I’m a Maupin groupie. I went to his talk, bought the book, and got him to sign it tonight. And, it turns out he had a fling with a fellow I used to work with. Small world huh?
The talk was at the Octogon Theatre – part of University Extension – and I found out about it from the fabulous Carol who emailed me off-blog to urge me to go. She had seen him in Sydney and knew me as a fan.
It was rather formal – as Uni Ext things can be – he read an excerpt from his latest book “Michael Tolliver Lives” – pages 33-39 at a lecturn and then sat down opposite someone called Lenore. I didn’t really get “who” she was but I guess she might have been an academic sort from Sydney – very possibly gay – not that I have a reliable gay-dar – in fact most unreliable going on past form…Anyway she then sat down and “kind of” interviewed Armistead. A conversation she called it.
I’m not sure whether I would have just preferred to hear Armistead speak… but she did make some great points and observations too. Armistead is quite the performer and used her pauses to jump in with some hilarious anecdotes… like the one about the Cinna Buns – it’s in the book and a true story apparently – you must read it.
I was sitting next to three ladies from a book club – the one right next to me had never read his books so I lent her my new copy of his latest to read a couple of pages. She might have been 60 and I was interested to see her reaction to the allusion to gay sex on page 2. She coped well. I figured she would probably enjoy the talk.
It was great to see the author of “Mona’s Law” (you can have a great apartment, a great lover and a great job but not all three at the same time), engaging with his audience. He even introduced his husband – watching from the front row. And he spoke very tenderly of Laura Linney who played Mary-Ann Singleton in the TV series…I’m going to buy the DVDs on the strength of his talk tonight.
Perhaps what sticks with me most now – and that which (apparently – I haven’t read it yet) shines through the book – is his attitude to monogamy. Armistead said he could never understand couples who split over one partner having a roll in the hay. For him that indicates that Love doesn’t come first in the relationship. And when you put sex over love – what kind of relationship is that?
He also said that having a relationship where you can have sex outside of the relationship means you must have love and trust first. Many straight women have said that they could never tolerate that in a marriage… and he quite understands. Their married to men after all and he knows what men are like! I guess it’s somehow more “equal” in a gay relationship… I think that was his point.
Afterwards I queued up to have my new book signed along with a hundred other excited fans… and I met a friend of mine who says she must have bought the Tales series about 3 times and given them to friends who are in the process of coming out. She said that she never expects them back…