Hello! I've uploaded a reveiw of Closet Case by Robert Rodi you should definitely check it out! I found this book in a second hand shop when I was sixteen. I had just come out to my friends and family, it was all very scary and new. I saw the title and thought I wonder what if this is what I think it's about? and it was. At the time it was a real relief to know wasn't alone with the thoughts and feelings I had. His journey and coming out story was certainly funnier than mine but it was easy to identify with someone who was being their most authentic self.
It's all about Lionel Frank who works in a marketing agency in the 90s and is a massive gay, but doesn't want anyone to know because he doesn't want it to impact negatively on him. What I didn't mention in the video (and should have) is that their is another really key character in the whole story- Donna.
The reason why Donna is important is because she represents living your authentic self. She's a bit of a 'role model' character in the story and I just erased her from my review and art work (sorry!). I did the video ages ago though and hadn't thought about her importance at the time. But I will go back to the image later and incorporate her into the final image.
So Donna is 'out' at the work place a visible, Lesbian. Lionel freaks out at the start of the story because he was at a gay bar and she saw him. He completely over reacts and tries to make it appear that he was there for other reasons (making himself look even more suspicious). Donna is also Deaf and Lionel gets paranoid her lip reading abilities (he is on the other side of a gaybar talking to a friend). He thinks that she must have seen that he was talking about how he intends to take his colleague Tracy on a date to 'The Trippy' Award's dinner as a date (to help hide his true sexual identity).
"He should've been more careful of her. He'd known Donna was gay from the day she started- everyone knew it. To look at her was to know it (She wore a crew cut and had shoulders like a linebacker! She wore Doc Marten boots! She chewed tobacco!) And the relentless, increasingly filthy dyke jokes that had since been told behind her (literally behind her back, as there was no danger of her overhearing them) had the effect of pushing Lionel fathrt and fathrt into his metaphorical closet, until he was trapped behind metaphorical tennis rackets and ski boots and piles of old, metaphorical magazines, utterly and hopelessly trapped." p21-22
Remember that this was the 90s and you could either be like Lionel and hide in the closet or you could be brave like Donna and say 'this is who I am'. Donna's character can bes described as a sterotypical 'dyke ' as something pejorative. She was however an open and visible character in a working environment and although excluded and bullied for being who she is, she was still working in that office. Donna continues to feature at different key parts of the book.
He had the option of approaching Donna confiding in her and gaining an alley but instead, he distances himself from her because he is threatened by her just for being so visible and comfortable in who she is. Had Lionel come out and confided in her he probably would have never got himself into the mess that he does. It is however also uncertain that if he had come out, would he have been able to secure the job he does later in the story or does he actually gain job security because of nepotism (because one of the directors' son is gay.)
The question I have for myself now is, how do I represent Donna in the image? I like the triangulation between Lionel, Emil and Tracy in the image. I think I will incorporate her as a symbol similar to the spear I added to represent the antagonist of the story, Bob. I'm contemplating adding in a pair of Doc Martins outside of the frame. The she is outside of the drama but I'm not sure? If you're reading this let me know what you think?