This is your third book. One was a novel; one was an
intense memoir. This is something entirely different.
What inspired it?
The photographs. I wanted to show my life in a way that
wasn’t predictable, with literal and figurative snapshots. It’s
been a long time in the making, but the years have given me
objectivity. When I put photographs away, I write a little
story to go with each photo. I took that idea and expanded
upon it. I love the duality of photos, how they can obfuscate
or distort what was actually happening in the moment. That
was what really intrigued me.
So far, you’re an actor, singer, dancer, artist, author,
activist, photographer, producer, director, deejay, cabaret
artist. Where does this deep well of creativity come from?
When you are open to possibility, it’s amazing what happens
to you. I’ve been doing my Club Cumming parties where I
deejay. Someone suggested I do Club Cumming soup mugs. I
never thought crockery would be in my brand, but now you
can get Club Cumming dishes and glasses. I really like all that.
Who are your favorite authors?
It changes for me. I’m sort of like a magpie in terms of my
interest. Right now I am reading a book called Whiskey Galore
by Compton Mackenzie, a 1930s Highland Scotland caper. I
was just in the Hebrides in Scotland where [the story] takes
place. I like reading things about the places I am. I’m also
really fond of Margaret Atwood. I find her so informative.
She’s made me much more aware of the difference between
being a man and a woman in this world. And when I am
having a hard time, I turn to books to help me see [that] I am
not alone. I found You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay very
constructive. Or I’ll reread a novel like Catcher in the Rye, so I
see that there is someone out there who understands me and
that it is not going to be forever.
Anything you’d like to say to the booksellers who will
be coming to see you?
Buy my book! I need to finish my house!
I never thought crockery
would be in my brand.
An Evening with Alan Cumming
Monday, November 14, 8–9 p.m.
Chapman Conference Center, (Building 3, 2nd floor, Room 3210)