I am not a hustler, drug addict, friend of Gus Van Sant.
I know this Frey guy is big news. Oprah told him off. His book convinced many actual alcoholics and drug addicts that they didn't need any help. Bad. Yes.
But I am much more interested in another fake writer, in the story of JT Leroy. New York magazine had this amazing article , that really covers it for people who don't know anything about who Leroy is/was.
Then it became clear that no one had ever seen him. One rumor was that he was actually Van Sant himself, making up stories. When people questioned him, he used the excuse of being so abused and ruined by the drugs that he couldn't keep his stories straight. A big problem was that he went from being HIV positive to fine, which is a pretty big leap that even drugs can't really explain away. He was also very chatty on the phone and then would be silent (and also not remember “good friends”) in public. Fishy.
He claimed to have written his first book when he identified as a male but then the second book as a female. Sure.... okay. Or, maybe he’s just a woman after all. A 40 year old woman. It seems to have taken her partner/husband leaving her, to bring all that out into the open. Especially since it turned out to be his (the husband’s) half sister who was appearing as “Leroy” in public. (in 2004, "he" could have passed for Corey Feldman)
I love that in the New York article that Mary Gaitskill called the hoax years ago- she was an actual prostitute who wrote fiction and essays, and actually did them well. Listen up, fakers.
I am someone who writes personal stories, or essays, or whatever you want to call them. I don’t think of them as non-fiction. Just stories as they happened to me. Truth is not absolute, and everyone will always experience the same thing in different ways. But this was blatant untruth. Making an entire person up. And it was a person who, I feel, was a terrible writer. I wonder how much celeb attention this 40 year old washed up Rockstar with a kid would have gotten if she had written these as herself and not as a teenage hustler with HIV.
Here’s an article about a bunch of people who created crazy other identities. My favorite was the lady who pretended to be a teenager in order to write for Felicity.
What I am trying to say is, be on the lookout for my new book about me, a 7 year old (7 is the new NEW 30) who wrestles bears, catches bullets in my teeth and am currently curing breast cancer. It’s all true. Pardon me while I fax off my manuscript during recess.