Someone I went to high school with in Robinson, Illinois (pop: 6,600) recently read my book ONE GAY AMERICAN and tracked me down. He sent me this lovely email which I share anonymously with his permission.
In 2016, I wrote a thirty-three week long column for Queen Mob’s Teahouse called Thirty Years a Dresser. My intention was always to turn those essays into a book.
This summer there was no theatre to dress, so I got to be a full time writer and revisit the project. I assembled last years column into a manuscript and doubled the content by adding thirty new essays. I get very excited when I can finally print my work out and hold it. It becomes real.
I submitted Thirty Years a Dresser to my publisher at Coffeetown Press. Now I wait for their feedback. I hope they like it.
This evening, Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh hosted the first staged reading of my new play DORIS TATE. The event was open to the public and there was an audience discussion afterwards.
So grateful to the drama department at RMU for the three days they spent with me reading, discussing, and performing the play. From their input was able to do some serious rewrites that greatly impacted the play’s future.
I just got the inaugural issue of Hourglass Literary Magazine in the mail. My poem MY GAY JESUS appears on page 307.
I wrote the preface to my first play, Doris Tate. I’m very excited for the workshop next month at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
A Note From the Playwright:
August 9, 2019 will be the fiftieth anniversary of the Manson murder spree that claimed the lives of seven, including actress Sharon Tate and her unborn baby. One would assume that the world has already absorbed everything possible about the crime and it’s historic trial.
I love the true crime genre, but I wanted to write an “anti-Helter Skelter” piece. In the vast sea of books, movies, and plays drowning in facts about the tragedy, surely this story can be told without blood or stabbing. I yearned for a story that felt deeply personal written specifically for the stage.
Few people know the story of Sharon Tate’s mother, Doris. I fell in love with this spunky woman after viewing a handful of videos of her advocacy on YouTube. Unlike many retellings of the crime, my play Doris Tate is in no way meant to glorify the murders. My motivation for writing this play is to simply spin the story from another angle. Doris Tate’s story of grief and grit is long overdue.
For the record, this is a fictional dramatization that is framed within history. I have never met anyone from the Tate family or any of the families involved in the story. As the playwright, I would suggest anyone who chooses to produce this play make a donation to The Doris Tate Crime Victim’s Bureau (now called Crime Victims Action Alliance) or any other foundation that serves crime victims and their families.
We have all heard the story of the Manson murders on August 9 and 10, 1969. Actress Sharon Tate was one of seven victims. For years, I researched the case and thought someone should tell the story of Sharon’s mother, Doris Tate. She turned her grief into activism and become one of America’s biggest crime victim advocates.
After the election, I decided it was time to finally write a play about Doris.
After 9 drafts, my first play needs some voices. DORIS TATE will be workshopped and get her first public reading on March 14 by the theatre department at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. I am so excited to explore this work and see the story of this wonderful woman onstage.
My 3 short stories CORNSTALKS, THE VEST, and THE SISSY TEST have been licensed to Great Jones Street and I got paid! They’ll appear in the publication soon. Plus, I got a bonus tee shirt. Woo hoo!
This was a great week. Two of my short stories, both about gay bars, were published one right after the other. The first is called “The Vest” and appears in The Rain, Party, and Disaster Society. The second one is called “Vote” and was inspired by a gay bar I went to years ago where the staff was dressed as Nazi skinheads and wore fake Hitler mustaches (I quickly left). The story appears in Mad Swirl.