Echo


2431076178_e432958c95I got a couple of good writing books from the library. One is a resource guide to getting work published. The other is just a great testament to stories, to truths and facts about a person’s life, and its influence over your own aspirations. This was a warm-hearted message to young writers about the process to come and the personal growth that develops as one’s career flourishes. It was funny, too. Bidini is the Canadian writer behind this book and another about his life in a rock band, which I’m sure is good too. Anyway, he talks about his relationship with books as he was growing up. During the transition of his teenage years, he recalls becoming completely obsessed with young adult literature. He cites the author of The Outsiders and another title I can’t remember. Doesn’t matter, everyone has read The Outsiders. And if you haven’t, then you might’ve seen the movie, which was pretty good too. So, the author of these popular tales is actually a woman, but used just her initials and her last name as a means to attract male readers; if they saw a female author, then they would assume that her books are about girls and their problems. I really liked that idea. I often wonder (and worry) if my stories will be shuffled into a certain genre, as the nature of the text and (let’s face it) the identity of the author will be questionable. Say, for instance, my Perversion tales. If I’m not careful, these stories will be shuffled into the erotic lit section, never having the opportunity to be readable by others. Readers in search for an honest piece of fiction. Sure, I wanted these tales to be erotic, at first. But, with a bit of fine tuning, I believe that it could be a novel with graphic highlights, but has a consistent and interesting story that the reader would want to follow. I think it’s more interesting this way.

I thought back to my introduction with the young adult section of my library. The Downtown Bridgeport Library is the backbone of my childhood. Whether I knew it or not, I was being groomed to write at a very young age. When I was in kindegarten, I loved nothing more than to hop on the 4 bus to Downtown Bridgeport, a very modest example of a Connecticut square, but not as attractive as Milford or Fairfield. The Barnum Museum, Housatonic Community College, Polka Dot Theatre, Downtown Cabaret Theater (I worked there), and The Downtown Public Library were its main attractions. Then, there was Murphy’s Law and Planned Parenthood, little pleasures to take in for such a large industrial town. However, when I took my first trips to the library, there was no community college. It was the Hi-Ho Mall, with Mrs. Field’s and Popeye’s. And that children’s shop where I got cheap dolls and other silly things. It was a pitiful display of an American pasttime. Our mall sucked. The Polka Dot Theater was closer to the ocean, too, and much farther away from the downtown area. The Library had always been there. And its children’s section was a wonderland of mystery, imagination, and sheer escape. I was hungry for a story, hungry for another way of looking at the world. And while the neighborhood girls were fun to play with, I enjoyed meandering through the narrow aisles and endless rows of books for hours, or at least until my mom picked me up. I learned about pirate rebel women, witches, Greek mythology, Dr. Seuss, Amelia BeDelia, and Peter Rabbit. The reading rooms were large, the ceilings high, the entire area just overwhelming and bright. Of course, being a child, the children’s section of the library was Godlike; but, re-visiting that section, it’s lighting is yellow and pale, florescent. The carpets were dirty. When I was a child, I wasn’t picky. They had a dollhouse too, and the children all took turns playing with it. We were all shrimpish and hesitant to pick a fight over the wooden dollhouse and its painted wooden figures; so we waited patiently. When I got older, I wanted more. The long corridor of that part of the library led you to a pair of heavy wooden doors. You push through them and you’re in the main lobby, modern and browned with the indifferent speckled tiles, rusted staircase that majestically unfolded and sprang up to the second floor, a more serious floor, for high schoolers and investigators of knowledge. I would eventually become that person in high school; but, at 13, I was more into Francesca Lia Block*, The Outsiders, and sci-fi emo type stuff, like Blood and Chocolate**.

My first “young adult” book was Norma Klein’s My Life as a Body. I read it several times throughout my teenage career. It was an odd story. A teenage girl is forced to be the tutor a boy in a wheelchair with a sour attitude. They eventually become lovers, and she describes the way he makes love to his crippled body. He’s paralyzed from the waist down. I read those parts the most, imagining the circumstances, and learning to fuck in a special way.

*Francesca Lia Block is the Italian writer who turned my teenage life upside down. Weetzie Bat, Violet and Claire, and Witch Baby were some of her books. Her narrative on the youthful punk scene in L.A. was so original and eccentric and lyrical that it made me a real fan. One of my favorite stories involves a young girl who searches for her real father, drawing clues and experience from other members of her family. By a turn of coincidences, she finally finds out that her mother’s girlfriend is actually an M-to-F post opt and is also her real father… and it was a beautifully told story.

**I was very much into the emotional problems of teenage werewolves and vampires (although I didn’t watch too much of Buffy or Angel or Charmed). Blood and Chocolate was so bad it was good, as it recounts the emo mentality of a young girl who is actually a werewolf who falls for a werewolf sympathizer. He wasn’t down with even 50% bestiality though, for as she transforms into a huge dog right before they fuck, he runs away screaming in his boxers…::sigh:: so hard for a gal to get a date. In the end, she falls hard for the rebel werewolf (sorta like Jared Leto’s character in My So Called Life, only with bigger testicles and hair problem). I secretly wish I could be a werewolf… for shits and giggles.

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