Monday, July 14, 2008

Write About That

He writes of isolation and estrangement, of life in exile. He writes from experience, and Desmond Hogan's recent conviction should provide fodder for another round of stories.

Mr. Hogan, author of numerous short stories, has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a boy of fifteen. The reclusive writer appeared in court, but he failed to promise that he'd never do such a thing again and offered no reason as to why it happened in the first place.

Not many people in Ballybunion knew the author well. He was fond of exercising on the beach, and made acquaintances among the local youth, but never managed to form any friendships with people his own age. Perhaps he felt isolated, being a gay man in the west of Ireland. He couldn't fit in with the nuclear families.

During the trial, Mr. Hogan objected to the Garda sergeant's testimony, disputing the details of the assault, but testimony continued and it wasn't pleasant. Anthony Farrell of Lilliput Press presented a character reference for his client, and noted author Colm Toibin sent along a note that described Desmond Hogan as a writer of immense power and importance. All well and good, but the judge found the writer guilty of taking advantage of a young boy.

A man who writes of isolation is now in the deepest sort of exile, very much alone. Everyone in town knows and every boy in Ballybunion will be expressly forbidden from so much as looking at the man. What friendships he was able to strike up are no more, and Mr. Hogan can write that much more powerfully, writing from personal experience.

Perhaps he'd like to compose a bit of fiction that explores the mind of the sexual predator who doesn't understand that what he does is anathema to society, that it causes great harm to the victim. That's the sort of thing that would garner a literary prize.

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