For my first ever blog post, I've been mulling over the possibilities. I've been thinking a lot about lobsters lately (for obvious reasons) but I was also thinking about the process that led me to write slumber. For those of you that haven't read it, it focuses on a young man who goes back in time to visit with some of the Golden Age of Hollywood's stars and finds himself falling in love with one of them.
Now, I know there's no way we can revisit the past in physical terms, but I thought I might share with you some of the things that brought me to writing that story. Much like Agatha Christie writing books about mysteries and poisons because she had so much knowledge of them already, I also chose to write a book about classic films because of the knowledge that I already had.
For as long as I can remember, I've had a fascination with movies. I can remember my older sister and I watching movies together and listening to her explain the connections to other movies. "See that guy?" she would say, pointing to the screen. "He was also in... and in that movie, he was with this actress, who was in..." It seemed to go on and on forever, like a round of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but with no ultimate end goal. I suppose it got me thinking about these things early on, and now I can rattle off the same facts with absolute certainty (much to the chagrin of my husband).
In high school, we had to watch movies like To Kill A Mockingbird and A Streetcar Named Desire, classics in black and white. When I was younger, I was fascinated by these films. I was so taken with the actors, with the stories. They seemed so alien to me, a child who had grown up watching the technicolor spectacle of Disney movies and fell head over heels in love with the Lord of the Rings movies when my father took me in middle school. I caught a showing of Arsenic and Old Lace on TCM and fell madly in love with Cary Grant. I considered the performance of Marlon Brando in Streetcar to be a defining moment for me. I don't think I had the words for it, but I was learning that they just don't make actors like that anymore.
My fascination faltered as I grew older and got more and more sucked into other things, other interests. I didn't think about "old movies" again until I heard Karina Longworth's podcast, You Must Remember This. I'm sure I'm not alone in the multitudes of people who found themselves caught up in the dramas of long-dead actors and actresses. What fascinated me most in those early episodes of hers were the stories about closeted actors and actresses. These people who were so famous and loved and could only be partly themselves sparked my interest, and then she talked about Monty Clift.
Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I love Monty Clift. I had read an article about him so many years ago that I had forgotten he even existed. Yet when Karina Longworth talked about him and lovingly detailed his painful, tragic life, everything in my mind shifted. I voraciously tore through his body of work. I read books. I even started my own short-lived podcast, trying to shine the light on Monty and some of his other closeted cohorts. My best friends and I sojourned to Brooklyn, determined to find the Quaker Cemetery that he is buried in, and for Christmas one year, my husband bought me a certified autograph of his. It's now framed and hanging up along with his Life magazine cover on my living room wall (see photo below).
What all of this meant, what all of it still means, is that I've been nearly obsessed with films - and their actors, tragic and queer or not - for quite a while.
slumber. came out of the mist, for lack of a better word. I had just moved home from Michigan and I was watching a lot of The Voice (sue me), and I latched onto one of the singers. He looked so timeless, and his voice sent shivers down my spine. I loved him and his little fifties look, and I started thinking about how easily he could have walked out of that time period. I write a lot about legacy and immortality; it's just something that fascinates me. I think it's a theme in every one of my works, especially Conditional Immortality (more on that later, though!). I wanted an homage to our queer forebears, but something new and different. I think the plot came through to me in a dream, and I asked all of my other creative friends what the least lame vehicle of time travel was - with no context of course!
So the novella was born, and I didn't publish it until nearly three years later. I don't know why it took me so long, but I think I was holding onto it like it was my baby, scared to let it out into the world. But here we are now! I think it was a great way to get my feet wet with independent publishing, and it's still one of my favorite works to date.
I hope you all enjoyed this little glimpse into my consciousness, and stay tuned for some more content! I'm definitely thinking next time, we'll cover some cool lobster facts and I'll drop some sneak peeks at Conditional Immortality!
Until next time!