Monday, October 14, 2019

Craig Chats: So... I Did A Thing...

So… I did a thing.

In March of last year, I announced I was no longer going to be writing M/M books. Since then, I’ve attempted my hand at YA, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi, but kept getting derailed by life.
I had a flood. I bought a house. My ex left me and I lost that house. It’s been a journey.
Then, about five months ago, I got this crazy idea—what if I wrote about myself? My life. My story. What if I told the tale of how I came to be here, with all the twists and turns life threw at me?
That’s how “That Time I… Survived My Teens” was born, and I’m SO glad I did it.

This book has kept me sane through my breakup while simultaneously helping me come to terms with a lot of anger and hatred from my past. Whenever I felt like crying about my relationship, or my mind was invaded my memories from 10+ years ago, I turned to this book and let it out. I let it all out. 

And I feel so much better for it.

All I can ask is that you give it a shot. I can’t promise my journey will do much for you, other than (hopefully) elicit a few laughs, but if you want to read about a queer kid growing up in a homophobic town, experimenting with booze and boys on the weekends, then this might be for you.


The Saturday prior to starting this memoir, my ex-fiancé and I had two of his work friends over for an old-fashioned games night. And when I say “old-fashioned,” I’m talking about dice, cards, racking up your points on an abacus, etc. You know, the things people entertained themselves with before politicians blamed every violent fart that wafted their way on video games.

Stop doing that.

Anyway, seeing as I didn’t know who these people were and would’ve much rather spent the evening on the sofa with our dog, I was less than optimistic. If anything, the whole ordeal was going to be like sitting through a Christopher Nolan movie. Sure, I’d say I was having a great time to fit in, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t have a clue what was happening, and I’d probably need to take a nap midway through.

Hours before they arrived, just as I’d started to have those “what if I accidentally say something so obscenely offensive or mind-numbingly stupid, I’ll be haunted by the memory of it for years to come” thoughts, my ex ran down into the basement in which I dwell, his eyes frantic, and begged—

“Please don’t talk about choking on dicks when they get here.”

Come again?

“Please, Craig. That kind of talk makes them uncomfortable. Don’t do it.”

I felt a flurry of emotions in the picosecond it took for his words to register: amused, bemused, offended. It sounded like a joke, but his face was full of fear—a fear that I would be unequivocally crude to these complete strangers, and that my behavior would burn bridges he obviously wanted to keep erect (more on erections later).

That was when it hit me like a pair of loose-hanging nuts to the taint; a realization that I, Craig Thomas Barker, had a pattern of behavior that stretched across my life since adolescence—

I’m the person you get warned about before meeting. I’m the person that gets warned before going anywhere.

Like Carrie Bradshaw, “I couldn’t help but wonder” why that was. So, in order to understand who I am today, I decided to take a look at the years that shaped me. I spread my life out on the table, lubed it with the flare of artistic exaggeration, and went at it until I found my answer.

This isn’t so much a memoir as it is a gay’s journey to discover himself; don’t expect structure, coherency, or a thoroughly thought out narrative with a climactic closing paragraph that gives any of this dribble closure. I’m no one special, I’m not famous, and I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said before, but I have lived a life, and all twenty-six years of that life has culminated in a single sentence—

“Please don’t talk about choking on dicks when they get here.”

This memoir explains why…
And it was cheaper than therapy.

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