Destroying art is practice for destroying people.
Reading teaches me the answers to the problems I haven't had yet, or to problems I didn't even know how to describe. And when I feel less alone with what troubles me, it is easier to find solutions. A book to me is like a friend, a shelter, advice, an argument with someone who cares enough to argue with me for a better answer than the one we both already have. Books aren't just a door to another world-each book is part of a door to the whole world, a door that always has more behind it.
Acadia was founded in 1916 by Woodrow Wilson as the first Eastern national park, aided by rich men, often with middle initials, the 'rusticators,' as they were known then, the first of our wealthy out-of-state visitors.
My first letter of acceptance, to UMass - Amherst, came with an offer of a fellowship and a note from John Edgar Wideman.
I said that I like to write on trains and that I wished Amtrak had residencies for writers.
'War and Peace' holds a strange place in literary history, participating in the crowning of realism as a substantial and serious literary mode in America, even as the novel also contributed to the argument that historical fiction could be by nature dangerous, illegitimate, and inaccurate.
I met my first boyfriend when we were 13, playing 'Dungeons and Dragons' in the basement of my local comics shop. We were from the same small town in Maine but went to different schools.
I've known the poet Eileen Myles since the 1990s, when I first moved to New York, and I remember seeing her walking her Pit Bull Rosie around the East Village. She had these beautiful arms and David Cassidy hair and the sort of swagger so many of the gay boys I knew wished we had. We all had crushes on her.
My singing voice had rescued me from the scene I was in at school - I was an unpopular, bookish kid who had an indeterminate ethnic background. I became fascinated with women sopranos because they had a future that I didn't as a singer.
Lilliet Berne, La Generale, newly returned to Paris after a year spent away, the Falcon soprano whose voice was so delicate it was rumored she endangered it even by speaking, her silences as famous as her performances.
Marie Cornelie Falcon, who lost her voice while performing - singing the line 'Je suis pret' - 'I am ready.' How much more tragic can you get?
Liz Benedict, a teacher of mine at Iowa, is the person who introduced me to James Salter's work.
In 2009, the 'New York Times' ran an analysis on the cost of being a LGBT couple trying to live as a married couple but without the same protections. Over a lifetime, they estimated a couple would spend as much as $467,562 more, and as little as $41,196, with costs running lower the higher your income.
I remembered staffing a volunteer table for ACT UP in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood in 1991, on the corner of Castro and 18th Street, and on my table were posters, stickers, and t-shirts that bore the same slogan in all caps - ACT UP slogan house style. I wore one of those shirts to model for passers-by.
The year was 1882. The palace was the Luxembourg Palace: the ball, the Senat Bal, held at the beginning of autumn. It was still warm, and so the garden was used as well. I was the soprano. I was Lilliet Berne.
I had been in a professional boys' choir, and as a boy soprano, you're aware that your voice has an expiration date.
I loved being a soprano. It was one of my very favorite things in life, and thus far, and losing that voice was a profound emotional moment for me in my life. I never became that interested in my adult male singing voice.
By the 1880s, English translations of both the French and the Russian editions were available, and Americans began to read 'War and Peace.'
My literary heroes were mostly women writers and thinkers - Joy Williams, Joan Didion, Anne Sexton, June Jordan, Sarah Schulman, Audre Lorde, Cherrie Moraga, Christa Wolf - and much of this writing was political as well as literary.