My BRAT-buddy and current best friend, Jay, and I first met one another at a bare practitioner social gathering on Saturday, January 3, 2009. Within minutes after introducing ourselves, we discovered a shared addiction: we’re both E. Lynn Harris dedicated! Perhaps obsessed would be a better description. In just a couple of hours, our introduction became an acquaintanceship that immediately evolved into a friendship that has remained “fast and solid” ever since.
BRAT represents “barely recognized as textile.” An affectionate yet sarcastic invention of Jay’s partner, Raheem, to summarize our unique relationship in today’s extraordinary world. Click the link: BRAT! to read more.
E. Lynn Harris (pictured above) was a noteworthy and popular male same gender loving author who first published in the 1990’s and tragically died in July, 2009. He was the respected talent who opened the door to the Black gay experience for millions no matter their racial heritage, gender or sexual orientation.
Jay and I read and discuss books throughout the year – along with our our interests. For the past several years, I have featured some of those titles here. I try to do a post entry in honour of E. Lynn Harris every year during the early summer so to commemorate his birthdate (June 20, 1955) and the date of his death (July 23, 2009). I think he would appreciate this style of recognition as a justified tribute to his devotion to writing and to the reading of books..
The situation is different for this year’s reading. An acquaintance of mine, Rodney Lofton, died earlier this year. We had co-presented sessions on HIV/AIDS prevention education for the Red Cross and he was a novel author in his work. To learn more, click the link: Our Paths Crossed. Please read for more information.
I had not read Rodney’s novel since it was published in 2009. Aaron, my spouse, Jay and Raheem had never read the book at all. So our “reading group” expanded this year to include not only Jay and myself but our “significant others” as well.
Jay had read Rodney’s autobiographical work, The Day I Stopped Being Pretty, A Memoir when I sent to him a copy after sharing with him my acquaintance with the recently deceased man. It was after he finished that we agreed to read Lofton’s next novel in honour of E. Lynn Harris. We both believed that Harris would be comfortable in being remembered by the work of a fellow same gender loving African-American male.
A likeness and painting of author and AIDS prevention educator Rodney Lofton is displayed in the lobby of a charity he served. Below is the cover of the book that is the subject of today’s post entry here on ReNude Pride.
No More Tomorrows is a moving and poignant love story of two men – one, Mark Jones, is HIV positive; the other, Kevin Williams, is HIV negative. It is also the story of same gender loving men living and loving in the era of HIV/AIDS. Author Rodney Lofton, himself diagnosed as HIV+ in the early 1990’s, composed this – his first fiction novel – with both insight and wisdom. This book was published on June 30, 2009.
No More Tomorrows begins at the end. Mark Jones awakes from, another restless and sleepless night that he has endured for weeks. It is when he if fully awake that he realizes that this day is his very last day of life. Twenty years after being diagnosed with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), Mark spends his morning reflecting on his life and love of Kevin Williams.
Facing a life of living with HIV, Mark opts to get busy living instead of the direction to get busy dying. Whereas tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us, de decides to host his own “celebration of life” party where he meets Kevin, who becomes the love of his life. Kevin, learning that Mark is living with HIV faces his own dilemma – pursuing his attraction to Mark and “going the distance” with him or avoiding the situation altogether and safely keeping himself uninvolved.
The subtitle of No More Tomorrows is aptly “Two Lives, Two Stories, One Love.” Kevin and Mark not only commit to a relationship together; they also develop a deep and sincere love for one another. This novel shares their bromance from beginning to end – and beyond.
Throughout the book, Kevin and Mark give their individual perspectives on their relationship and the strong bond and devotion that engulfs them. Lofton’s story is both positive and promising, even as Mark confronts his final day and dedicates a legacy for his love.
No More Tomorrows concludes with Kevin on the first anniversary of Mark’s death. This brief epilogue brings a moment of profound sadness into a celebration of love and smiles – and a tear of joy!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Monday, July 25, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Tan-Lines: Tell-Tale Signs!”