Two writers, two great short stories.
One by one, they all fell asleep, leaving me and Michael alone to staple ourselves.
“Watch this,” I said, jamming one into my forehead.
With each new staple, our placement moved toward more dangerous locales, one upping each other with every new blast.
A cheek, a nose, a nipple, an ear, these were all fair game, but we stopped ourselves, deciding to call the competition a tie before either of us stapled our eyelids or pricks.
The one thing we hadn’t really factored into our stapling game was how the hell we were going to pick these things out of our bodies. On The Discovery Channel, gorillas harvest dirt and ticks out of each other’s fur. That’s what it must have been like, watching me and Michael pry staples out. We were the most magnanimous gorillas.
The second is a heartbreaker. “The Boy Dies” by Casey Hannan.
You wake up with another man’s erection in your hand. You were dreaming about a swordfight. A dog barked. The dog was your phone.
“I am so common,” you think.
Your phone tells you happy birthday. You are 30. It’s time to shave the beard you promised your boyfriend you would shave.
“Who is this man?” your boyfriend says.
He leans in and gets drunk on your aftershave.
You hand him the grocery bag you’ve used to collect your facial hair. He says he’ll throw it out later. You watch him place it on a shelf in the pantry. He arranges two scented candles on either side.
Your boyfriend hands you a box. It’s not wrapped. The box is a Whitman’s Sampler. You’ve often imagined your laptop keyboard as a chocolate bar. You are allergic to chocolate.
You open the box. You cut your eyes on the new chef’s knife inside.
I’m not much for resolutions but I’ve found that having predefined goals has become really useful now that I’m entirely self-employed. There are a few ideas that I’ve been mulling over, some of them for years. This feels like the right time to spell them out, to make them real.
The following are creative goals. While there’s certainly an overlap between my creative goals and my professional goals, these reflect what I’d like to accomplish as an artist and creator. My goals for Queer Young Cowboys and for freelance work fall outside of this spectrum.
Without further ado, my 2014 goals are:
Write a novel.
I’ve already started on this one. My writing productivity has increased dramatically over the past month. It turns out that writing every day will do that. I’ve completed four short stories in the past two weeks; three of those were written completely in that time.
Given that virtually all of the stories I put together involve at least two men touching penises, my aim is to complete a gay romance novel and see how viable those are as a path to income. I’ve talked about this for years, but I’m in more of a “put out or shut up” position than I’ve ever been in before. While I intend to continue publishing and doing freelance work, novels seem like my best chance at self-generated income.
Write and produce a short film.
My husband has not always been thrilled about this idea, but I think we’ve reached an agreement, a level of acceptance and necessity, for me to move forward with this. I’m continually inspired by the works of filmmakers like Travis Mathews, Noel Hortas, and Antonio De Silva.
For a long time, filmmaking was my first passion. My husband has a degree in film production (although he’s currently a nurse). These are skills in my toolset. I would like to see what happens when I bring the Queer Young Cowboys mindset to film.
Start a magazine.
This is the more ethereal goal. I have ideas.
Do more photography.
I did my first photoshoot back when I published Blowjob 3. I’ve come a long way since then. I did a photoshoot in Mid-December, and I’m currently editing photos from that shoot. You’ve already seen examples, though; they act as the headers to this blog, and I used one of the photos as my New Year card.
Marlen Boro‘s fantastic work has provided a beautiful aesthetic to Queer Young Cowboys, and I hope to work with Marlen for years to come (Marlen, I totally owe you an email. To do list, check.) It’s fair to say that Queer Young Cowboys probably wouldn’t still exist without his work.
Even outside of our partnership, Marlen is a huge inspiration for me, as well as photographers like Jeremy Lucido, Mikel Martin, and Walt Cessna. In 2014, I’d like to dramatically expand my photography experience and output, to take what I can from inspiration and contribute my own perspective.
A year is an abritray measure of time, but measures of time are what allow us to set goals, to accomplish things. It’s not enough to plan day to day, or even month to month, although each of these projects needs to be broken down into smaller projects, little goals that will build to larger projects. 2013 brought me a lot of change, 2014 presents a lot of opportunity.
I promise not to let it go to waste.
If you follow me on Facebook, chances are that you already know this. But chances are, also, that you don’t follow me on Facebook so I thought that I’d mention it here:
I’m getting married. In two days. To the man I’ve been with for the past eleven years. It is weird and ridiculous. We wanted to wait until our home state recognized our marriage, but things keep changing.
From our open letter to our friends and family:
A confluence of recent positive steps, in both our state and our federal government, means that to hold out longer would be to deny ourselves some very important rights. With the fall of (part of) the Defense of Marriage Act, we can now file our federal taxes jointly. Recently, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced that couples who filed their federal taxes jointly could also file their state taxes jointly even if their marriage isn’t recognized in-state.
More importantly, the Affordable Care Act includes several provisions meant to protect LGBT individuals, including the fact that a married couple is considered, at minimum, a two-person family regardless of whether or not their home state recognizes said marriage. Currently, as a “single” male, J doesn’t qualify for coverage (as Missouri chose not to expand Medicaid), but as a married couple, we’ll likely fall above the minimum income threshold for a family of two.
This Friday, December 6th, we’re taking a road trip to Iowa. We’re getting married. And then we’re going to begin planning our wedding. But! you say. Shouldn’t you plan your wedding before you get married? If we were doing things the traditional way, we’d agree with you.
However, we don’t want to rob you (or us) of the chance to have an awesome celebration just because we’re eloping. So, this summer (probably in June, possibly in July) we’ll be throwing a wedding here in Missouri. Stages of said celebration have been in the planning for a long time. Now it’s down to the details.
So now I’m down to the wire on a pretty big project and also driving North in two days to get married and oh, hey, there’s a snow storm coming.
And in trying to take the picture above, I almost lost my ring down the air return grate. Turns out that ridiculous moment doesn’t just happen in the movies.
This has been an interesting year. I worked at a bank. I got fired for the first time. I lived on unemployment. I designed an album cover and tour ephemera. I designed book covers and logos and websites. I published two books, although it feels like more. I made good friends. I watched a lot of porn. I touched a stripper where I wasn’t supposed to — he made me do it. I made bad choices, and good choices.
Now I face crunch time. Do I dive in and make the freelance + publishing life work? Or do I throw the towel in and get a new job so that my partner and I can stop living in fear every time the mail comes with a new bill. That last part is an exaggeration; we’re doing fine. I’m just not holding up my end of things, and to a Midwestern boy raised on work-to-support-your-family values, that’s emotionally difficult.
Right now, I’m supposed to be writing. It’s deadline time for Postal Porn: A Queer Young Cowboys Holiday Project. I’m super excited about this project, but I need some things to fall in place. I’m not exactly a holiday person, but we were sitting around bullshitting one day and we came up with this idea of a Christmas letter where a guy writes a former lover and tells him about his life in the year since they broke up. From there it became about creating a real letter, tucked in a real Christmas card, sent out to people like misdirected mail. It’s very limited edition. You should buy one.
I haven’t done much writing over the past year. I’m trying to change that. I also have been largely absent from blogging, and generally connecting with people. I miss you. I would like to talk to you. Send me an email. Tell me how your year is going. Tell me what turns you on. Tell me what you’re afraid of. Tell me something.