As a Youngman Rechy Was My Role Model

Date: 2012-03-10 02:11 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Reading CITY OF NIGHT a year after it was published in the arms of my lover, both of us 20 and in redneck back-woods college isolation from anything supportive of gayness, this book became, and Rechy became, the model on which I built my life. In the early years he was my great teacher of how to be like a hustler which gave me social mobility to pass as "welcome" in any scene. I didn't actually charge money for sex, but I copped a pose of a hustler, and through this persona I lived out a gay life that would have otherwise gone repressed and shoved in a closet somewhere. Blue jean pants and jacket, motorcycle, boots, cowboy or biker, I played the roles, went to the gyms and built a body like (now I'm talking about the real life influence of Rechy's personal history bearing fruit in my own life) to the gym and became a bodybuilder and super "PROUD TO BE GAY" in the bars of the French Quarter, as I played out the extreme script of his way. I never thought Rechy anything but a hero. Sexual Outlaw, for sure, but a man who lived freely in the sexual underground. The writings: CITY OF NIGHT, SEXUAL OUTLAW, NUMBERS, the whole opus! Fuel for my imagination. I became a gay activist, and yet I found no better eyes to see the world of Manhattan and the Duece through than John Rechy's. I wanted to write and did write all my life. I wrote the story again that John Rechy had written, only it was MY VERSION of the life lived freely as a sexual explorer in the night of many cities across this country. I documented it all. It's all in books and the major influence to guide me into writing was John Rechy. I had a chat relationship with one of his writing students on Prodigy when he was teaching in California, and his student was inflamed with the genius of Rechy, just to be near him was to catch on fire. He was so much more intelligent, more clever, purposeful, and deliberate than he let on. His casual approach to men and life was a pose by a master poet and symbolic writer. He lead me to read other gay writers and the list is way too long to put here, but Edmund White in FAREWELL SYMPHONY, Jean Genet in THE MIRACLE OF THE ROSE, and RECHY's CITY OF NIGHT inflamed me with a desire to write beautifully about male-male bonding, and the ways of being sexually alive and gay, free, at home in the night. Everyone thinks, "You'll be killed!" Yet John Rechy guides through the straights of dangerousness and leads to a light, a hope, a wonder. I caught "wonder" from Rechy. His CITY OF NIGHT is in my hands and I am in the arms of my lover and it is 1965 and we are liberated by Rechy deep inside the hidden-most place in the USA. He was such a great liberator! I learned to love from reading how, from Rechy.
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