• Keith Banner

Bobbie Ann Genet

Updated: May 20, 2020

The next 3:

"Feast" from, November 1998

"A Planet Called Eugene" from Obsessed, 1999

"Jamboree" from, June 1999

The 2 stories, "Feast" and "Jamboree," follow a couple of losers who are in love with each other. Working-class, broke, young men. My thought at the time: what if Bobbie Ann Mason and Jean Genet had a baby? It would be me. Fingers crossed. Profane but country, down-to-earth and really gay, but gayness without a lot of fussiness or trying, just a part of everything else. So those 2 stories are about that, pulling together what is often tagged as "elegant" with what is often described as "white-trash." K-Mart Fiction and delicate ruminations about masculinity. The same with the essay, "A Planet Called Eugene," which fuses adolescent sexuality with Alien, a movie so brilliantly what it is it truly does make sense to love it beyond what it is.

Something about wanting to break free from what you are supposed to feel and getting down to actually feeling it.

Funny story: right around this time, 1999, Bobbie Ann Mason was on a book tour and Bill and I cornered her at the Borders in Tri-County Ohio. We were just about the only ones there. Someone had told me that she'd been sent copy of my novel The Life I Lead to blurb. This was right before it came out I think. So I totally went off on how much I loved In-Country and Shiloh and Other Stories and so on so forth, but then I let her know who I was and that I had my first novel coming out, and she froze. She looked stricken. Punchline: I think someone HAD sent her the book to blurb, but she freaked out on it. It was about a child-molester, but done in a version of her K-Mart and beautiful style. Too much for her. God bless her.

Nonetheless, I persisted. She was nice enough to sign her book for me, but she wasn't going to have anything to do with me. That's life. That's The Life I Lead.

In space no one can hear you scream....

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