It is an awesome privilege to belong to the gay artistic community.
I’ve just finished reading Christopher Bram’s “Eminent Outlaws – The Gay Writers Who Changed America.” I’m an inveterate highlighter when reading a well-written book with thought-provoking material. Almost every page of my copy of “Eminent Outlaws” has phrases, sentences, and on occasion whole paragraphs that are highlighted.
“Eminent Outlaws ” provides wonderful biographies of the authors that Bram argues laid the foundation for gay liberation including Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, Christopher Isherwood, Allen Ginsberg, Edward Albee, Edmund White, Armistead Maupin, Mart Crowley, and Tony Kushner. (He acknowledges and explains in the introduction why he is only treating gay male literature.)
Bram describes how these writers interacted with each other (sometimes not a pretty picture) and provides literary critiques of their works. He talks about the social reaction to these writers including the responses from the straight and in later years gay press. The book is wonderfully researched and replete with insightful analysis. Even though I knew these authors, I learned a great deal more about them.
Much more though than the intellectual stimulation, what moved me so deeply about “Eminent Outlaws” was the emotional sense of being linked to a community of gay authors that stretches over time and whose work has provoked responses from gay (and straight) readers that have contributed to the creation of community and to political, human rights, and artistic progress.
I have only recently begun writing gay-themed books. For many years during my professional career, I wrote books on environmental ethics.
Then my lover died suddenly of cancer and I felt compelled to write a memoir “August Farewell” about the two weeks between his diagnosis and his death and to integrate vignettes from our thirty-three years together as a gay couple. It was an artistic and cathartic experience. But still roiling with issues of love and loss in my head and heart, I decided to tackle them through the medium of writing my first piece of fiction. The novel “Searching for Gilead” is the product.
It is an awesome privilege to be able to dialogue with other gay authors about our challenges and joys in writing and to converse with readers who have felt moved to share their reactions to my books. The relationships that have been fostered with these writers and readers are occurring in real time, now in the second decade of the twenty-first century. But somehow, reading “Eminent Outlaws” has linked me to gay artistic predecessors who laid the foundation on which we now build.
What a thrill.
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Information on my memoir “August Farewell” and my novel “Searching for Gilead”, including short YouTube video book trailers, is available on my website at http://DavidGHallman.com
See “Eminent Outlaws – The Gay Writers Who Changed America” at http://amzn.to/OCVpvY