How does a little known black author let Oprah Winfrey know about his little known but wonderful novel? He contacts her through Oprah.com like billions before him. What does a little known black author say in a one-page, one-shot letter to the goddess who could make his little known but wonderful novel a worldwide phenomenon? If the letter had room for only one passage from the little known book, what passage would the little known author choose? Here now, my letter, sent to Oprah Winfrey on July 25, 2007.
My name is Randy Boyd. I am a 45 year-old black male who has been living with the AIDS virus for 22 years. In the summer of 1985, at the age of 23, I graduated from UCLA, and (a month later) found out I was carrying the virus (the same day Rock Hudson told the world he had AIDS).
To survive, I dreamed. Now, two decades later, I share those dreams with the world in the form of my fourth novel, Walt Loves the Bearcat. The “plot” revolves around a lifelong romance between a black college cheerleader and a white college quarterback, who goes on to become the first “out” pro superstar athlete. The “soul” of the book revolves around my journey living with AIDS and the life I imagined for myself had I not been infected.
I once heard from your own lips that you disliked being sent books, and I take you for your word. Unfortunately, I’m also not a very well-known author. I’ve published four novels, been published elsewhere, and received five Lambda Literary Award nominations, but I realistically refer to myself as a small fish in a tiny pond next to an ocean the size of the universe. More than anything, I wanted to do my part to let you know about me.
The following passage from Walt Loves the Bearcat best expresses what it feels like being me, a 45 year-old black male homosexual who has survived AIDS since 1985:
“We live in an age where we are inundated with countless images from countless sources, from TV to movies to pop-up ads. A huge percentage of those images deal with love, sex and romance. Still, rare or nonexistent is the occasion where I encounter an image that reflects who I am and what I dream of. Even rarer and more nonexistent is the occasion where I encounter an image that might encourage another soul to dream of loving someone just like me.” —from Walt Loves the Bearcat
NOTE: To date, the little known author and his little known book have not heard from Oprah, but Walt Loves the Bearcat was a Lambda Literary Award finalist for Best Romance and is available wherever books are sold.