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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

#Bookdraw a new online project about queer fiction

Since March last year I think I’ve had this idea forming in my mind which slowly became crystallise and since the summer became something I decided I was doing.  I have been reading because I’ve wanted to explore more queer literature and voices that are out there and bring them greater visibility.  I’ve always been a book worm, it wasn’t always the case but when I first received R.L Stine’s 20th book of the Goosebumps series The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, I became obsessed. I was so excited and scared it felt like I was exploring a hidden fairground ride for a party of one. I’ll find a seat buckle up and launch myself down into new worlds and wild rides that would leave me terrified in the night.  When I was volunteering with the Proud Trust it disheartened me that most of the young people just didn't care about reading.

I want to pay forward the love I have for reading. I’d always loved reading but once I was out of the closet and ready to embrace the world as an open gay young thing; I also wanted to educate myself. I still get confused between Julie Garland and Julie Andrews I’ve always been a poor excuse for a typical gay guy. But I also knew that what I saw on telly couldn’t be an all-inclusive picture of what it meant to be queer. I started reading specifically book which looked at gay male identity through the recommendations provided to me by Attitude (a gay men’s magazine).

So I’ve been going back to some of those books I first read and I’ve been reading some new ones as well. This all kicked off because I read a book called More Than This by Patrick Ness.

I liked that I was reading a character who was experiencing a sci-fi fantasy who happened to be gay. It made me think back to all the books I had read. Most of them were related to experiences in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of the stories focused on the under belly of gay culture, risking lives for hooks up, depression, suicide and the explosive impact of AIDS all for the sake of being attracted to someone of the same sex. Instead More Than This provided a lead character, Seth who was going on a weird adventure in a familiar but altered world.  More Than This still grappled with themes of suicide and parental rejection but these were not the main focus of the story.

So part of the project is trying to find those new hidden voices as well. Those paths less taken and stories which are less celebrated. With a lot of literature books only become main stream once a film or tv series is made about them. I want to create a collect of work with celebrates the stories of different characters. I want to create images which capture specific moments from these stories so that they can be shared easily.

Through my conversation with my friend who helped me develop my ideas I also decided that I am also creating short video content to compliment this series. Young people at Proud Trust often talked about you tubers they love and BookTube is really popular with a really specific audience. I personally love it as well. The main three people I have fallen in love with is Jen Campbell, David Savidge and George Lester.   I love the way they speak with such passion and excitement about the books they’re reading and they inspired me to think, I could do that too. 

They may not actually know me but you get to add comments on there videos and it nice because they actually respond and over time I feel like I’m sat down with my breakfast or a cup of coffee with a special friend every time they upload content.

So that’s what I’ve been doing recently, reading. Reading a lot and then designing images which I’ll eventually turn into larger art works. I’ve already launched a few videos now and you check out how I made an image for More Than This here

which you can check out on my channel. I’m going to add the posts to this blog as well. But hopefully I’ll get better at adding recent activity here which relates to future content on the channel. Additionally I have a Facebook page now which holds images and quotes from other people who create fan art relating to the novels. 

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