I see you aged twelve, first realising the word gay applied to you, and feeling simple pleasure that the attraction you’d felt since age six, though seemingly natural, in fact belonged to something as alternative and interesting as this.
Next, there you sat upon the carpet, aged sixteen, smoking hash with the others. All were under threat from one another; yet fun was had, with music and videos, here in the living room of someone’s absent parents. You were cooler, in many ways, than anybody else here, and yet in other ways you lagged behind in this respect. Often you were unsure which score applied. For you there were stabs of tension, sudden mirth, and even bits of friendship—but always at the headache-making price of fitting in and guessing how not to veer beyond “unusual” into “wrong”. How little of yourself could you have shared with the others here. How different you felt—and how glad you were that you had not been any one of them. Your sexuality was merely one part of this, for there was so much more, too, that would have been alien to most of them, if you had just been your natural self and spoken your intelligent mind. So of course you tended not to speak. How exhausting and how limiting they were, with their mediocre cluelessness that pushed you into such quietness, then. What a waste of time. (No, not all of them—just most.) Drunk or stoned, you and they went through the kitchen to the back garden terrace, each of you making jaggedly politicised tracks among the others, trapped tiringly together; while you, saying nothing, just drank in the clean, cool, clear, black, non-human sky like a draught of freshest water.
For more about “The Imagination Thief” by Rohan Quine, see
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To watch any of the 120 complete mini-chapters of the novel’s video-book format (for which this little video snippet here is just a teaser), see
For links to all of these short teasers, see
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