Gaps in recounting the past?

The cover of CLUE! Magazine: January 1993

One’s personal gay history is part of a larger gay history narrative. Having just returned this month from a long trip to Greece, where I lived in my early 20s, I’ve been combing through my personal archives to recollect my former life abroad. Fortunately, there is a written record—I volunteered for the ’90s local queer publication, CLUE! Magazine, and after I left Calgary I wrote a column called “Notes from Greece.”

Reading my 22-year-old musing does induce some cringing but the part of the column that haunts me the most is what I have forgotten. Broad strokes are remembered but a few important details have vanished over time. As someone whose research leans heavily on oral history accounts, the vacancies in my own story give me pause. Our stories have holes.

Kevin Allen: first time in the Mediterranean Sea, age 22.

Academic historians, of course, enumerate all sorts of limitations in historical research: issues of memory, subjectivity, privilege, etc. However, when your own story has gaps, you feel this limitation profoundly. Yet, I’m thankful for the written word, the fact that this column even existed, and that the magazine has been collected and preserved. I can read it 28 years later and learn something about my own gay history—a “clue” about who I was.

I’m uploading a few of the columns for interested readers—feel free to cringe! Perhaps there is a hint of a future historian in the making…

{KA}

{Note: the column was handwritten, mailed to Canada as a letter, and then typed into CLUE!’s graphic design program. Email was not a widespread thing then—true story!}

3 responses to “Gaps in recounting the past?

  1. sam starchild

    good to read from you again , glad you’re back in calgary , safe n sound , it can be tough to recall things well , but it seems you have help via your writing 🙂

  2. Loving those notes from Greece, friend. 🙂

    Mark Andrew of the Hamiltons Masters of Arts Candidate Department of History Concordia University, Tiohtia:ke / Montréal, Quebec Pronouns: He / him

    POST: 5345 Rue Cartier Apt. #1 | Montréal, Quebec | H2H 1X6 | CANADA PHONE: +1 514 578 6855

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