to say, I’m pretty proud of my membership in this organization.
So, what does this have to do with alligator nuggets? I’m glad you asked.
The Keynote Speaker at the 2015 Conference in New Orleans this past July was Dorothy Allison. Yes. THAT Dorothy Allison!
What a remarkable woman. Her Keynote address was a revelation! Moving. Insightful. Humorous. Engaging. Empowering. More than we ever expected.
I had the pleasure of sponsoring Dorothy’s attendance at our conference. Because of this, I had the honor of taking Dorothy to lunch one day during the conference. Just the two of us.
Well, I guess you can imagine what a thrill that was. I was introduced to Dorothy’s work in graduate school. While I’ve not read everything, and I’m certainly no expert on all things Dorothy Allison, I was quite aware of exactly who I would be spending time with.
I met her after she’d finished up an interview. I had a brief introduction and then we were left to our own devices. I told her we had reservations at the seafood restaurant in the hotel and asked if that would be okay with her.
“I’m your willing slut,” she said as she gestured for me to lead the way.
We sat at our table and reviewed the menu, Dorothy commenting all the while.
“There are so many things on this menu that I love, but I just cannot have.” Her lovely South Carolina drawl painting each word with vibrant colors. “There are alligator nuggets on this menu.” She paused and looked at me. “I think that’s sexy. I must have some.”
After the server took our order, we engaged in some small talk and determined that, in fact, neither of us had ever tried alligator. Oh! Something in common. And while we waited, Dorothy said, “So, Carleen. Tell me everything.”
“Wow! Everything?” I chuckled nervously. “I wonder if we have that kind of time.”
She shot me her ridiculously charming smile and laughed. “Okay. Start with how you became involved in this wonderful organization.”
Ah. Yes. That I could do. And so, while we waited for our meals, we talked about the GCLS. Dorothy asking question. Me answering questions. Dorothy interjecting humorous comments. It was lovely.
Our meals arrived…and there were the alligator nuggets.
Dorothy pointed to the nuggets and offered some to me. “Oh, that’s okay,” I said.
“Carleen! We are here to create memory. We are here to share experience. Have a nugget!”
Well, when Dorothy Friggin’ Allison gives you a command like that….
I had an alligator nugget.
It tasted like white fish. We both agreed – we like them!
This will forever be a GCLS highlight. I got to eat sexy alligator nuggets with Dorothy Allison!
We created memory.
We shared experience.