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Sunday, August 22, 2010

MY QUEER WAR

James Lord wrote his last book MY QUEER WAR, a memoir of his soldier years during WWII. James's entire life was shaped and transformed by his experience. He was haunted by the war. He wrote three novels about the war, none published.  When he talked about the war, the Nazis, the internment camps, he waved his hand in the air, his voice trailing off, anyway...
James died one year ago, August.  He wrote me several letters saying he was busy writing and then rewriting the book. Told me he finished the book, in the middle of the night after he got up to take a piss.

I've read some reviews and they are pretty poor.  The NY Times review was by a friend/acquaintance ruminating on the fascinating expatriate, James Lord.  He spends only a few good paragraphs on the book. The rest of the reviews, say the book suffers from its "purple prose." The book is not overwritten.  This is James's style.  I guess it is not in vogue.  My hope is that young people will find this work as it is; brutally honest and full of life.   Just as James was.


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  2. I found this book by random chance at the much abused Frances Howard Goldwyn Library in Hollywood. I had been earnestly trying to read some classics that were neglected in my education such as Camus, Virginia Woolfe, Harper Lee...but I found my attention wandering, completion something of a chore, and I was looking for something more personally relevant. I have to say that I have found that and more. I haven't been this deeply engrossed in a novel since perhaps childhood; and yes, while the writing is insufferably florid at times, and has me constantly googling this or that arcane word or reference (which, honestly, is its own pleasure)-- the overall heartbeat of a queer man looking for love and meaning in this world is so resonant with my own experience that I find myself almost unbearably affected by his heartbreaks and romantic could-have-beens as if it was I myself in love with Hanno, or as if it was I myself forced to torture prisoners in a DP camp... I can feel it all so vividly, as if I have taken a tour in his soul. And though there is much darkness in Jim Lord's world, I somehow find his experiences deeply validating and encouraging... for I too have suffered unrequited love in the perfection of youth for a man whose affections were ambiguous... I too swore to stifle my impulses and longed for spiritual transcendence... I too experienced the raptures and pitfalls of sexual liberation and experimentation and entrance into the 'gay' life. Somehow I find this older soul closer to my own, and in deeper consonance with the way i want to be in the world than the aggressively shallow and spiritually vacant gay world of west hollywood where I have yet to find the love I may have come to California looking for. My Queer War has given me a strange sort of hope for my own queer life and the man I wish to become, and a perspective on some of the more difficult facets of the queer experience that may not be so worthy of self-recrimination ... love and pain are deeply conjoined companions in every gay man's heart and it brings me a strange sort of comfort to know that this is a shared experience.

    however, if I could ask T/3 Lord something today, it would be-- why the hell did you not sleep with Major Jones?? He sounded amazingly hot! This I can't wrap my head around. because he was still nursing a platonic ideal of his first infatuation with Hanno? move on solider! what I would give for that opportunity...!

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