Inside the Book:
From Straight-laced to Cross-dressed tells the story of a disturbed adult in therapy seeking to understand and prevent his desire to commit suicide. Douglas starts by knowing that it has something to do with sex but soon discovers that he can’t talk about his sexuality without first discussing his religious beliefs and drift away from strict Christian Fundamentalism.The overlapping issues dredge up a confused morass of anger and love, abuse and sex.
Writing this book was definitely a form of therapy. I was going through normal talk therapy while writing it anyway, but there were several times when I had to lay aside the book while I worked through issues. Once done, I incorporated them into the book.
The entire process was emotionally grueling. I wept several times while keyboarding and talking or writing about it now still brings an ache to my heart.
The abuse and self-abuse the book describes was actually much worse in reality. In fact, my editor refused to work with the original manuscript because she thought the material was too sensationalist. I had to censor it quite a bit before editing even began than we toned it down further at least twice more before the final draft.
The 1975-80 dates are real, as are the love letters and I still have the pen-and-paper originals. Yup. I really did cart all this stuff around every time I moved (lots) for 30 years under the theory that I’d need it someday to write a book. I did and I did.
I keyboarded everything from 1975-80 into the computer to use as reference material. This ran into a hundred pages or so, which means I was very selective about what actually got included. That material still exists, so I suppose I could use it somewhere else. But it’s doubtful
I tampered with most dates written after 2000. I wrote this material piece-meal, one entry at a a time in no particular sequence then shuffled the pieces into different pictures as I drafted. I tried tracking this but gave up, and simply re-dated everything once I completed a draft.
The only person in my family who knows I’ve written this book is my wife. She commented that she was glad she didn’t play a large part in the book and that I respected her privacy when she comes on stage.
The book contains several ‘easter eggs’ – hidden puns or references. Sorry! I won’t tell you what they are. My test readers caught most of them but there’s at least one they didn’t catch and it may well stay hidden for a looong time.
I prefer to stay anonymous for two reasons. The most important is that the book is deeply personal and discusses my mental illness. I don’t want to be pointed at or singled out as crazy. I have enough problems dealing with crowds as it is now. Secondly, these are real people in the book. There’s no reason to violate their privacy.
I avoid participating in writing groups partly because I’m crowd adverse and partly because I don’t feel like my viewpoint is close enough to share. BTW, the success of the writing classes I took as an undergrad depended more on the teacher and on my fellow students than on the subject studied (poetry, short story…).
MEET THE AUTHOR
Coming from a long line of teachers, Douglas Baign has a Masters degree in Education but spent his career testing and documenting low-level software. He likes looking at anything basic then challenging assumptions. Doug also has a BS in Cognitive Psychology and a deep and abiding interest in History and Physics.
Douglas’ super-power is breaking things, especially computer code, but he prefers to create books, poetry and music. He also enjoys travel and photography.
Guest blogging at Confessions of an Eccentric BookaholicTuesday, February 5
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Interviewed at Straight From the Author’s Mouth
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Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
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Book reviewed at I’m Shelf-ish