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Write It Tight

I’m beginning the final edit and rewrite of my third novel, “The Gospel According to Gay Guys,” before publishing it as an e-book for Kindle. I’m finding this a difficult task, though I have every possible motivation to finish it. Financial. Creative. Evangelical even, though that’s the worst possible word to use in front of Gay men.

If you’ve got good news you want to tell somebody; that’s all it means.

God wants me to publish this thing if only to get me off his back. He gets tired of hearing me whine. How many years did he have to put up with me till I got sober? This book’s been churning almost as long.

I thought, when I got stuck a minute ago, I would post something on Facebook about it (as if they want to read my whines any more than God does). But I thought better. I am someone who benefits from accountability, self-disclosure; it helps when I admit my problems – but a thousand people on Facebook know me as Josh the Daily Office guy, Mr. Prayer kinda, not as Josh the subversive Gay writer, even if they know I’m Gay. They’re certainly not expecting me to let loose a string of four-letter words in public.

So, I thought, maybe I should pray instead. So I wrote a little prayer:

Lord, help me edit this book well. I need it to be really successful financially, so I can stay in my house and keep feeding my dog.

I also need it to succeed spiritually, so I convey Good News to Gay Guys. If others like it, so much the better.

Help me to be a good evangelist of everything I know. Help me also to edit as tight as Jamie’s ass.

Thank you for giving me this book. Thank you for giving me my life.

Josh

I mean, that’s what I sound like in real life; that’s how I talk. I’m Gay; we don’t feel a need to please the neighbors. If they’re homophobic there’s nothing we could possibly do to please them in the first place, so why the hell bother?

The book starts out, against all possible advice, with a steamy scene that goes from romantic and spiritual in Chapter 1 to down and dirty in Chapter 2. You should never start out a book this way; it makes people think sex is all you’ve got. But it’s what the characters demanded, because in my first book I made them keep their pants on – for 529 pages – so in this one they can’t wait to get naked.

Once that’s done, then more of the Gospel comes in – because who is it that teaches us more about God than the one we love the most?

These two characters do love each other, I’ll give them that. The whole book is kind of an explication of how guys can love each other.

There has to be sex in it, so why not start it out with a bang? 🙂

I’ve written elsewhere on this blog that Gay liberation is ultimately sexual. We can usually live under political repression, but we can’t be liberated in our souls without good sex. So that’s what I write about, in part. I think it’s good news.

Not only that, I can’t reach Gay guys with Good News unless we go through sex first, because without it they’re going to demand their $5.99 back.

And I do have Good News; Jesus loves us. God’s been on our side this entire time.

I believe she wants us to have sex well (that is, make love, not just fuck) in a committed relationship; but that she’s also grown up enough to know from the moment of Creation that we’d stick it wherever we could, until we learned how to do it right.

The book is what I’ve learned on the way to doing it right. That’s all, but of course I go on and on for hundreds of pages. Life is more than sex, even for us, and the book is more than sex too.

How do we learn to be equal to each other? Honest, open? Never telling a lie and always being faithful? I’m sure we have the means within us, but it isn’t easy, of course.

How do we keep the sexual spark alive? I’ve got some ideas.

They won’t be yours, but then, you can always write for Kindle too. Tell us what you know.

(Oh, now my muffin timer’s going off. Oatmeal-raisin with buttermilk, the kind of thing Jamie makes for Kent all the time.)

(They didn’t stick to the pan!)

It seems to me important, both for Gay men and the Church, that we learn to integrate sex, love and faith. That’s what Christian marriage is supposed to be about. The Church does a miserable job of teaching heterosexuals how to put these things together, so we can’t expect a bit of help from them – but we can teach each other the way Gay friends have always talked things through, casually yet intimately, with four-letter words. I bet you have some friends you can say anything to; there’s no reason we can’t do the same thing in a book.

We do have to pick our friends well, though, and develop trust in them over time; the wrong friends can hurt us.

But I don’t want to write about that; I write about the right lover and their good friends.

Stories are about conflicts, and Jamie and Kent go through their share, but not so much with each other; with the outside world instead. Sort of like that old Helen Reddy song. That’s how we really live, You and Me Against the World.

The feminist icon Helen Reddy in 2011. She didn't just sing "I Am Woman," she wrote it.

The muffins turned out great; there’s a reason Kent loves that boy. Now it’s back to edit-and-rewrite, tighter than a hot little ass.++

3 Responses

  1. I find praying outloud (with no audience to preen for) to God cuts down on the whining, pleading, deal making and overall codependent attempts…also, edits right down to the core of the petition or thanksgiving…sort of a cleaner, sorter and one on one revealer of sneaky underlying wishful demands…being honest is a virtue (even when honest ain´t as pretty as one would like to appear).

    I think I´ll do it now as I need to let up on the self-striving and let go and let God (I didn´t used to know what that meant).

    Un abrazo fuerte,
    Len

  2. Josh – delighted to hear of progress on this novel. I wll be happy to buy a copy when it’s ready! As I recall, the writing was pretty tight as it is, but I’d be happy to serve as a proofreader or galleyreader should you need one. Blessings on this latest endeavor!

  3. Thanks, RSFJ. The first two chapters are done. Now the third one’s seeming talky and repetitive, so I need to reconceive it.

    I’m aware of this: when an author has to pay by the page like a publisher, he writes tight. Straight-to-e-book removes that incentive; Thomas Wolfe could have published Look Homeward, Angel with all 60,000 extra words that Maxwell Perkins made him cut before publication. But that’s not how an author should think. He should put himself in the reader’s place, having to plow through those extra pages – with all the freedom to toss the thing away, not worth her time. Seen that way, every comma had better pull its weight.

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