I’ve been thinking a lot lately about writing a book, something I’ve always wanted to do, but have never really tried to do. Something I don’t begin to know how to do. I know it won’t be easy, and I also know there’s a lot of crap out there—I want this to be good. Really, really good. Anyone can write a book. But it takes a special person to write a kick-ass book. Right?
The book I fantasize about writing is probably much bigger than I and too much to undertake, at least at this point in my life. The book I would actually write is likely a collection of shorter essays (not as daunting, perhaps more doable) and geared towards young adults. I would like to draw from my own experiences, predominantly my dad’s coming out and the aftermath for me.
My dad came out of the closet not long after my 15th birthday. It was sudden and unexpected. Shortly thereafter he moved out and my two younger brothers and I continued to live with our mom.
Shortly after dad’s revelation I went to Waldenbooks at Lakeside Mall (this was before the days of Barnes & Noble, before the Internet, etc.) and asked the saleswoman for help. I told her I needed to find books on “having a gay parent.” She sort of giggled and hesitated, looking at me like I was crazy. Then she led me to the children’s section in the back and handed me a copy of “Heather Has Two Mommies,” by Leslea Newman. I’m not knocking Leslea Newman or anything, but that book (in case you didn’t know) is geared towards 2-5 year olds and is about 30 pages long.
I need to do some research, but I’m not sure there’s been a whole lot written since then for kids, and perhaps even less for tweens/teens. I also think it’s completely different to be born as the child of a gay couple than it is to be born to a more (for lack of a better word) traditional couple that later disintegrates because one or both decide to come out. Does that make any sense?
How do I get started? If you were going to read a book like this, what would you be interested in hearing? Am I supposed to query publishing companies first to find out if there would be any potential interest in the project, or do I wait until I actually have something substantial before I shop around? I am utterly clueless.
I just keep thinking that surely the world needs a Judy Blume-esque book about having a parent come out of the closet (though I don’t presume to equate myself with someone as amazing as Judy Blume!). In this age there are more and more topics kids need to become familiar & more comfortable with.