Shiltsmas at 70: First Impressions, Lasting Influence
Posted on August 8, 2021 Leave a Comment
To recognize what would have been Randy’s 70th birthday, today I am sharing some quotes from the oral history interviews I conducted for my book. Specifically, I asked each person to remember the first time they met Randy and the impression he made, and I concluded by asking them to describe what they see as Randy’s last influence in society. This is just a small sample of the many memories people shared with me, but if Randy were alive today, I think he’d be quite moved, amused, and grateful for how they still remember him.
Came for the Stories, Stayed for the Pets
Posted on May 17, 2021 1 Comment
Bonding with my sources over their pets has been more than just a way to make quick friends. It opens up an entire vocabulary for relating to each other around relationships, feelings, and values.
Video Blog, Pt. 4: The Exciting Conclusion!
Posted on January 5, 2021 Leave a Comment
In the final portion of this video Q & A, students ask about the target audience for When the Band Played On, potential future book topics, and how I’d like my writing to affect people.
Video Blog Pt. 3: Answering Student Questions
Posted on December 29, 2020 Leave a Comment
In this segment, Holly asks me how a social work perspective has informed my research and writing, and to describe the experience of becoming intimately familiar with someone who I’ll never be able to meet in person.
Video Blog, Pt. 2: Answering Student Questions
Posted on December 26, 2020 Leave a Comment
Here’s Part 2 of my video blog, answering students’ questions about researching and writing a biography from a social work perspective.
My First Video Blog! Answering Student Questions (Pt. 1)
Posted on December 20, 2020 Leave a Comment
A couple months ago, I was invited to give a guest lecture to a class of social work students at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. I was so blown away by their curiosity and enthusiasm, I thought it would be fun to share their questions – and my responses – through the blog.
“Would You Have Liked Him When He Was Alive?”
Posted on December 7, 2020 1 Comment
Instead of distancing myself from the more complicated emotions of Randy’s story, I’ve tried to move closer, even when it’s challenged my comfort levels and forced me to reconsider my own assumptions and beliefs. Being able to explore those uncomfortable spaces has helped me to write about them in ways that I hope will make it stronger.
From Bar Outreach to Aspiring Biographer: A Reintroduction
Posted on November 1, 2020 2 Comments
When people ask about my project and I say the name “Randy Shilts,” they almost never know who I’m talking about. When I say “And the Band Played On,” if they are of a certain age, there’s often an emotional reaction. Then, they tell me about someone significant in their lives: the uncle who’d moved out west, but then came home to die with lesions on his face; the roommate in New York, who they took care of in his final months; or the older cousin from Milwaukee, whose funeral they weren’t allowed to attend.
Finding Randy, Part 3
Posted on April 8, 2014 1 Comment
There is so much to say about my time in California last month, and I’ve had so little time and energy to say it. I meant to get to this post sooner, perhaps even while I was out in San Francisco, getting intimately familiar with boxes and boxes of Randy Shilts’ personal papers. Sometimes life […]
Finding Randy, Part 2
Posted on March 10, 2014 1 Comment
I’m not intending this discovery process to become the sole focus of the blog, but when I’m writing about things that interest me (and are interesting in my life), well, right now this is at the top of my list (dissertation notwithstanding). San Francisco and Randy’s papers are less than a week away, but in […]