How a porno novella started Bo's writing career

A couple of years ago a good friend of mine was taking Andrea’s writing class and suggested I join. I asked, “Writing?  What could I possibly write about?”

“You’re always telling stories," he said. “Why not write them down?” 

I thought the extent of my writing had been college research papers and e-mails for work until I remembered Faye’s Fantasies, the porno novella I wrote in junior high.  

I was a scared, very closeted gay kid growing up in the Bible belt. Faye’s Fantasies featured my social studies teacher, Faye, and her gym teacher husband, Jerry. 

At the public library I had recently come across the classic sex manual from the late 60’s, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask.  I appropriated the more bizarre sexual behaviors for Faye and Jerry, who, in my book, engaged in those behaviors with the janitors and the cafeteria workers.

People laughed their asses off when they read it—it even brought me some new-found respect from a couple of school bullies.  But I soon realized that my book could fall into the wrong hands, and that I could get into BIG, BIG trouble, so one day I took it to the woods and burned it.  Not a trace was left, except its memory, which is brought up at my high school reunions.  

Faye’s Fantasies helped me express and cope with anger and frustration in a way that put me in the driver’s seat.  So I signed up for Andrea’s class, which turned into "Writing Class Radio."  

I know I’m no William Faulkner or Ernest Hemingway, but I realize that I don’t have to be.  I just have to tell my stories.  Writing gives me a chance to step out of the everyday grind and tune into my own mind—my memories, my subconscious—and that’s valuable and therapeutic to me, and that's why I continue to do it.  It is also a lot of fun!

How did you get started?

 

allison langer

Allison Langer, MBA, travelled the States taking pictures, later worked for a ski photographer, then took pictures of her friends and their babies. This was the start of a 20-year photography business. She also taught high school photography and entrepreneurship. As her students wrote their business plans, she wrote hers to create a podcast about her writing class, which is now Writing Class Radio.

the big launch: live at last on itunes and stitcher

so, now that we’re live, i’ve sent emails to all my friends, clients and acquaintances  asking them to listen to our podcast. with each click, I asked myself, “will they feel sorry for me? will people care? will they want to listen to more?” i’ve said things about my mom that were not meant for her ears. they were meant for my class…for me, really, so i could understand how two people who love each other so much can infuriate each other so easily. i’ve made comments about motherhood. how draining and unfulfilling it can be. how most days i just want to run off and play tennis, windsurf, read, work! will people think i’m a shitty mom?

…so my mom is going to hear me say things like camel toe, braless, angry and they all refer to her. will she stop speaking to me? will the people we write about abandon us? i guess i’ll find out.

andrea, my co-producer and writing teacher, says that the job of a writer is to write without concern for what other people think. “write first and apologize later.”

so far, i have gotten some really positive feedback. my friend wendi said, “write a book. i think you are powerful and unique and many people could benefit from learning about you and your journey.” my friend michael said, “i’ve always admired you – smart, strong, fearless.” maybe my friends who wonder why i air my grief to the world are not commenting. to those people, I would say, (and I stole this from brene brown) “because the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live.”

 

everyone has a story. what's yours?

allison langer

Allison Langer, MBA, travelled the States taking pictures, later worked for a ski photographer, then took pictures of her friends and their babies. This was the start of a 20-year photography business. She also taught high school photography and entrepreneurship. As her students wrote their business plans, she wrote hers to create a podcast about her writing class, which is now Writing Class Radio.

production is a huge production

hey, it's allison, (i'm not a cap-user, so i hope that doesn't bug you....especially since this is a writing class and one would expect a producer and student to abide by the usual rules of writing) but i feel like it slows me down and my creativity gets blocked. this will bug andrea when she reads the blog, and she will try to convince me to change my ways, at least here, and we will discuss it over indian food and she will win. she always does. she is very convincing...and usually correct. If you are reading all this blah blah about caps, then i may have won this time!

it's been 6 months since andrea and I decided to create a podcast of our writing class. the pilot episode describes why i decided to enroll in andrea's very first writing class at miami-dade college, so i won't bore you with that. we used to play tennis, more before the podcast began occupying our free time, and she always won there too. she played at penn....maybe she deserves to win. but i love the challenge and we loved discussing our favorite things about class that week. we'd attempt to solve everyone's problems...including our own. the themes were universal, love, dating, death, work, and the students were so colorful. we wanted to share them with the world. 

so, 4 episodes in, we now realize that to produce a great podcast, it takes more than great content...it takes patience, more time in the day, a great team (which we have), a LOT of research, and listeners who love our show.

we want to hear from you, so listen to our pilot, which is up on our website, and tell us what you like/don't like/want to hear more of. the big launch on itunes is october 24th. itunes will publish all 4 episodes (if all goes well) with 8 expected in season 1.

we believe that everyone has a story. what's yours?

allison langer

Allison Langer, MBA, travelled the States taking pictures, later worked for a ski photographer, then took pictures of her friends and their babies. This was the start of a 20-year photography business. She also taught high school photography and entrepreneurship. As her students wrote their business plans, she wrote hers to create a podcast about her writing class, which is now Writing Class Radio.