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Title: Cuddling the Wrong Characters: Reading, writing and gay self-identity
Contributor(s): Fisher, Jeremy  (author)
Publication Date: 2004
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Abstract: Cuddling up with a good book. Wheezing and exhausted with childhood asthma, I was happy to read, to travel to other worlds on the words of numerous writers. I'd fall asleep and dream of being the cabin-boy sailing off with a galleon of pirates, camping in an Antarctic tent in the embrace of my loyal companions, sitting atop an elephant lurching through the jungle, firmly in the grip of my faithful bodyguard close behind me, bedding down in the hay with the other knaves while our knight went to seek his fair damsel, or working with my special friend to help resurrect the town after the flood. Finding pleasure in reading otters a lifelong diversion in solitude. Mark Mordue has suggested that Ivan Southall's books for children also helped him "fall in love with reading" and that Southall "put me on the path to becoming a writer"; I share these sentiments, though with hindsight I can see I was reading myself queer through gaps in Southall's (and other writers') narratives. I cuddled all the wrong characters as I cuddled up with my book. It wasn't until considerably after puberty that it dawned on me that most other boys weren't reading books this way. By the time I was 16, in 1968, I knew that the queer way I was reading texts was very much part of me. The only way I could find this part of myself was to read between the lines, to try and interpret seemingly impenetrable codes. There seemed nothing that directly identified even approximately what I felt.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Overland, 176(Spring), p. 61-66
Publisher: OL Society Ltd
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 0030-7416
Field of Research (FOR): 190402 Creative Writing (incl Playwriting)
HERDC Category Description: C2 Non-Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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