Bio

2017

My Memoirs, my “Meme’s Oars” are nearly completed - have to decide about the family name change thing.

2015 - 2016

I am smack in the middle of writing my memoirs, I’M STILL ALIVE, WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE? - maybe the title, maybe not. I’m having laughs with it, tears with it, and I’m surprised by it. Sounds like a life to me.

NOW, FROM THE BEGINNING

I was born in Galax, Virginia and then raised for the first 7 years of my life in a redwood house next to the New River, between Independence, Virginia and Mouth-of-Wilson, Virginia.

I was the first born child to a beautiful woman of 20 and the third born to a sexy attorney of 45. (In all, Sanna Jean, my mother, was married 6 times and my father, Lorne, 4 times - my mother married the same man 3 times and my father married 1 wife for a friend of his).

I wrote my first story at the age of ten. It was about a little boy who was kicked by a cow and took flight around the planet. And take flight I did when I graduated from high school in 1973.

After much traveling and transferring and drama, I graduated from Thomas Jefferson College in Michigan with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy. (It has served me well.) Before that, I attended Hampden-Sydney College in central Virginia; Southern Seminary in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and Penn. State University in State College, Pennsylvania. I was also accepted at what is now known as Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

After I graduated from Thomas Jefferson, I moved to Hollywood to become famous. I achieved fame through beauty itself but that was not enough. I was deft at many things - modeling, acting, writing - but it was hard for me to focus in LA during the early 70s. I had lovers - writers, actors, dancers, painters, surfers - and we were companions, allies, and friends - friends who I thought would move through life with me.

Then I heard about Bill Evans, a tall dancer, my height, 6′4″, who owned a dance company in Seattle with Gregg Lizenbery. They taught modern dance and jazz and tap so after a minute’s thought, I decided to relocate to Seattle.

I studied with the company and Bill and Gregg for several years and performed with dance companies around the city - modern dance was hot in the middle to late 70s in Seattle. But soon my writing Muse hollered louder than my dancing Muse. (It is a folly of my youth that I believed I could only do one thing at a time.) So I stopped dancing, “retired,” I said, and finished my first novel, OF PEE CABIN FAME, which was published in 1978. Among other things, it predicted the rise of the Moral Majority in American politics.

I attended the Carter/Mondale Democratic Convention in New York in 1976, hanging with Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden and Jerry Brown. We were all about future President, Jimmy Carter. And rightly so, in retrospect.

Then, in 1980, when Ronald Reagan won the White House, with his successful southern strategy which included the Moral Majority, I had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for a month.

In 1984, I attended the Mondale/Ferraro Democratic Convention in San Francisco. Let me just say that I knew the jig was up even then.

I have a funny story though. I was following Sen. Ted Kennedy into a hotel press conference. There was a reporter in front of me who was directly behind Sen. Kennedy, trailing him so closely that when the Senator suddenly stopped and his spokesman turned abruptly to the reporter, the reporter body slammed Kennedy.

“Senator Kennedy does not like to be approached from the rear,” the spokesman said. I was unable to stifle my laugh. Kennedy turned and smiled at me before continuing his march into the hotel.

I moved to Vashon Island off the coast of Seattle when the middle 80s kicked in. My goal was to hide out. I was scared, scarred and emotionally exhausted. My friends started dying of AIDS in the early 80s and by the end of the decade nearly all my male friends and creative comrades in LA had died. In Seattle, the cartoonist, painter and writer Tom Young and I finished an original screenplay, STONEWALL, later titled, A FULL MOON AND JUDY GARLAND’S FUNERAL, based around the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969. The screenplay was a finalist at the Sundance Film Festival Screenplay Competition in 1987 and was dedicated to Tom Young. He was too sick to attend the Festival with me. He died of AIDS in 1989.

Before I moved from Vashon Island, I wrote the essay, LELA MAE, about my maternal grandmother, who died in 1991. (I told her when I was six years old that I wanted to be a movie star. She said that was worse than being a whore.)

The essay appeared in the Anthology, BOYHOOD, GROWING UP MALE, which was published by The Crossing Press in 1993 and republished in 1998 by The University of Wisconsin Press.