Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



Harris 'Tells All' in Memoirs
by Cleve Adkins

This article shared 4233 times since Mon Sep 1, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

'Writing has allowed me to craft and sculpt a magnificent life and touch the lives of others in ways that still awe and humble me. Every day I receive e-mails from fans who let me know how much my books mean to them, and how their lives have been enriched and changed. Writing is my lifeline. Writing saved my life.'

— E. Lynn Harris

In a meeting room at AfroCentric Books II on Chicago's South Side, a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 readers —men, women and children—waited for the arrival of best-selling author E. Lynn Harris. Some appeared to be gay and lesbian couples, but there were also husbands and wives and boyfriends and girlfriends sitting anxiously or meandering about in anticipation of Harris' words.

Such is the effect that this Black gay phenomenon has on readers across the U.S. For Harris it all began as a journey of self-discovery—an unknown former corporate salesman-turned-writer, determined to tell his story in his first self-published book Invisible Life. Ten years later he has successfully landed eight novels on The New York Times bestsellers' list for fiction. And he has done it dealing with topics that were once considered taboo in the Black community—depression, suicide, homosexuality and AIDS.

His new book, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted ($22.95, Doubleday), by its title alone, might elicit memories of the popular Motown group, The Four Tops, who scored big in 1966 with a Jimmy Ruffin piece with the same title.

Harris admits that he has long been a bona fide Motown aficionado, and as his memoirs indicate, he spent many lonely nights during his high school years, listening to tunes by the Tops, Temps, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. These were days when most teenagers were out on dates, holding hands and dreaming about the future—and he danced alone.

The author shares a childhood of abuse by his stepfather who hated the fact that the young boy was 'different.' As he continues his story he shares the pain of his teenage years when he was compelled to lie about himself and his family to gain friends and talks frankly about his adult years, when alcohol became his closest ally. But this same 'friend' would also lead him to attempt suicide as his crippling depression became too much for him to bear.

'On this new book tour, I have usually read the sadder portions but sometimes I just don't have the heart and so I look to the happier moments,' he said. 'You have to understand that unlike my other novels, the room, places and people I'm describing aren't imaginary—they're very real. I wrote my memoirs for one little boy—me. From my first novel I was inspired to write because I believed I had a story to tell.

'Some of you came on board later in my career and perhaps all you see now are the accoutrements that have come with success. But it wasn't that way in the earlier days. I was one of the downhearted and depressed —maybe like some of you. And so I wrote my memoirs to explain, 'What happens to the brokenhearted? We survive.''

Harris' memoir begins with an account of his suicide attempt in Washington, D.C., one summer night in 1990, when he believed that all hope was gone. Then he chronicles his life in Arkansas and his moves to Dallas, New York City, D.C. and Atlanta—where he continued to struggle with his sexuality while searching for love—often in all the wrong places.

The book cover is a photograph of Harris as a child and for the author it says a lot about the road he has traveled in search of love, happiness and peace of mind.

'I remember seeing the photo some years after it was taken and recall first being unaware that it was even me,' he said. 'It was a picture of a child of about two years old who was smiling—who looked like the world was a wonderful place in which to live. When I realized that it was me, I asked myself if I could ever be that happy again.'

As Harris concluded his reading and moved to a spirited question-and-answer session, he told his audience, 'This is a novel about simply being human. It's for anyone who has ever lacked self-esteem, who has searched for love and found themselves wanting. But because it's not a work of fiction, I couldn't plot a happy ending. But I have survived. And I hope my readers will see a glimpse of their own lives and know that, like me, they have to take it one day at a time.'

Fans of Harris have wondered over the last several years why it has taken him so long to complete his memoirs—rumors indicated that it was going to be published a year or so earlier. But Harris says he couldn't complete it until the 'time was right.'

'I can tell my story now because change has occurred,' he said. 'I wanted to tell people that you can survive a broken heart—whether you are a man, woman, straight or gay. Each day gets better.'

This article shared 4233 times since Mon Sep 1, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

How Coming Out in the 1970s Helped Me Make Brave, Life-changing Decisions 2022-06-25
By Edith Forbes, author of Tracking A Shadow: My Lived Experiment With MS - As a child growing up in Wyoming in the 1960's, I did not know any actual person who was gay. I knew exactly one fact about gay people, a fact universally accepted but never talked about: Gay people were strange. Even ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: WNDR Museum, Prince, queer books, flowers 2022-06-16
- — WNDR Museum's Pride event "Crafting with Queens": The West Loop museum is usually entertainment and, um, wondrous enough on its own—but during Pride Month, WNDR is queering things up with "Crafting with Queens" on Tuesday, ...

Gay News

Northwestern University Libraries and Center for Applied Transgender Studies launch trans studies journal 2022-06-16
- Northwestern University Libraries (NUL) and the Center for Applied Transgender Studies (CATS) are now publishing the Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies. The Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies (BATS)—the first journal ...

Gay News

Catholic publisher cancels Chicago theologian's 'Queer God de Amor' book 2022-06-13
- On June 9, New Ways Ministry received the following statement by Miguel Diaz, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and the John Courtney Murray, S.J., University Chair in Public Service at Loyola University Chicago. ...

Gay News

34th annual Lambda Literary award winners announced 2022-06-13
-- From a press release - New York, NY, June 11, 2022 — Lambda Literary, the nation's premier LGBTQ literary organization, announced the winners of the 34th Annual Lambda Literary Awards (a.k.a. the "Lammys") at a live virtual award ceremony hosted by ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Descanso is Palm Springs newest gay resort 2022-06-08
- Descanso is the first resort for gay men to open in Palm Springs in more than 10 years, and "The response has been beyond expectations," said general manager Kent Taylor. Weekends are already booked through June, ...

Gay News

BOOKS Artist Sam Kirk talks 'The Meaning of Pride' 2022-06-08
- In the children's book The Meaning of Pride, Rosiee Thor pens an ode to LGBTQ+ culture and identity by celebrating the beauty, significance and many dimensions of the concept of Pride—and showing that the word can ...

Gay News

Gerber/Hart unveils Pride Month events with 'Drag,' 'Bad Gays,' sneak peek 2022-05-30
- Gerber/Hart Library has revealed the events it will host for Pride Month. —On Saturday, June 4, at 3 p.m., Gerber/Hart will celebrate the release of Legends of Drag: Queens of a Certain Age with Unabridged Books ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Laverne Cox, PBS special, Ricky Martin, queer books/authors 2022-05-29
- Nouveau Productions and PBS announced a new collaboration for Pride Month, per a press release. The special True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs will offer a unique look at the history of the LGBTQ+ community ...

Gay News

State Farm drops GenderCool Project; Illinois General Assembly LGBTQ Caucus, Equality Illinois respond 2022-05-26
- This week in response to an outcry from a hateful few, Illinois-based insurer State Farm dropped their support for The GenderCool Project, which provides LGBTQ-affirming books to schools across the country on a voluntary basis. We ...

Gay News

Actor/model David Pevsner challenges age and body stereotypes in recent book 2022-05-24
- When writing his recent book—Damn Shame: Desire, Defiance and Show Tunes—actor/model/filmmaker David Pevsner noticed three themes coming to the fore: body shame, sexuality and ageism. "All three of those are ...

Gay News

Gayla Turner talks new book uncovering her grandmother's secret queer identity 2022-05-23
- In Gayla Turner's debut book, Don't You Dare: Uncovering Lost Love (BookBaby, May 24), she reveals her Grandmother Ruby's (1896-1977) century-old secret queer identity that she hid from the wider world. This revelation became c ...

Gay News

HIV/AIDS activist Rae Lewis-Thornton on her new memoir, 'Unprotected' 2022-05-18
- Emmy-winning HIV/AIDS activist, author, minister, political organizer, motivational speaker, life coach, jewelry designer and social media figure Rae Clara Lewis-Thornton's recently released book, Unprotected: A Memoir, is already a pre-release ...

Gay News

TV Writer Joel Kim Booster, director Andrew Ahn take a trip to 'Fire Island' 2022-05-15
- Based on the classic Jane Austen book Pride and Prejudice, the new Fox Searchlight film Fire Island has an important story to tell LGBTQ+ audiences specifically. In that story, there are plenty of laughs along the ...

Gay News

BOOKS 'Tinderbox' author to appear in Palatine on June 14 2022-05-13
- Author Robert Fieseler will discuss his debut book—Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation—on Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. at Palatine's Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center, ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.