In Tony Bravo’s Queer Lit Unit in Creative Writing, we talked about many things. One of these is was gay wit, another, the defensive humor of queer literature, another, the reactionary nature of many writings. But, of all of these lessons, what I took away was the lessons of Hard Rock Island, nee Meth Island.
Tony constantly encouraged us to be outrageous, to present characters so over the top (gay, not gay, platypus, it didn’t matter) that they catapulted the reader into the world of those character’s creation. It wasn’t about fake drama, or melodrama, or even realistic dramatic tension: it was about the drama that the characters brought to the situation, and allowing oneself, as the writer, to be ridiculous about it.
We began a play in class, a play about Hard Rock Island. Tony led us in the practice of character building. With someone at the whiteboard, we shared our ideas about characters we thought should be featured. In our play, the island is made up primarily of meth addicts. There is an opera house there, built in memory of the trailer park that failed because everyone tried to park their trailers on water. A large, blonde, opera singer from the land of marijuana farmers is going to perform there soon. Her gigolo niece is accompanying her. Throw into this mix an 80 year woman who needs some gigolo love, and a prisoner of a South Asian Island Country (never specified which one) who runs the opera singer’s fan site. His name is The Dragon. He believes himself to be the reincarnation of Odysseus.
I, for one, simply cannot wait for the film adaptation. I think Kate Winslet should play The Dragon.