Stephen McCauley - official web site
Author Updates

Sean Michael #7

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sean Michael #7

So Steve got a really excellent review in the Boston Sunday Globe. I read most of it, and it was full of praise.

http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2010/06/27/a_taste_of_trollope/

There was one line I found a little weird, which was: "It is received wisdom that most men think more about sex than most women and that gay men think more about sex than most men..." To be honest, I found this deeply offensive. It's so condescending. Gay men HAVE more sex than most men. Hello? What's "thinking" got to do with it?

But I asked my boyfriend (at the moment) if he thought it was true or was I overreacting. Since he is married and straight, I figured he would know. We got into a huge fight about it, because he said some really insulting things to me about me being promiscuous and "indiscriminate" about who I sleep with. It really hurt my feelings because I never ever have sex with someone unless I'm attracted to them, which is not my definition of indiscriminate. The fact that I'm not exactly attracted to my boyfriend (a.t.m.) is the one exception I made to the rule, and now he's using it against me, which I consider to be low.

Although I'm not supposed to mention it, there's really a fantastic buzz about Bare Necessities already. My friend Andy came to a rehearsal the other night with his boyfriend, Mike. Andy said he found the play hysterically funny, which is really exciting. There's a saying in show business: Funny is money, so my expectations are kind of high right now. The director got all freaked out about it because "the play isn't supposed to BE funny, Sean." But really, funny is funny (is money) in my book.

Mike said he found it "embarrassing." I think this was because of the sexual stuff. Also a good sign. Mike is extremely uptight about sex. I once showed up at Andy's place when Mike was there alone, and he got all weird when I told him I wanted to take a shower.

One more thing about the review of Steve's book---the paper ran a huge photo of him with the review. A lot of people have written to say how young they thought he looked in the photo. Talk about insulting! What do they expect? I found the copyright of the photo and let's just say, I was DEFINITELY still in high school when it was taken, so of course he looks younger in the photo than in real life!

Posted by Stephen @ 06:05 PM EST

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sean Michael #6

I hadn't heard from Steve in a few days, so I got concerned (I'm supposed to get paid on Mondays) and called. He apologized and told me his mother has been in the hospital. The news sent a shock through my whole system. To be honest, it never occurred to me that someone his age would really HAVE a mother. It didn't seem polite to ask her age, but do the math. He said she was fine, just having tests or something. I was incredibly relieved to hear it, because if it had been something serious, it would have been inappropriate to ask for my pay, even though, obviously, it's owed to me.

It's funny in some ways, because it's really through MY mother that I got to know Steve. She was reading "I'm the Object of Your Affection" when she went into labor with me, and read it off and on in the hospital. She said it was the last book she read for a long time because I was apparently a demanding baby. More so than either of my sisters. I think I read somewhere that this is an early warning sign of intelligence. She wrote to Steve to tell him about the labor, and they started a correspondence. AGES ago. So when I almost graduated, she wrote Steve and asked if he knew anyone looking for help.

I told Steve that given the situation, it almost felt to me like he and I are related. Even if it's not exactly true, I thought it would be enough to keep him from getting any ideas and making things awkward. I almost turned down the role in Bare Necessities because there is some father/son role-play stuff in it that is a big turn off to me, but fortunately, it was cut during rehearsals. I told my friend Andy about this, and he pointed out that I call my boyfriend (at the moment) "Daddy," but the thing is, I don't have any real paternal associations with that term because I have always called my real father by his first name .

Posted by Stephen @ 05:34 PM EST

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sean Michael #5

I have something important to talk about, but since this blog really isn't about me, I'll get Steve's news out of the way first.

He read at a bookstore in Cambridge on Wednesday night, and it was fantastic! A standing room only crowd (the 2nd biggest the store has ever had) and they sold out of books halfway through. (No mention of actual numbers but whatever.) I really am sorry I missed it. I wouldn't have scheduled the facial, but Steve gave me the wrong date for the reading, so it wasn't exactly my fault.

Next, there was a review of the book on NPR.ORG, and since he gave me the link, I assume it was good:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127474056

Also a mention in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/books/17newly.html

Okay, now:

I have to say there has been a lot of email criticizing me for writing about my lessons to de-gay my voice. Someone wrote--"You should be yourself and embrace your voice or else you're being a hypocrite."

I have a couple of issues with this, and the main one is that since I've already said that I'm NOT OUT, I don't see how taking lessons to sound straight counts as hypocrisy. Hello?

The other thing is, people don't understand the situation for actors. It is highly unlikely I would have gotten my current role in Bare Necessities if it hadn't been for the vocal coaching. It's true I don't exactly have lines, but 1) I do make sounds and 2) I have been negotiating with the director about adding some actual lines and 3) my boyfriend (at the moment) put up some money for the play, so they pretty much listen to what I say. So please, haters, back off.

Steve is going to Provincetown tomorrow to sign books at Now Voyager bookstore at noon on Sunday. It's supposed to be a very hot weekend so he's thinking there should be a big crowd in town. Personally, I didn't know anyone got up by noon in Ptown, but maybe that's me.

Posted by Stephen @ 11:02 AM EST

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sean Michael #4

So Steve was in Chicago yesterday at a book thing, some annual festival. Whatever. He spoke on a panel with Larry Doyle who happens to have been one of the head writers for The Simpsons for years. He also wrote a novel called I Love You Beth Cooper that was made into a movie. According to Steve, it went well, but to be honest, at this point, I'm not sure what that even means. As far as I can tell, as long as SOMEone showed up, it "went well." An audience of a size that would total humiliation in the theater is considered a success to writers, apparently.

Naturally, I have been a huge Simpsons fan practically since birth, so in a lot of ways, I probably could have been on the panel, just as easily. I think I would be excellent for doing voices in animation, and I've been trying to make connections for months now, so it really was a missed opportunity for me. I have a really great range, and my personality comes through in just my voice--people are always saying "I knew it was you" practically before I've said anything.

On top of that, I worked with a voice coach for 4 weeks to de-gay my voice. I didn't think I needed it, but an acting teacher made the suggestion. It's all about trying not to emphasize too much and just not sounding enthusiastic about ANYthing. My boyfriend (at the moment) says he can't notice any difference, but the thing is, to be honest, I was never that enthusiastic when I was talking to him to begin with.

He's very materialistic in the sense that when he pays for something like my voice lessons, he expects to see results to know he got his money's worth. I told him he's getting his money's worth in other ways. I can't wait to see how he feels about paying for his kids' college tuition.

Steve's Chicago trip also included a massage, a gift from a friend. When I asked him if EVERYthing was included, he said: "It's not that kind of place," as if I'd said something insulting. I asked what kind of place it WAS. He said, "An all male day spa called SIR housed in a building that used to be a gay bath house." The one good thing about this job is that I'm learning to keep my mouth shut.

Steve is reading in Milwaukee tonight at a bookstore. When I asked if it was going to be a big crowd, he said it's hard to predict. Funnily enough, I've been working for him for only a month and I could make a pretty good prediction.

Posted by Stephen @ 06:07 PM EST

Friday, June 11, 2010

A fun reading from Insignificant Others last night in New York. First reading from book, so a few kinks still to work out. Mangled sentences, etc. Biggest problem is making sure not to go on for too long. Kept trimming sentences until minutes before. Always nervous no one will show up (humiliating), but respectable crowd and friendly response. Stayed at Beacon Hotel on Upper West Side. Far nicer than most recent hotel stays in NY. For instance, private bathroom. A big step up. Room on 21st floor with beautiful views of the Ansonia across Broadway. Beaux-Art ornamentation creating Paris-like view from hotel room. On the other hand, elevator phobia led to several casual strolls up (clearly unused) staircase to 21-st floor.

On to Chicago tomorrow for Printer's Row Book Festival. Will be on panel with Larry Doyle and Porter Shreve. Am hoping both are talkative. Generally, I sound best when silent.

Posted by Stephen @ 11:08 PM EST

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sean Michael #3

Today is the official Publication Date of Insignificant Others, which is very exciting. I asked Steve what that meant and he said itís the publishing equivalent of a playís opening night. I pretty much get that except with an opening night, people actually see the play.

There was a televised review of the book on Saturday, and hereís the link:

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/station/as-seen-on/Bill_Goldstein_s_Book_Picks_New_York.html

I realize that Iím supposed to update about Steveís books, but a few people and written to me directly with questions so I feel obliged to answer. To be honest, more people seem interested in my play than in this book.

A few people have asked if Iím single. Iím not going to answer that because I really donít feel comfortable. 1) Itís not anyoneís business and 2) itís important to my career that I keep my private life private.

Fortunately, my boyfriend (For now! We had a huge fight last night.) understands this and is in agreement about being discreet. He is also a big one for fidelity. Iím happy about that. I would be furious if I found out he was sleeping with someone else---other than his wife, which really doesnít bother me, for some reason.

Also, someone wanted to know if Iíve been a fan of Steveís books for a long time. Without answering that directly, Iíll just say that my mother definitely has been.

Posted by Stephen @ 06:38 PM EST

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sean Michael #2

So my job for today upon orders from the boss is to post a link to a page on Steve's publisher's website where there's a video in which Steve talks about Insignificant Others.

Here's the link: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Stephen-McCauley/1036

Despite what he thinks, I did my best to assure Steve (part of the job, I guess) that it is actually really flattering in terms of appearances, all things considered. I have friends like this who hate every picture of themselves and you feel like telling them--No, really? You mean you think you look better than that in real life?

I saw a rough cut of the video and the editors did a great job of making it sound like a good interview with spontaneous answers.

There were some nasty comments in emails about the play I'm in that I mentioned briefly yesterday. In fact, it isn't porn or anything close. There's no actual on-stage sex. It's just simulated. In fact, most of the show is the old guys sitting around something that's supposed to be a swimming pool talking endlessly about their lives and their pasts or whatever. My nudity is not exploitation (I am getting paid) and it really helps to break up what otherwise would be a pretty horribly boring show. However, I am "not supposed to talk about myself" here--just responding because I felt I had to defend the play.

Posted by Stephen @ 05:49 PM EST

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sean Michael #1

So, as Steve mentioned in an earlier post, Iím Sean and will be updating his blog (although Iím not supposed to use that word) from time to time. Iím doing so today to mention a good review for Insignificant Others in the Miami Herald. By the way, the book is great, and I really hope I get a chance to read it soon.

I do realize this is not about me, but I want to clear up a few misstatements Steve made about me. First of all, the play Iím in (opening in July) is called Bare Necessities. The word ďnakedĒ is not in the title. But since I am naked in the play a lot, I have been spending a lot of time working out since I got cast. Itís an amazing role! The play is about a bunch of old gay guys in Palm Springs, and I play the young guy who lives next door theyíre all basically drooling over. Even though I donít have very many lines, in some ways itís the lead role, since Iím pretty much the character of the title.

Secondly, in case you were wondering, Michael is my middle name. I will not be giving my last name here because people might assume from my association with Steveís website that Iím gay (sorry Steve) and I have decided to not come out yet at this point in my career.

Thirdly, I did not pressure Steve into buying me sunglasses or whatever as he suggested in earlier post. Believe me, I am not so vain I would ever say ďthese look awesome on meĒ as he reportedóeven though, to be honest, they do!

Finally, I am a little offended by Steveís suggestion that I am a ďbarista.Ē Itís sort of a slap in the face to put it that way and I think he knows it. I do work as one, but itís not how I define myself.

Anyway, Miami Herald review. Steve told me to post this, so Iím sure itís flattering.

By Connie OgleInsignificant Others. Stephen McCauley. Simon & Schuster. 320 pages. $25. Out June 8.Richard Rossi is shrouded in dissatisfaction -- he's a gay, middle-aged Boston liberal during the latter stages of the Bush administration whose partner is stepping out on him with a guy in Ohio -- but at least he's got his At Least List. It helps him cope with the troubling economy ("My funds are going down, but at least I've still got money to lose"); aging, which he battles with obsessive work outs ("I might be going gray, but at least I've got hair"); his job in human resources ("I'm not entirely deserving of the promotion I want at work, but at least my competition isn't entirely deserving of it either") and his secret affair with a closeted married man ("At least I never call after business hours").Stephen McCauley (The Object of My Affection, Alternatives to Sex) is a gifted social satirist, and he delights in mining the irony of the creative ways we lie to ourselves (and others). In this charming novel in which Richard is finally forced to confront reality at work, at home, even at the gym, McCauley displays terrific comic insight about our penchant for denial while still revealing a great deal of compassion for human foibles. Contemporary life flummoxes us all, but at least McCauley can make us laugh at ourselves.

Posted by Stephen @ 08:58 AM EST

Return to main archive listing