Magazine article Out

Pen Pals

Magazine article Out

Pen Pals

Article excerpt

Augusten Burroughs interviews his friendHaven Kimmel about her new novel, The Used World (Free Press, $25), scary dykes, and switching teams.

Augusten Burroughs: As a heterosexual woman with a fine religious education and a number of marriages under her belt, why would you court a lesbian audience?

Haven Kimmel: Lesbians and gay men are more real than other people-they have an extra chromosome, I've heard. They feel things more deeply; they perform better on swing sets and standardized tests and often keep their wits about them when mice get caught in traps. That isn't to say I haven't been frightened by a lesbian in my day. I'm thinking specifically of a certain woman in Seattle whose apartment was decorated with surgical clamps and elephantsize sex toys. She knows who she is.

I've noticed that many lesbians consider you "a sister." And there is something kind of lesbian about you, come to think of it. So if you had to start playing for the team, who would be your celebrity dream date?

Gina Gershon in Bound. Whew. Girlfriend was rockin' the whole thing: the boots, the wifebeater T-shirt, the tribal tattoo, the bee-stung lips, the power tools, the abs-Oh, hep me, Jebus.

There is very little you take seriously, but among those few things are popcorn and writing. Do you outline your work in advance?

I don't outline my work, but I do write an outline before making popcorn. I use the trusted Whirly Pop, an ingenious device invented where? That's right, Indiana. Recently, I set one on fire while making coffee; I believed I was turning on [my stove's] front burner, but it was actually the rear [where the Whirly Pop was]. …

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