How to Find Your True Love: A Method


This isn’t the tattoo in the story whose name matches this post’s title — but it is one of my tattoos, one that I got in December (or maybe November) 1983, not long after I thought the story up.  As I recall, I was living in a basement apartment with a roommate, nearing the end of my first year in Alaska, & a couple of friends who both had tattoos were crashing on our living room floor for a couple of weeks while they tried to find a place to live.  One night one of them brought over a substance that at that time it was not illegal in Alaska to possess for personal use, & we got high.

Thus was “How to Find Your True Love: A Method” born: a tale of pool, tattoos, & dykes in an Anchorage queer bar.

Took me awhile to actually write the story down, though.  Until along about 1989, during my three-year exile in Seattle.  Sometime in the early 1990s I think I got it published — maybe in the Klondyke Kontact, an irregularly published Alaska lesbian newsletter, or maybe in… well, I can’t really remember, actually.  A couple years later in 1996, when I was in a grad writing program at UAA, I ran short of time coming up on a deadline for a short fiction workshop, so I kinda sorta in a way cheated by submitting a brushed-up version of the story. It got a pretty weird workshop crit, too: with the focus that MFA programs have on a particular type of literary fiction, it seems that nobody besides me had heard of shaggy dog stories or tall tales (is nobody up on their Mark Twain?!!!), & everybody spent an incredible lot of time trying to discern what in my story was the external conflict & what was the internal conflict.

Uh… guys?  This is a story I thought up when I was stoned.

But I think it’s a pretty fun story.  So as I begin to add some of my older writings to my website-in-the-process-of-being-refurbished, I thought this would be a good choice to feature first.

It’s not in this blog post: as a short story, I thought it deserved its own permanent static website page.  But if you read it & enjoy it (okay, even if you don’t), I hope you’ll come back to this blog post & comment on it. (Unless of course you don’t like it because you’re a homophobe or “Truth is not Hate” hatespeech-maker, in which case just keep your opinions to yourself, thanks, since damned if I’ll approve ’em anyway.)

How to Find Your True Love: A Method (click through)

A couple of historical notes: the bar in the story, Le Pub, is modeled on the Village Lounge & Disco, a popular Anchorage queer bar of the 1980s that I used to spend a lot of time at — same bar, in fact, featured in my poem “Love at Le Pub” which I guess I’m gonna have to post since it’s not posted yet.  You’ll also find featured here Fur Rondy, snowshoe softball, a People Mover bus stop, & Larry Allen of Anchorage Tattoo Studio, who was the artist on both my tattoos.  This one was done over the summer of 1985, & still just as colorful as when it was made.  Thanks Larry!

Fireweed tattoo

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