As part of the GRNW 2014 conference keynote on Sept. 20, 2014, we asked five writers to share the messages they would send to their past or future selves. We are happy to share these messages with you.
Below is a message from author Rick R. Reed.
Remember when you used to write horror? Gruesome stuff that made people, when they met you, wonder how someone so soft-spoken and mild-mannered could come up with such awful stuff?
Yeah, you remember. Some magazine even dubbed you the Stephen King of gay horror.
Yet now, most of your writing focuses on love stories. You have Rick bright and dark. And I wonder why you changed.
I don’t wonder much, to be honest. The truth is your life changed and your writing reflected that. See, for a time the one thing you wanted from life was to find love, to find a family to call your very own.
And you worked at it. God knows you did. A marriage to a woman. A series of boyfriends, three of them live-in, that never lasted more than a couple of years. All of these left you feeling unsatisfied. They all started out pretty, like a birthday cake, and then ended up like a birthday cake dropped on the floor, still traces of sweet, but with dirt, grit, disappointment and heartache mixed in with buttercream frosting.
Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. And you know how that relates to writing horror. You understand that the heartbreak and fear of loneliness and being alone drove you to create troubled characters, people who were out of control, people who were desperate and who feared that the worst could—and sometimes did—happen.
People like you. And your love life that never worked out. In retrospect, it made sense that you wrote horror.
But then, about twelve years ago, something changed. You answered an ad online and, contrary to most of those tenuous web-based connections, there was something there when you started e-mailing this one guy. He made you laugh. He got you. You talked. It was enough to make you want to meet in person after a couple of weeks.
You did. And you remember that first sighting of this guy when you went to pick him up, sitting on the steps waiting for you. He was wearing jeans and a blue pinstriped T-shirt. And with just one look, you fell in love.
It was scary. Even though things were good right from the start, you had too many scars to believe that, maybe this time, you’d be lucky. Maybe this time, he’d stay. So you resisted and clung desperately to what you told him you needed—your independence.
That lasted for all of three or four months.
You couldn’t help it. It was too true. You were in love, real love this time and it felt like more than just the heat of passion, it felt like the beating heart of family, in the truest and best sense of the word.
So you went on and nested and, unlike all the other relationships that had crashed and burned, you never once questioned your decision to be with this man. You still don’t. And now you’re legally married and looking forward to growing old with this person you never thought would cross the threshold into your life.
And to my younger Rick or Ricky, I would say, embrace both your dark and light, in both your writing and your life. But be thankful to fate, god, whatever force brought you to this man you call husband, soul mate, family…because he made it possible to be a romance writer.
And that really means something.
Read more of the 2014 GRNW Keynote, “Write with Pride.”
A Message from Jordan Castillo Price
About the Author
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery, and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation, and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” In his spare time, Rick is an avid runner, loves to cook, and reads voraciously. Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”
Visit Rick’s website at http://www.rickrreed.com or follow his blog at http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/. You can also like Rick on Facebook or on Twitter. Rick always enjoys hearing from readers and answers all e-mails personally. Send him a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.