Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cyber Launch Party Day 9: The Ballad of Drew Ferguson

Welcome to Day 9 of the Ballads of Suburbia Cyber Launch Party! For all of the details on the party including guests, the daily contests and the grand prize drawing be sure to read the information at the beginning of Day 1's blog.

Sorry I'm fashionably late to party today (I really try to get these up by 3 at the latest!), but I had to run a bunch of errands and then got all swept up with baseball for minute because I'm a big White Sox fan and Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game (only the 18th in history!) today so yeah... okay that's the end of my nerdiness...

The other thing that slowed me down today was I was over at Teen Fiction Cafe blogging about the early 90s fashion revival (and how Ballads is the perfect literary accessory), so check that out if you are interested in what I have to see or just seeing a picture of me totally grunged out at 15...

Also Steph Su posted a beautiful review of Ballads today and did an interview with me about the impact I hope the book will have on teens, so check that out. That is part of the Traveling to Teens Tour and I'll have a full list of those interviews soon. But they are running a contest for a signed copy of Ballads that you might want to enter here.

Last but certainly not least, tonight at 7:30 pm CST, you can listen to me on Blog Talk Radio, as I'm doing an interview with The Funky Writer show. Listen live or download after it's over here!

Today's Winner:
Each day I am announcing the winner of the contest that was posted one week earlier. Today's winner gets The Second Virginity of Suzy Green from Sara Hantz And that winner is... Lilibeth Ramos from blogger! I will email you for your address shortly! Remember to enter last week's contests! Each contests lasts one week!

Now, today's guest blogger is author Drew Ferguson!

Drew Ferguson is the author of The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second (Kensington, 2008). He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College, Chicago. His work has appeared in Blithe House Quarterly,The James White Review, Hair Trigger, The Great Lawn and other publications. He lives in Chicago. His website is

Here's Drew's ballad:

    “I love you in the morning sun,
    I love you in my dreams.
    I love the sound of making love,
    The feeling of your skin, the corner of your eyes,
    I long forevermore.
    I never want to say goodnight, miracle goodnight.”

    -- from David Bowie’s “Miracle Goodnight,” Black Tie, White Noise

So, it’s 1993. David’s got a new album out (Glory be to Bowie; Praise be to Bowie; there is no god but Bowie); Kurt’s got Courtney and about a year to live; and I’ve got the biggest case of blue balls in the world…what from living at home in the suburban paradise of Crystal Lake, Illinois, working my way through my sophomore year of college at a crappy job as a bookstore manager, and mostly from the fact that, I’m twenty years old and I still haven’t gotten laid.

Go ahead, laugh if you want, but just remember, it’s 1993, and I’m in a Republican suburb of Chicago. It’s long before Al Gore invented the Internet for hooking up and porn, and it’s still back when having friends with benefits meant you knew people whose jobs provided healthcare. And as you’re laughing, keep in mind that in 1993, I was one of those still closeted gaybies—you know, the sensitive guy who back in high school always went to Turnabout with the sort of plain girls who no one ever really bothered to give a second look, was always quietly lusting after the swim and wrestling teams, and whose shoulders were always wet from crying, R.E.M.-listening LUGs (lesbians until graduation). But as you’re laughing, don’t forget it’s 1993—the year that Brenda Venus, former lover ofTropic of Cancer author Henry Miller, first published her best-selling sex-help manual, Secrets of Seduction, which, if I remember correctly, was the first book to reveal the secret of the “Venus Butterfly” technique that had L.A. Law audiences all abuzz in the ‘80s.

Naturally, as a completely and totally horny, closeted gayby with no male sexual outlet save for…well, you know, some quality time with myself…I bought the book and several pounds of grapes (read the book if you must know), and studied the art of spelunking in the Valley of Love. I know, I know. You’re asking yourself, why the fuck would a homo—closeted or otherwise—consider cunnilingus?

Well, it’s 1993—back before there were “pure gays.” See today, you have kids who practically announce their queerness neo-natally and they don’t catch much shit, but back in ’93, when we did our overwrought coming-out scenes, and friends and family questioned our commitment to cock (How do you know you’re gay? Have you ever been with a woman?), we had to have a definitive answer (Been there, done that, didn’t do much for me, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t do much for her.). So, if I was ever going to be an out and proud gay bo(i/y), I needed at least one sexual experience with a woman to back up my bonafides that I knew I didn’t like it ‘cuz I had tried it.

“Okay, Drew,” you’re saying, “I get the sleeping with a chick thing. But why go down on one? I mean, isn’t that the one sexual act that guys constantly whine about doing…immaturely bitching about how it supposedly smells like fish, when their own junk usually smells about as pleasant as the asphalt resting place of roadkill skunk?” To be honest, performing the Venus Butterfly (if you’re a chick, seriously MAKE your guy read Brenda’s book), was my Plan B in case I…um…was unable to, or, part of me, was unwilling to fulfill my duties—which I was pretty sure meant that the Butterfly Plan B, no matter what, was going to be Plan A.

My plan, if I do say so myself, was brilliant. I was brilliant. You should’ve seen me with those grapes—well, after the first two pounds or so—I could spin those suckers up and down, round and round, backwards, forwards, figure eights, spell state capitals on their surface (in print and cursive), and never once break the skin. I could spin and spell for hours and never complain about my jaw getting sore or tongue tired. Only problem was going down on grapes didn’t exactly constitute losing my virginity. For that, I needed a woman—and what with my being a homo and all, this was a problem I probably should’ve given a bit more thought to. Let’s face it, there aren’t exactly millions of women lining up to sleep with closet-case ‘mos, who after giving it the ol’ college try, decide to move to Boystown, wax their chests, tweeze their eyebrows, Brazilian their boy parts, and spend the rest of their lives measured out in Williams & Sonoma coffee spoons, showtune Sundays at Sidetrack, Striesand, perfecting their faux hawks, and trying to fit into a pair of 28-inch waist jeans with this totally fierce white leather belt. Seriously, I so understand why no woman’d want to pity fuck a closet case—if I slept with a dude and he went straight, I’d practically be suicidal. (I mean, I couldn’t’ve been that awful, right?)

Luckily for gay boys everywhere looking to experiment, there’re women who are in love with the music of Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner. Just as it’s scientifically proven on YouTube that The Cure, The Smiths, and all that emo crap can lead to situational homosexuality in young adult males (Dude, did we like sleep together last night? Damn it, why’d you have to go and play “Pictures of You” again? I swear, no more Morrissey and no more sucking each other off.), it’s a well known fact that the rabid fangirls of Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner will sleep with just about anyone in an effort to prove to their god, AKA Sting, that they are sensitive, artistic, non-judgmental, vegan, and therefore, deserving of his love. (In a pinch, the gay boy looking to take a walk on the straight side may seek out a fangirl of Michael Stipe, but he must always remember that she is likely to be a LUG.)

It’s somewhat embarrassing to admit, but if it weren’t for Sting (and a fair amount of alcohol—wine for her, beer for me; I don’t think I could’ve stomached any more grapes), I probably would’ve never been able to find a woman to sleep with. Thankfully, I didn’t lose my virginity to him singing about a little black spot on the sun, some young teacher sweating and shaking like that old man in that book by Nabokov, or Roxanne. I lost my virginity to a Thin White Duke ballad of miracle goodnights. And if you really must know, even though Plans A and B worked and I’m not living in Boystown, I’ve been with a woman and I’m still gay.

Today's Contest:
God, I love Drew's honesty and his sense of humor, both of which come through in his novel The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second, which he has been kind enough to offer a copy of to one lucky winner.

As usual, to enter just leave a comment. And you'll earn additional entries by blogging/tweeting/etc about this blog or the cyber launch party. Just note your additional entries in your comment. Winner will be chosen at random on Thursday, July 30!

Tomorrow's Guest:

Tomorrow, Amanda Ashby, author of Zombie Queen of Newbury High will be guest-blogging. So please come back to see what she has to say!


Lilibeth Ramos said...

Oh, happy day!

Kristen said...

I love the White Sox too! Go them! Wow, it's really cool when you read something like this and you recognize town names like Crystal Lake. I live pretty close to there - a county over in Lake county!

Great ballad!

Annika said...

I am a little bit in love (platonically, of course) with anyone who can make the idea of sleeping with someone you're not attracted to this funny.

Llehn said...

I love David Bowie ... Let's Dance ... uh-oh ... now the song's running in my head.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

From that ballad, his book has got to be great!

Kay said...

This is the funniest interview (type-thing) I've read in ages! Definitely looking Drew's work up.

little miss gnomide said...

Well, there are alot of girls that fall in love with closeted gay boys(I don't personally know anything about that, of course), so I don't see why it would be hard to get one to sleep with you.

Great post though. One of my favorites ballads here during the cyber launch party. I will definitely be checking out the book.

Catherine said...

I'll definitely check out the book even if I don't win.

marina said...

i just love reading other peoples ballads. they're such great stories.


BrittLit said...

This is so funny I can't wait to read his book!

posted on my sidebar ob-v


Lori T said...

I will definitely have to check out your book Drew...I loved your ballad.

Bianca said...

I love love the interview! I'm glad I heard about this book! It looks like a great read!

infinitemusic19 at gmail dot com

Breanna said...

Great interview! I don't think I've seen an interview with Drew Ferguson before this one. So yay! I really enjoyed it.

I still haven't read his book so I'd love to be entered! Thank you :)


Diana Dang said...

His novel looks funny!

I have also blogged about the bash on the sidebar of my blog!

Book said...

I really want to read more Chicago books-or Chicago-ish set books so this would defnitely fit the bill...and I love his ballad, too :D

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting ballad. I linked this to my sidebar at