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What does male sexuality have to do with Martin Brant Novels?
Within the general brotherhood of man, concerning male sexuality, a significant percentage of men live with a closely guarded secret. More common than most people think, these men are dealing a same sex attraction. Most people, other than those they may have shared their secret with, don’t realize how many men have some degree of sexual attraction to other men. Contrary to most moral codes and various religious beliefs, these feelings are quite common and natural. They are feelings that number among the human emotions I deal with through the characters in my novels.
A writer’s first priority, mine included, is to tell a good story. Any writer worth his or her salt wants to create a thoughtfully written story and entertain those who read his or her work. It could be a murder mystery like my latest novel, Copperas Cove, where Jonathon Scott, recently divorced, leaves Pittsburg to start a new life and finds himself entangled in the bigoted dramas of 1950s Mississippi; or a WWII action/adventure like The Partisans, where two men on an important mission in France stumple upon a bright new future; or a tale of romance like A Song in the Park, where two men at odds with their past cross paths and start facing life’s challenges together. Good stories have characters and characters have personalities, personalities that are very much a part of the whole and make for a more intriguing book. Often the character’s personality can be a story within a story, or it can be the story itself, as in books such as Catcher in the Rye, or my first novel Five Married Men.
Why the element of same sex attraction?
For me it’s a fascination with the vast diversity of human nature. It’s a part of the human race that, for various reasons, many don’t understand. Many of us have been indoctrinated to belief there is something wrong with being attracted to a member of our own sex, which includes the majority of those who are. These are the men who keep secrets, who often feel guilty, who somehow believe there is something wrong with them. Though you may not feel attracted to members of your own sex, you know someone who does. It may be your bother or sister, your neighbor or a colleague at work, your cousin or best friend; it may even be your husband or wife. And chances are you don’t know their secret exists.
Considered a blessing or a curse, or both, the degree of same sex attraction varies from one man to the next; from a mild curiosity that leaves him feeling either guilty or warm inside, to a full blown and exclusive attraction to one’s own sex. Though the same holds true for both men and women, my focus and my novels are about men (and the women in their lives). And for some reason, same sex attractions seem more prevalent in men, though it is also considered by many as more unnatural and less acceptable.
So why would an author that wants to write a compelling mainstream tale include characters with a same sex attraction? Maybe I believe human sexuality in itself is compelling. Maybe, through my novels, I would like to help broaden human understanding. Maybe a part of me wants to say it’s okay.
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Some men open the door to self-discovery, as Julian attests to here: he has experienced an enlightenment few men allow themselves to explore, a completeness. From Julian, in response to this piece.
I love this article. It does feel like a gift. So well put.
It comes to the heart of the matter and shines a light on ones own capacity to feel with intimacy the beauty in male and female and know it is wonderful. It is freeing.
Writing about it openly for you to share is cathartic and restorative at the same time.
Knowing and being bi-sexual that you who is reader this is are likely bi-sexual as well, with a similar understanding, we have much in common, we are alike kinfolk.
It is as if we could lay next to each other without reservation.
Recognizing bi-sexuality in oneself becomes a catalyst for putting down so many views about having to be this way or that way, rather be both ways and neither at the same time.
There are all those ideas with their genesis in school yards and bedtime fantasies, over the years evolving to prompt thoughts like ‘what if I am gay, oh my god’. Now when the mood takes I can feel it as positively yummy.
But hang on I love women, surely I must be heterosexual. What about the qualities in each I so enjoy, that I relate too.
So maybe am I transsexual or transgender. Do I even know what that means. But I love my male body. Then comes, but how can I be both? What if, what could that mean?
Then bing, the light goes on. I’m really not this, I’m really not that, I’m all of them and none of them.
I’m so definitely bi-sexual, with lots thrown in. It is so nice to say.
But its much deeper than the label might suggest. Its meaning so much more than first understood. As one investigates ones own sexuality and masculinity or femininity, dare I say as a male my femininity, it becomes so much more. It is wonderful.
I can love a man and be fully with him as I can love a woman and be fully with her.
It is also the special quality of monogamy, devotion to that person and relationship at the exclusion of all others, when no-one else exists.
Of women in my life, paraphrasing from the words of your article Martin, I recognize my overwhelming attraction to her, of her uniquely feminine perspective. Her softness, her exquisite shape and innate capacity, her strength, her insights and intuitions, her nurturing love, her playfulness with the toys of femininity, her laughter with others of her sex, she is simply gorgeous.
For the moment I am single, how positively enriching.
Enough. J-Pin It
So my sexy tall blonde wife is calling this my best work. From my point of view, it’s hard to say when a piece of me is attached to all my novels. It’s like choosing a favorite from among your children, impossible indeed. But you might enjoy a story about a guy whose wife caught him in the shower with another man, who is struggling with his sexuality while investigating a murder and searching for the right woman in a small town in 1950s Mississippi.
Jonathon’s marriage crashes around his head when his wife finds him in the shower with another man. Exiled to the streets, he leaves Pittsburgh to start a new life on the Mississippi Gulf coast. Followed by phantoms from the past, he sets out envisioning blissful solitude and long lazy Saturdays on warm southern beaches. Maybe he can find a drugstore in Biloxi that needs a pharmacist. Maybe, if he meets the right woman, he can get these misguided notions about men out of his head.
The generator on his ’48 Ford coupe goes out fifty miles south of Tupelo, a long hot three mile walk to the next town, an isolated hamlet called Copperas Cove. Temporarily stranded, he finds himself having a hamburger at Rexall soda fountain, unaware that his destiny is taking shape in the mind of a young woman three stools down. Betty Marie, the quixotic town flirt, has taken an interest in him. Jonathon soon learns, if he’s looking for a job as a pharmacist, he came to the right place. Old man Peterson, the Rexall’s ancient pharmacist, has been wanting to retire for years Betty Marie quickly points out, that other than a beach, they don’t have anything in Biloxi he can’t find right here in Copperas Cove.
Simpler times in another era. An age old dilemma. A small town in the deep south. A brutal rape and murder. An exiled husband facing life-changing events. The bigoted dramas of 1950’s Mississippi. Ingredients all for a witches brew of emotion, mystery and intrigue. Copperas Cove weaves an unpredictable thread through the lives of all concerned, a thread that leaves no one unchanged.
There is a reason these meaty egg-shapes dangle from a man’s body–it has to do with regulating their temperature. Evidently our testicles require a setting somewhat lower than our body heat in order to function properly. That’s fine, but given Mother Nature’s unlimited resources, our testicles could have easily been hidden away inside our bodies, and what then? We wouldn’t have these delightful organs hanging between our legs. The provocative bulges in our briefs and jeans would be greatly reduced. A man’s body would be one step closer to that of a woman’s, with a lonely penis sticking out below his navel. Sure we have to protect them from unexpected traumas, and they frequently itch, but can you imagine living without feeling them fondled by a pair of skillful eager hands?