Have you ever read Torey Hayden’s stuff, Tim? It’s not about gay kids, in particular, though I’m sure there were some. I wasn’t a gay kid, so that wasn’t something I searched for. I read her as a kid, so maybe if I read her today she wouldn’t seem so real to me. But she wrote about the horrors in a way I could hear; she wrote about them and it was almost like a ‘fuck you’ to the rest of the teaching community. My kids are here, and this is who they are, and this is what they’ve lived, and they have as much right to this fucking planet as you do, and God Damnit you’re going to START SEEING THEM. I loved her. She wasn’t afraid to talk about what it was like, then (70’s maybe 60's? not sure), to know you were sending the elective mute 6 year old home after changing her clothes and cleaning the blood out of her underwear after her not letting you near her for 6 months while she hid under the staircase fashioning knives out of cardboard…home to the dad who was going to fuck her again and the mom who was going to let it happen. Because as impotent as “children’s service” agencies are today, they were all but nonexistent then. I just bring this up to say that if not for her publishing her stories, things may have turned out very differently for me. You might like her. Maybe not. In any case…her stuff is memoir…all long after those kids were grown and gone. And she honestly made a difference to very few. That kind of damage, and the damage is done. It doesn’t mean you stop trying, because you never know. I don’t know enough of your work yet (though i’m trying to piece things together) to really understand even a fraction of the totality of what you see and what you do or what these boys have lived, but I think your heart is where it matters. The whole world is broken; if it’s not a shattered life, it’s an inability to empathize with shattered lives. I kind of think it’s either, or.

*editing to say i checked out her site and it seems some of her kids have spoken up and maybe she helped more than i realized at the time. i haven’t read her stuff for 20 years, i’m rusty

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.

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