A Heart Wants What It Wants

I just finished reading a wonderful novel by my friend and childhood art mentor, Linda Regula. A Heart Wants What It Wants is a fictionalized account of a young man's coming out story set in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.

Even though I'm more of a city boy, it hit close to home because I was the inspiration for the main character, Noble Rule. Linda also wrote herself into the story, as reclusive artist Annalise Morgan who takes Noble under her wing and teaches him to paint -- and ultimately to accept himself. The novel follows Noble's journey to art school and his struggle to come to terms with his sexuality.

Linda brilliantly captures the pain of separation I experienced during this time - the separation between myself and my peers as well as the separation between who I was and who I thought I was supposed to be. However, my favorite parts of the novel are when she offers a glimpse into the nurturing environment she created for me during our weekly art lessons (beginning when I was only 3 and a half years old!).

The story of Annalise and Noble is really the story of Linda and me, and it's one that I believe will inspire others to recognize the powerful impact a mentor can have on a child's life.

Linda and me, 1984

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