I’m From Spartanburg, SC.

by Thomas Boettner

Satellite overhead image of South Carolina from Google Earth 2022

Somewhere down the line the idea gets passed along that everyone’s life is unique, down to the tiniest minutia, and at the same time we are all connected due to our similar life experiences.

1. Something’s amiss.
2. Oh crap, I like guys.
3. Okay, I’ll wait until college.
4. Awesome, residential arts-based high school!
5. First kiss
6.“It made you gay.”
7. Ex-gay Therapy
9. It’s hard when you hate dance music.
10. I don’t know your name, but at least I finally got laid.
11. Guys older than you are just as bad as guys your age.

There we go. “Coming out and” in eleven steps, mine, maybe yours, but mine primarily.

I like Spartanburg, though. It isn’t that there’s a lot to do here. Most people know Spartanburg because of its proximity to Asheville / Charlotte / Atlanta / Athens / Columbia. We’re down to -2 gay bars and we don’t even have a viable record store worth mentioning. BUT:  this is where I grew up. Eighteen out of twenty-three years is a stretch worthy enough to deem Spartanburg “hometown.”

The sort of town that can produce a singularity (prove me wrong, please). You’re primarily either in the closet or a stereotype, but one person manages to play every instrument he picks up, fall in love with the avant-garde and postmodern, Bataille, noise music, Black Metal, old cameras, The Smiths, and still never date a single person in his hometown.

Breeders think I’m amazing.

It’s funny, actually. A North American tour, a year in Alaska, a month in Ireland, a tour in Ontario, criss-crossing the nation and I still manage to confuse and confound everyone I meet. I suppose it’s not entirely expected to meet a self-proclaimed faggot from the South who enjoys his liquor and beer, smokes like a chimney, wins fights, and then shreds a guitar (or microphone, or synth-pad, or…) rather than go to the club every weekend.

That’s what hometown gave me. Despite the nightmare of high school, the shrinking social circle, the desire to leave, I’m still a product of “here.”

Really though, it’s all just details.

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