2/23/11

Unpublished (?) Interview

Image source http://de.wikipedia.org •
photographer Holger.Ellgaard
A few months ago, I answered the following questions for an interview that was due to be published on a Book Blog. I don't remember its name and do not feel very keen on looking it up in my Emailbox either. Here's why: two weeks after having sent back my answers, and while waiting for a mail telling me when they would appear on the site, I happened to stumble upon the blog's announcement that no more interviews would be posted.

Isn't that just my luck? Thus, as far as I know, my input has never made it online. And the Book Blog can remain anonymous without me having a bad conscience. There, that sounds like some petty revenge. But it feels good.

Anyway. Never one to waste left-overs, I have decided to warm up these ones and to share the precious little insights into my life with you. People commonly call this a Recycling Post. Maybe, you'll find the answers to some of the questions you've asked yourselves but have not dared ask me yet? Just joking (and checking if you follow). ;-)

Anonymous Book Blog (ABB): How long have you been blogging, and what made you decide to start?
Me: I started blogging in December 2009. On a whim and in reaction to a film. You have to know that back in 2003, my father died at the age of 59, buried under an avalanche. I was devastated. The following summer, though, I suddenly had an inspiration for a book. It was a murder mystery story that took place in Greece, in the small village where I had been spending my holidays for the last few years. I finished writing a first draft in German in 2005, I think, and sent it off to different publishing houses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. After having received huge amounts of rejection letters, I decided to rewrite it, but in French this time. That took me more than a year and a half. Again, when contacted, no publisher was interested in publishing me. Frustrated, I put the manuscript in a drawer, ready to forget about it. And finally, in 2009, I happened to watch the movie ‘Julie & Julia’ starring Meryl Streep. You know, part of the story is this girl in New York who tries to cook all the Julia-Childs-recipes. She blogs about her experience, and in the end is contacted by zillions of publishers who want to make a book out of her blog. Thus, the idea of my first blog in French was born. I thought, what the heck, my novel is finished and ready and waiting to be read, and publishers seem to be chicken-hearted morons anyway. So, every day, I posted part of a chapter and started promoting that first blog on French-speaking websites, on Facebook, and so on. And one day in February, I don’t know why, I don’t know how, I started to have an idea for a new blog-novel. In English. The idea came up while I was riding the Paris métro, in the morning, listening to music. You do spend a lot of time in the métro. Once in the office, I created a blogspot-account and posted my first chapter. As I’m answering your questions, 75 ‘bits & pieces’ have already been posted. I’m very glad I had had that idea because there are many people reading my daily ‘bits and pieces’. And, unlike my French readers who don’t like to leave comments, I’ve received plenty of positive reactions and much encouragement.

ABB: How difficult was it to go through a portion of your life, hiding who you really were?
Me: You must be talking about the time when I realized I was gay but didn’t tell my parents. I’ve written quite in length about the moment I found out I was gay. You know, I think many boys and girls share this experience with me. They grow up feeling that they’re different somehow, without being able to say why or how exactly. Then, one day, they have this special event happening to them, and wow! they realize what the difference had been all these years. At least, that’s what has happened to me. And once I knew, I didn’t hide. My sister was the first to be informed (in more length and detail than she would have wanted to, by the way). I quickly talked to my friends, too. Their reactions were very positive and supportive, in the whole. The only problem were my parents, who ignored I was gay until my sister told them, some years later. But they accepted that fact as well. They loved me as they did before because they had seen that being gay hadn’t changed me at all.

ABB: What made you decide to "come out" so to speak?
Me: Love. It’s as plain, simple and stupid as that. I fell in love with a guy. I told him. And I said to myself: ‘Now, there you are! That’s settled, then!’ But to come out is a life-long process. Either you live your emotional life openly, as I do. Or you choose very carefully whom you want to tell you’re gay. I don’t hide anything. I don’t ‘promote’ my being gay either but if a question is asked like ‘Do you have a fiancée?’, I always answer truthfully: ‘I don’t have a fiancée, I have a boyfriend.’

ABB: You mention wanting to write a love story. Will it be based on your life?
Me: Well, the truth is it won’t be "a" love story but several love stories. And, yes, these will be the love stories of my life. But I want to be precise: my novel is no autobiography. It’s fiction no matter how many personal experiences I put into it. Even those who know me very well won’t be able to say where my real life ends and where invention and fiction begins.

ABB: What is your favourite post you have done? (links please)
Me: My very first post, strangely enough.

ABB: What is your favourite quote or motto?
Me: A quote I’ve read in a book (sorry I don’t remember it’s name): ‘A pessimist is an optimist with all the facts.’

ABB: Last thing, give me 3 words (to be used in the tag line) that describe your blog.
Me: Gay, novel, life, love, bits & pieces (that’s more than 3, I’m afraid).

ABB: Thank you ever so much for your precious time and for those extremely interesting answers.
(The last line is made up, of course. There's nothing like some good self-flattering, is there?)

7 comments:

  1. "Julie and Julia" inspired you to blog? No wonder you chose Blogger over Wordpress. :D That movie was a nuisance; luckily, subdued-sex-bot Stanley Tucci was part of it. -Digressing-

    Sorry your publisher hunt was fruitless. Maybe you need to change your strategy? Do remember that, nowadays, many readers have "reading ADHD". Most drive 300 km/hour when passing by blogs. If nothing makes them stop in their tracks, they're likely to forget the blog altogether. So, we always have to adjust to their "medical condition". Sad but true.

    Kudos for that accurate quote! I relate. :)

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  2. Interesting read!

    Thankfully - at least in Western Europe - the sexual orientation of a person is becoming less of an issue; or that's the way I see it anyway.

    Don't get me wrong on this; our sexual orientation is a massive part of our identity - it defines us in all sorts of ways, but I think people are getting more relaxed about whether someone is gay or straight or bi. It's just another aspect of someone you're getting to know. Despite lingering prejudices on the part of some, there has been truly massive progress in this area in the past forty years or so.

    Ich bewundere deine sprachliche Vielseitigkeit; nach 25 Jahren in Deutschland, kämpfe ich immer noch gelegentlich mit den Feinheiten der Sprache! :-)

    And I couldn't imagine writing in German ...

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  3. @Wil: I kind of liked "Julie & Julia", if only because Meryl Streep was playing one of the lead roles and part of it took place in Paris. As for my publisher hunt for the first novel, I guess that maybe, the novel itself was a bit weak on the "script"-side. Moreover, publishers think twice before launching a niche-product (a murder mystery with a gay main character certainly is considered very niche by German and French publishers). I can't say more because all I received were standard letters. I agree with you when you talk about reading ADHD but I don't think this is true where a real, printed book is concerned. I have to confess that sometimes, I just don't have the time to properly read a whole blog article (with a few exceptions, like yours for instance) and I do prefer the printed thing. Even my own texts, when I proof-read and edit them, have to be printed before. But I have to say that people tend to come back here (luckily so); thus there's perhaps hope that the contents aren't too shitty.

    @Francis: Yes, fortunately we do live in Western Europe! And I agree with you that our sexual orientation is an important part of our identity but that it doesn't sum up a person entirely. That's what people were thinking (and let's be honest: many still think today), and that's certainly one of the reasons they weren't as relaxed as they seem to be now. I always say that I'm only "Nebenerwerbs-Schwuler", you know, in analogy to the "Nebenerwerbsbauern" whose farms are only a part-time job ("Nebenerwerbs-" something or other turns out very hard to translate because "part-time" doesn't really say it all, does it?). Thanks for your compliments, your German is faultless! I don't know if that comforts you but I would never have chosen to learn German if it wasn't my mother tongue! My boyfriend is trying to "refresh" whatever he has learned in school in his German lessons, and when he asks me to explain, I'm often rather dumbfounded because so many rules don't really have an explanation. So, in my eyes, you're a very brave boy, what with living in Germany and all...

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  4. Hi Dieter,

    I am visiting lot of times here and I found this entry such interesting and inspiring.

    Keep writing. :D

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  5. @Prudence: thank you for visiting, Prue. I'm really glad you like my site and this post! I will keep writing, no doubt. By the way, I simply adore your "nom de plume"; Prudence reminds me of that character out of an Agatha Christie novel (By the pricking of my thumbs, I think), with Miss Marple my favourite Christie-hero. Of course I read your explanation for that name - concerning Keanu Reeves, welcome to the club of those who are quite smitten with his flawless physique!

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  6. Hi Dieter, just dropping by again. I would like to say thank you for putting smile on my face when I read your reply to my comment. First, telling me you like my pen name and why you like it. Second, I am kind of surprise that you have also spared your time reading my profile, which made me blushed by the way. Hahaha! Keanu Reeves definitely captivates my heart since his Speed days.

    Nice exchanging comments with you. I will definitely visit you here again.

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  7. Hey Prue, do feel free to come back, of course! And I'm glad I made you smile... Best to you from Paris.

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