On July 14, 2021, I was meeting with my psychologist, Kevin Moran. We were discussing my first task of editing my second book, working title An American in Palestine. I was sharing with Kevin that this second work was so completely different than my first book. I realized that such a different work might not appeal to the same kind of reader audience. I accepted that difference and the implied risk. After all, I am writing to share my voice, not to gather a fan club. My readers will follow my work because they enjoy what I say and how I share my words, not because I have written with a goal of collecting a readership.
Continuing my thinking, I told Kevin that there was one aspect of my second book that did bother me. My second work would include nothing of my gay identity. I had agreed not to disclose my gay sexuality while I visited Palestine as a guest of Farouk Al Jaabari, so my book would not mention anything related to my identity as a gay man. That bothered me. I told Kevin, “I accepted the notion of concealing my gay identity while in Palestine. But now it concerns me as I write my book. If there is any single voice that I am determined to share in my writing, it is that of a gay man.”
Kevin heard me. In reply, he asked me, “So Ric, what is it that makes you not want to reveal yourself as a gay man in your book about Palestine?”
Kevin’s words hit me like a battering ram, breaking down some heavy closed gate of permission inside my head. “Oh my God, Kevin! Oh no! I can’t believe what I’ve done. You just destroyed a barrier that I set up inside my own head.
“Thank you! Of course! I agreed to conceal my gay identity while I was a guest visiting in Palestine in 2014. But that was seven years ago. And today I am writing my memories of that time. I am writing today, in the now, and I am writing as a proud gay man. Why would I even consider concealing that identity in my 2021 memoir?”
I reached onto my desk and lifted up the 200+ pages of my first draft memoirs. Lifting them above my head, I made a gesture to toss the writings into the wastebasket. “I have to start over!”
Kevin, laughing aloud and sharing my consternation, cried aloud, “No! Ric, don’t throw them away!”
We lapsed into chuckles. I swiped my brow. “Thanks a lot, Kevin!,” I said a bit sarcastically. “Now you have just doubled the amount of time I need to spend in editing. But you know what?”
“Okay, tell me, What?” replied my counselor friend.
“I am so thrilled. It is going to be so much more fun to amend my stories so that I tell them as a proud gay man, rather than as some asexual American visiting a foreign land.”