The Historical Birthday-Tea Party March 17th


No Birthday today, so lets look back to yesterday and celebrate

I. A. R. Wylie. 16 March 1885 – 4 November 1959.

Ida Wylie (known to her friends as Uncle) was a novelist, screenwriter, magazine writer and poet. More than 30 of her works were made into films between 1915 and 1953. Ida had a complicated home life, and identified with the strong women in her life. She was largely self-educated, and wrote to entertain herself, and sold her first story to a magazine at the age of 19 and quickly became financially successful as a writer. She became a suffragette and provided a temporary home for women who were recovering from hunger strikes when released from prison. in 1917 she set off to America on a road trip with a companion Rachel. She then settled in Hollywood where many of her stories were adapted into films, including Keeper of the Flame, with starred the lovely Katherine Hepburn.

Ida lived with Sara Josephine Baker, and Louise Pearce for many years.
In her autobiography My Life with George (George is her alter-ego) Ida said

I have always liked women better than men. I am more at ease with them and more amused by them. I too am rather bored by a conventional relationship which seems to involve either my playing up to someone or playing down to someone…  fortunately, I have never wanted to marry any of them, nor with the exception of that one misguided German Grenadier, have any of them wanted to marry me.

N.B. There may not be an official birthday, but today is Alix & my anniversary: 32 years together, 8 of which we’ve been in a civil partnership. In their infinite wisdom, when the government legalised gay marriage, they neglected to sort out how we ‘upgrade’ so those who haven’t yet made a commitment to each other in front of a registrar can get married next month, and we can’t. How bloody ridiculous is that?

Inspirations – claustrophobia in the closet


To celebrate HM the Queen’s royal assent on Gay Marriage, some thoughts about what it used to be like when I was first coming out in 1982… when I wrote

Trying to Tell You…

A story about coming out,  not to straight colleagues or family, but to the only Visible Lesbian ( this is my version of the only gay in the village and predated Little Britain by a decade or two). The story is based on my partner’s one time workplace, where she was the Visible Lesbian, meshed with my memories of school. A. and I have a running joke about people who ought to be Lesbians but haven’t worked it out yet. And this is about one of those women, at the moment the penny drops. Who is she going to tell? How? Because the Visible Lesbian is too busy fighting her own battles, and isn’t listening.

Anyway one of the pleasures of republishing Mosaic of Air(out at the end of September), which includes Trying to Tell You … is finding that what I have written is now a period piece.

© Cherry Potts 2013