Interview

Why do you write memoirs?
Because that voice in my head is what spills out of me when I write. Sounds bogus, right? But I find real life to be beautiful and tragic, hilarious and heartbreaking. Mostly, however, I have found that life is too short, and that too many of us piddle this gift away, taking our moments here for granted. I did that, for way too long. My goal with every memoir is to write about universal themes – relationships, self-esteem, self-acceptance, unconditional love, family, discrimination – from my unique experiences and viewpoint. Every memoir I write deals with these issues, and I try to write as honestly about my experiences as I can. I try not to hide behind a shield of cynicism, or view life from a distance. I want my writing to be heart wrenching and humorous, poignant yet funny. I think that’s what sets me apart … that laughter through the tears, which is what we all do, in order to survive.

Are memoirs difficult to write?
Let me put it this way: It would be way easier on me personally to write romance novels, or thrillers. But I’m not wired to do that. Writing memoirs is hard because I’m writing exclusively about my life, and those in my life. That’s a hard line to walk. In “Confessions,” for instance, my goal was to tell my story yet protect everyone involved. And that was not an easy thing to do, but I felt my story was important to relay, and yet I also felt it was imperative to protect people and place. I hope readers understand that. My goal is always to be honest with the reader about how I arrived at the story I’m telling.

What are you working on next?
Another memoir, of course! See Other Projects, for information about my upcoming memoirs, books, and essays.

Will you ever write a novel?
I’m working on a novel between memoirs, which is kind of like doing wind sprints while training for a marathon: Quick, short bursts, followed by a return to the long course. The novel I’m writing has been in the works for a while – and I think it has a great concept and characters. It’s, naturally, based on people and things I know. It’s very Jennifer Weiner (LOVE her) … leave it to a gay man, right? But I love her novels and her characters. Real people, real life, real funny. (I’ve been watching way too much WE TV.)