A Hard Wood Anniversary

A nearly-forgotten anniversary took me by surprise yesterday: 5 years since the debut of my first full-length book of poetry, Going Fast in Loose Directions.

A fun, mostly-naughty romp of dirty gay sex poems (as requested by the publisher,) Going Fast in Loose Directions was the manifestation of 3 years of writing and workshopping (in public view) sex positive queer poetry on my former Tumblr, Original Content Required. OCR, as my friends and I called it, focused on queer male sexuality in the 2010s: dating and sex in the digital age, the impact of social media, what was lust beyond physical space, and featured poetry and fiction, visual poems, collaborations, response work (numerous pieces that “collaborated” with the art of John MacConnell, with whom I later did formally organized original creations.) OCR was a blast. Time consuming, but great fun. I caused me to become passionate about writing again, introduced me to a lot of interesting artists, photographers and writers, reminded me of how to be disciplined with creative work.

The book wouldn’t have come to be without the blog, where Jared Rourke of the once and formerly awesome small press Queer Young Cowboys found me – we had both written fiction for Headmaster – and inquired about doing a book. I said yes, spent months writing new work, compiling and rewriting poems from the blog.  With a working manuscript in place, Jared designed a gorgeous physical and digital book – the full color PDF still amazes me! Once it debuted in June of 2014, it sold well via the QYC website and Amazon. People seemed to enjoy it, even if the few reviews were savage and quite a few serious poets turned up their noses. I didn’t mind. I hadn’t set out to write literary poetry. We wanted to do a book that was firstly sex positive and secondly accessible. (Sort of Rupi Kaur before she was a thing.) I tried to imbue the book with a little bit of wit and wisdom. The dating app poems in particular – which I’d written in 2010, long before most people across the country had dating and sex apps – were way ahead of their time.

Jared shuttered Queer Young Cowboys a few years ago, which ended my contract with them, leaving Going Fast in Loose Directions out of print. I’ve attempted to find publishers willing to do a second edition or put the book back in print. (It made money!) Many have chosen to dodge the subject matter. Which is understandable. I think this book would be difficult to publish now. If I ever write a second edition, it will need two things: to be more political and raunchier. Maybe someday. Today, I’m just smiling, appreciating the people I met and what I learned from the experience, grateful I had a chance to create and share something that people responded to as a positive in their lives.

Below are a few images from the book.

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PS: Do yourself a favor and DO NOT try to find a copy on Amazon. You’ll experience sticker shock, although it isn’t priced as high as it was a couple years ago when copies were going for $1500.

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