Two By Maupin

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 28, 2009





A couple of weeks after Al Gore got more votes than George Bush, PG bought a computer. A little while later, he read “Sarah”. PG thought he would send J.T. Leroy a fan email. The very next day, a reply came. PG felt  good about this, until he found out that J.T. Leroy was a hoax.

Moving ahead a few years, PG reads “Michael Tolliver Lives” and “The Night Listener” by Armistead Maupin. “Listener” is semi autobiographical, and deals with a literary hoax. The reader never knows for sure what the score is. After a while, Mr. Reader wonders the same thing about the “real” details that illustrate the story.

It is said that one way an author can tell the truth is to write fiction. Mr. Maupin tells a moving story in both books. “Michael” is admitted fiction, but enough connections to reality that the reader wonders who is a stand in for what. In “Listener”, the story holds up, until the author makes a fateful trip to Wisconsin. Then the slippery slope story hurtles downhill into the bejeweled elephant. While the story may be fake, and about fakery, the emotions it stirs in the reader are genuine

PG read an interview with the “real” Mr. Maupin once, probably around the late eighties. At the time, “Outing”, or telling everyone in earshot that so and so is gay, was the fashion. Mr. Maupin got into it with gusto, especially regarding a TV actor with a big mustache.

PG was put off by the entire affair. Government leaders who make policy could, arguably, have their “dirty laundry” exposed. However, why should anyone worry about a TV performer? If someone wants to let the public connect the dots, so be it.

Reading “The Night Listener” reveals a bit of back story. At the time of the interview, Mr. Maupin’s lover, Terry Anderson, (from Marietta, GA.) had AIDS. He was not expected to make it. Mr. Maupin, a de facto spokesman for planet homo, was in a world of hurt.

The appearance of miracle drugs in the late nineties saved Terry Anderson and Michael Tolliver. They almost did in Armistead Maupin. The good news is that writing is a source of life for Mr. Maupin.

It is his gift to take this pain, and render it into stories that are fun to read. As for the belief issue…the role of fiction if to create questions, not answers. Maybe it is a function of Jesus Worship to cause people to take myths seriously, to confuse mythos for logos.

PG wonders if the difference is important. As with the TV actor, once the reader has been transported by the book, what difference does it make if it is technically true?





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  1. Armistead Maupin At DBF | Chamblee54 said, on September 2, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    […] a DBF badge told PG “You’re making that up.” Chamblee54 has featured Mr. Maupin one, two, three, four, five, six times. Pictures, for the text to go between, are from The Library of […]

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