Guest Post & Giveaway: “Dandy” by Jaidon Wells
Hey, and thanks for having me today, guys! I’m here for the final stop on Dandy’s tour, and I’d like to talk about what’s a fairly obvious fact on the surface: that Dandy happens to be a comedy. The road it took me to get to writing comedy, though, was winding, fairly bittersweet, and never easy.
I’ve always used writing as a way of coping, ever since I was a kid (I know a great number of writers who say the exact same thing, too). I’m going to make my history short and just say that I didn’t grow up happy or particularly well, and my writing always reflected that. I wrote tragedy because I was a pretty tragic case of a queer kid. But that wasn’t the only problem. Not only did my personal experience seem pretty hopeless, but the media made the future look pretty bad, as well. I’m not talking about the news, here; I’m talking about every portrayal I saw of queer characters in pop culture.
I grew up well before the days of It Gets Better videos, when the only queer characters you saw on TV always turned out to be a tragedy. The most visible gay characters I had to judge from were in Brokeback Mountain (and this late in high school) and I think we all know how well that story ended. But it wasn’t just one movie; it was queer characters and couples in every medium I consumed that deigned to include them: soap operas, comic books, even a couple gay novels I managed to sneak past my parents. The lives of those characters always revolved around the fact that they were queer, and their story lines never once hit a happy ending. (I can name exactly one trans* character I ever saw on television, before I hit my mid 20s, and they were the victim of a violent murder based on the fact that they were trans*. Not exactly the uplifting message a struggling trans* kid needed.)
So what exactly was I supposed to think about what was out there for me, when everything I saw in real life was ugly and what I consumed in the media didn’t leave me feeling any more hopeful?
I got lucky, all things considered, to make it to adulthood. And, in the meantime, things (and the world around them) started to change, as things always do. And I figured out for myself that the life of a queer person is not all tragedy, and it certainly doesn’t revolve around the fact that they’re trans* or gay or bisexual or whatever other label you’d like to apply. In fact, most of the time it’s not even relevant. I go around all day being trans*, and I can tell I don’t spend all that time thinking about it. It’s not the defining characteristic of my existence, despite what pop culture seemed to want me to believe.
And what I wrote changed, both because life didn’t look like a tragedy anymore and because I’d learned that lesson: being queer isn’t all about being queer. I just happen to be a person with an extra label I can attach to myself. And that’s how I write my characters, too. They work, they play, they fight, they’re heroes or ordinary people or a little of both, and they just happen to be gay (or trans* or whatever other label applies) while they’re doing it.
I write comedy because I’m tired of the world making queer peoples lives out to be tragedies. And I write people just being people because that’s what life is: no one characteristic defines a person’s existence. They just happen to possess whatever that characteristic is while they lead the rest of their lives.
Andrew is a little overwhelmed, between grad school, his bookstore job, crazy friends, and a roommate slowly turning criminal. The very last thing he needs is more stress, but it’s what he gets anyway, in the form of Cassidy, the frustrating, intriguing, and supposed-to-be-dead brother of his law-breaking roommate.
Throw in a flamboyant campus hero, a series of kitchen fires, a slanderous romance manuscript, stoner music shops, an arguably-mad scientist, a terrible indie band, and a blue period, and Andrew realizes that being overwhelmed is easy. It’s the rapidly spinning out of control that’s a bit difficult to handle.
If you’d like a chance to win an ebook copy of Dandy, just comment below. One commenter will be chosen using random.org to receive a copy in the format of their choice. The give-away will close at 11:59 pm on Sunday, August 11th.
About the Author
Jaidon was born in South Bend, Indiana, and spent some time in Michigan, before settling down in Dallas, Texas. He sometimes regrets this because of the god-awful summers and the fact that he’s picked up a bit of a southern accent. Y’all, it’s unfortunate. In Spring of 2013, he received a degree in Psychology from the University of North Texas, which is problematic only because now everyone he knows seems to have developed a psychiatric disorder. Weird.
Jaidon has been an avid reader since childhood and wrote his first short story at 7 (which has, fortunately, been lost to the ages) and attempted his first novel at 13 (which, unfortunately, has not been lost to the ages; he still has a copy on his computer). He started out writing stories with the full intent of breaking the reader’s heart, and, now, has somehow ended up writing all comedy and romance with happy endings. Go figure.
You can find Jaidon online at:
firstname.lastname@example.org ~*This contest is open to adults age 18 and up. Your comment confirms that you are of legal age.*~