In this long-awaited memoir, the beloved author of the best-selling Tales of the City series chronicles his odyssey from the old South to freewheeling San Francisco and his evolution from curious youth to groundbreaking writer and gay rights pioneer. Also included is an exclusive conversation between Maupin and best-selling author Neil Gaiman.
Born in the mid-20th century and raised in the heart of conservative North Carolina, Armistead Maupin lost his virginity to another man "on the very spot where the first shots of the Civil War were fired". Realizing that the South was too small for him, this son of a traditional lawyer packed his earthly belongings into his Opel GT (including a beloved portrait of a Confederate ancestor) and took to the road in search of adventure. It was a journey that would lead him from a homoerotic Navy initiation ceremony in the jungles of Vietnam to that strangest of strange lands: San Francisco in the early 1970s.
Reflecting on the profound impact those closest to him have had on his life, Maupin shares his candid search for his "logical family", the people he could call his own. "Sooner or later, we have to venture beyond our biological family to find our logical one, the one that actually makes sense for us," he writes. "We have to, if we are to live without squandering our lives." From his loving relationship with his palm-reading Grannie who insisted Maupin was the reincarnation of her artistic bachelor cousin, Curtis, to an awkward conversation about girls with President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office, Maupin tells of the extraordinary individuals and situations that shaped him into one of the most influential writers of the last century.
Maupin recalls his losses and life-changing experiences with humor and unflinching honesty and brings to life flesh-and-blood characters as endearing and unforgettable as the vivid, fraught men and women who populate his enchanting novels. What emerges is an illuminating portrait of the man who depicted the liberation and evolution of America's queer community over the last four decades with honesty and compassion - and inspired millions to claim their own lives.
Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam. Maupin worked briefly as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. The climate of freedom and tolerance he found in his adopted city inspired him to come out publicly as homosexual in 1974. Two years later, he launched his “Tales of the City” serial in the San Francisco Chronicle, the first fiction to appear in an American daily for decades. Maupin is the author of nine novels, including the six-volume Tales of the City series, Maybe the Moon, The Night Listener and, most recently, Michael Tolliver Lives. Three miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney were made from the first three novels in the Tales series. The Night Listener became a feature film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette. He lives in Santa Fe with his husband, the photographer Christopher Turner.