The "True Love" Solution - Julie BozzaThe Joyful Exuberance of Jules
The main character of my novel The ‘True Love’ Solution is Jules Madigan, a gay, ginger-haired accountant, all too conscious that he’s about to turn 30. Apart from the red hair, the most noticeable thing about him is that he’s rather camp. I like to think of this aspect of Jules as him simply being his Own True Self. He was raised by a very loving and accepting (even encouraging!) father, and so this vivid hot-house flower wasn’t stinted for warmth or sunlight as he grew.
I just Googled ‘camp’, and came up with all kinds of definitions, responses and explorations that I couldn’t possibly work through in a full-length tome let alone within a short blog post. So, if I may, I’ll comment on a few instances that seem to me to apply to Jules – and also to me, as he always was rather an alter-ego for me.
Damian Barr, in a 2014 article in New Statesman, talks about “men who refuse to perform masculinity and women who refuse to be corseted by femininity”. Rather than seeing ‘camp’ itself as a performance, I was interested in writing about how someone would be if they refused to perform or be limited by traditional roles associated with gender and sexuality. What a delightful freedom that would be!
J. Bryan Lowder, in a 2013 article in Slate, talks about the 1958 film Auntie Mame being “too sincere in its joyful exuberance” to be considered camp these days, as it’s lacking an essential irony. I haven’t seen the film (yet!) but a sincerely joyful exuberance sounds exactly right for Jules. That’s what you’d find in his heart. But we are all able to deal in layers of meaning, and he and the other characters are emotionally and intellectually intelligent enough to know where irony can be found amidst those layers.
There are some interesting points about the camp approach to culture on the ever-reliable Wikipedia. Camp seeks to undermine the unequal values that society places on ‘high art’ vs ‘popular culture’. Jules, with his unstinting love of romance novels, would certainly enjoy challenging the commonly found snobbery about this genre. Hurrah!
Wikipedia also declares that “camp necessarily needs to be lively, audacious and dynamic”. Jules necessarily needs to be those things, too! It’s one of the things I love him for – and his two potential love interests are drawn to him for his good heart and his lively manner.
If you give my novel a try, dear Reader, I hope you’ll come to love Jules Madigan – just as Archie, Jem, Ewan, Leonard and I all do!
Length: 45,000 words
Publisher: Manifold Press