I am working away on my second book, due out May 1, 2012, entitled ONE GAY AMERICAN …on my iPad!!!!. My six year old laptop died a week ago and it is not in the budget to get a new one at this time. I joked with my friend Patti that I would finish this book by my Christmas deadline if I had to write it on paper plates in my own blood. At the very least, I can say if the book becomes popular, that it was finished in a fury on a iPad.
I asked one of my beta-readers of the latest draft (and nearly the last draft, I believe) to give me five questions to answer that would allow me to talk about ONE GAY AMERICAN. Here is what she asked:
1- What inspired you to write this book?
I started writing this book right after my first book SHORN: TOYS TO MEN came out. I was inspired by a blog entry I wrote while the play adaptation of SHORN was in rehearsal almost a year ago. The entry was about a bride doll I gave my ex-wife. The story of that doll was featured in both the book and the play. I started thinking about how I had always had an obsession with brides, weddings, dolls, and specifically bride dolls since I was a little boy. I thought it would be interesting, with gay marriage being such a hot topic, to write another memoir framed around all of the weddings I experienced in my life as an observer (and once as the groom). How watching other people get married –while being gay and not legally able to get married to the same sex — shaped my life.
The book morphed a bit from there. It became less about the actual weddings and dolls and more about politics and discrimination.
2- You talk a lot about your parents and your ex-wife in this book. What do you think their thoughts would be about ONE GAY AMERICAN?
My parents knew I was gay from a young age and loved me unconditionally, but that didn’t come without a lot of pain and struggle. I think they would be proud of me …but would be glad I didn’t start writing books until after they passed. I think they would be pleased at the thought of our family story shedding light on other gay peoples lives and maybe comforting them.
As far as my ex-wife, I will always care for her. I would hope she would support me trying to enlighten and support young gay people by telling the story of our three year marriage. I didn’t set out to humiliate her or anyone. I just think our story can resonate with others.
3- How do you justify your first memoir SHORN: TOYS TO MEN with writing a second memoir? Both books span your whole life.
SHORN chronicles my struggle with OCD and my haircutting paraphilia. That book was written with a specific style and and tells my story very linearly. Yet the first book didn’t expand on some very critical times in my life: it stays tightly on it’s topic. ONE GAY AMERICAN is told mostly through vignettes. It jumps in time with smaller, individual instances and experiences in my life that speak to and about the gay community. ONE GAY AMERICAN is much broader than my story in SHORN. I was very careful that the two books could blend together and be earnest.
4- Who did you write ONE GAY AMERICAN for? Who is your target reader?
ONE GAY AMERICAN blends gay American history with my personal history. It illustrates the journey the country has been on as the nation became more tolerant of homosexuality, as I became comfortable as a gay man. Both stories are bumpy at times. I hope that my book is for everyone: young, old, gay straight, conservatives and liberals.
5- A personal question that you don’t address at the end of your book. Do you think you will get married if gay marriage becomes legal?
I don’t know. I just hope I have the legal right to someday if I choose. I am absolutely certain the next generation will have more rights than I had in my lifetime. I hope ONE GAY AMERICAN helps speed up that process up.