Several years ago, I wrote a short story titled Carter DuBose. It appeared in a Cleis Press anthology titled Skater Boys. I really liked the story, but when the book came out I was terribly disappointed by the cover, which included some beefcake gym rat with a fancy haircut and trendy shorts. In fact, I wrote the editor to complain that no genuine skater would look that way.
I have known many skateboarders in my life. Most are bright and creative guys, but they are nonconformists. They don’t spend a lot of money on clothes and they don’t style their hair. Some don’t bathe too often, either, like the character Douglas Quick in my story Carter DuBose.
“Carter was eighteen as well, but he looked younger. A few inches shorter than Douglas and skinny as a lawn rake, his coffee-colored hair fell into his brown eyes; it covered his ears and brushed the collar of his hooded sweatshirt. A turned-up nose and long eyelashes gave his face a girlish appearance. His fingers were long and large-knuckled. His skate sneakers were size tens and his jeans hung low on his hipbones. When he spoke, a rasp flavored his tenor voice.”
“A sinewy six-footer, Douglas was a high-school dropout. His yellow hair grew to his shoulders; it fell across his ice blue eyes. A dragon tattoo adorned one forearm. His fingernails were filthy and bitten to nubs. Beneath his T-shirt, Douglas’ pectorals were visible.”
After my story was published, I was bombarded by messages from gay skateboarders who told me they had never read anything either factual or fictional about gay men or boys participating in the skateboarding subculture, and they often thanked me for writing the story. In fact, it seems there’s a rather large segment of the skateboarding population that is gay; it’s just underground and virtually invisible, which is kind of sad, really. So many gay skaters I hear from are desperately lonely because they fear revealing their sexuality to their friends who skate.
Anyway, despite its ridiculous cover, the Skater Boys anthology’s quite a good one, with about fifteen stories form very talented authors. And it was edited by Neil Plakcy who is one of the best I have ever worked with. You can check the book out here:
It’s a sunny and warm day, here on the island. After lunch, my boyfriend and I will perform a thorough cleaning of our house, the first time we’ve done so in about two months. Things are looking kind of grungy around here, so we really need to get the work done. Then we have a party to attend around five PM, with food, booze and a live band. It should be fun.
Have a great Sunday, everyone.