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The story of my (sexual) life.
But gay novels, the ones written by gay men and Lesbians are just as filled with what I have found the gay world to be-and that is it truly is a sad one, it truly is one of breaking alliances and breaking friendships and falling off the edge of the world. I come to writers like D.H. Lawrence, especially his "The Fox," for some kind of comfort, and in its way, it gives it. Gay writers have the ability to tell the times in which we live. But with them, for the most part, the decades never change. The hurts are still there and the stone cold faces and the fear of what happens turning the next page of life or of their work. Because the bigotry against gays will never go away, of course, but it is more than that-it is an exclusive club and you better write what we in effect tell you and think what we tell you to think, and feel the way we say-my way or the highway, which is so ironic and so disturbing.
It seems a cop-out really. It says you are this and you have these desires and you say it or write it in this way, and if your sexuality is all over the map, then you need not apply. All my life, I've had to re-imagine what I was reading at the time I was reading it. I had to put it in my terms. Well, everybody does that, but I mean I drastically had to do so, far more than other gay readers or viewers, and I thought when gay literature experienced one of its heydays, I would not have to do that anymore, but I still do it and basically I've given up on gay writers and gay filmmakers, though I still read them and still watch the movies, but it's still in an iron corset and if you don't fit, then see a shrink or something.
Life to me is a very sad thing. I go along with Kurt Vonnegut's concept of it as being a joke, a very cruel one, though he had a whimsy and a good-natured ness and a comfort to his books that made him a joy to read. I am not saying there should be happy gay fiction, for itself, nor am I saying writers should not write the way it feels, and the way it is. I am against censorship and see the writers and the filmmakers as our bulwark against total chaos and more horror shows running now since ever before in my memory. What I guess I'm saying is this: Let some air in. Stop closeting in the closet in the closet. If one reads Gide or Genet, one comes to a place of such aridness, such desolation, that it seems impossible to read one more word of them.
If "Willow Song" is a song of freedom, this sequel to "Song of the Loon," then what freedom are they talking about? Definitely not. But, apparently I still have to keep my mouth shut and still have to fear people around me and know they will hurt me eventually, and the books of gay writers tell me this and horribly so, they are right, but here is the main thing, they are also complicit. If the movie "A Very Natural Thing" was a depiction of gay life decades ago, then it seems things have not changed much, and Larry Kramer was right in "Faggots" and in an interview in "The Advocate"-there is only sexuality and gay people, by and large, care little more than that. Harsh, yes, and far too broad brushed, but definitely a point of view worth considering.
Gay literature took a terrible drubbing in the eighties thanks to Anita Bryant and all the Christers who have come since her, and I miss the mainstream paperbacks publishing a slew of gay books, but why none for me? Why none that do not make me still the kid at the window of the book shop on Christmas Eve, hoping this time to find a book that says this is me, this is how it is to be me, and one keeps hoping, and tries to write now and again himself, but hope runs out eventually.