Admittedly, I haven’t posted in a while. Last summer, I started this space to keep track of my writing process. But not just that. True to my writing center self I suppose, I wanted this space to operate as a sort of conversation—a way to connect with other writers and queer folks grappling with a good deal a shame. Those who’ve repressed certain aspects of themselves and their needs.
A couple nights ago, when having dinner with a good friend of mine, he asked about my memoir and who my audience was. As a professor trained in rhetorical theory, the question—one so fundamental and seemingly simple—caught me off guard. I should know. I knew this. Or I thought I did. I paused. For a while. Until I said, “I mean, I’m writing this for other gay boys from Minnesota just trying to find their way.” I laughed. “But really, I’m writing a story about desires and fantasies we might term BDSM but for me run deeper than “play”–that run within the veins of early childhood desires we feel, yet tell ourselves we cannot. That we must bury. Desires we shut down with a force that drives us to repress the very thought of those needs. Until we self destruct.” It seemed too specific—too niche. Too selfish. Surely, I should speak to a wider audience and to the limitations of my own experience.
My friend didn’t laugh. He just said, “Other people will find their own intersections. You can start to connect those dots. But they will do that work.”
I think there’s some truth to that.
Then last night, with an obscenely overpriced iced matcha at a local coffee shop in St. Paul, I wrote—I just continued to tell that story. I kept writing. Writing is work. We know this. But we forget it. And this memoir is not a series of essays. It’s chapters. It needs to be that way. I need to talk about a progression. What I’ve felt. What I’ve wanted to feel. What I’m afraid to feel. And the mistakes I’ve made. This will take time. On the back patio of this coffee shop, I continued a chapter looking at my college years and the mess of trying to push the boundaries at that time in my life. Like a brat trying to break the rules for the first. Or maybe I was just trying to act naturally in the presence of other guys. Call it a fetish. Sure, you could call it that.
Before leaving, beyond my control, I wrote this: But isn’t it odd how our very repulsion to a thing might signal a deeper, unfulfilled desire or need.