‘It’s Enough’ by Julia McBryant. Self Published May 26, 2019 6600 words.
Rainbow Gold Reviews is happy to Spotlight Julia McBryant and have her Guest Post about her very first book! BTW, there will be a sale/free promotion on KU the first 5 days after publishing so be sure to grab it up quick!
Congratulations Julia on the release of ‘It’s Enough’!
Grab your copy here:
“It’s Enough” deals with one of the typical tropes in gay literature: uncommunicative masculinity. In the patriarchal stew we’ve all been raised in, male and female, gay and straight, we see these issues in all sorts of relationships; however, because toxic masculinity is so widespread, and dangerous messages about gender and sexuality so prevalent, uncommunicative gay love ca become practically trite: it is, of course, the love that dare not speak its name.
Which is basically Wills’ problem: unable to tell Crispin he loves him, Wills leaves his best friend to a state of anxious insecurity.
Of course, it’s fun to write about high society: guys get to wear hot tuxes and drink whiskey out of hip flasks. But this story’s setting in high society Savannah is no accident. Because of their rich backgrounds (which are steeped in family money and history: Isabel Sims, whom Wills dances with, is his fourth cousin), Wills and Crispin are kept closeted; this sense of repression only enforces the code of masculine silence. While Crispin may long to here Wills say that he’s in love with him, Crispin isn’t exactly dropping to his knees proclaiming his feelings, either. This societal repression they live under encourages uncommunicative gay love. As Wills’ twin brother Henry says in an interconnected story, “ “When you spend your whole life being told a f****t is the worst thing you can be, then you figure out that you are one, scooping someone up and cuddling them isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do.”
Setting these interconnected Southern Seduction stories in Savannah is no accident, either. It’s no secret, since John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, that Savannah’s a hotbed of gay culture in the Southeast; people in Savannah just call it “The Book” and regard it with both derision and perverse pride. Lady Chablis (god rest her soul), the premier drag queen in the Southeast, made Savannah her home base. When I was in college, everyone knew that if you wanted to hit the really good gay clubs, you went to Savannah. It’s known as a town that can throw a party. Charleston’s called The Holy City for all its churches, but Savannah even threw William Tecumseh Sherman a party when he arrived (so he wouldn’t torch the city to ashes, but still). It’s still known today for its St. Patrick’s Day partying. And as the home of Savannah College of Art and Design (which I steal and make Savannah School of Art in the Southern Seduction series), the city’s also a major arts center for the entire Southeast. This makes a stew for gay culture to develop and thrive.
But all of that doesn’t mean the Southern good ol’ boy culture has disappeared. Toxic masculinity is a ferocious force in the South, and it exists alongside of, and in many cases hand-in-hand with, these same characteristics that make Savannah such a haven for gay culture (see The Book). Wills and Crispin may live in this haven of gay culture, but they’ve spent their lives absorbing the repressive culture around them. Their first kiss was after one of the most performative of American male acts: winnings the prep league football championship. As Wills thinks, “Maybe it was the high of his touchdown run, maybe the sheer giddiness of it all, maybe the liquor they’d been sneaking.” I’m betting on the liquor, because Southern football culture is so steeped in noxious patriarchal culture that kissing a guy after winning a game is more a fuck you than a celebration.
And the more repressive the culture, the more difficult it is to break out of it and dare to love. Daring to love includes speaking the name of that love: something neither 19 year-old Wills or 18 year-old Crispin have managed yet. That’s going to continue to affect them as characters until they’re able to find a way to reconcile their sexuality and their place in society (spoiler alert: it happens. Eventually. Stick with me and we’ll get there, I promise. It just might take awhile for my editor to catch up with what I’ve already written, so blame her).
“It’s Enough,” a collection of three short stories about Wills and Crispin, and the first Southern Seduction short, is available on KU and free on Amazon until May 30th.
“Missed you,” Crispin ventures. He never knows how far he can go with Wills. They may have lost their virginity together in eleventh grade, but they’ve been best friends since kindergarten. Going from best friend to I love you, Crispin’s never sure where the line is.
“Missed you too,” Wills says. “You think I didn’t miss you?”
“I fucking missed you,” Wills tells him. “You never get it, do you, Crispin?”
Crispin is too scared to ask what he doesn’t get, so he keeps his mouth shut. He knows what he wants it to be. You don’t get that I care about you. You don’t get that I want to make this work even if it’s across the state. You don’t get that I love you.
Crispin kneels. Wills doesn’t know if it’s because he did it first, or if Crispin’s curious, but he groans with pleasure to feel his best friend’s tongue on his ass. He licks, licks, up and down, spreading Wills out so he can reach better. Then circles his entrance. Wills can feel himself opening almost involuntarily when Crispin’s tongue starts to move in him, just a little bit, as if he’s trying it out. Then his tongue plunges inside and Wills moans. His tight circle opens enough for Crispin to fuck him with his tongue. To swirl it inside. He keeps licking. Christ. Wills is so hard it’s difficult to keep his cock still against the bed.
Julia McBryant is, as the saying goes, Southern born, Southern bred, and when she dies, she’ll be Southern dead. When she’s not riding her horse or writing, Julia likes to play with her German Shepherds and rescued greyhounds, make all the crafts (especially those involving glitter), and hike, especially in the North Carolina mountains. A proud resident of the prettiest city in the whole world, Julia recognized her bisexuality later in life, and has been incredibly grateful for the support she’s received in the LBGTQIA community.