The characters in this story lived, as the author said, through the most exhilarating and terrifying of times. For what these times were, I’ll encourage you to read the Author’s post about it.
Just Outside of Hope (Sequel to Road Without End) by Ron Kearse released at the beginning of June in the LGBT Fiction.
Just Outside of Hope, the sequel to Road Without End, moves through the early years of the 1980s. It takes us from the Canadian Prairies to the pubs, bath houses and nude beaches of Vancouver, British Columbia.
It is now September 1980 and ex-Lieutenant Jim Whitelaw is dealing with the guilt he feels from the fall out of a military tribunal, and lingering family issues which make things worse. But just as he feels he’s getting his life together, cracks appear once more and he has to make some serious decisions.
Meanwhile, in a matter of a moment, Jim’s friend and sometimes lover Bert Gilhuis, finds himself trapped in a serious situation that eventually sees him set off on new adventures in Vancouver.
These are two more stories in the continuing series of the lives of gay men who lived through the most exhilarating and terrifying of times.
Bert stares silently down at the table. This moment of silence seems like forever.
“I’m going to miss the hell out of you, Jim. It’s too bad you’re leaving. We could have had something really good together.”
Then he takes a deep breath. “What does it matter though? I’m probably going off to jail for the next little while, and even if you stayed here, I probably wouldn’t be seeing much of you for God-knows-how-long anyway.”
We’re silent again.
“I think it’s good that you’re going back to help your family in their time of need,” he says. “I really hope your father will be okay, somehow, and I really hope that someday you can come back to
I smile at him and nod.
One of the guards knocks then opens the door. “Five minutes to count Gilhuis!” Then he shuts the door and goes back behind the counter.
“Count?” I ask, “What’s that?”
Bert looks at me sadly. “That means I have to go. They stick us back in our cells just to make sure we’re all still here,” he says with a sigh. “They do this to us about three or four times a day.”
We’re momentarily silent again.
“Bert, I won’t forget you.”
“Jim, I sure as hell will never forget you. Promise that you’ll write to me?”
I smile sadly and tell him I will. I slowly get up from the table. I look into Bert’s eyes wanting to say something, anything that won’t sound trite or superficial. But what do I say at a moment like this? I want to kiss him, to hug him, but I don’t dare, not in here.
It’s as Bert is reading my thoughts. “You don’t have to say anything, Jim. Just go. You have a life to live.”
I bow my head and leave the room. I open the door I look back to Bert. He has a sad but stoic look in his eyes.
My voice cracks as I say, “Goodbye, Bert.”
I turn and walk through the door.
I feel overwhelming sadness. It’s strange where time brings everybody. I think of my life and twists and turns it’s taken over this past year and a half. I think of Bert, my father, Glenn, Bryn and Marcel, the military and the tribunal. I think of Cliff who has made a special trip out from Manitoba and is at my place packing some boxes for me. I think of how every change in my life seems to be more dramatic and comes at me more quickly. Somehow though, I seem to muddle through those changes and manage to carry on. I don’t know what these next years are going to bring, but I can tell you this much, I’ll conquer every single one of them. This I promise myself.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ron Kearse lists travelling, photography, art, reading and history as his main sources of inspiration.
An artist, broadcaster, actor and writer, Ron has a colourful and varied work resumé.
Having lived a nomadic life, Ron has finally settled in Victoria, BC where he lives with his partner James Howard.
Just Outside of Hope is the second installment in the Road Without End Trilogy, he has also published a photo book of Vancouver Street Art in the mid-1980s called Lost History.
Why do you say the ’80 are the most exhilarating and terrifying times?
On the back-cover notes of my second novel Just Outside of Hope, I end the text with this statement: These are two more stories in the continuing series of the lives of gay men who lived through the most exhilarating and terrifying of times. I’ve been asked by Viviana MacKade to explain what I meant when I said that, so here goes…
As far as the Homosexual Community, as we were referred to in the media at that time, were concerned, the 1980s could be divided by the early half of the decade, and the latter half.
The first half of the 1980s was a hold-over period from the late 1970s. We were still celebrating Gay Liberation, the disco music from the 1970s was eventually replaced by New Wave bands like the B-52s, and post punk bands like New Order. The politics of the western world, although still quite liberal, were slowly, almost without notice, beginning to change against the Gay Community.
While we were busy celebrating and dancing in the early 1980s, a new political conservatism ushered in a new world of social conservatism in countries like England, The United States and Canada with the elections of Margaret Thatcher, Ronnie Reagan and Brian Mulroney respectively. Although it may have taken a handful of years for the full effects of these elections to make themselves known; this wave of social conservatism also brought on a wave of political nastiness that we in the gay community had not expected.
The rising shadow of AIDS was casting a pall over our community by the mid-1980s, and in only a matter of a few of years of being in office, over 100,000 gay men died of AIDS before Ronnie Reagan suggested we might have a problem here. Politically, socially and spiritually in our community’s dark hour, we became targets. The elections of Reagan, Thatcher and Mulroney gave rise to the power of Evangelical Christians, Televangelists, and the beginning of the very nasty, and personal…Talk Radio and Trash Television.
In the 1970s we fought for our rights. In the 1980s we fought for our lives.
We were dying in the thousands and this was met with indifference or hostility by those in powerful political positions, spurred on by Televangelists and Talk Radio hosts. It did not help that the spread of AIDS in the gay community was gleefully covered by the media. At that time, after most media reports about AIDS, there was always the addendum that, AIDS is a disease that primarily affects homosexual men…after each report.
It helped to fan hostility toward us, as witness to the televangelists who claimed, time and again, that AIDS was Divine punishment for being gay outwardly stating that The Homosexual Community should be left alone to endure God’s Wrath. Government money should not be wasted on us.
But we weren’t going to be put down. We supported each other, first through gathering and disseminating medical information. Next, we fought for access to medicines, and through that process we became politically motivated and organized marches and rallies.
We lobbied politically, held mass demonstrations, and fought against disinformation distributed by those who would have us outlawed once more. We lobbied and we set up non-profits and day programs to help support those in our community who no longer could fend for themselves. By this time, big time celebrities loaned their voices and financial support to us.
Thatcher and Reagan have since passed away, Mulroney has long ago retired from politics, and AIDS is now considered a chronic condition rather than the death sentence it once was. It was through the actions of the LGBTQ2S+ community and our allies that we have reached this point.
Love and caring will always win over hatred, separation and Dogma. It may be a difficult road to walk at the time, and with a lot of pain and casualties. But once again, our community has emerged stronger and more alive than ever!
This post is part of a Tour. The tour dates can be found here: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2020/05/nbtm-just-outside-of-hope-by-ron-kearse.html
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