Justin's Life...

~ June 2001 ~
~ June 14th - 29th ~

June 14, 2001 - Thursday

Last night, as I was driving to Wal-Mart, I had my radio tuned to the country music station when I heard a DJ ask the listeners to come out and meet some of the radio personalities. There was nothing usual about that: they always seemed to be out somewhere giving away promotional junk... but what caught my attention was that they were meeting folks at Kickers/Hamburger Mary's. Kickers is the gay cowboy bar part of the Hamburger Mary's indubitably gay restaurant. I was listening to country music, not pop or easy listening, but country music, and they were meeting folks at a gay cowboy bar.

Amazing how far we've come...


Sitting on a plane back to Kentucky, I find myself surrounded by people reading books, and I can't help but wonder why they're not reading mine. Sure, it doesn't yet exist and the manuscript is only 90% or so completed, but without regular encouragement and with no idea as to how I'll fund its publication, I find my motivation waning... until I am in the midst of people reading books. And then, for a split second, I think that I can get my book out there and that there will be interest.

Ironically, I think my biggest problem is believing that people will want to read and pay for what I write... yet I'm writing this on the back of a three page faux newsletter which a new reader created just to catch my attention. The cerebral part knows that there is interest, but without the real life "you can do it" encouragement coming from people I know, I continue to doubt my book's chance for success.

Mark and Lisa haven't been there as I'd hoped, as I read in our initial conversation about publishing. They're caught up in their own lives, which I understand, but sometimes I really just wish I had someone there, believing in me, giving me that heartfelt real-life "you can do it" motivation.

That's one of the aspects I miss most about Larry: He knew me almost entirely and never failed to believe in me.

Oh well, anyway, I'm heading to Kentucky and I'm going to try and have no deep or stressful thoughts... but I'm sure that won't happen. If anything, I think a lot more back home.


June 17, 2001 - Sunday
11:31AM Eastern Daylight Savings Time

With the rest of the family having gone to church, I think this is the first time I've been home alone since arriving on Thursday. Indeed, the last hour has been the first real down time I've had in the past 60 or so hours, but I'm glad to be back home for a while... and I'm getting a new, slightly different perspective on being gay in Kentucky as well.

Thursday night, still being on Pacific time and often not going to bed until after midnight in California, I got online to look through personal ads for guys back here. I found six that were worth a response, and long story short, I met two of those guys Friday night. After getting home that evening, I again got online but this time went to a chat room, just to see who was out there. As opposed to the almost exclusively skank talk dominating the L.A. chat rooms and the largely skanky talk in the San Diego rooms, the Kentucky room was rather tame. There were still cock sizes and body descriptions scrolling by, but most of the conversations weren't about hooking up "NOW." I began a couple one-on-one chats, and long story short on that, met another guy here in Richmond the next day.

Whereas before I thought it would be impossible to be gay and happy back here, now I'm wondering about that. The dating pool is much smaller, but there's a certain quality to the folks back here that's really hard to find in California... unless they've moved from back East.

Oh well, just an observation worth exploring further.

Other than that, I've peed outside under the stars with the crickets chirping several times -- Amazing how free that feels --, and I actually enjoyed getting drenched in the rain the other day during a major thunderstorm. Things are different here, that's for sure, but I think I like it.


June 20, 2001 - Wednesday
3:38PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time

On a recent episode of Sex And The City, Miranda had issues with her boyfriend peeing in front of her, and she eventually dumped him when he defecated with the bathroom door open... Umm, let's just say living back here with my family for the past few days, I've got Miranda beat. Her guy didn't have an upset stomach as he left the door open, nor did he suffer from PMS. Fortunately, I didn't get to view those simultaneously (read: different family members) and I guess technically, I didn't view the latter directly, but I did see the aftermath.

And now, typing this here, I laugh to myself at the irony of living in a household where swear words are forbidden but where a conversation about bodily functions today at Cracker Barrel made me think, "Eeew, gross. Did I just hear that while I'm eating my cheeseburger?"

What's even more ironic is that my friend Dan was recently chastizing me for bringing up inappropriate topics in restaurants... If he only knew what I heard back here while sitting around the dinner table, he'd be relieved when I took the conversation to something mundane like penis size.

Oh well, they're my family and I still love 'em.


June 26, 2001 - Tuesday

Riding on the plane back to California, I decided I was really going to start getting my life in order once I got back to San Diego. And, remarkably, I've been doing just that.

I've started really getting into work, I've pushed myself to do things of which I have a phobia, and I'm tackling my fear of appearing ignorant. As for work, I've stopped making excuses about why I can't do things and instead I've come from the mindset of "how can I make it work with what I've got." I mean, I've told others that before, but I was guilty of doing the same thing. Not anymore.

In regards to the phobias and appearing ignorant, I've pushed myself to make phone calls to the maintenance office, the doctor's office, the fitness center, the cable company, and others. I've asked questions, stated problems, and been largely unafraid of appearing stupid. I've tackled that fear of phone calls to non-friends or potential friends, and as with most things, the apprehension was worse than the deed.

Moreover, lately, when my friends have used a word I do not know, I've said, "What does that mean exactly?" I've stopped trying to appear so invincible in the eyes of those around me, and this morning I started a two week trial membership at a local health club. My moving out was all about me learning to live, and ya know what, I'm gonna do it.


June 29, 2001 - Friday

Like most people, I live my life day to day, rarely stopping to appreciate just how special or unique my life really is, but today I'm doing just that. I'm sitting here almost in awe of just how unique and wonderful my life has been. I've lived in Kentucky, Boston, L.A., and San Diego, and I've known some of the most amazing people. I've had experiences that most will never have and I've shared many of those experiences in a way which has allowed people I've never met to care about me. What a life I've lived. What a life I live.

Actually, I got into this mindset for a reason... but first a little background.

A couple weeks ago, Jay forwarded me the personal ad of a red head in L.A.. I checked it out and immediately recognized the picture. It was Chuck, who I originally talked to in 1996. He and I had talked again in 1999 and it didn't go anywhere, but I wasn't single then so I didn't really pursue it either.

Anyway, seeing his ad and figuring what was the worst that could happen, I attempted to restart communication with a quick e-mail.

His memory was a little foggy as to what had happened between us at first, but soon enough, with a little quoting of his own e-mails to prove that he'd previously decided I wasn't a bad guy, we got on a good track and started e-mailing.

Today, I read over an e-mail where he told me to check out his movie trailer on his website. I went there and clicked the link expecting to see the standard home video-ish schlock. Instead, I saw recognizable faces and real locations. I saw soundtracks and high end editing. I was impressed. Chuck had done it. His site way back when was about making a movie, and here it was, his first real film. We'd both started out at about the same time, and he'd realized his goal. As odd as it seemed, with us never having met in real life, I was proud of him.

And then, thinking about it, I realized just how special my life is as well. I'm realizing my goal of publishing a book, of being a "real" author. I'm still worried that somehow, someway it won't end up being printed or no one will buy it, but I'm hanging in there and I "know" my book will one day soon be a reality. And Chuck's realizing his goal of making movies. He's still looking for a distributor. But he's got the movie: It's there, in post-production. He's doing it. We're both doing it. We're both living. We're both leaving our mark on this world... and that's amazing.

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© 2001 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's