Beautiful Ghosts

A Queer Memoir of San Francisco


In stock

About the Book

A Generation X transgender woman, Sherilyn Connelly came out of the closet in 1999. Her own identity still emerging, she had stumbled into a difficult, stifling relationship. Also, her employment at a tech company ceased when the dot-com bubble burst. It was a goth boy from Bolinas that first took her shopping for make-up, and the San Francisco goth scene became her respite. This wickedly eye-opening memoir reveals how Connelly dealt with a toxic partner and found her voice as a woman. A longtime cinephile, it tells how she became a writer, rekindled a love for cult films and horror conventions, and learned “the secret to becoming a star.” Her remembrances are also a tale of a bygone era of sex, music and San Francisco and its darkened underworld of goth strays—her literate vampires and beautiful ghosts.

About the Author(s)

Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer and librarian.

Bibliographic Details

Sherilyn Connelly

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 209
Bibliographic Info: 41 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8633-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4543-8
Imprint: Exposit

Table of Contents

Hymnal vi
Introduction: Out of the Bag and into the Abattoir 1
Prologue: Infernal Cartography 13
1. Six Feet Down at Age ­Twenty-Five 17
How the End Always Is 17  •  Baby Doll, Check Your Cheek 22  •  Leave Your Expectations at the Door 27  •  Love in the Dying Moments of the 20th Century 38
2. Honor Thy Error as a Hidden Intention 44
El Ritual de la Caja Para Gatos 44  •  The One to Walk in the Sun 47  •  Choking on the Dirt and Sand 49  •  Good Morning, It’s Possum Day 51
3. eXistenZ Is unPauseD 56
Josie and the Vampire 56  •  Keep Circulating the Tapes 62  •  Spang of the Loathsome Dead 68  •  She Gets to Sing Just Like a Bird 75
4. Dead Cats and Cab Drivers 79
For Rent: Black Sheets, Never Reported 79  •  You Probably Think This Book Is About You 84  •  The Midnight Sisters Convene in Kopenhagen 91  •  Were You Jerking Off to Her or Were You Jerking Off to Me? 97  •  A Large Room, Full of People 103
5. The Epoch of Recombination 106
Mechanism of Occupant Ejection 106  •  Keep Your Tracking Knobs Properly Adjusted 109  •  John Calvin, He’s Long Dead (We Gotta Get That in Our Head) 113  •  “Someday, This War’s Gonna End” 116  •  Bleeding Like a Polaroid 119  •  I’m Not an Angel, But at Least I’m a Girl 124
6. The Lightning of Early May 133
A Walking Study in Demonology 133  •  Incept Date: 22 Sept. 2006 138  •  Visions of Dazzling Rooms 142  •  Perilous Night, Their Voices Calling 148  •  A Flicker of Light Before the Dawning 151
7. Welcome to Annexia 155
Partners in a Benevolent Psychopathology 155  •  Two ­Semi-Metallic Human Beings 158  •  Some Semen Is Saltier Than Others 163  •  Prophecy Is Ragged and Dirty 169  •  A Universe Gone Quickly 171
Epilogue: Under the Zodiacal Light 176
The Beautiful Ghosts Mixtape 189
Index 191

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Sherilyn Connelly is a brazen, brilliant, and brave anti-hero who suffers no misogynistic fools, and her book Beautiful Ghosts is a metropolitan fairytale where the scares are dangerously real but the saving magic dust is all her. Her self-acceptance comes at a calculated rate fueled by Connelly’s interpretation of disreputable blondes like Courtney Love until she herself becomes not the marginal villain that so-often inspired Connelly, but indeed, our own villainous heroine of the marginal space populated by women, mythical or ordinary, who leave abusers, who don’t hide their snappy brilliant selves, who find that living and yelling their truth is how life becomes legend.”—Shar Rednour, co-director of Sugar High Glitter City

• “In Beautiful Ghosts, Sherilyn Connelly serves as a tour guide through San Francisco in the first part of the current century, letting her avenues and experiences paint a tableau of her life. Her tale is refreshing, breezy, and a great read that stands apart from many other trans tales. Get it, read it, and enjoy it.”—Gwendolyn Ann Smith, columnist, “Transmissions”