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Ryan O’Connell’s Upcoming Book Sounds Very Charming

Ryan O’Connell is a twentysomething gay dude living in Los Angeles. He’s a writer who is known for his work on Thought Catalog and Vice as well as the MTV show Awkward. Basically, he’s a dreamboat.

Apparently, he has a book deal too. This should be unsurprising for anyone familiar with him (considering he’s been theorized to be “the voice of our generation”). What is surprising is the story behind it, which he has recently spoken about.

So I go and meet with publishers. A lot of these meetings left me feeling very dizzy and confused. One publisher asked me if I could draw doodles and I told them that I lost most function in my writing hand when I was hit by a car and, therefore, couldn’t write my name, let alone make fun, flirty doodles of iPhones. I never heard back from them.

Man, dang: publishing and writing is such a shitty industry. You can’t just be a writer: you have to be a writer and ________. Being an artist? Great pairing! An actor? Another great pairing! A gay person? Not good enough! You gotta have something else.

Turns out, he had it the whole time—and it’s pretty heartbreaking: he has Cerebral Palsy and had been telling people “he was in a bad car accident.” This is what his book ended up become, stories regarding his being a twentysomething but also accepting his disorder.

You may assume this is simplistic, silly even. Yet, as gay world is almost at the top of the most viciously vapid subsets of people, this is a devastating combination. Take this passage for example:

You have no idea what it’s like to go into a gay bar and feel utterly invisible because the way you walk renders you unfuckable. I mean, why would someone mess with that when they can go talk to a cuter, able-bodied version of you???!! The “otherness”” I feel is very real. Gay disability is not something that’s highlighted in mainstream culture. Cerebral palsy is NOT FUCKING TRENDING ON TWITTER, OKAY?

Geez. Makes you want to give the dude a big hug. And it makes you very excited to read such an honest—yet charming—account of a gay person with a little extra to deal with.

I am very stoked for this and I already pre-ordered the book. It comes out on June 2.

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