The Gay Place

It was such a good day! I got my ass chewed at work this morning and had just gotten back to my office where I was literally staring at job postings when my closest work friend stuck his head in the door and asked, “Did you hear about the Supreme Court ruling?”

I was still in a funk, but had the presence of mind to ask, “Gay marriage?”

“About an hour ago.” He nodded. “Look it up.”

I googled, then went to Facebook. I shed a few tears and changed my profile picture. I celebrated with a soy latte. When I finally got to sit down around 2:30, I went through my entire newsfeed and gave props to all of us on the right side of this historic day.

Then late this afternoon, during my volunteer shift at the library, I popped into the reading room where all the old books are for sale. Billy Lee Brammer’s The Gay Place jumped off the shelf and into my arms. I hugged it to my chest as I walked back to the circulation desk, the tears welling up again.

The Gay Place, of course, is not about The Gays, but rather a reference to the F. Scott Fitzgerald poem that serves as its epigraph:

Say: “I know a gay place 
Nobody knows.”

It was published in 1961 and set a few years before that, so the title had a different conotation. Nowadays, it’s the title of the gay column in the Austin Chronicle. I still think it’s the best book about Texas politics ever written.

This particular edition was published by Texas Monthly Press in 1978, the year Billy Lee Brammer died at the age of 48. The flap copy mentions that it won a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award in 1960. And best of all, this particular copy was removed from circulation at the Oakalla Library. I didn’t even know Oakalla had a library!

I’m just so grateful for this day and the joy that pulled me out of a place of hate and fear. I hope we all get to experience such salvation.

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