It embarrasses me to ask for anything. When I was very young, my parents often put me in the care of my beloved Aunt Thyra and Uncle Buck, whom I considered almost my second parents. But even with them, I would never ask for anything. I might, say, want a banana or an apple, which were right there in a bowl on the kitchen table, but I would never ask for one. Aunt Thyra would see me looking at them and say “Would you like a apple?” and then I would accept.
And I grew up to be a writer. There are writers who, merely by having their name appear on a book's cover, will have people stand in line to buy a copy, waving money to be allowed to buy one. I am not one of those authors. They are far less than one percent of all writers. Most, like me, must compete for potential readers by wildly beating our own drum and buttonholing passersby, all but pleading with them to please, please read our books. I am truly embarrassed to have to be one of them. I consider it akin to standing on a street corner with a tin cup.
I have, however, been blessed to have had a number of very kind things said about my books, and I am deeply grateful for every word. So whenever possible, I prefer to rely on what other people say about my books, on the grounds that a potential reader will be more readily convinced by what a third party might say than anything I might say or do.
Today, by accident, I came across a review of my Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs by one of the most astute and respected reviewers on the net, Elisa Rolle (elisa-rolle.livejournal.com). Elisa is Italian, but her occasionally original phrasing is far offset by her keen perspective. I asked her permission to repost it here, and she kindly gave it. Here is what she has to say:
I know I shouldn't read these books since I feel too much for the people in them when I know they are real life men; but, if you think at it, that of Roger Margason, alias Dorien Grey, is a life that is worthy to be told and worthy to be read. Born in 1933, Dorien/Roger is today one of those gay novelists who quietly, but steadily, navigated the turbulent sea of the Gay Fiction market. As often when something is "trendy", the waters are dangerous, and the chance to sink very high, but apparently Dorien doesn't care: he writes his books, he blogs with an elegance that is rare and a bit old fashioned, and he is the perfect epitome of a gentleman.
Short Circuits: A Writer's Life in Blogs is a collection of some of the blogs he posted in these years, and what I loved of them is that they are not in chronological order, but grouped by theme. Through them you can learn of a young boy who came out to his family without much drama, who was a naval cadet, who visited Europe, who loved and left but managed to remain a friend. You read of the deep pain of losing parents, relatives, friends and lovers. Roger tells about two men, Norm and Ray; even if he says that Ray was the love of his life, this man is not as present as Norm in the blogs. Norm was the one who managed to "enter" in Roger's family, and Roger in his. Norm was the one, like Ray, who died, but Roger was with Norm and he lived and recorded the aftermath, with precise dates, while instead Roger is not able to remember neither the year in which Ray died. You will think, well, this proves Ray wasn't Roger's true love, Norm was... I don't think so, I think losing Norm was for Roger like losing a brother, someone you will always associate with most part of your life; for this reason, you remember those moments, and almost welcome the sudden pain in the heart you feel each time. Losing Ray was so heartbreaking that Roger simply erased the memory to be able to go on.
Roger also journals about his day-to-day life, his jobs, even his career in the porn-magazine industry, straight-porn, and when he managed to convince his editors to publish a gay magazine, something that was unheard of at the time. Roger also tells what it means being gay and shy in a society where appearance seems to be the must; it was bittersweet to read about it, since, more or less, Roger's youth was utopia for most gay boys his same age, even today, but nevertheless he grew up like any other ordinary guy, with his insecurity but also with his strong personality, strong because it's clear and defined, but never imposing in a negative way.
Thank you for the shiny apple, Elisa.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And you are invited to visit Dorien's website (www.doriengrey.com) to learn more about him and his books...the first chapter of every book being available on the site.