Sunday, September 7, 2008
Part of the Process
Still slogging away at the First Novel, Scooter Boy (although I will admit that the slacker in me neglected to turn in the pages that were due to my writers' group, last week).
The story is based on my own youth. Thankfully, neither my childhood nor adolescence was very traumatic. I have been going back in time, once again, in order to exploit my own memories for more raw material. I have been deliberately getting back into the mind of the seventeen-year-old that I used to be. And I have been feeling very protective over him, latelty, un-traumatic as things may have been back then.
This weekend's writing session took me back to when an issue of Time magazine arrived in our mail and had the topic of homosexuality blazing across the cover. 'Homosexuality in America,' the cover blatantly stated, followed by 'How Gay is Gay?'
"Oh, Peter should read that," my younger brother had said at the dinner table as my father went through the day's mail.
I knew he was just being his usual jerky ten-year-old self, trying to get a rise out of me. It didn't bother me that much. It sure upset my dad, though.
"That's not funny," my dad had said, the anger very clear in his tone of voice.
But it wasn't as if he was defending me. I have gone over that moment several times in my mind. Why did he react in such a way to my brother's idiotic comment? Did my father suspect anything about my sexuality, even when I was a young teen?
Writing about this incident in fictional form was not upsetting, but the writing came more slowly than usual. I anticipate that the writing process may become more cathartic, more therapeutic, as I immerse myself deeper into the fictional world that is based upon my past reality.
Scooter Boy takes place in 1983 and opens with the protagonist, Eddie, riding on the back of a Vespa. While riding the scooter, Eddie experiences brief intimacy with the young, male driver, whom he has just met.
Now, in 2008, I ride a freeway scooter to work and back, five days a week. In my recent feeling of protectiveness over my Inner Teenager (as Alex Sanchez puts it), I've been envisioning my seventeen-year-old self as a spirit from the past, riding on the back of my current scooter, and holding on to me with trust and loving devotion.
And I pray to God to keep us all safe on the journey, past, present, and future.