As I mentioned in my post about Velveteen Hutch, my goal to have Sky Blue and Black published to the S/H fan community was a rocky one. This post is about trying to get it published and how the story came about. The story is currently posted on Flamingo’s site.

In 1993 (I think), I moved to downtown Denver to the area just east of Cheeseman Park.  I moved into a darling, old-fashioned apartment building and lived there pretty happily with my cats for about a year until I was mugged while unloading my groceries one night. The fault was mine, I think, for foolishly unloading groceries at 10 p.m., but some would say different and that society was to blame, and that men should know better than to take purses from lone women. Maybe it was a bit of both. Well, the guy didn’t hurt me, but in my lack of attention to my surroundings, I allowed him to enter my personal space. My bubble. His grin at me was so wide, he knew how scared I was. He could have had a gun or a knife, but he didn’t. He just took my purse and ran. I ran after him, screaming, but it didn’t help.

My physical person was intact. Purses and contents could be replaced. I luckily had my keys in my pocket (I had just finished locking my car door), so I could get into my apartment asap, and to this day I do not carry my keys in my purse unless I feel absolutely safe. Financially, I was in tatters, because the guy cleared out my bank account as fast as he could. I put a stop on all the checks, and the bank kindly decided to call me each time he wrote one, so I could confirm with them it was not mine. I started to get the shakes every time the phone rang. That went on for a month or two.

Emotionally, well, that was another story. I developed insomnia like nobody’s business, and went to get some therapy. You know, just general counseling stuff, but the woman was great. She was a child’s therapist normally, but it was all they could get for me. She turned out to be perfect. Her office was filled with toys that I could look at while I spelled out my troubles. I saw her for about six months. Funny thing was, I saw her after work, and it got very dark very fast at that time of year. Plus, there was that parking lot, which was not very well lit. It didn’t make sense to me to make someone who was now scared of parking lots and going out at night to go out and night and park in a dimly lit parking lot to get help for it! But there you go. Such is our health system these days.

About a month after the mugging, I moved in with Regina. The insomnia I had got worse, and never got better, and I developed a case of agoraphobia, to boot. I finally had to see a real shrink to get something for the insomnia, but didn’t mention the other. Can you believe it? Me? When I had to see a real psychologist for the sleeping meds, I was suddenly aware of the state I was in. I told the therapist about the agoraphobia, but not the shrink. He handed me a prescription for Zoloft (I think), for depression, and since the side effect was sleepiness, we figured it would help. He told me to come back when the pills were gone, but I never did.  (I started taking the Zoloft when I moved out from Regina’s, and it was like a curtain came down over my head and I could finally sleep. I took the pills for one month and then threw them away when my body learned to sleep again.)

Meanwhile, living at Regina’s, I wrote Velveteen Hutch at the same time I wrote Sky Blue and Black. The commute between my crap job and her snug little house was okay, and I always had the radio going. One day, while driving along, I heard Jackson Browne’s song (from whence came the title for the story) on the radio. I somehow floated home while listening the lyrics, which seemed to be a combination of love and hate, hope and despair, and a the mixed-up emotions that two people in love might very easily share. The title, as well, seemed provocative, as blue and black are the color of bruises. I felt so very bruised inside and out and I wanted to write a story where Starsky and Hutch would feel bruised as well.

So I wrote the story, see. I put Hutch through hell and made Starsky watch. Then I made Hutch watch while Starsky went through hell.  Then I made Hutch leave so Starsky could suffer some more trying to find him. Then I let them be together in the same room, but they had to reveal the most painful of secrets. Then I made them re-live the events of the original torture…and in the end, it was a pretty dark story. Perhaps too dark for the Starsky and Hutch fan community, I don’t know. I never received any feedback on it, but I did receive one verbal comment at a convention that the story was a downer.  Which didn’t make any sense to me because it had a happy ending! No one died! Eventually the story was published in Red Hot Lovers, because the publisher was a friend of mine and she was a nice person.

When I think about this story, I think about that time and how cathartic the writing was. I’ve had people tell me that spending time on fanfic and other fannish activities is foolish and a waste of time. But I tell you what, there was no better way for me, personally, to work through what I had gone through than writing this story. Writing fanfiction saved me. It allowed me to express what I had gone through in ways that I could not have done speaking aloud to another person. It turned out to be the most valuable of therapies. 

I want to dedicate this post to my sister Diane, who was the one who showed me that there is no quota of points earned, that no one is keeping score. Thanks, Diane.