CNN is doing a series to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in this country, and I recommend that all read the remembrances of the acclaimed author Edmund White, who was there from the very first meeting of what became the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. As a writer who is still relatively young, I find it fascinating, and crucial, to listen to and learn from these figures who lived through that time. Many of our readers, I know, did live through it. So whether this is a look back or a fresh education, it merits our attention. Here’s a bit of it, and then I’ll just send you over to CNN’s website:
In 1985, Edmund White had five or six published books behind him, a Swiss lover with him and the outcome of an HIV test ahead of him. When the results came in, White told his partner:
“I’m a good enough novelist to know how this is going to work out. I’m going to be positive, you’re going to be negative, you’re going to be very nice about it, but you’re going to break up with me within a year.”
By many accounts, White is a good novelist — a great one, actually, having written numerous acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction.
Unfortunately, his storytelling sensibility foretold how the HIV tests would turn out and how he would lose his lover because of the dire prognosis: only two or three years left to live.
Okay, go read the rest. Seriously. Later!