Garrett Miller’s Rated G Radio is burning up the airwaves every weeknight, covering the latest in news, entertainment, and culture, culminating in a Friday night dance party. In addition, he’ll be joining Lance Bass for a day as co-host of Dirty Pop on Sirius XM OutQ 109 on Tuesday, February 18th from 3:00-5:00 PST. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Miller when my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, was released, and meeting him later in person, I was struck by the drive he’s shown in ensuring his dreams come to fruition. Not only is he active with his radio show, but Garrett is also a singer, with a new song, “Eyes Wide”, and accompanying EP. Just a year ago, however, he had none of these and was on a completely different life path. Graciously, Garrett agreed to chat about his radio show, singing career, and what led him to change course at this point in his life.
Kergan Edwards-Stout: Garrett, thanks so much for making time to catch up. We first met when you interviewed me for your Rated G Radio, and it’s fun to be on the other side of the interview for a change! (more…)
Like many other LGBT people, I grew up thinking that I was all alone in the world. I knew of no other gay folks, either in or out of the closet, and this absence of role models likely contributed to my then sense of solitude. It didn’t help that within my own dysfunctional family, I had secrets to keep about who I was, which created a wall between me and them. In those pre-internet days, I would scour every book and newspaper in hopes of finding the slightest reference that someone else might be gay like me.
At Christmas time, I have fond memories of watching The King Family TV holiday specials in the 1960s and 70s, where a large family of varied talents would gather together in a faux-living room to sing and spread holiday cheer. There was something so nurturing about the bonds the family seemed to share, which gave me not only comfort, but an idea of what family could actually be. Still, while I wanted to be a part of that family–to be loved and valued as one of its own–I didn’t see myself reflected in the faces staring back. Would it have made a difference to have known that one of the King Family was actually gay?
King Family member Cam Clarke was then only a child himself, but would go on to be a sought after voice-over artist and out gay man later in life. Indeed, as we celebrate the holiday season, it is difficult to separate the season from the LGBT individuals who helped contribute to it through their creations of song and craft.
You can’t get through the holidays without catching a refrain from one of renowned vocalist Johnny Mathis‘ countless Christmas classics, yet how many will know that Mathis is an out gay man? Think of the dazzling (if over-priced) ornaments created by famed designer Christopher Radko, also a gay man. Indeed, in towns all across America, audiences will flock to see ballet performances of The Nutcracker, unaware that its composer, Tchaikovsky, was gay. Writers as distinctive as Truman Capote and David Sedaris have shared Christmas memories through their books. Victorian poet Christina Georgina Rossetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “Love Came Down at Christmas” were both turned into popular Christmas carols, but most people do not know that her brother later burned the love poems that she’d written to women. Even as we shop through the malls, buying gifts for one another as Wham!’s “Last Christmas” plays in the background, most are likely not aware that the founders of Stonewall Kitchen, makers of tasty gourmet food items, are gay, or that Tim Cook, president of the ever-popular Apple company, creators of iTunes, iPads, and iPhones, is also gay.
Yet how much more powerful would it be if LGBT people proudly claimed our history, calling it out, and coming out ourselves in the process? We each have certain gifts to contribute to the world, both large and small, but key to giving is to give authentically, as out and proud LGBT men and women.
The most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa, was painted by a gay man, Leonardo da Vinci. The Sistine Chapel ceiling was conceived and crafted by another, Michelangelo. One of history’s most successful commanders, Alexander the Great, was gay. Gertrude Stein, of “a rose is a rose is a rose” fame, was lesbian, as are tennis greats Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. One of the most popular plays in America, the quintessential Our Town, was written by a gay man, Thornton Wilder, and one has to wonder how being gay shaped his views on small town life.
In my new fiction collection, Gifts Not Yet Given, the characters (particularly those who are LGBT) are each facing a moment in which their choices and actions will define them, for better or for worse. It is that way for each of us; the way in which we choose to operate in the world makes a difference. Do you have a moment to spare to help someone in need? Do you have stories which might assist others lead better lives? Are you living your life in truth and sharing your gifts with others? What do you have to contribute to society?
Regardless of what your gift is, the more important aspect is that you be honest in sharing it. Tell people who you are, as LGBT individuals, and show them that your contributions to the world matter. Without us, there would be no “Send in the Clowns,” “Come to My Window,” or Glee.
This New Years, revelers will celebrate the passing of one year and the dawn of another, and as they do, they may be listening to a popular song being sung by one of the top music superstars of his day. And while many may infer that he is gay, as the singer has yet to come out publicly, his is one gift that we can’t yet count.
Tell your story. Live authentically. And make the Yuletide gay…
Kergan Edwards-Stout’s new collection of holiday-themed short stories, Gifts Not Yet Given, was recently named a “Perfect book to give everyone this holiday season” by the nationally syndicated column, The Bookworm Sez. It is available now in paperback and e-book at Indie Bound (Independent Book Stores), Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or at your favorite book sellers.
Perfectly timed for the season, Gifts Not Yet Given (Circumspect Press, $15.99) by Kergan Edwards-Stout is a collection of 14 tales of the holidays. Among the stories, you will find a few set at Christmas, including “The Nutcracker,” “The Fourth Christmas,” “The Cape” and “A Doris Day Christmas.”
Having read and enjoyed the LGBT novel Missing, by Drake Braxton, which I found to be a fun and unique romance/mystery, I wasn’t surprised when the book went on to win several awards, including Best Gay Fiction for the New England Book Festival. Now, two years later, I’ve learned not only that the book is getting the feature film treatment (as He Is Gone), but that my dear friend Gregory G. Allen has written the screenplay. I had the pleasure of speaking with him and director/producer Lois Munoz Merka to learn more about the project and its journey from page to screen.
Kergan Edwards-Stout: Thanks for joining me! I’m very excited to see how you’ve taken this from book to movie…
Lois Munoz Merka: Thanks for sharing the project with your readers.
Edwards-Stout: For those who haven’t yet read the book, tell us a little about it.
Gregory G. Allen: The simple answer is that a gay couple goes from Boston to Alabama for a high school reunion and when one turns around — the other is gone. He Is Gone becomes a pulsating ride to unravel the mystery of his disappearance.
Edwards-Stout: Funny enough, when I reviewed the book, I called it ‘a challenging, sexy, and worthwhile ride’! (more…)
Last year, Brahm Kornbluth named Songs for the New Depression among his top ten reads of the year on his fun website, Alfred Lives Here. I’m happy to report he has a review up on his blog about my new book, and he enjoyed Gifts Not Yet Given as well. Here is an excerpt from his review:
“Last year I chose Songs For The New Depression by Kergan Edwards-Stout as one of my fave reads of the year (read here); now he is back with a holiday-themed collection of stories called Gifts Not Yet Given.
Much as I was moved by Songs, I was cautious this time around — second outings tend to disappoint, this holiday theme seemed gimmicky, and in general I am not a huge fan of short stories… I am one of the few Canadians who think both Alice Munro and hockey are overrated.
Then I read Gifts Not Yet Given, and my worries went away; the stories are involving and thought-provoking, and the holiday theme serves as a faint background rather than some clunky imposed structure. The stories are about family, religion, loneliness, social awkwardness, fitting in and especially not fitting in, and sadness and death. As with Songs, this is a serious writer who shows he can still be fun to read.
Check this one out — the stories are original and intriguing, and the characters are strong and flawed, loving and broken.”
Head over to his blog for the full review!
A special thanks to Dana Miller for including mention of Gifts Not Yet Given in his entertaining “Out & About” column in Los Angeles’ Frontiers Magazine. In it, he writes:
“Also on my must list is… Kergan Edwards-Stout’s new collection of tales of holidays, Gifts Not Yet Given. I loved Kergan’s first novel, Songs for the New Depression, and once again he delivers compassion, sincerity and a warm honesty in his writing that I just treasure. Plus, hell, one excellent piece is called ‘Festive Beaver.’ Kergan was honored as one of HRC’s Dads of the Year in 2011. He and his partner Russ are raising two beautiful boys. Gifts is a stunning compilation from a smart and skilled author.”
Thank you, Dana, for the kind words!
Hi everyone! I’m happy to be invited to back on GSH Radio’s Rainbow Hour this Wednesday November 6th around 3:10PM EST. I’ll be chatting with Victor and Greg about my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, and tackling any crazy question they throw my way! Listen live at GSHRadio.com.
I’m the first to admit, I don’t have a whole lot in life to complain about. I have a great family, I enjoy my writing, corresponding with readers, and other ventures which bring me joy, but in those rare moments when I’m feeling bitter, a little Betty Butterfield always makes me feel a bit better.
The wonderful performer who plays Betty has gotten a lot of flack for performing a non-P.C. character as well, and I can’t help but wonder if that transgression is why “Betty” is not a bigger star… Not every one of her videos is a hit out of the ball park, but most can easily bring a few laughs, especially if you have Southern roots, as I do!
I’m grateful for the review of my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, by Kirkus Reviews (“The World’s Toughest Book Critics).
“In 14 stories, Edwards-Stout assumes an impressive range of voices… This willingness to step inside the minds of such disparate, often nonmainstream characters hints at Edwards-Stout’s confidence as a writer and his broad life experiences. Edwards-Stout’s stories are original and important… provocative stories with a clear, vital message.” Kirkus Reviews
I so appreciated the time author Lichen Craig took to chat with me about both my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, and Songs for the New Depression as well. She had some great questions ready for me and the conversation flew by!
We barely got through a fraction of what she’d prepared and it sounds like I’ll be back for other chats with her in the future. You can listen to the interview here and I look forward to our next exchange. Lichen Craig can be found via her website, Twitter, and Facebook, and her debut novel, Gentlemen’s Game, can be found on Amazon and online booksellers everywhere! Thanks, Lichen!
My sincere thanks to Stephen Bottum and his Band of Thebes website for giving my new book such a lovely mention. His is the “go to” blog for folks interested in literary fiction, particularly with an LGBT focus. His annual year-end survey of LGBT authors’ favorite reads of the year helps inform my book selection and his support of the literary field is to be admired.
You can read his mention here! Thank you, Stephen!