Sunday, September 9, 2012

DeeJay Arens - "The View From a Rusty Train Car"

I was thinking about something the other day. Never 
has my family screamed at me or shunned me because 
of who I dated. Plus, I've never been harassed or 
taken a punch because of who I kissed or held hands 
with. Not only that, but when I got married, I did 
so in the pinko commie state of Massachusetts; 
however, I could have gotten married in whatever part 
of the country I wanted. It's truly amazing.
Wait. No, it isn't amazing. That's how it's 
supposed to be. 

I read DeeJay Arens' debut novel The View From a 
Rusty Train Car from Writers AMuse Me Publishing 
in three days on breaks during a conference in 
San Francisco, of all places. I could hardly put 
it down. While also being touching and well-written, 
this book reminds us that all of these things I 
mentioned earlier should not be taken for granted. 
It's a story of two men in love, and the consequences 
of that love.
In a time of angry pro and anti Chick-Fil-A 
arguments, Arens presents a normal love story. 
Well, it should be a normal love story; it's 
really anything but. Not because of the same-sex 
nature of the love, but rather the reaction to it. 
It's a tale that everyone - whether strongly for 
gay marriage, decidedly against it, or somewhere 
in between - should read. 

It is a love story. Not a rant, as it could be. 
And if you think the things that happen in it 
are far-fetched, do some Googling. For that, 
other than the writing itself, is the amazing 
thing about Arens' novel. It all happens. We'll 
all be ashamed of it one day, but it happens. 
But to Arens' credit, the numerous antagonists 
are never presented as hateful bigots, but rather 
- as they often are in real life - childish thugs, 
disapproving family members, or the overly-religious.
There's been a lot said and written about gay rights 
over the years. I've chimed in via essays and stories 
myself. Do yourself a favor, especially if you're more 
likely to be in opposition, and read The View From a 
Rusty Train Car. If it doesn't get you thinking, I 
don't know what will. 

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