December 8, 2008

Homosexuality & Writing: Eternity Philops, Author of Visions of a Cryptic Mystery

The Author

Eternity Philops is a born-and-bred native of North Carolina. Birthed in Winston-Salem in 1983, she was raised in the capital city of Raleigh and earned her B.A. degree in the dual fields of psychology and sociology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has also completed graduate work in the area of conflict resolution. In addition to becoming an accomplished author, Philops’ ultimate professional goal is to become a counselor, aiding individuals in the understanding of balance between sexuality and spirituality.

Since 2004 she has been a contributing writer to SABLE Magazine, an online periodical focused on matters concerning lesbians of color. In 2006 Philops joined the staff of The NUBIANO Project, an online news source catering to the Black community. But opinion pieces are not Philops’ only forte. Under the former pen name of maLana t., she has had her poetry and short stories featured in a number of publications. Her signature poem, “Attraction”, was featured on the lesbian erotica site, Kuma, in 2006. In the December 2005 issue of Gay Black Female Magazine, readers were treated to “Other Side of the Moon”, a short story exploring the road not traveled between two lifelong friends. Always seeking to share her lyrical creations, Philops’ goal as a writer is to add her perspective to the growing genre of Black lesbian fiction. A fresh and unique voice, Philops hopes to one day establish her original writing style into her own well-known oeuvre.

Eternity can be found @ several spots online, to include her website and her MySpace page, and the following online stores: Fledgeling Foto // Defined by Faith // Buy This Stuff

The Book

VISIONS OF A CRYPTIC MYSTERY: VOLUME ONE is Eternity Philops' first accomplished collection. A debut of her unique writing style and talent, VISIONS showcases a diverse compendium of poetry and short stories born to Philops' over an extensive period of time.

Divided into concentrated segments, Philops' literary assemblage encompasses works expressing love, life, and loss. Each piece is a real world reflection of the Black lesbian experience: feel the intense sensations of a woman's divergent physical attraction; look on as two lifelong friends reflect on the path not taken. Submerge yourself in the poetic prose of unconditional love, unfortunate loss, and all that's inbetween.

VISIONS VOL. ONE will take readers on a journey that delves into their own emotions and passions. From the sexual to the spiritual, Philops' creative imagery and metaphoric verse brings to life one's own imaginative and emotional senses.

Click the cover above to order VISIONS OF A CRYPTIC MYSTERY: VOLUME ONE today!


How have your works been received by readers of all orientations?
The response to my book has been overwhelmingly positive, from readers and reviewers, straight and gay. Though I dedicated it to Black lesbians, the raw emotion behind the poetry and short stories is familiar to anyone. I also like to think that my unique writing talent attracts readers. I try to be different, to stand out among other writers with my style.

Even in cases of disagreement on the issue of homosexuality itself I have still had a positive experience. There was an instance where I submitted myself and my work for review. The reviewer was unfamiliar with the content or my orientation, and upon finding out, he actually considered passing over me because I am gay. In the end he decided that exposing writers was far more important than his personal views, which I of course agreed with completely. The experience was an encouraging one in that this person did not let his personal prejudices cloud his opinion of me as an author. Too often it happens the other way around.

In the stories you have written and are planning to write, what ideas and themes do you see reoccurring that shed light on homosexuality?
My main goal is to show others how individuals who are gay are just regular people. We live and love just like heterosexuals, and yet are labeled perverse for no intelligent reason. In my book, my poetry is heart-felt and true. They reflect the passions of the soul, feelings of joy and pain, love and hate; they are of the quintessential human experience that any person would be able to relate to.

The lover in the poem “Cosmic Intimacy” declares,

My passion for you burns hotter
than the fires of Mercury
A flame that will never be extinguished

Come soar with me
Be my love
The heavens our open road to dreams unknown
Let us explore our eternity together

On the opposite end, a heart-broken devotee laments,

Gruesome Love, thou art pain
When left to consume mine heart untamed
When left to flourish and to swell
Thou makest mine heart insane!

These feelings are not unique to lesbians, or even to women, but are shared by anyone who has ever experienced the thrill and loss of love.

Like my poetry, my short stories, while lesbian-themed, revolve around both personal and real life issues. In terms of the personal, a character may simply find herself attracted to a woman for the first time, which is the case in “Almost First Kiss”; or, as displayed in “Other Side of the Moon”, characters experience the heart break of losing the possibility of love. Such occurrences are simply events of life, and are not exclusive to just homosexuals.

My characters deal with not only their own problems, but those brought to them by society. Often these issues involve their sexuality, whether or not the characters themselves make it an issue. For instance, in my short story “An Affirmative Action”, Lena is a successful career-driven lawyer who has neither hidden nor broadcast her sexuality in her workplace, simply because it’s not a concern for her. That is, until she learns she’s getting a promotion and that the firm’s founder is a bit “conservative”. So now she has to decide whether to hide that part of herself to further her career, or be true to herself and her mate. Such a dilemma isn’t typically faced by heterosexuals, which illustrates how even the smallest decision on whether or not to bring a long-time lover to a workplace function can have dire consequences for the gay individual.

At the end of the day, if there was one thing you wanted your readers to remember in regards to homosexuality, what would that thing be?
I want others to remember that being gay does not determine who a person is. It’s not just straight people, but also gay individuals who believe that homosexuality determines who we are and how we act. The simple matter is that we are all individuals with our own idiosyncrasies. Our actions are based upon our personal values and our character, neither of which have anything to do with sexuality. Lastly, I want others to think about the term “gay lifestyle”, and decide if it really and truly exists. After all, is there a “straight lifestyle”?




I tasted love
slid thee around on my tongue
drowned mine senses
and savored thy sweetness
I supped from the grail
of thy fragrant element
and soon
allured by thy zest
wantonly quaffed thy silky ingredient
I relished love
I consumed thy pith
into my being
melted our bloods
and infused thy spirit upon my soul
Reborn is mine heart
from moral darkness into decadent light
and surveilled by the wraith of death
for thou hast an obscure portion
a seraphic venom
an unholy anodyne
I tasted love
and was poisoned

© Eternity Philops

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