A. Russo – More than the sum of my parts.


September 2015

Word of the Day

I don’t know what it is today but I’m feeling very happily queer. Fiercely queer, if you will. Let’s just call it ‘quierce.’ Yeah. That’ll do.

Normally I’m pretty low-key. Central Texas is not the most accommodating, accepting place and I have the misfortune to work for a company that isn’t widely regarded for its progressive outlook and open acceptance of people from all over the rainbow, feel me?

Today I am just unapologetically queer. Wait, my bad. Quierce. Nothing to be done for it.

I think the older I get the less I care what people think about me. I spent most of my life trying to blend in and be like everyone else so I wouldn’t draw attention to myself. Now, as I’m growing SO old (yeah, that’s sarcasm – I’m not THAT old), I realize it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about me. Trying to blend in with the masses has only brought me discontent and unhappiness. Fuck blending.

I’m not stupid. I know that dressing the way I dress, wearing my hair differently, all the things I do that scream ‘gender non-conformist’ could very well get me beaten the hell up on a rural back street somewhere. Today, though, and on an increasingly large number of days as I look back on the last few years of my life, the risk is worth the reward.

What reward?

The reward of being myself. The reward of looking in the mirror and actually LIKING what I see, even if ninety-nine percent of the world disagrees. The reward of knowing I went into my day lying about nothing, hiding nothing, being the person I wanted to be from the second I rolled out of bed to the second I collapsed back into it.

That’s reward enough for me. So I’mma just go ahead an be quierce today. And probably tomorrow. And quite possibly the day after that too.


Freebie Weekend!

So yeah, I’ve been a little distracted this week. I’ve recently adopted an ex-racehorse and she’s taking up a LOT of time. Happy time, of course. Doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about writing, though! Someone on Twitter had suggested writing short stories in order to get a feel for or set the tone for an upcoming novel, and since I’d actually been chatting with a friend recently about wanting to write a few little shorts, it seemed serendipitous.

In bits and pieces this week, working around baby horse training and that infernal ‘job’ thing I’m supposed to do to make money, I’ve written a little bitty short story that I will be posting here sometime this weekend. I’m excited about it. It was a lot of fun to write and it hopefully gives a little glimpse into the urban fantasy novel I’ve been working on and the world I’ve built for it.

I’ll post an update when it’s ready but I wanted to at least say yes – I’m alive and breathing and my life has been blissfully full of horse things. Yeah – there’s absolutely going to be a horse, or several horses, in an upcoming story.


Wednesday Inspiration

Okay, so every day I’m trying to find some new inspiration somewhere. From something. Or, y’know, someone. A lot of my inspiration comes from nature, and I’m pretty convinced my muse is some sort of nature sprite.

This morning, inspiration happened in the form of a spider web. So, interesting Arin tidbit – I am deathly afraid of anything with more than four legs. Extra afraid if said thing happens to be chitinous.

Not three legs.

Not zero legs.








There’s a little morning code for you (see, I totally write code at work).

And yes, I’m also afraid of lobsters and crabs. The verdict is still out on octopi and squid, because those are really tentacles. Not creepy so much as squishy.

Aaaaaaaaanyway, I walked out of my house to find an orb-weaver spider had built a nice big web in the rose bush out front and attached it to the porch roof. It was all pretty and dewy and the morning sun hit it just right, so it was all sparkly. The little spider seemed pretty proud of herself, sitting right in the middle of it.

Naturally, I gave the entire affair a ten-foot berth. That doesn’t mean I didn’t find it gorgeous. I just opted to admire it from a distance. I’ve been thinking all day about how pretty it was, actually, so that’s become this morning’s inspirational ‘thing’ and now there’s going to have to be some reference to a spider web when I write tonight. Or at least, I’ll attempt to write something that makes me feel the same way the web did – a little awestruck, a little frightened, a lot impressed.

It was such a tiny little thing, really, just one bitty little spider web that will probably be gone in a day or two, but sometimes the tiniest things have the greatest impact!


‘More’ or ‘Less’?

So, every once in a while someone asks me why it is I seem to like animals more than people. This makes me feel sort of guilty, because it’s not that I like them more; it’s that I feel more comfortable around them. The reason is pretty simple – animals aren’t complicated.

On the outside it apparently seems like I have no fear, that I’m confident and secure in my self-identity. This could not be farther from the truth, it’s just that my big mouth tends to serve as a cover for the stuff I don’t want people to see. The truth is that I’m just as worried, just as insecure, as anyone else out there.

Being genderfluid isn’t easy to explain to people. Even my own family has met the revelation with sort of a lukewarm acceptance. Oh, I know they love me, but do they really understand? I don’t think so. They try, sure, but it’s awkward at best. This is not a criticism of them, or something I see as a failure on their part – not at all. I adore my family and wouldn’t change a thing about them. It’s just tough to see the world from someone’s point of view when it’s so different from your own, so how can I blame them for not understanding? They try. They get big props for that.

Friends are mostly the same way. It’s tough to ‘come out’ to them. In some cases it’s almost easier to tell them I’m transgender. A lot of people my age at least get that term. Fluid seems a bit more vague to them. Transgender is probably even closer to the truth for me, too, but I just can’t make myself care too much about labels. If it helps someone else ‘get’ me, then that’s okay. But I just want to be me, without anyone trying to over-analyze it. Without anyone being afraid of using ‘the wrong pronoun’ around me. Without asking awkward questions about whether or not I want various surgeries. Without delving into whether or not I need, have, or have had a therapist.

It’s kind of a lonely life. It’s terrifying because I can’t always define myself as ‘male’ or ‘female’ or ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ and people want those labels because they feel better when they can file me under one of them, and they know how to react. I can’t always give them labels. Sometimes I give them the wrong one and get nervous trying to explain. And sometimes even when I give them one, I get backlash. I’ve met straight people who hate gay people. I’ve met gay people who hate transgender people. I’ve met transgender people who hate cis people. It’s everywhere, and I don’t really have a camp. I get hated by some of them equally, and accepted by some of them equally.

So I draw a lot of comfort from the company of a dog, a cat, or a horse. Simply put, they don’t give a shit. And I am comforted by that.

My dog doesn’t care whether I put on a skirt or a pair of slacks to walk her. My cat doesn’t give a rip if my fingernails are polished when I scratch her head, or if my hair is long or short. My horse doesn’t have an opinion on how I ‘present’ or whether I ‘pass.’ As long as I’m kind to him when I ride him and treat him nicely, he will treat me well in return.

In other words, I get from animals the same exact thing human beings preach to each other but frequently do not practice. So can you blame me for loving their company when it’s so relaxing? I can be who I want, look how I want, and do what I want as long as, at the end of the day, they have been fed, attended to, played with, and loved. They don’t judge. They don’t label. They just like when I come home and spend time with them.

It’s frightening to define yourself in a way that makes people question everything about you. At the end of the day, how I live my life is worth it to me because whether I’m loved or hated for it I’m being true to myself, I’m being the person I feel like I am from the inside to the outside, and I’m not hiding anything. I might disgust you. I might make you proud. You may not care at all. How you choose to perceive someone like me is your business.

Could I go on? Yup. Sure could. But the point I’m trying to make is, I don’t care more about animals. I don’t like them more. It’s not a matter of ‘more‘ or ‘less‘ in my mind. To me, they’re the same. I treat animals the way I try to treat people and I afford them equal care and respect because in my life, they are the majority of the ‘people’ who have accepted me wholly, completely, and unconditionally.

If that isn’t deserving of love and care, I don’t know what is.


It Might Actually Be Tuesday’s Fault…

Well Monday gets a reprieve. Since I had Monday off, I was feeling pretty congenial toward it. Now I’m pissed at Tuesday. Why, Tuesday? WHY??

It started off okay. It actually started off with Evil Kitten being a lot less evil than usual. In fact, she was doing this weird vibrating thing which scared me at first. I thought she was about to explode. Then I used the Google and discovered she was purring. I didn’t know Evil Kitten had this feature. It must have come standard, because I sure didn’t opt in for any upgrades.

For a few moments it was actually safe to pet her. Then she realized what she was doing, and bit me. So, back to normal.

I got up, tried to shower, ran out of hot water, ran out of shampoo. Managed with hand soap (ugh. I need my product).

I almost didn’t burn myself making breakfast but I saved myself at the last minute and managed to get a nice burn on my hand from the toaster oven. Whew. For a second there I thought something might actually go right.

Now I have to get into my car, which given my current track record will probably explode, but that’s okay because it would save me from having to spend all day beating my head against my desk at the Most Boring Job Ever.

Screw you, Tuesday.


Evil Kitten is Evil…

So I’m at my desk. Writing. The usual.

Evil Kitten is nowhere to be seen.

This alone should have set off warning bells. Somehow, my internal Kitten Warning System got FUBARed though, and nothing seems amiss. I just continue typing away, oblivious to the fact that six pounds of DOOM is lurking around the corner.

Just as I breathe a sigh of relief and give myself a metaphorical pat on the back for finishing a chapter there’s a white blur in the doorway. It zooms up to my chair, leaps, tackles my arm, and bites me three or four times before digging its claws in in a macabre parody of a swimmer’s turn and zipping back out the door.

I call her Evil Kitten for a reason.


Ahh, Friday. I need you so badly. It’s been a hell of a week, but at last my three day weekend is here. I’m on call for the entire thing but I’ve learned that ‘being on call’ is code for ‘Oh, too damn bad, I’ll have to sit down and write all weekend because I have to be able to drop everything and run to work at a moment’s notice.’

Thus far, it is the ONLY perk to being on call, but it’s a good one!

So, I have characters waiting to be written. My urban fantasy is moving along, and Justin Morrow will soon meet the man he’ll fall in love with. He, Adam, Low, Brendan, and Kerry will have a new project to work on with ‘Tropical Storm’ Tyler. I can’t wait to rub them together and see the sparks fly!


Hump Day Wake-up

Nothing says ‘good morning, Wednesday’ like opening your eyes at 2:45 am, wondering what roused you, feeling something odd about the tip of your nose. You yawn, give yourself a mental shrug – eh, whatever – and close your eyes again.

And then Evil Kitten bites your nose. Again.

It’s no use swatting her away; kitten owners will agree! Move your hand? You’ve just made yourself an instant attack target!

No, the only solution is to lie as still as possible, hoping she will realize that you’re not taking the bait – and your nose isn’t particularly tasty OR playful.

You will apply this philosophy to the remainder of your day. It is Hump Day. Eventually, if you wait it out, it’ll go away.

*sighs and rubs nose* It just might take a few more bites.


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