I probably started this post at least thirty or so times. Each attempt ended in a frustrating failure, one that made me wonder if I have anything to say at all. Sure, I could talk about the recent queer romances I’ve read and how sexy and lovely they are. Or maybe I could discuss the state of the publishing industry and the need for more visible and diverse stories. But while these and similar topics are important, I’m not sure I have anything new to add to the existing conversations.
Where does that leave me? What else do I have to offer? I thought about writing a short story, one about two boys who fall in love and make out a lot. There would’ve been some conflict in there, too, but really, it was going to be all about the kissing. Problem is, I’m horrible at writing short stories. So I continued wracking my brain for other ideas, anything that would explain why we all need stories, why it’s important to see our beautiful and queer selves in the media we consume.
But that was all very Big Picture, which was the problem. As soon as I stopped thinking about everyone else and circled back to what I had to say, I eventually realized I needed to go back to the very beginning of my storytelling: music.
When I began questioning my sexuality and coming to terms with who I was and wanted to be, I turned to music to sort out my feelings. With a few years of piano and choir under my belt, I started writing songs—private melodies where I could explore and question and accept what it meant to be gay and, at the time, a gay teenager. Naturally, a lot of my songs were about love, which, at the time, was the ultimate achievement. I believed if I could just find my Prince Charming, everything would be okay.
I wrote “The November Song” in 2010 and it’s still one of my favorite pieces because of how it captures just how frustrated I was in high school, crushing on people (boys!) who would never feel the same way and not knowing what exactly it was that I was feeling. And I think that’s something a lot of us in the queer community can relate to. After all, teenage angst and unrequited love is universal, is it not?
So this is my story—or, at least, part of it. Thank you for listening, for always listening.
Be proud, write loud.
About DJ DeSmyter
DJ DeSmyter is an editorial assistant by day and writes stories about hot guys and kissing at night. When he’s not editing or writing, he can be found wandering New York City with his camera in hand or singing at the piano.