Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Special Guest L. M. Brown

Today my guest is L.M. Brown who is blogging about something I’m sure all of us have thought about at one time or another. 

Hi Pender and anyone lingering at this blog today.  I’m L.M. Brown and rather than blog about one of my books today, I decided I would get on my rather dusty soapbox for a little while.  I hope you don’t mind.

As one of many writers with an “Evil Day Job” I often find my lunch hours filled with running around town like a maniac trying to get everything done and queuing for ridiculously long times in various shops.  Generally when I am stuck in one of those lines I find my mind wandering to characters, plots and my writing, all the time cursing that I am not going to get near my laptop for several hours, by which time the inspiration will probably have left me.

Yes, I do carry a notebook in my bag, but unfortunately finding it amongst the rest of the junk I seem to carry round with me is a bit of a lost cause. 

But sometimes the inspiration does stick with me, especially when I see something that stays with me for a long time afterwards, like the events of this particular day did.

In my efforts to save time during the Christmas shopping madness a couple of years ago I got into the habit of buying my lunches in Boots.  For those that don’t know, Boots is a chemist with vague aspirations of a convenience store rather than my footwear.  The idea was that I could pick up toiletries, makeup, wrapping paper, stocking fillers and my lunch at the same time, rather than trailing all over town for the various things on my list.

Now, for some reason my local Boots has something like six or eight cashiers at the main payment point in the store, however I have yet to see more than three people on at a time, which, as you can imagine is rather frustrating when the line of customers is crawling through the aisles like a many-legged monster.  This means, as you can probably guess, an interminably long wait.

My local store also has a habit of keeping at least some chocolate goodies right near the tills with the last minute things you might have forgotten – tissues, headache tablets, condoms – though how anyone can forget the chocolate is beyond me. 

As a total chocoholic, I found myself looking anywhere except at the tempting display at my side.  There was going to be far too much fattening food coming up at Christmas as it was.

So, instead of looking at the chocolates I found myself looking at the people in front of me in the queue.  There was a mother with her push chair complete with a toddler trying to grab at anything in reach on the bottom shelf; other workers like myself, tapping their feet and checking watches impatiently; and two couples. 

The first couple was a teenage boy and girl, who were so engrossed in each other they nearly lost their place in the queue when their turn to be served came round.  They were, to put it simply, all over each other.  I am sure everyone has seen a couple like this at some point, whether it is at the local train station or on the dance floor of the local night club.  They were pretty much oblivious to everyone else in the store, and no one batted so much as an eyelid in their direction.

The second couple was two men who I would guess were in their early twenties.  Unsurprisingly, they weren’t snogging in the middle of the store, and I doubt very much they would have done so as teenagers either.  They stood close together and at first glance they didn’t even seem like a couple.  After all, in the days on the run up to Christmas the stores were packed and we were all squeezed in like sardines. 

But what gave them away was the simple gesture of one of the men reaching up to push back the hair of the other, his fingers lingering just a shade longer than necessary. 

It was such a small thing, but there was enough love and affection between the two of them to make it obvious to anyone who was observing them. 

What makes me sad though was when the second man pulled back he looked frantically around the store in case someone had seen, and the moment passed.

Meanwhile, the two teenagers were still locked at the lip, without a care in the world.

Even in this modern world, in a country where same sex unions are allowed (at least in the form of civil partnerships, if not yet marriages), two men who were obviously in a relationship, couldn’t even show simple affection for each other without worrying about what everyone else in the store would think. 

Now I readily admit that I like to put my characters through all sorts of trials before they find their happy ever after.  Whether their problems relate to the difficulties of sex in the backseat of a car (Driving Me Crazy), or one of them being long since dead and lingering around as a ghost (Touch of a Ghost), my heroes have their work cut out for them.

It is a shame that solutions to the various problems of my heroes are easier to find than remedies for the real life society problems faced by same sex couples.

Perhaps one day though, same sex couples will be treated the same as het couples, and then the trials of discrimination and rejection by families, friends and societies in general will be relegated to the genre of historical fiction.

Thanks Pender for letting me blog with you today. 

Oh, and for those who don’t know me that well – by the time I got to the tills some fifteen minutes later, yep, the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate Bar was in my basket… of course!

Thanks L.M. for a thought-provoking blog. It's sad but true that even in the twenty-first century, same sex couples often feel the need for caution when displaying affection in public. 

You can visit L.M. Brown's blog at: http://lmbrownauthor.blogspot.com/ or website at: http://lmbrownauthor.webs.com/

Don't forget tomorrow is the kick off for the Silver Flashers Blog Contest. Details will be posted with tomorrow's flash fiction. You could win some great prizes. 


  1. Very well written hun.... Rj x

  2. very nicely done. I love the photo of the two guys being affectionate. I only wish that couple in the store could have been openly affectionate.


  3. A thought provoking and well-written post.

  4. An interesting post. It says it all.

  5. Thanks everyone for stopping by. I'm glad you liked my post.

    Thanks also to Pender for having me here.

    Pender - will be catching up on the flash fics tomorrow. Looking forward to it.