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will grayson, will grayson

April 14, 2013

Subtitle: A self-depricating diatribe written while half-asleep, my apologies.

Tonight I picked up the book will grayson, will grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I’m 34 pages in, and I’m torn in many directions. Of course, I love stumbling across an absolutely amazing book unexpectedly (I was hooked by the first sentence), and it’s always refreshing to come across teen fiction that deals with LGBT life in realistic ways; but I now feel like this book entirely obviates the need for MY first novel. I needed Green and Levithan’s book in 1996. It didn’t exist, so I wrote its equivalent (or so I’d like to think vis-a-vis general GLBT content if not talent) for myself. Over the years, I have changed the story more times than I can count. Bloodflowers is the sequel, just started this past December.

I haven’t even tried to publish the completed novel. I’ve been afraid to let anyone see it. A few friends saw it in the 90s when it was a short story in a notebook (which I still have). A college professor read a new version in university, where I subjected my classmates to an excerpt about gay-bashing in no small terms. A few years later still, I shared with a different group of close friends. I never let go of the fear that I will a) fail at publishing or b) be ridiculed for my work. I never want to let anyone know (or think that they know) what’s going on inside that busy little brain of mine. If I could, I’d publish, remain forever anonymous, and be happy to know that my writing made a difference to someone. A big, fat check would be nice, too, yes, but I’ve always just wanted to make a difference. I wanted to create characters that reflected the reality I saw around me or that I lived because I couldn’t find that in most of the fiction I was reading in the 90s. I wasn’t sure what I expected to find tonight in the bookstore, but I found something that has a lot of emotion attached to it, which paradoxically leaves me at a loss for words to explain what I’m actually feeling. Damn it.

And however glad I am to be thoroughly enjoying will grayson, will grayson, I’m simultaeously kicking myself in the ass because the novel is making me realize I likely could have published my work, even still as teen fiction when I thought it was too “adult” to be teen fiction but too “teen” to just be “fiction.” Could have. Now, though, my work looks like a ripoff, even though I started writing the damn thing more than a decade before will grayson, will grayson was published.

Yes, the stories are different. The characters are different. And granted, I’m only on page 34… but tonight I’m feeling like I should have had more faith in myself and that maybe I’m now too late. Likely, though, I’m just flattering myself to think my writing is/was/will be as engaging. So I think I’ll go post an excerpt in memory of what I should have tried to publish at least four years ago but didn’t.

I should be relieved. Instead, I’m just disappointed in myself again. I’ll say it again: Damn it.


From → rants

  1. Of course it isn’t too late. There’s a huge market out there for books of this nature and if it’s unique and well written people will definitely want to read it. Don’t wait, because in 5 years you’ll be saying the same thing about right now!

  2. Twig Anthony permalink

    I so hope you are right!

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