Sad news had an unexpected silver lining.

I’ve always love Mystery Science Theater 3000. I just didn’t expect to be living it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling worn out by all the news about 45 and all his shenanigans.

I feel like I’m on some demented version of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” strapped in my seat and forced to watch a cheesy president dig himself further and further into disgrace. That’s one of the reasons there hasn’t been a blog posting for a while. I couldn’t seem to get my head around it. I’m sure you understand.

Another reason is that I’ve been hard at work at what—at first blush—might seem a tiresome and inconsequential task. My publisher, Wilde City Press, announced that they are ceasing operations. What this meant for me was that my first book, The HomePort Journals, would no longer be available for purchase unless I found someplace else to publish it.

Beyond the obvious impacts, the loss of Wilde City was tough to take. They took a chance on my first novel and were tremendously supportive of me. As a press dedicated to Gay Romance, they offered a special place for gay readers. Particularly those who are isolated by geography, culture, or family dynamics. Their demise left a void that needed to be filled.

I decided I would publish The HomePort Journals myself. And shortly after that, I realized the opportunity inherent in the crisis. The book will have its second anniversary on March 17th. I’d like to think I’ve become a better writer in those two years. So, I decided to see if there was anything in need of change. Without giving anything away, I’ll say that I spend a fair amount of time going through the book. I changed a word here and there and did little to adjust the plot other than refining one scene that has always troubled me. And that’s where things got interesting. . .

I’d always envisioned the site of the HomePort mansion as a powerful, magical spot. Directly in front is the landing place of the Pilgrims, along with a memorial park paved in granite slabs that commemorate those who have passed on. A memorial stone for my first partner is one of the stones included there. The place has always had the magic of memory for me. When I stand looking out over the breakwater and Long Point, I instantly recall our young, wide-eyed visits to Provincetown along with the ever-present sense of loss I still carry.

Perhaps because of that experience, The HomePort Journals had unexplained, supernatural events occur at that the spot. Whether they were visions or actual haunting was ambiguous, and when viewed with fresh eyes, confusing. I’d made it clear that Provincetown itself was a magical place, but I’d left the backstory somewhat open as to why so many odd events happened on the grounds of the estate. A couple of reviewers had mentioned they had issues with those sections, and I realized they were right. The scenes lacked a strong rationale.

The solution came when I was nearly done with my review. And a single paragraph solved the problem. For those of you who’ve read the book, I’d like to share it. For those of you that have not; perhaps it may encourage you to do so.

The scene takes place where the reclusive Lola Staunton is explaining the origins of the term “Staunton’s Lookout.” Here’s what she says that’s new: “The Nauset Indians considered this land their most sacred place. They held religious rituals here, and archeologists have found traces of them going back thousands of years. The original Staunton parcel traces back to the time when Provincetown was known as the Province Lands, and the first of the family to live here staked a claim.” So there you have it: A tradition of magic stretching back thousands of years; powerful memories of loved ones; and a park that commemorates the landing place of the Pilgrims.

Perhaps I’m looking for bright spots in these crazy times. And, in the grand scheme of things, this minor adjustment probably doesn’t matter all that much. What’s much more important is that the process has led me to the notion that LGBTQ literature is essential to the growth and happiness of a lot of people. We can’t let that outlet succumb to economic pressures. With that in mind, I’m delighted to announce that, as of today, HomePort Press will be accepting queries from Provincetown authors. If you’re interested, visit HomePortPress.Com.

I’m excited about this development. It’s the first “normal” thing that has happened to me since election night. And just maybe, it’s the start of me unbuckling those straps and getting a bit of my life back. Time will tell, but I have to say I feel pretty good about providing an outlet to those young LGBTQ people who might just need a bit of a boost just now.

As Dorrie (another character from the book), wrote, “Who better than you to tell them from your own experience? Think of someone like yourself growing up out in the sticks who just might need to learn that love  comes in all different flavors, that friendship can span decades, and that a place like Provincetown can be a refuge when the rest of the world remains ignorant and cruel.”

I wrote those words nearly 4 years ago and they have never been truer. If that’s not magic, I’m not sure what is.

Provincetown’s Lancy Mansion. Inspiration for the HomePort estate.

The 2nd Edition of The HomePort Journals is available here.

A. C. Burch
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