The Long Hallway
Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies
David Bergman, Joan Larkin, and Raphael Kadushin, Founding Editors
“An exquisite book: atmospheric, metaphysical, transformative. Larson provides an extended meditation on menace, and what it means to walk beside it and not be destroyed by it. I’m enthralled by Larson’s willingness to acknowledge how the cruelty of his environment has shaped him, and his compassion and respect for his younger self feels singular.”
Coming out with Halloween
Growing up queer, closeted, and afraid, Richard Scott Larson found expression for his interior life in horror films, especially John Carpenter’s 1978 classic, Halloween. He developed an intense childhood identification with Michael Myers, Carpenter’s inscrutable masked villain, as well as Michael’s potential victims. In The Long Hallway, Larson scrutinizes this identification, meditating on horror as a metaphor for the torments of the closet.
Larson was only nine years old when he recognized something of his own experience in how Michael Myers hid his true face from the world. This spark of recognition ignited his imagination while he searched for clues to what the future might hold for boys like him, all the while being made to understand his nascent sexuality as deviant and punishable. Like in the movies, his superficially safe suburban childhood was in fact filled with threat: a classmate’s murder, his father’s alcoholism and death, and his own sexual assault by a much older man. The figurative mask Larson learned to wear could not contain his yearning to be seen and desired. In the aftermath of this violence, his boyhood self came to believe that fear and desire would be forever intertwined.
This lyrical memoir expresses a boy’s search for identity while navigating the darkness and isolation of a deeply private inner world. With introspection and tenderness, Larson reflects on how little we understand in the moment about the experiences that mark us forever.
“Halloween, horror, desire, death, and what lurks in the shadows of the suburban Midwest–The Long Hallway is the book of my dark dreams. With tension, tenderness, and longing in every line, this is a memoir you feel in your skin, a deeply vulnerable and hauntingly powerful meditation on watching and being seen, isolation and escape, and uncovering the truth of our stories, and our families, to see ourselves more clearly.”
—Melissa Faliveno, author of Tomboyland
“Somewhere in the chasm that runs between our open secrets and our adolescent desires, we become ourselves. This is a book with the power to remind us how quickly young queers become voyeurs in their own lives, always living it double, watching from inside our great secret. I was moved by it because I understood the boy at its center: In a way, he was me, not so much because young Larson and I were really the same, but because in the author’s hands, I grew to feel—to hope—that we were.”
—K. Austin Collins, film critic
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