I haven't had sex in two and a half years. A guy I met in San Francisco gave me a sympathy blow job. It didn't really work. I said, "You're just doing this 'cause you feel sorry for me." We stopped in the middle.— Kevin Sessums
The most joyful Kevin Sessums quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
In Western culture, there's a dichotomy between the easy narratives of God and the Devil. I now believe in this greater overarching spiritual thing. We are the light and the dark, and have to own the darkness. It's part of us. It's not evil. It's needed. You need to own both of them to be whole. Absorb it, and live it as part of your life.
Sometimes if I am walking down the street and thinking about my panoply of God, Ganesha, Parvati [Ganesha's mother], I say "Lucifer," because he belongs in that panoply. I miss him. That's why I'm a theist.
[Larry Kramer] got really mad at me once.
The precipitating incident was a speech at Yale by the first President Bush's Secretary of Heath and Human Services, Louis Sullivan, against which Larry led a demonstration. He got the demonstrators to drown out Sullivan's speech, which wasn't allowed.
My father always wanted me to be president of the United States, and his fallback position was that I not become a ward of the county. I think my father was okay about my going into journalism, though.
Tony Kushner has said that Larry [Kramer] thinks everyone always has to agree with him.
I think I just felt a sadness at some points in my career that what is available to a straight writer is not available to a gay writer.
I have never heard that referred to before, that term: Jewish men from Yale.
Some people say you have to be a Christian to be saved. I had to stop being Christian to be saved.
I don't like the vulgarity of Oscars weekend, but it's also sweet.
It's prom weekend for anyone who didn't experience the real prom: the nerds, gay, arty outsiders. Hollywood is high school with money.
I was not "shoe." That's a misuse of the term "shoe," which is derived from "white shoe."
I'm not denying Christ by not being Christian.
I'm a theist, which involves expanding on the Christ narrative.
[Calvin Trilllin] is not writing about things that I can criticize.
I can call these other people out for what I think they are not doing. There's a big difference.
[Calvin Trillin] was very "shoe," which means he was a big jock, a big deal.
If there was criticism about [Oscar Wilde], it was because it was written by a straight man who wasn't very educated about the gay world.
People who aren't addicts want to know why I became one.
They ask whether I had a midlife crisis. I'm only speaking for myself now, but I've stopped asking why and how. It's all about surrender and acceptance. It doesn't matter why I am an addict.
I find myself applying the addict's impulse to how I cruise.
I don't look at the ass. If I see a hot guy walking towards me I look at his arm, and if he has a vein I fantasize about shooting up with him.
My father was dead by the time I became a writer, and he would have had a heart attack if he had read the first thing I wrote when it came out. My mother still keeps her copy of Faggots hidden away in a bottom drawer.
The first time I remember our being socially in the same place was after we graduated and [author, investment counselor, philanthropist, and fellow 1950s Yalie] Peter Wolf had a party at his house in the Hamptons.
I get rejections from the New Yorker.
When I had to give a little talk to the people graduating from the MBA program at Columbia who were going into writing and filmmaking and everything, I said, "When I tried to think of what to say, the only subject I thought was appropriate for people doing what you're going to do is rejection." That's what it's all about.
I was so unhappy as a child in Washington I figured if I'm going to Yale, I am going to start a new life. I'll change my name to my middle name. So I was known for my four years at Yale as David Kramer.
That's why I tried to kill myself when I was a student [in Yale].
I thought I was the only one there.
"Weenie" was definitely a word we used at Yale back then.
But I'm not sure you were one, Larry [Kramer]. Also, you were going by a different name.
Calvin [Trillin] was much more of a mover and a shaker.
That's all I'm saying. I was a "weenie." That was another term back then.
I am a theist. I live life between that "a" and the "t." It's a vast little space.
Another example of what I have to put up with from him.
But there was a time I was mad at all my straight friends when AIDS was at its worst. I particularly hated the New Yorker, where Calvin [Trillin] has published so much of his work. The New Yorker was the worst because they barely ever wrote about AIDS. I used to take out on Calvin my real hatred for the New Yorker.
I think basically what The American People is about is that we've been here from the very beginning, and that has never ever been acknowledged in the history books. John Winthrop wasn't off the boat ten seconds before he passes a law that homosexuals should be hanged. And then he hung 'em, including an attempt to hang his own son when he found out he was gay.
You're talking about the 1970s now and not the 1950s.
We were all more sophisticated by that time, and I just assumed he was gay. But I do remember when we were all sitting around on a roof one night and Larry turned to me and said, "You do know I'm gay, don't you?" There was a statement made. A declaration. We just never had really talked about it.
I'm sorry to keep focusing on the New Yorker, but everybody who was growing up when Calvin [Trillin] and I were growing up wanted to be published in the New Yorker.
I talked to [Larry] Kramer a little bit about it while I was writing 'Remembering Denny' . Denny was one of those people who took a long time to come out.
Calvin [Trillin] has never done anything majorly objectionable.
I've done every other thing in life except intimacy.
That's the aberration, the thing I've never had.
It's always been hard to be gay in Washington.
Everyone disappoints [Larry Kramer]. So it's not a problem for him either way.
I don't write poetry for the New Yorker. My poems appear in the Nation, mostly.
I believe we really became friends [with Larry Kramer] when we bonded at our fifteenth class reunion in 1972.
[ John] Winthrop was the man who first said America was "a city upon a hill," which [Ronald] Reagan then appropriated. There are incidents like that all through history. We have been here.
There's always a door you don't get in.
I'm a star in my own right for certain things. I'll own that. During Oscar weekend I did fabulous things. But there's still one inner sanctum I'm not allowed in. That's the one I'm fixated on.
Those people are seen, I assume, by Larry [Kramer] as writing partly about gay issues and problems, whether it's on the surface or not, and I am not. But another thing is when we met, there still wasn't exactly a gay/straight divide in the minds of a lot of straight people. There weren't any gay people, as far as we knew, at Yale.
One thing I learned in sobriety is to stop being judgmental, to always be discerning. When I drive, that will be my bumper sticker.
I could appear in this million-word book [Larry Kramer] are working on. Nobody would even notice me.
Just to put that in some context, 1954 was the same year that From Here to Eternity won an Oscar. Swanson's manufactured its first TV dinner. The Army-McCarthy hearings were televised. The term "under God" was inserted into the "Pledge of Allegiance." Steve Allen's Tonight Show premiered. Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature. And Bob Dylan was bar mitzvahed.
I think it's a Jewish Yale custom. I wasn't aware that other people celebrated Christmas. My wife was very big on Christmas, and I was very big on my wife.
[Larry Kramer] even wrote this angry letter to the president of Yale, and in it he said what he said to us, that he was so disappointed in his straight friends because of AIDS and everything. He wrote the letter around March. And in it he wrote, "I usually go to the Trillins for Christmas, but I just couldn't do it this year."
If someone had come up to me at Yale and asked me how many homosexuals there were in my class, I would have said I don't think there are any. There may have been a few who were shy with girls. You have to understand, this was the 1950s.
David Remnick [the New Yorker's editor in chief]is about as interested in anything gay as I am interested in anything to do with baseball. It drives me nuts.
Hollywood needs peripheral people like me. You're not of that world, but you're needed.
When one person mentors, two lives are changed.
One of the few nice things about [time in Yale] was you got to know people before there were labels on them, so you got to know them as people, not as either gay or straight. Because as far as we knew, we thought everyone was straight.
To some people, knowledge and science are everything. To me, God is everything I don't know.