I'd like to say thanks, as always, to the people that keep on writing to me with their praises, suggestions, feedback, and other helpful comments concerning my articles. The response has been more that I EVER would have expected, and for that I'm very thankful. Writing for Oasis has been a great opportunity for me to meet new people and for me to express myself through a medium in which I don't do so very often (the written word).
What's happening in my life? Quite a number of things, as a matter of fact. If you read my last article and are wondering what has happened between me and those two gentlemen, nothing, as a matter of fact. I guess it's for the better; I have a problem with wanting to get into some sort of relationship way too fast, and although I try not to let it happen, my better judgement often escapes me. I like to think of myself as one of those people that have pretty good self-control, but when it comes to something like relationships, and hormones are involved, well...you know.
I went to the State Solo / Ensemble contest, and met up with some friends that I haven't seen for awhile (more on that later). I performed alright, but I could have done better - but isn't that how it ALWAYS is? In any case, I'm pretty sure that I didn't get last, because I heard someone worse than me, so that's comforting to know (I know, I know...I'm shameless).
I had breakfast with my friends (we'll call them Dan and Walter) who happen to be adults, and are a very happy couple. Just to clear up some things, Dan has been teaching me music for a number of years at a jazz camp, and I totally respect him as a musician, i.e.; there's nothing pedophilic going on. Period. And Walter, well, he's along for the ride, and I love the both of them to death! I don't know what I'd do without them.
Anyway, we had breakfast and enjoyed each other's company as we usually do. There's nothing like having some adult friends that you can go to and get some sound advice from; they're invaluable to me as friends as well as fellow gay persons.
The night before the aforementioned performance at the Solo / Ensemble contest, I met up with a very special young man that I hold very near and dear to my heart. We go back almost a year, and before I go on, I want to fill you in on how we got to meet.
The Summer of '99
I was personally invited to attend another summer jazz camp that I had never gone to by Dan, whom you met earlier. Dan taught at this one as well as the other one that I normally do attend. The two camps were back to back, and luckily they were in the same town. Dan normally is part of the faculty at the first camp; this year, he couldn't do it because of his administrative and directing duties in the second camp.
The first camp went by alright, and a week later, I was attending the second camp, along with my best friend Albert. Since we and another kid were the only out of towners, we got to stay with Dan and Walter, which was an absolute gas! Maybe sometime, I'll tell you about all the Albertson's trips we made. THOSE were a hoot! Woo hoo!!!!!!!
The camp had a choir, jazz band, jazz combo, and a string orchestra. The very first day, I found out that there were some gay kids that attended the camp, and they were all in choir (I was in the jazz band). I didn't know how to react; I still hadn't figured things out yet about me, so that kinda threw in another kink in things. Kind of a complicated issue, to say the least.
I had got a chance to talk to the gay kids, and they were fun to be around. They were also some of the best dancers (we had a dance class, too). Maybe if I had come to terms with my sexuality, I wouldn't have been such a rotten dancer.
As I got to know them, I realized more and more that I was very much like them, especially concerning certain things (duh). I'm not sure when the exact moment was, but I came to the realization that I was in fact gay. A big step for a camp that was two weeks!
After the camp, there was a final concert, and then we all left. I was staying with Albert's (my best friend) mom and him, and we were going to make the long trip back home in the morning. We asked some of the gay people to come and hang out with us in the lobby of the Hilton, the place where we were staying at. Only one of them showed up, along with some other straight people. We just all sat around and talked about everything there was to talk about, and probably more.
In the middle of our conversation, everybody started to break off into different conversations, as is expected when you're in a large group of people. The only gay kid there, Rich, and I started talking about regular stuff, like common interests. Then, I found out about Gaydar, but I'm not exactly sure how THAT came about. I asked Rich what he thought about members of the camp jazz band, and he told me, and finally I asked him what he thought about me. He said that he could see me as being gay, and he asked me if I was. I didn't want to blatantly lie to him about it (even though I had blatantly lied to other people about it countless times), so I just said, "Why don't we take a little walk?" Nobody was listening to us, so it may have seemed a little odd that we just got up and walked away for a bit. Oh well!
As you may be able to conclude, I told him then. The moment that I did, it was the greatest feeling that I had felt for a long time. An immense pressure was lifted from my shoulders, and I felt a rejuvenation of sorts. I had admitted it to myself, and finally to someone else.
At the time, I really didn't think about how much of a risk I was taking, though. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret a single thing about the whole incident, but at the time, I didn't know for sure that things would turn out the way they did. There was a risk that he could have told people, but he didn't. There was a risk that he could have done a lot more things, but telling people was the main thing. He never did, and the people he has told was with my permission. He has been one of the greatest people to ever walk into my life, and that's why he is such a close friend; he was there for me at one of the most critical moments of my life, and he just listened to me and so much more. He was a guide for me; I asked him about his experiences about things, and he would always be willing to talk to me. He is one of my truest and best friends.
Back To The Future Now...
If I'm not mistaken, the Solo / Ensemble contest was the first time I had seen him in almost a year. We hugged in the middle of the lobby (and I think we managed to get a few "looks" from people, but who gives a damn?), and we just sat and talked the night away (as a matter of fact, it was the same lobby that we had the infamous "talk"). Sure, we had spoken on the phone lots of times before, but the human contact thing made it a much more enjoyable experience. It was like nothing really had changed, and that was one of my biggest fears, because that has happened to me before, and it really can be heartbreaking. Thankfully, this time, it wasn't the case. Although situations may have changed and whatnot, the person that I told almost a year ago was the same person I was talking to.
We talked for what seemed just a few minutes, but in actuality it was about two hours. His friend and I seemed to hit it off pretty good, as well. She was a total sweetheart, although she was a bit ill that night. That didn't stop her from talking up a storm with Rich and I, though! That night really made me in a much better mood, and it improved my spirits tremendously.
In Other News
By the time you read this, I'll be happily enjoying my summer vacation. Yes, you read right; vacation's coming early, baby! Yeah! I'm gonna practice, go to Boys' State (I'll behave, I promise), and go to jazz camp, of course. I'd like to write about a lot more things, but this article is like a billion words and I don't want to bore you anymore than I have to.
You guys have been great for sending me E-Mail; keep 'em coming! And if you haven't, please join the bandwagon! I always reply, and I'm atwitter when I get new E-Mail from potential new friends. Until my next contribution, I want to leave you with some things to do:
"An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" a short story by Ambrose Bierce
*This is just a WAY fab story. It really makes you think, too.
"Rhapsody In Blue" G. Gershwin
*One of Gershwin's better known orchestrations.
"An American In Paris" G. Gershwin
*Another top-notch production via George G.
ANYTHING by Chet Baker, jazz trumpeter
*You just have to hear him; he has so much soul, feeling, and emotion in his music, it's incredible.
ANYTHING by Gerry Mulligan, jazz saxophonist
*Gerry and Chet worked together for a few recording dates, and some of the results are just awesome. Gerry had a spectacular jazz orchestra in the '80s, and if you can get anything from them, you'll be completely satisfied. Gerry Mulligan and His Orchestra made some of the most gorgeous music EVER made. If you don't believe me, just listen to his "Walk On The Water" album.
The Soundtrack to "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
*I was in the play (pit orchestra).
That's pretty good for one month, I think. Let me know if you decide to listen to any one of these suggestions, or read the short story. If you do, it'll make me happy beyond words...I promise! Thanks for stickin' with me guys, and I'll see you all next month!
Mike is a 17 year old, semi-closeted individual living with his mom and stepdad. He is interested in music, computers, music, reading, music, writing, writing music, listening to music, composing music, arranging music, and other music related things. Mike enjoys feedback and would like to hear from you, and can be reached via ICQ: #56413145 or by E-Mail: Mike_17@gay.com