Augusten Burroughs tells us what's on his mind
The ''Running With Scissors'' author talks about the upcoming movie of his best-selling memoir, James Frey, and more
THE JOYS OF SUCCESS
This is the luckiest job! I’ve been homeless. I’ve been a horrible waiter on the night shift at Howard Johnson’s. I know what it’s like to have regular s— jobs. Book tours are grueling: You’re up every day at four in the morning — but you’re in the back of a limo! What do I have to complain about?
RUNNING WITH SCISSORS: THE MOVIE
It’s so great, and it would have been so sad if it didn’t work. This is not some story, it’s my life. In a weird way, it’s like watching home movies with people who are much better looking. It’s not the same as the book, but the spirit and the heart and the optimism are all there. As a child, even when things were hideous, I always believed that they could be better tomorrow. I was like a dog with a bone. I just would not let that thought go.
I met Annette at a crew party in L.A., and she came with her daughter. We were sitting around and talking, and the daughter at one point just reached up and pulled her close, and then Annette just leaned in to her. She may have 20 nannies for all I know, but Annette Bening raised that girl 100 percent, and there was a fluency or language that they spoke. That girl was totally used to having her mother respond to her. Good parents — that’s where I lose it. I went home and cried.
Writers can be really pretentious. It’s Writer with a big fat capital W, and a Master of Fine Arts after it. I’ll read interviews with authors and they’ll be like, ”Yes, I spent three months on that one page!” And I just think ”My God, I would rather drink bleach than have to live with my own precious little poo for so long!”
Remember Milli Vanilli? He’s like that. I will never believe that the majority of memoirists are just making stuff up cavalierly and going on TV to swear that it is exactly the truth. I’m the son of a logician. Something is either true or not true. And you need to tell people what you’re doing.
…AND THE STATE OF THE MEMOIR
There will always be people who don’t believe me, and I have no control over that.
Running With Scissors is true, and I did not embellish it. I can totally relate to not wanting to be who you are. I was born Christopher and changed my name the day after I turned 18. I did not want to have that childhood. But I am happier now than I’ve ever been, and the reason is that I’m totally myself. I’m flawed and damaged, and perfection is up here [waving his hand above his head], and I’m just a millimeter off the ground. But I’m me.