February 10, 2005

A Literary Life Born of Brutality. J.T. Leroy has published three books already, and he's just in his mid-20s. According to the New York Times article linked to at the head of this FPP: He has become the de rigueur literary recommendation for a certain set of hipsters — Tom Waits, Bono and Liv Tyler have singled out his writing in interviews — and has been embraced by established writers including Tobias Wolff, Michael Chabon and Mary Gaitskill, and by a cadre of celebrities with, as it happens, their own troubled pasts, like Courtney Love, Winona Rider, Tatum O'Neal and Billy Corgan. He's been profiled in the Village Voice, writes lyrics for the band Thistle, and just had his book of stories made into a movie by Asia Argento, his friend.

The movie's deeply moving. (I saw it last week in SF, though it's not due to release wide until late summer-ish.)

  • J.T. Leroy has published three books already, and he's just in his mid-20s. Therefore, I must kill him. He's evidently one hell of a writer, but I've not read him. Tom Waits interviewed him for Vanity Fair a couple of years ago, and it was quite fascinating.
  • Yow. I hope this guy can live through the fame. He reminds me of Warhol; frail but supremely crafty.
  • I prefer his book of short stories, but his new novella, Harold's End, is really touching, and a lot of people are just nuts about his debut novel, Sarah.
  • I wonder about this fella. As it happens I was working with homeless teens in San Francisco at the time he was one, and I'm amazed that he got from the streets to a very effective doctor and then to a literary agent. It's the first jump that defies belief. And how is it that I met maybe a hundred kids, repeatedly, over a period of several years, and never heard the term 'lot lizard?' Most of these people were not from San Francisco. San Francisco was on the route along with Seattle and Portland and whatever Rainbow thing was going on and I forget what Southern or Eastern cities (New Orleans and New York City, tho, definitely). I haven't read his work, tho I mean to, so maybe it doesn't matter, but something about this fella doesn't add up.