My personal leather history is intertwined with the NLA's history. I was part of the formative years of NLA in the late 80's and early 90's, as an at-large member. I helped to create the NLA Metro New York chapter. I attended Living in Leather conferences in Portland, Chicago, and Seattle, meeting hundreds of leatherfolk, many of whom remain good friends. In fact, I met my wife, Karen, at Living in Leather VII back in 1992.
It was NLA that dared to believe we could call ourselves a "community," 25 years ago. Today, we use the term as if we've always thought of all the myriad parts of our BDSM/kink/rubber/leather /fetish/whoozits groups as somehow connected. But it was NLA that gave us that truly radical notion - that the kinksters in Butte had something in common with the players in Raleigh, and with the clubs in New York City.
But Wait! There's More!
I'm thrilled to announce that my short story, "That's Harsh," available in the e-book edition of The Slave, has won the National Leather Association-International's John Preston Short Fiction Award of 2011.
This award means a lot to me. It's the first time any of my writings have won any award. Further, that I won in the "John Preston" category is wonderful. I consider John one of the writing mentors in my life. At the time of his death, Preston was one of only a handful of writers who had made the literary jump from the genre of pornography into the literary field. My only hardcover book, Looking For Mister Preston, brings together dozens of authors who were inspired by or encouraged by John to write. I was one of them. Here's an excerpt from my introduction to that (now out-of-print) book:
- How did he do it, I asked, how did he break out of the porn genre to become such a literary reader? ‘Just keep writing,’ he told me. 'If you’re good, editors will know. They’ll know you can deliver, and you’ll do whatever you want. And you’ll have readers who will read only your porn, and readers who will read only your mainstream stuff, and you’ll have the crossover readers who will buy anything with your name on it.”
Those words, and his gentle smile, keep me writing to this day.