Wednesday, May 09, 2012

North Carolina's Bigotry... and the book I almost wrote

So, I know I've been a terrible blogger of late, given how rarely I've been writing. One of the chief reasons why is my writing shifted focus; instead of state politics, I've been writing a book.

I'm currently on my third draft of the book -- so this baby's inching closer to completion every day -- but I had to step back tonight, after what's happened in North Carolina, to talk about the book I almost wrote.

Writing a book was always something of a dream of mine, so this isn't my first crack at it. In my life, I've had two serious ideas for books before I settled on my current project.

The second idea was going to be about a high school basketball player named Joshua Kenney, who grew up in North Carolina to a very conservative single mother and was forced out of the closet.

As his mother was about to send him away to a 'pray away the gay' program, he ran instead. The book was going to be about his journey through America, and his family's journey toward acceptance (after a healthy dose of panic and regret over a missing child).

I had the bulk of the book planned out, loved the characters, as difficult as it was writing them, and got a good hundred pages deep.... until I decided to stop.

I went on a family trip to visit North Carolina's tri-city area and was wowed by how much it felt like Massachusetts. At first, it served to give me more ideas, but the more I thought about it... the more my book suddenly felt flat.

North Carolina was changing, did I really want to write about something that would feel so.... 1990s?

Then Obama's victory there cemented it, in my mind, and I never looked back.

I couldn't have been more wrong; the battle for equal rights in NC is much further off than I ever would have thought, even a year ago. What I wrote -- and what I planned to write -- absolutely had merit, was realistic and still happens today.

I guess I should dust off that file and see if I want to take another crack at it, once I finish what I'm working on now.

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