Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever and What Ended Up Happening Instead — Available Now!
A few years ago I wrote a book called Gay Haiku. Writing a book had never been a particular goal of mine, except for two weeks during the eighth grade, after I read Truman Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms; my resulting desire to be an author lasted until I finished Breakfast at Tiffany’s, at which point I realized it would be much more interesting to be a prostitute. But in 2003, as part of a fund-raiser for a theater company some friends of mine and I were starting, I wrote 49 haiku about all the bad dates I’d been going on and all the bad sex I’d been having since my boyfriend and I broke up. The haiku turned out well, so I wrote 20 more and sent the collection to an agent as a manuscript called 69 Gay Haiku. She liked it and sent it to a publisher; he also liked it, but he said 69 haiku wasn’t enough and 110 seemed like a more appropriate number. I was upset, not because the prospect of writing more haiku was so horrible, but because 69 Gay Haiku was the only decent title I had ever come up with for anything and I was loath to discard it. I suggested the title 69 Gay Haiku Plus 41 More but the reception with which this idea met was singularly unenthusiastic.
When the book appeared on shelves, however, I stopped being upset about the title because all of a sudden I got to tell people things like, “Monday’s no good for me, I’m having lunch with my publicist.” (The only thing I’ve ever said more glamorous than this was, “Yes, I can meet you at your apartment for anonymous sex tomorrow morning, unless I have to go to Prague.”) The fact that my publicist and I spent the entire lunch in question gushing about how vigorously we wanted to rip Chris Meloni’s clothing off didn’t matter in the least; what was important was that I could use her in a sentence. This was by far the best thing about becoming a published author.
The worst thing about becoming a published author was that, inexplicably, it did not make all my problems go away. Walking into Barnes & Noble and seeing my name on a book jacket was exciting, of course, but when I left the store the thought filling my head was not Gee, now my life is perfect but Why didn’t the cute cashier fall in love with me as I purchased my own book? Am I fat? Or could he just see that I’m a bad person?