Merriam-Webster defines homage as an “expression of high regard” or “something that shows respect or attests to the worth or influence of another”. I have been influenced by many people. As I have repeatedly said, I have always been a voracious reader and some of my favourite tales are by masters of their craft. Maybe it is the passage of time. Maybe my tastes have a less contemporary slant to them. Maybe brilliance exists today but I prefer the brilliance of yesteryear. I am never quite as at peace as I am when my companions include the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, M. R. James, or Edith Nesbit, amongst others.
Still, there is something missing. J. Sheridan Le Fanu may have been one of the most overt in his mentioning of same sex interactions, but he only did so in a negative manner. Agatha Christie included characters that were described as ‘mannish’ but who were never outright identified as being gay. It was a different time then, but what if it wasn’t? What if characters were free to be written as who they are? That’s what I’m hoping to do in this section.
I have no illusions about my level of talent. I will never be as great as the masters, and that’s okay. My intention is not to steal their characters or their ideas. I merely wish to expand their universe to include characters that identify as I do. At this point I would like add a little bit of a disclaimer. I try to be as inclusive as possible but I do identify as a gay female and my primary exposure has been to other gay females, from the femmes to the daddies. I don’t personally identify as transsexual, gender fluid, or non-binary and I truly believe that I would be doing those persons a disservice by trying to express struggles that I know nothing about.
Despite its negative portrayal of lesbianism, Carmilla was one of the first stories to have an impact on me growing up, possibly because I wasn’t used to seeing such things in print. As such, it had to be the first story I paid homage to. Hopefully, if you like my attempt, there’ll be many more to come.