11/27/12

An Interview with Timothy Kurek

I first stumbled across Timothy Kurek on a LinkedIn group about book marketing. It wasn’t until a couple weeks later that a realized that he was the same guy I had been reading about, the former Conservative Southern Christian who went underground in Nashville’s small but vibrant gay community, effectively going into the closet as a straight guy and coming out a year later with his outlook profoundly changed. The book that resulted, The Cross in the Closet (read my review here), has earned the author an appearance on The View, been dissected on Huffington Post, and received glowing praise from no less a figure than Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Too often, issues surrounding our gay and lesbian neighbors get clouded by superficial discussions of sexual morality and abstract arguments about legal equality. Kurek’s book cuts through that and performs the not-inconsequential feat of bridging two communities who seem irreconcilably at odds, and opening a channel for communication, for those who choose to use it.


In the following interview, Kurek says his lack of a college degree was one factor which contributed to his early reluctance to go ahead with a book. I suspect he learned more about life in that year than a lot of college graduates managed to absorb in four.

I believe there are a few among us have, under the spell of curiosity, alcohol, or some really good weed, “experiemented” with a member of their own gender, but that never goes beyond the surface and past the moment. Kurek “experimented” with every aspect except the sexual for an entire year, immersing himself in the humanity behind the endless discussions, and the result should be illuminating for anyone willing to hold their own bias, about gays or Christians, up to the light he’s shining on the issue.

Upon reading the book, I thought I needed to have a talk with the author. He was gracious enough to agree.

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11/19/12

How I Would Adapt The Stand for the Screen

Actor, director, and screenwriter Ben Affleck is apparently bogged down in his attempt to adapt Stephen King’s epic 1978 classic The Stand for the big screen. I’m not surprised. Somewhere here I have a 1980 paperback copy and the back cover proudly proclaims, “Soon to be a major motion picture from George Romero!”

Remember that movie? If you do, you were on drugs because it never happened. A movie version of King’s biggest novel (at that time) was a sort of holy grail for fans but filmmaker after filmmaker struggled with it and gave up. Finally, there was a three-part TV miniseries in 1994. It was pretty good. Gary Sinise made a fine Stu Redman, Jamey Sheridan was a good choice for Flagg, but Molly Ringwald never really looked confortable as Fran Goldsmith. The inability to get really R-rated with the material also hampered the final result. It was a nice try but fans still wanted more.

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10/18/12

You’re Right, Abigail, It’s Not Easy

As a general rule, I’m not out to hurt anyone with what I write (unless you’re a small-minded, bigoted, moron). So when I posted a story about newly minted British writer named Abigail Gibbs who, at the ripe old age of 18, received a six-figure advance for her first novel, The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire. I had no intent beyond poking a bit of fun when I posted the story to Facebook, when a snarky comment to the effect that it was wrong that someone so young be so successful so quickly.

At least I thought it was in good fun, but when the story got duplicated over to Twitter, I got an unexpected reply from the author herself. Continue reading

09/24/12

Who Would Have Thought?

In 1984, I took the second of about five creative writing classes during my college career. The instructor was an author named James P. Blaylock. If you haven’t heard the name, then you’re not a fan of Steampunk fiction. What is Steampunk, you ask?

Steampunk stories tank place during Victorian times, often but not necessarily in London, and features technology that are advanced, steam-powered equivalents of modern devices. That’s it: Victorian society, semi-modern steam-powered tech. Within those parameters, it’s a pretty big sand box.

So this Blaylock character writes Steampunk, right? Is that all? Oh, no. It’s better than that.

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12/17/11

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

Christopher Hitchens was an angry man, no doubt about. Even though, cosmologically speaking, he and I agree more than we disagree, even I could say “come on, now!”

But he was, above all, a brutally honest man. Agree with him or hate him, he never told you anything but what he really felt. That’s a rare quality. He will be and should be missed. The world is poorer tonight.