24 February 2009

OMG! I've got a new video clip about my new book!

As promised, here's my new clip about my new book Assembly Required: Notes from a Deaf Gay Life! Please enjoy.


No one gives you a manual on how to be a Deaf gay man.

Yes, my dear friends, my eighth book Assembly Required: Notes from a Deaf Gay Life is coming out in a few days! I've waited almost twenty years for this book to see the light of day, so I'm very, very happy that it'll be in my hands by early next week.

RID Press will start promoting this book next week and on, so you can say you "heard" it here first! ;-) Heck, if you're as excited as I am, please do yourself a small favor. Order it now! RID Press won't be using Amazon for a while yet, which is why I encourage all to order directly from the publisher for prompt service.

Here's the publisher's description of the book:

"Raymond Luczak shares stories from his days growing up as a deaf gay man in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and learning signs in secret, trying to follow the music on the radio in order to be cool like his hearing classmates, and feeling clueless whenever gay cultural icons like the Village People, Queen, and Bette Midler were promoted in his small hometown. After he graduated from high school and enrolled at Gallaudet University, the world’s only university for Deaf people, he discovered gay literature and came out soon after. He eventually got involved with Deaf theater collaborators, educators, and sign language interpreters, from which his worldview is substantially reshaped on issues of identity, literacy, technology, and family.

Assembly Required: Notes from a Deaf Gay Life offers a rare in-depth glimpse into what it means to be a Deaf gay man who lives between the Deaf and hearing worlds."

Chapter titles include "Little Winks Everywhere," "The Night the Bee Gees Changed My Life," "Daggers in Our Hands," "My Technological Evolution as a Deaf Person," and "Lousy Show with Great Production Values." Most of the chapters in the book were published as essays in various periodicals over the last two decades. The book was actually inspired by my essay "Notes of a Deaf Gay Writer," which first appeared in the Christopher Street magazine in December 1990. That piece was my first national appearance as a Deaf gay writer, and eventually led to my editing Eyes of Desire: A Deaf Gay & Lesbian Reader a few years later.

Anyway, I will upload a clip about the book to YouTube later this week. (I'll announce the direct link to the video in this blog when I do.) But for now, you can download a PDF excerpt from the book right here and think of it as a tasty appetizer!

God, it's great to be back with a brand-new book! :-) Woo-hoo!

*hands shaking up in the air*


As is the case with my life at times, a lot can happen all at once. Happily, it's all good. (More on that soon in my next blog entry.)

For now, you should be aware that tickets are going fast in the last week's run of UN: 2 SHORT PLAYS ABOUT LOVE, and so far everyone have told me how much they love the plays and how excited they are to see Deaf theater return to the Twin Cities. I couldn't be more pleased! (Wanna go see the show? Order tickets here! Better yet, join us for the UNvalentine Cast Party on Saturday the 28th!) I have been so lucky to have worked with the wonderful Evonne Bilotta-Burke as director (I'd work with her again in a heartbeat!) and the fabulous Erin McGovern, and of course, the delightful Andrew Oehrlein. The voice actors James Gardner and Shelly Lehner were great as were JoAnn Schinderle and Jon Bigelow.

Now, I'd like to share the longer version of my "UN-notes" that appeared on the back of the show's program. We couldn't fit everything that we needed to fit in, so my playwright's notes were trimmed in half to fit:

by Raymond Luczak

Love is a hurricane that changes everyone’s lives once they experience it. How they deal with it says so much about them as human beings.

When the producer Andrew Oehrlein asked me for a script for his new theater company last spring, I’d undergone a devastating breakup some months before, so love⎯or, rather, the loss of it⎯was foremost in my mind. I knew I didn’t want to write an autobiographical play, but what? There’s an old trick that some dramatists use to make their plays more exciting⎯have two people very different from each other who struggle over the same thing in question⎯so I thought it’d be interesting to pit a Deaf murder suspect not care whether he was found guilty against a hearing lawyer with a perfect winning track record who did not want to lose. Murder and DNA test results, okay. But unconditional love? Hmm. Did it have truly a place in our world?

Sometimes I write in order to discover how I feel about something. Talking with a friend about something is one thing, but writing in order to find out how I truly feel about that same something becomes an act of self-confrontation. I didn’t realize how I’d felt about the expectations that one might have about a long-term relationship until I finished the first draft of UNCONDITIONAL MURDER in June 2008. Even though what the characters in that play had nothing to do with my breakup, I zeroed in on what had gone wrong.

Love will always endure, but only if we let it grow on its own terms. We cannot shoehorn love into a shoe that doesn’t fit. Love can be large as an elephant or tiny as a hummingbird. It’s not the law or blood that matters, but whether we are capable of loving anyone does.

Deaf friends have often told me that when the Deaf community gets together, it often feels like a family reunion even if they are not related by marriage or biology.

Fairy tales have always fascinated me not because of what they say but because of what they never say. I don’t mean to say that I don’t believe in those “happily ever after” endings, but I thought it would be fun to offer a twist on the Cinderella story. Did Cinderella and Prince Charming ever have children? None of the fairy tales say. But I just didn’t know where to go with the idea until I saw the intense debate on Proposition 8 in California rage on last summer.

Is UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER about a Deaf royal couple? No, not at all. They just happen to sign. What they go through has nothing to do with their ears.

In this world, which seems so filled with hatred and misunderstanding, I find that one mustn’t ever diminish one’s own capacity to love even if it may not always be traditional. There isn’t enough compassion to go around, so please be tender with each other regardless of how different we seem. The world’s mean enough already.

Thanks again to everyone who's seen the show, and to those who plan to see the show. Remember: We have only THREE more performances left! Please do come see it.