Just about every piece I’ve ever written has something to do with Idaho. If not directly, then indirectly through the examination of my life and my family and how I was brought up. After all, it all happened in Idaho: way out of town, Pocatello, on a one hundred and sixty acre farm. My overly zealous Catholic mother, my distant dry-drunk father, an older sister who dressed me up as a girl until I went to grade school, the Mormon community I was bussed through every day to get to the St. Joseph’s School.
There I stood on the side of the road, my hair neatly parted in my Catholic School uniform, holding onto my books and red binder. I was the mark for every bully in Bannock County.
I think too, the sense of otherness and isolation that’s in my work has its roots in Idaho as well. I’ve always been trying to figure out how other people act and why they act that way so I can know too. Of course, it has so much to do with being gay. But “gay” wasn’t even a something when I was growing up in the 1950’s. I knew you weren’t supposed to wear green on Thursdays because that made you a “queer,” but I had no sense of what “queer” was. I knew it was a man who had sex with men but that was a concept totally foreign to me. During adolescence, boys wanted to have sex with me but I was so Catholic, I thought that anything sexual was a mortal sin. So in many ways, I had to learn to reprogram myself really in order to even be touched.
To read the entire article go to Nailed.