Mom says never mess with a filthy bitch, but I never listen to her. “Keep this interview clean because Collin Kelley is the real McCoy. He’s the kind of guy,” she says, “that you just don’t fuck with.” I was going to keep it clean until I read his latest blog post, “Homo For The Holidays”. I decided then to email Collin, semi-cautiously of course, and warn him about my idea for a Potty Mouth Interview. “Bring it on”, he said. “I’m a filthy bitch”. And I was like whoa and he was like yah man, so I brought it—
Almost Dorothy: I see you’re quite the circuit queen, hitting every bookstore from here to Alaska spreading your novel ideology to the masses. What does it feel like when you look into a crowd at one of your readings with your book in your hand?
Collin Kelley: Sometimes I’m looking at empty chairs, sometimes 50 or 100 people. It’s been a mixed bag. You never know who’s going to show up. Sometimes the smaller audiences turn out to be the best events. I just read in Nashville and there was only half a dozen or so, but the Q&A afterwards was really fantastic – great questions and observations. I still get extremely nervous, although I’ve been doing this for years now. I haven’t been to Alaska yet, but as soon as Levi Johnston releases his memoir, I’d be happy to read with him in Wasilla. Maybe he’ll show me his hockey stick.
AD: I must admit that every time I see a plug for your novel Conquering Venus I think of conquering penis. Not your penis per se, but penises in general. You planned that, right?
CK: I did. It’s subliminal, so all the gays and gals will get a tingly feeling in their nether-regions and be inexplicably drawn to the novel.
AD: If you were R2D2 would you find C3PO hot? Why or why not?
CK: I don’t think so. Although C3PO is stiff, he’s a bit too cold and fussy. I prefer the robot hooker Jude Law played in AI. I think he’d totally scramble my interface.
AD: What’s in the works? New novel? Memoir? Libretto?
CK: All of the above. I’m finishing the second book of the Conquering Venus trilogy, I have a new collection of poetry that’s almost ready for submission to presses, and I have been asked to write a libretto for an opera, so I’m a busy bee.
AD: Your position on the Kill the Gays bill in Uganda?
CK: It’s another movement by the Christian right wing terrorists to spread hate and bigotry across the world. It’s insidious and nauseating. The bill making homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment or death appeared just a few weeks after American “Christian” evangelicals met with Uganda’s leader. Scott Lively, Don Schmierer and Caleb Lee Brundidge were the Americans who went to this “conference” in Uganda. They should be arrested and put in prison for plotting murder, and any Christian organization that promotes “curing” homosexuality, punishment or death should be put on the terrorist watch list and dealt with accordingly. [Watch Rachel Maddow’s expose on American politicians involvement in Uganda’s Kill The Gays Bill.]
AD: Favorite fish?
CK: Oh, honey, I don’t do fish.
AD: If you could be in the pants of any actor or actress who is dead or alive, whose pants would you be in?
CK: Team Jacob.
AD: Gross! Anyway, favorite name for a pet, Lady Gaga or Adam Lambert?
CK: Definitely Lady GaGa. Lambert is great, but his album is disappointing. GaGa has kept me dancing all year long, and I’d expect my pet to be cool and dancing, too.
AD: Favorite childhood memory that impacts your work as a writer?
CK: Getting up at the crack of dawn in 1981 to watch the Royal Wedding. I had a big gay crush on Diana. I felt drawn to the UK after that and finally getting to go there in 1995 – and the dozens of subsequent trips to London and Europe since – changed my life, and my writing. Oh, and also my parents unwisely taking me to see The Blue Lagoon. Christopher Atkins made my young loins stir. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
Collin Kelley is the author of the novel, Conquering Venus (2009, Vanilla Heart Publishing), and three poetry collections, After the Poison, Slow To Burn and Better To Travel. His spoken word album, HalfLife Crisis, is available at CD Baby and iTunes. Kelley, a Georgia Author of the Year Award-winner and Pushcart Prize nominee, is also co-editor of the Java Monkey Speaks Poetry Anthology series from Poetry Atlanta Press. Email him at email@example.com.