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Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns

by Bill Biss
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Jun 5, 2013
Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns

"Roseanne Roseannadanna" comes to mind here. You know the memories of what it was like to feel like when it was sort of a living hell to be a homosexual? It's still true today that a generation and then some remember those nasty looks and the secretive and quiet laughter behind the back or even worse... the feeling that sticks in a person's gut and wrenches the emotions out like a dry mouth that has choked on a sick feeling of un-acceptance? You know... that teeny tiny little word such as "fairy" or "fag" when just one person is never really accepted for who they are or who they could be because of the inner desire and emotional attachment to the same sex? Get the picture or do I have to "flick it" off like a tiny ball of sweat on the tip of your nose?

Noted author of "Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song" and long-standing contributor to "Vanity Fair" David Margolick dissects and genuflects for the painful yet promising, uncompromising and ultimately beaten true-life story of a man, a person and a homosexual... John Horne Burns with his latest scholarly examination called "Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns."

Don't beat yourself up if Burns' name doesn't ring a bell. It's not that you went to the wrong schools or anything of that nature... it's only gay history at that, who cares? Who cares about some intellectual taskmaster, war-torn, glory-hole guy with a literary masterpiece under his belt...does it seem obvious that as Burns called homosexuals, "dreadfuls" there was a major amount of self-loathing at the core of it all? It could be the sense of never doing enough to satisfy society while knowing you truly will never be accepted as a part of the equation? Is this just one piece of history? This masterful biography "Dreadful" is yours, mine and ours... own it and Burns' masterpiece "The Gallery."

Ah, the good old days when men were men and men who were gay were so tight in the closet and the closest comfort was a bottle of liquor or an illicit back alley escapade. Try to wrap the mind around the once told and still taken notion that "Homosexuality is a sin and a mental illness." Burns and David Margolick want those facts and those memories...however horrid, to never be forgotten.

"Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns"
David Margolick
Other Press New York


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