No Place Like Home, Er, Openly Straight

We are consolidating at our house right now. Which means that I come across things, like  long-expired gift certificates to Barnes & Noble from 2006, and mix CDs I made in 2004 (we no longer have a CD player). Also zip drives.

Zip drives are great because you can never be sure what you’ll find on them. And what I found today was a treasure trove of old creative writing stuff.

I found the first story I wrote in my first creative writing class in grad school (terrible!). I found the first draft of Audibles, which became OUT OF THE POCKET. And I found the very first words I wrote for the book that became OPENLY STRAIGHT!

It was called, at the time, NO PLACE LIKE HOME. And yeah, I’ve made this joke before, but it was going to be like The Wizard of Oz, but gayer.

I wrote the very first words in the very first draft of that book  on April 8, 2009.

It looked like this:

Screenshot 2018-03-31 08.13.07 Screenshot 2018-03-31 08.13.24

This makes me so happy. As you can see, Rafe wasn’t quite Rafe yet. I was playing with an idea. The notion was to turn a coming out story into a going in story, which is what I did. But almost everything else is off, voice especially.

I’m interested that I got Claire Olivia’s name right away. Her name, I had always thought, came from Claire Olivia Casey, or Claire O. Casey, or Claro Que Si, which means “Of course” in Spanish. But apparently I either already knew that, or the joke came organically from the name choice. I don’t know.

The parasol story relates to my nephew, who used to dance around our kitchen with a parasol. And what followed that was a story my friend Bob told me about coming home from kindergarten after his first day. His parents asked how the first day was, and he said, “They have nice curtains.”

Neither of those stories made the novel, but the lesson here is don’t tell me stories or do stuff in front of me. It WILL wind up in a book.