Lateblooming on Martha's Vineyard

The view from my rocking chair tonight.... Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard is one of my very favorite places on this planet.

The first time I came here I was married with two small (ish) children. We were the poster family for the perfect vacation.

Ten years later, I'm back  with my 14-year old son, while my 17-year old travels the globe and my ex-husband celebrates his recent marriage. A divorced, middle-aged mom, alone in her favorite vacation spot with her kid....seems like a potential Lifetime Movie one-hanky movie opening.

Instead, I feel free.  One of  the characters in August Wilson's play, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," says that everyone has a song inside of them. At one point, he says "Something wasn't making my heart smooth and easy."

It might just be my son and me back here this year, but my heart is smooth and easy.

The Kate Clinton Epiphany

I have a feeling we could start a club: the Kate Clinton Epiphany Club. Mine happened on a Saturday afternoon, about six months after my divorce. It was a non-kid weekend, and I was still feeling the acute despair of  not seeing  my children for two days.  It's not something you get over, by the way, but you learn how to keep busy to keep it at bay.

I had just watched Kate Clinton MC an ACT UP fundraiser at the Brookyn Academy of Music, and was, of course, in love.  She is the bomb: hilarious, satirical, silly, searingly intelligent and sexy (in that middle-aged way that is so heartening to those of us who fear obesity and oversized denim shirts are right around the corner).

I flopped down on the couch with a collection of her essays, Don't Get Me Started. If you haven't read it, get it immediately and save it for that bad, bad day that requires massive doses of  escapism, laughter, chocolate, carbohydrates, and diet coke.

Now, let's be clear. I am reading the book NOT because I myself am gay, but merely because I find Kate Clinton hilarious and want to know more about her. Right.

So I'm halfway through the book,  and have just finished reading about one of her ill-fated early relationships gone horribly wrong, when I get to a story about a young college student who is inspired by Clinton to come out of the closet. Something happens--is it lightening bolt? Sappho's ghost arriving for a brief visit? Or the deft hand of Kate Clinton pausing lightly on my shoulder....

I sit bolt upright, close the book, and say to myself, "I'm gay."

Obviously, this was not  a Moses and his tablet moment. There had been lots and lots of subtle shifts and signs along the way. But even though they were welling up, coming closer and closer to the surface, it was something about the way Kate Clinton wrote about the experience of coming out that broke through the final layer of denial.

Therein begins the journey that has led me, six years later, to this lateblooming blog.

Thank you, Kate Clinton.  You are the bomb.