August 27, 2009

Man of My Words

By age seven, I knew that words were very important. Moreover, I knew that words can mean the difference between life and death, so choose your words carefully.

My first lesson on the power of words came one morning at the family breakfast table. My two older siblings used the wrong words when teasing our oldest brother, a brooding preteen. He retaliated the only way he knew and not with words.

My oldest brother threw a fork like a knife across the room, stabbing my other brother in the back. The doctors at the hospital said my injured brother was nearly paralyzed for life. I was instructed on how to lie to the adults who questioned me alone at the hospital. I told them it was all an accident. I assume my sister was given the same talking points. It was a sad and violent day in our family's young history, all because somebody used the wrong words.

Despite that bloody incident, my siblings and I continued to use words as weapons in our perpetual civil war. We each had an assigned nickname, given in mockery of some perceived defect or flaw. Anything to weaken your rivals. Even so, we lived under the constant threat of a war of words erupting into something worse (and not always just with us kids).

To escape the ball of confusion that was my early household, I told myself stories, sometimes on paper, sometimes in my imagination. Some of the stories centered around ragtag sports teams winning against all odds. The Losers finally getting theirs. Sometimes, a little black boy just like me was being rescued and loved by white race car drivers or athletes. Out of the fire of a hellish childhood, the storyteller was forged.

By junior high, I learned that words could serve as a passport to a better land, a place where teachers praised me for my writing assignments and my intelligence, which afforded me the privileges of a teacher's pet, all because of the way I used the words I was being taught.

Also in junior high, I learned that my words had special powers. For an English assignment, I wrote a paper on Why the ABA and NBA Basketball Leagues Should Merge. I received an A. My mother, who was working her way through college at the time, “borrowed” my essay for an assignment. She received a B. Or was it a B-plus? I feigned indignation at her professor's lower mark, but in truth, the little boy inside was quite proud. After all, I had received a good mark for my eighth grade essay--in college!

By high school, I was ready to dive into journalism with great enthusiasm. I had a great teacher and mentor, Mr. Cord at North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Over the next three years, I went from a student in his class to a reporter for the school paper, the Northern Lights, to feature editor and finally, my senior year, editor-in-chief.

And while journalism will always be a part of me, being a journalist in the traditional sense was never part of my career aspirations. For me, journalism, especially “old school journalism” is a great talent to possess, like an actor who can also sing and dance, or a musician who can play many instruments.

But I was never meant to spend my days telling other people's stories at the expense of telling my own. I've always had my own stories to tell, ever since I was a young boy who understood that words can take you places that are dark and scary, but words can also take you to the land of better dreams, even if only in your imagination.

My entire adult life, I've been a professional writer. Of fiction, non fiction, promotional material, prompter material, program material, journalism, interviews, you name it. There's a lot of shit out there that needs to be written. lol. Click here for my bio.

My four novels are like my kids. I'm proud of the way they turned out. Did I mention, they've been nominated for a total of five Lambda Literary Awards? Uprising is my angry, I'm-coming-out-with-a-gun suspense thriller. Bridge Across the Ocean is my ode to innocent boyhood adventures (from the point of view of a black gay man who recently tested HIV-positive).

The Devil Inside is my equivalent to Prince's Black Album. Or me getting in touch with my dark side, and asking: are we naturally fucked up as gay men? Walt Loves the Bearcat is just the opposite: an optimistic, dreamy romance between a cheerleader and a quarterback, a tale of parallel worlds and long-term AIDS survival, and don't forget the flying football stadiums!

My next four books are like my grand-kids. The Bearcat Boyz is a four-book series about two boys in love in high school. Coming soon.

Then there's my author blog. Like a child who plays with blocks to make words (to say something), I do the same at Randy Boyd's Blocks. And of course, there's this funky blog, featuring my sexy side and a Sex-in-the-City-esque take on my single life.

Words have been like food for my soul. That food has nourished me, kept me alive, helped me see my way through the world. I'll always be a man of words. And I'll always strive to be a man of my word. Words are very important. This I learned very early on.