Several months ago, I had the opportunity to tell my story in a group. It’s what we used to call a “personal testimony”—the events leading up to how I came to be a Christian. I included some of the details of my lifelong struggle with being gay, as well as my extensive attempts to change my sexual orientation because of my Christian faith.
Later, in a private conversation with one of the people, we discussed more of my past, including my ministry leadership and my regrettable involvement in “ex-gay” leadership. (For which I have sincerely apologized.) The person said to me: “I think your experiences and all you’ve been through could help others. Have you considered writing a book?”
Obviously, I was honored by the comment. It wasn't the first time someone had asked me that question, and I can’t deny the thought hasn't crossed my mind. I do love reading biographies, and several of my friends have written their autobiographies, and they were fascinating to read. I even attempted to write mine once, but only got as far as an opening sentence. (Something akin to "It was a dark and stormy night...")
Nonetheless, the conversation did get me thinking about my life. Part of me wonders if my life is eventful or impactful enough to merit a book. I certainly wonder if it’s riveting enough.
I don’t know if it’s possible to be objective about one’s own life. The British politician Herbert Samuel said, “An autobiography is the story of how a man thinks he lived.” Science fiction author Robert Heinlein says an “autobiography is usually honest but it is never truthful.”
Not that my life’s been boring!
When I look back, it’s been a wonderful, fascinating journey. (What we used to all an “E-ticket ride.")
I worked on a Presidental campaign.
I had my own radio program, and I’ve been featured on TV and in national publications.
I flew an airplane...by myself. On purpose!
I've acted on stage, directed a couple of times, and won an award for a small play.
I’ve written three novels.
I've had articles published in magazines and newspapers.
I have met a few celebrities.
I've done some traveling.
I have two amazing children, a beautiful granddaughter and an incredible husband. I was able to get married!
I am cognizant of where I’ve been, and grateful for where it has led me.
I am not ashamed of who I am, but I am often saddened at the price I paid to get here.
I’ve made mistakes. I have regrets. I’ve tried to make amends.
I’ve failed in many areas.
I’ve had moderate success, but I never reached my potential, nor fulfilled my dreams.
My "bucket list" is still long.
For many years, I’ve written about my experiences, my thoughts and my observations. I’ve always tried to be open, honest and transparent—whether it’s the process of reconciling my Christian faith with being gay, my battles with cancer, my ongoing exposure of dangerous “ex-gay” programs, my ongoing struggles with my weight, my challenges with the alignment of religion and politics, or my criticisms of Fundamentalism.
I think THAT is my autobiography. I hope it's a reflection of who I am.
Moreover, I have to agree with the Nobel Prize-winning writer, V.S. Naipaul, when he says “An autobiography can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies: it reveals the writer totally.”
I think much of who I am comes through in my novels.
Perhaps it would be helpful...certainly more convenient...if all my rantings, revelations and disclosures were compiled into a single volume—The Autobiography of Bill. I won’t say “never,” but right now, it’s not on my Writing TO DO list, which is ever growing and already overwhelming.
It was the wonderfully quirky Quentin Crisp who told us “An autobiography is an obituary in serial form, with the last installment missing.” The great cartoonist Joseph Barbera said, “One of the most attractive things about writing your autobiography is that you’re not dead.”
So, since I am still alive, I’ll continue working on the installment of NOW.
P.S. If you would like to learn more about me, I would direct your attention the My Bio, on my website.