Some not-quite-random quotes from Saturday sessions:
Vestal McIntyre, in a conversation with Edmund White and Patrick Ryan on gay voice in literature: “Most of us share the experience of growing up, guarding this secret, and you start wondering about everyone else’s secrets.”
McIntyre also said in his family of seven children, four of them are gay, including the brother closest to him in age.”We were obsessed with the TV show ‘Dallas’ and we made tapes of ourselves playing all the roles. He was JR/Sue Ellen and I was Bobby/Pamela.” Ryan immediately responded, “Please tell me these tapes still exist — if Youtube was made for anything, it was this.”
White also noted that many gay men are practiced in telling their coming out stories, a narrative with all the elements of a good novel. “It’s just one step from that kind of pillow talk to real writing.”
Vestal and Edmund
Edmund and Patrick
Mark Doty led a discussion on poetry with Tina Chang, Terrance Hayes and Brenda Shaughnessy. “Nobody actually chooses to be a poet — poetry comes and finds you in some way,” he said. Hayes said he attended grad school telling his parents he was studying English in order to become a teacher and never told them he was writing poetry. He didn’t even tell them when his first book was published. “The book won an award and was on NPR and my mother found out,” he said. For Tina Chang, poetry found her after she took a job at Cosmopolitan magazine (“My big article was ‘The Big O From A to Z,’” she said) and she realized she was miserable. Shaughnessy got $1,000 from a relative, decided she was rich and moved to New York. She credits her naivete with her ability to stick with writing. “I had to be incredibly stupid for an incredibly long time to become a poet,” she said.
Tina and Terrance