The Day I Met Christopher Hitchens (Sorta)

I spent the morning watching A Streetcar Named Desire on TCM.  This is what writers do when they should be writing.

No, this is what your humble blogger does when he should be writing.

And once a kind stranger carted old Blanche off to the booby hatch, did I rush back into a little re-editing of my book?  Did I perhaps work on the wonky final chapter (the difficulty of endings is, again, saved for another blog).  No, I read a chapter of Christopher Hitchen’s autobiography, Hitch-22.

Hitch’s memoir could be one of the best.  And now that Hitch is battling cancer, the memoir has taken on a poignant air I’m sure was never intended.  Perhaps I’ll do a review of it when I’m done – but how could your humble blogger critique the autobiography of one of our greatest living intellectuals?  Am I worthy?

Probably not, but what the hell.  Folks a lot dumber than I are reviewing books these days.

Christopher Hitchens

If you recall, the ‘bombshell’ of Hitch-22 (dropped last March) was the juicy tidbit that Hitch had had sex with two men while at Oxford who went on to be in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet (although he now identifies as straight.. he did have a many same-sex sexual encounters while at Cambridge and Oxford).  I don’t think either of these two horny Thatcherites have yet fessed up.

I was worried that at some point in his book he’s going to mention me.

No, that’s not true.

Your humble blogger has never had sex with Christopher Htichens.  Although back in the early 00s (when I was working in the US) I did see him in a bar.  He was sitting alone wearing a jacket I didn’t particularly like, smoking a cigarette and looking rather out of place (and a perhaps a little drunk).  It was rather exciting for your humble blogger to see one of his heroes up close but I didn’t want to disturb him – he sort of has the look that he’d punch you if you disturbed him while he’s drinking.

Hitch and I agree on many things.

But since Hitch is so prolific (the ‘so’ is unnecessary but I thought the sentence sounded better with an extra beat), I’m sure he’s not watching Streetcar when he should be working.  I once work-shopped a chapter of my novel with a famous Canadian author who shall remain nameless (it was Nino Ricci, author of Lives of the Saints, Testament and Origin of Species) who told me that he liked to have his coffee and then start writing at 10:00am.  I took this to mean he usually started writing about noon.

But this is most likely just your humble blogger projecting his own procrastination tendencies onto Nino, someone whose work I respect and who was also quite enthusiastic about my own work (in fact when I send out my manuscripts, I often add a quote from Nino: “This is very tight, very clean, very strong…”).

Nino knows his stuff.

And speaking of writing, The Toronto Star will be accepting submissions for The Star’s Annual 2011 Short Story Content beginning January 8, 2011.  I have never submitted a story to the Star’s contest.  First of all, my stories are all long meandering (and often disturbing)  ‘Alice Munro meets Chuck Palahniuk’ (one publisher called them) things that can never fit into the 2500 word limit.  This is actually a problem whenever I try to get them published.  My stories never come in under 4K and are usually between 6 and 8K.  And my stories, though not technically dirty, are as another writer who shall remain nameless said (no, REALLY nameless this time) of my writing: “how sexy and poignant at the same time…  how lean and spare it is, how muscular the prose, and how you managed to tell the story so powerfully.”

I send that quote to publishers too.

Now to work.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom


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Filed under blogging, Christopher Hitchens, gay, gay canada, gay conservatives, gay fiction, gay groom, gay men toronto, gay toronto, gaygroom, gblt, gblt fiction, Hitch-22, Nino Ricci, procrastination, Toronto Star, writing

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