Adam Haslett interview

In the inaugural print issue of Swink, which is right pretty and just arrived in the mail yesterday, Adam Haslett talks with Leelila Strogov about the media’s incomplete portrayals of gay men:

I do believe there is an increasingly large disconnect between the happy-go-lucky media representations of gay life and the lived experience of a lot of gay men, and that divide is something I’m interested in putting on the page. The other night I gave a reading, and there was this moment that to me made a huge amount of the writing seem worthwhile. This very shy, very abashed gay teenage kid came up to me and told me he thought “The Beginnings of Grief” was a beautiful story. I felt like he was sort of this stranger, the kid whose life isn’t written about, and isn’t on “Will & Grace.” I remember talking to one of my teachers at Iowa, Marilyn Robinson, about my concerns that so much of my work dealt with people in a great deal of pain and suffering, and she told me matter-of-factly that you don’t do this for yourself, you do it for others.

Haslett has just graduated from Yale Law School and is unsure what he’ll do with his law degree. Of the relationship between law and fiction, he says:

I think philosophy and law are both well-ordered worlds. Fiction is an attempt to order the world as well. Life is so non-ideal that if you have any sort of aesthetic sense you want to make it otherwise, and these are all different ways of doing it — it’s just that you have to submit to the given structure. Obviously, you have to invent it with fiction.


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