Jacob Louder’s literary porn novella, FIRST, launches tomorrow. Jake’s book is rad, and you shouldn’t read it unless you’re comfortable with young folks who are under the “legal age of consent” having powerful and connected sex with one another–sex that helps them to be and discover who they are. (Hats off here to Nabakov, who we pretty much idolize at GDP.) Anyhoo, I asked Jake to send me five texts–or “sexts,” if you will–explaining why he decided to write about kids having sex, in First. Here’s what he sent:
1. I’m continually impressed with kids who can identify who they are as sexual beings at such an early age. Even if they can’t identify who they are just yet, it seems like they’re more open to exploration and less consumed with labels. In First, I romanticized this idea. Everyone does what they want with people who want it, with no thought on the past or present. They all live in the moment. There is no shame. These kids are ideal human beings. If they were real, and if there were more of them–lots, lots more–the world could have the most loving, compassionate future.
2. I think I wrote First for me and for everyone else who came out young-ish in the early 90s. It was a completely different climate, with the HIV/AIDS crisis completely snubbed by the U.S. government, very full “closets” in almost every industry, city, and suburb, and not nearly as much representation in the media as there is today. There was no marriage equality. (I have to note, though, that in almost every way, my generation had it much better than the generations before me. I have to thank the love and fight in every single person, in every single activist, who ensured that my coming out and my young existence as queer wasn’t nearly as fucked up as theirs may have been.) At Nico’s age, I never thought I’d be happy with who I was. I thought that I’d have to figure out how to be heterosexual one way or another. I thought I was the only kid who felt the way I did. I had no role models (until I turned about 17 or so). So, Nico is the boy I wish I had been, living a very different life in a very different climate, and fully recognizing that love can be with anyone, as long as there’s honesty and respect. I’m living a bit vicariously.
3. Kids watch porn. Kids have sex. I’m sorry, Moms and Dads, but they do.
4. I think it was easy to write this young utopia because I see kids as being “romantically unblemished.” This isn’t to say that those of us over the age of 18 can’t live or don’t live like the characters in First. But when I think of wide-eyed openness and trust, I think of young humans, of anyone who hasn’t had their hearts ripped out of their chests, like most of us have, one way or another. It was important for me to have every heart on a sleeve. (Except for the case of Rory and John, but their “relationship” is another slice of life that I find kind of interesting to explore.)
5. I wanted to show young people as smart, grounded, and capable of significant amounts of kindness and intimacy. I wanted to show them as nonjudgmental and open and accepting of everyone and everything, as long as that everyone-and-everything are from places of love. I wanted to show them as better than us.
Thanks a million, Jake. I was so moved by your sexts. And folks, FIRST will be available on Friday 4/4/14. Can’t wait!