I suppose you want to know something about me. Used to be, writers could be pretty anonymous. Not anymore. We have to have platforms, brands, and followers. I’ll try, but I can’t promise I’ll give you the interactive experience you are craving.
I write stories. I’m a lot more comfortable making things up than writing about myself. But I’ll try here, because I have this whole page to fill.
So who am I?
I’m a lesbian, let’s get that right out there, living in western Massachusetts. I grew up in this state.
How did I become a writer?
I’m supposed to answer along the lines of, “I always knew I wanted to write.” Or “I’ve always written.” Fine. If that’s what you want to hear, this is how it went: The first word I learned to write was “hot.” I wrote it everywhere. Maybe it was the result of a tragic kitchen-stove accident, but I don’t remember the details. My next “excellent adventure” in writing came in sixth grade when my teacher gave us photos cut from magazines and let us make up stories about them. I was—and remain—a rotten speller, but I loved those exercises, and my teacher’s encouragement nurtured a lifelong interest in writing.
As a biology major in college, I wrote a lot of “one” papers. No one actually does anything themselves in a laboratory, “one” chooses which fruit flies to dissect, “one” performs a titration. It had to be a scientist who put the passive in aggression. But I loved science, nature, and reading what others wrote about them. I grew up on Annie Dillard, Edward Abbey, and Barry Lopez, nicely mixing my interests in science and writing. I once thought that, like them, I had something terribly important to tell the world, but I’ve yet to discover it.
Thing is, I fought against a pretty persistent astrologer who, when I was in my twenties, insisted that I was going to be a writer. No, I insisted right back, I want to be a photographer. I want to be the next Margaret Bourke-White.
Turns out, I don’t have the chutzpah of Margaret Bourke-White. Long story short, I have file cabinets filled with slides. Boxes crammed with prints and negatives. Stashes of cameras and lenses, books and darkroom doodads. I recently, finally, threw out the remaining rolls of undeveloped film.
There’s no point in being a photographer when everyone has a better camera in their phone than I have in my basement. I loved learning about Ansel Adams’s Zone System. I didn’t much like lugging a tripod and lenses. Now I see photographers hand-holding humungous lenses. The technology has gone crazy. Yes, the stuff posted on this site is and will be my own (unless otherwise noted), but I make no claim to being a photographer. I had fun with it, and I even bought a digital body for my Canon lenses, but for the most part, I’m fine leaving it to others.
But why write?
Again, I’m supposed to answer along the lines of, “I can’t not write.” But that’s not really true. I find any number of ways to not write every day. But somewhere along the way, I realized I’d been writing forever. It had just been all in my head. Fantasizing, they called it then. I read a fair amount of lesbian fiction when I came out in my twenties, but it wasn’t very good. I stopped reading any fiction for a long period. Then I got tired of nonfiction, of reality, and started looking for stories that could take me away from the grim details of real life. Straight fiction soon lost its appeal. I got tired of wishing the heroine would ride off with her best gal pal, not the dude.
Searching online for stories, I found writers. Lesbians. Lesbian stories. Wow. Then something clicked and I started writing down my fantasies. Nothing a therapist would get off on, I assure you. No, this could now be called fiction. Who knew?
Best part is, I enjoyed it. Finally, I could write the stories I wanted to read. What a concept.
Only problem was, I sucked. So I went in search of classes and writing groups. The Internet is full of such places, so I took some classes, joined some writing groups. And I wrote. Great gobs of stuff.
So that’s where I am. Still learning, still writing. Hoping you’ll enjoy reading what I have written. That’d be cool.
I can’t think of a reason why you’d want to contact me, but if you must, try this: elaine [dot] burnes [at] yahoo [dot] com. If you are not a spammer, you’ll know what to do. And check out my Amazon page.
Thanks for stopping by.