Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Empire of Self

Jay Parini has written a wonderful biography of one of my favorite writers, Gore Vidal. Empire of Self covers a lot of the same ground as Gore's memoirs and the earlier (and much detested by Gore, though I enjoyed it) biography by Fred Kaplan, but Parini was friends with Gore for thirty years and brings a lot of personal insight to the story of Gore's life.

I read Gore's first memoir, Palimpsest, when I was just out of high school and what impacted me the most at that time, and for years afterward, was Gore's great love for Jimmy Trimble, the boy with whom he'd fooled around while in school and who was then killed in World War II. Back then,  it seemed to me like a tragic tale of lost love. I could easily imagine what might have been if Jimmy had returned from war, how they would have ended up together.

I've certainly grown up a lot in the (we won't say how many!) years since then. Jimmy Trimble was a beautiful young man who died far too soon, and whatever they shared together certainly impacted Gore to some degree for the rest of his life. But the great love of Gore's life was Howard Auster, no matter how much Gore himself may have protested  that his companion of 50 years was a friend with whom he shared his life or that the great secret to their lasting friendship was that they didn't sleep together.

Parini's insider view of their relationship, and especially of Gore's life after Howard's death, is eye opening, though it  wasn't my first indication of Gore's true feelings. Vidal's description of Howard's passing, in his second memoir Point to Point Navigation, spoke volumes. Reading Parini's description of how Gore, at the very end of his life when he could barely speak, asked Jay to tell him stories about Howard and their times together, had tears streaming down my face.

Once young love and tragic loss seemed far more real and valid to me than a day to day life with someone with whom you didn't even share a bed. I've grown up, and I see now the difference between true love and youthful infatuation. Gore, always going against the grain, may have immortalized what he had with Jimmy both in fiction and memoir, but it was Howard who mattered to him.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

'Tis the Season

 I was just perusing Daytime Confidential's list of the Top 25 Shirtless Soap Hunks of 2013 and it made me miss the days when I had time to blog, especially at this time of year when I always had fun with my lists of the Men Who Made 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Ah, memories.

 In the spirit of such sexy seasonal traditions, here is Glamour Magazine's fan voted list of the Sexiest Men 2013, as well as last summer's Hot 100 from, formerly

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Bowie's Books

 A fascinating list from David Bowie of his 100 must read books. Check it out.

Friday, August 23, 2013

50 Essentials of LGBT Fiction

An interesting list of 50 Essential Works of LGBT Fiction from Flavorwire. Some of the choices are undeniable, others are unexpected. Most surprising of all, as Band of Thebes points out, are the omissions.

Still, if you're looking for something to read, you'll find plenty of suggestions.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Gore Vidal

  The writer I've admired most in my life, one of the first who made me want to become a writer myself, is gone. Gore Vidal died yesterday evening at his home in California, aged 86.

  I know that Gore himself didn't believe there was any kind of afterlife, but in my mind's eye today I'm seeing him as he was back in the prime of his life, bounding up the steps at his beloved La Rondinaia in Ravello to find Howard Austen, Tennessee Williams (the Glorious Bird), Paul Newman, and, yes, Jimmy Trimble, all lounging on the terrace, drinks in hand, awaiting his arrival.

  Thank you, Gore Vidal, for the impact you had on my life. Rest in peace.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Just Married

  How amazing is it that for the first time in the history of the United States we have someone serving in Congress who is not only openly gay, but legally married to their partner? Congratulations to Congressman Barney Frank and his new husband, Jim Ready, who got married yesterday.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Changing Times

  This wonderful book trailer pays homage to many bookstores and publishers we've lost over the last decade. It certainly brought a tear to my eye and I'll definitely be checking out Dale Peck's novel this August.