Saturday, May 03, 2008

Wildwood Summer

The easiest money I've ever made as a writer was the short story I sold to Freshmen a gay men's erotica mag in the 1990s. My story, "Wildwood Summer" was published in the October 1996 issue.

I'm surprised this magazine is still being published - I would have thought the easy access to virtually any erotic genre thought of by humankind through the Internet would have killed paper magazines. I'm sorry to say that my issue is not available on the one back issues site I found, although November and December 1996 are available.

I just re-read my story, and it's not bad, as a story. In fact it's kind of funny how much of the story is not about sex, although the sex bits are quite explicit.

My nom de plume was Eric Lahr, which is an anagram of the name Earl Rich, the insanely sexy married man I was pining for at the time. I never got to show him the published story though - he died a month before the issue came out, in a motorcycle accident.

I'm very big with sublimating my desires into art, and this story is another example. It is a story about two guys, Vinny and Woody, and I lived vicariously through Vinny and Woody was a stand-in for Earl. Not that Earl was gay, although lots of gay men had crushes on him. But Earl liked to surf down the Jersey shore, and his wife was named Michele, with one "L" just like Woody's girlfriend in the story.

At the time I wrote this, I thought I was a real trailblazer, a straight woman writing gay erotica. But actually the fan fiction sub-genre known as "slash" had been around for years. Since then I wrote a play about two women writing a story together called THE SLASH, which I self-produced in 2004. It was later produced by Looking Glass theatre, but I try to forget about that experience, since the director had no respect for me, casting one of the worst actors ever in one of the roles, and then inserting a line from Brokeback Mountain ("I wish I could quit you") for the last performance. One more lousy experience with a director, which is why I direct my stuff myself.

I rarely write anything these days besides playscripts, blog posts, and technical manuals. And actually I'm not a big fiction reader - most fiction bores me. But I do love four particular novels.

I've already adapted two of those four into plays - JANE EYRE and HUCK FINN. I have no desire to adapt "To Kill a Mockingbird" since a good adaptation has already been done, and I can't adapt "Catcher in the Rye" because nobody is permitted to do such a thing. My four favorite novels are all written in first-person, and so is my Wildwood story, and looking at it now, it's funny how much my style is influenced by Catcher. My Vinny sounds like a half-Irish half-Italian gay Holden Caulfield.

I always find it easier to adapt novels into plays than writing original plots. I think I'll adapt my own story into a play.

"Wildwood Summer" is about being true to yourself. And hot manly sex.

Here's how it begins:

This is the story of two guys, Vinny and Woody. I'm Vinny. I met Woody last summer while I was working down the shore in Wildwood, NJ. My job was renting out beach umbrellas and Boogie boards. I liked my job - it paid enough to cover another semester at Rutgers, and I got to hang out on the beach. One thing I especially liked about Wildwood was that it was full of Italian guys. I'm half Italian myself, which is why I tan so deeply, and I'm half Irish, which is why I have the blue eyes. You'll hate me for this, but I'm in great shape and I don't even work out that much. I have one of these wiry, muscular physiques. I know it sounds conceited, but I'm just telling you how it is.

The day I met Woody was typical: I got up, showered, and put on my swim trunks, a pair of flip-flops, shades, and a gold chain with my apartment key around my neck. Then it was off to work. I got to the beach by 11 a.m.

By 2 that day I was bored. I was standing there slathering some more lotion on my smooth pecs when along comes this dork of a customer. At least I thought he was a dork at first because he was wearing a white terry-cloth robe and a straw hat. But when he got up close, I could see that he was a damn cute guy. In this soft, husky voice, he said he wanted to rent an umbrella. I had him sign my clipboard. His name was Woodrow Brooke Lovejoy III.

"That's some name you got," I said. I bet old Lovejoy didn't have to work for his college education; his name said money loud and clear.
"Yeah, I guess. They call me Woody." He smiled this crooked little smile that made my...

You can read the rest of it, with the explicit sex parts left out here.

If you want to read the version published in the magazine you can email me at nancy at mergatroyd dot org and I'll tell you where you can read it online.