John Cloud

The Pumpkin Ravioli Boy, Time Magazine, and John Cloud

Here’s something I normally don’t do. I’m giving a detailed explanation of the inspiration to a short story, THE PUMPKIN RAVIOLI BOY.

Two years ago, almost to the exact day, I read the dumbest article about gay relationships I’ve ever read in my life. It was written by John Cloud…a gay staff writer for Time Magazine. I was so annoyed, I wrote a short story and titled it THE PUMPKIN RAVIOLI BOY, which was published in a small anthology, and now recently released as a stand alone e-book by loveyoudivine.com.

I won’t bore you all to death with the article. But, basically, it was one of those “studies suggest, data shows, and experts agree,” type of pieces that give no solid facts and leave innocent readers with the wrong impression. And I hate, most of all, for younger gay men to think every gay relationship is like what Mr. Cloud wrote about. It’s not.

“Research on gay relationships is young.” This is what Mr. Cloud said in the article, a direct quote. Well…blah, blah, blah. I don’t get my research from google or “experts” when it comes to gay relationships. (And I write fiction!) I gather my research from the many gay couples I personally know who have been in long term relationships for years. And, I know plenty who have been together for over thirty years. One couple over forty years.

I’m not politically vocal at all. If John Cloud had just kept this related to his own personal experiences (all rather peculiar, in that transparent trying-to-be-too-sophistocated sort of way) I would have been fine. But what bothered me the most about Mr. Cloud’s piece in Time was that so many people who know nothing about gay relationships, especially during a time when we’re fighting so hard for marriage and equal rights, would get the wrong idea. If I’d read this when I was younger, I would have been terrified of gay relationships. Evidently, none of his editors are gay…or they aren’t in touch with their gay readership? Maybe they wanted to spark reader controversy? I don’t know. But I decided to balance Cloud’s version of gay relationships with a short story of my own.

Of course they wouldn’t print my story in Time Magazine, and Mr. Cloud is far too literary elite to read m/m romance (I’d bet money; he’d choke on his pumpkin ravioli). But I’ve been writing about gay male relationships a lot longer than Mr. Cloud has been writing ambiguous articles for Time, and I think that my readers appreciate the fact that I always try to go into details, based on my own experiences, when it comes to m/m relationships.

Excerpt: “Ah, well,” Patrick said. The truth was he’d never known any born-again Christians personally, with such nice blue eyes and soft blond hair.
While Dave snapped the photos, Patrick couldn’t help noticing how tight Dave’s jeans were. The clean, faded denim hugged his round ass as though it had been painted there. He spread his legs wide and stood there as if he were standing in front of a toilet. And he had broad, level shoulders beneath the white dress shirt. His back muscles jumped and jerked when his large arms clicked the photos. At first, his body appeared to be stocky and about twenty pounds overweight, but at a second glance, Patrick was certain that Dave was a serious weight lifter. There were thick, hard muscles perfectly stacked beneath the white cotton shirt. He would have bet his last porn flick there wasn’t an ounce of flab on Dave. The man even moved liked a serious weight lifter, with slow, graceful gestures and an even sense of timing.