Do I Write Right?

In his madcap debut novel, Blue Heaven, my mentor of comedy writing (and former Frasier executive producer) Joe Keenan introduces us to self-proclaimed writer Gilbert Selwyn thusly: “He wants desperately to be a world-famous, flamboyant, provocative novelist and will do anything to achieve this goal short of putting words on paper.” This hilarious description (of a hilarious character) resonates with me for a couple of reasons. Practically everything Keenan writes is hilarious and resonant, for one thing, which is part of the reason I read his novels over and over again (if not in public, where the frequent guffaws can incite looks). Also, this is a spectacularly apt encapsulation of my own writerly ambitions and habits from my early twenties to my first crack National Novel Writing Month some fifteen years later. Continue reading

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Wear Your “Green” With Pride

Today is, of course, St. Patrick’s Day, and green t-shirts and bagels abound as Spring draws nigh. It may not always be easy being you, but as Lena Horne and Kermit remind us, you’re beautiful. So take a minute in front of the mirror and make sure that you’re wearing your “green” — your sexuality, your race, your gender-identity, your weight — with pride, today and every day.

Men at Work?

Art imitating Life as it occasionally will, much of the fun in my novel Kiss Me, Straight takes place when a gang of flight attendants is turned loose on Sydney, Australia.  The beer flows, men chunder…

I flew international out of San Francisco for the first ten years of my career, and, like most of the gay guys, I loved flying Sydney and leapt at every opportunity to do so.  Nights like this were a big reason why:

You’ll know this story is from a while back, because it opens with me at the gym.  With three other flight attendants on a Sydney layover, mind you; I had mostly gone along to be sociable.  I think we were all a little surprised by quite how sociable our little outing turned out. Continue reading

Writing Exercise: First Meeting

Inspired (like so many writers before us) by Natalie Goldberg, my writing group used a prompt from her (amazing) book Old Friend From Far Away to get the blood-and-ink flowing when we met this week.  We wrote off the top of our heads for ten minutes on the topic of “First Meetings.”  A snippet of what fell out of me follows:

Me with no doorbell, you with no phone–we wanted to meet, it was just going to take some doing.  Remember pay phones?  There’s one across the street by the Popeye’s.  Call me, I’ll come let you in.

Except where are you?  I want to go down and look for you, but don’t dare leave the phone, so I end up in the hallway on the stairs, from which I can see precisely nothing.  Finally the suspense is killing me–I go out on the street in search of you.  You’re not banging on the door, you’re probably looking for parking.  Will I know you if I see you?  I’ve only seen your face–are you short or tall or wearing a name tag?

Up the street, a block away, you’re crossing the street.  We’ve never met and I can’t make out your face, but I know it’s you.  At least, it better be you, because I’m looking at the man I’m gonna marry.

Them Jeans

My forthcoming novel, Kiss Me, Straight, is the story of a gay flight attendant in San Francisco chasing romance with a straight guy all around the world.  It is not my autobiography, but they do say to Write What You Know.  There are a few scenes in the book that are ripped from the pages of my journal, but the main character, his friends, and their mad adventures are all, of course, figments of my imagination. 

So, while my novel is not about me or my life, I do sometimes use fiction to capture a particular travel experience.  I am, after all, a Gemini, and we don’t especially like to be bound by narrow interpretations of “facts” when we tell stories.  What follows is a snapshot of an afternoon passed on my last international trip before I transferred to Denver.  It was originally published on a tiny and now-extinct Gay Flash Fiction site. (photo credit: me)

You know you’re in Asia when an overfed brown-haired white guy in a pair of jeans stands out in a lunchtime crowd.  OK, I can admit to having a slight tendency towards overfed brown-haired white guys in jeans, but they’re hardly rare and exotic on the streets of any English-speaking country.  And not just the U.S., despite our reputation.  (Yes, Australia, I’m talking to you.)

Continue reading