Carl Miller Daniels Interview
Did you use writing as a way of "coming out" when you first started?
No. I kinda knew I was gay when I was 6 years old and liked television's Roy Rogers a WHOLE LOT. But I wrote a heck of a lot of stuff before I actually admitted to myself I was gay and "came out" at about age 25, and that stuff didn't really have any gay content. I wrote a few poems in high school. (One of them won an award of some kind.) There was no obvious gay content in those poems. Then I renounced poems and wrote short stories pretty much exclusively from about age 22-38. (About 50 of those short stories were published in various places.) There was no real gay content in any of those short stories. Then, when I turned 40, it was like some switch just flipped on somewhere in my head and I suddenly just started spewing tons of poetry, and that's when I really started writing about gay stuff. When I was 25ish, I wrote 3 novels, but they were really really bad, and I tore them up and threw them away long ago. Come to think of it, maybe one of those 3 novels was my "coming-out" novel -- as I recall it WAS pretty darn gay, and in a first-person narrative, too.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
I grew up in rural backwoodsy places -- not too far from Prell, VA, actually. I was a bookworm. I made all A's practically. I took long walks in the woods and sometimes disappeared into the woods for a whole day at a time, sunrise to sunset. I needed it, the quiet, nature, little beasties and beautiful plants all around. Also, the woods felt primal, primitive. Sexy. I was manic depressive. When I was 18, I was suicidal and was put into a mental hospital for 3 months. It was a good hospital and I got good treatment and I'm pretty sure that place saved my life. In college I majored in Biology and minored in English and fell in love with various cute guys, only I still didn't admit to myself that what I was doing was falling in love with guys. (mumble mumble, something, something) By the way, I'm still bipolar (the new term for "manic depressive"), but the highs are not as high as they were when I was young, and the lows are not as low. But sometimes I still have at least a few hours in a month when things seem REALLY wonderful (far TOO wonderful if you know what I mean), and a few hours when things seem really REALLY bad.
Do you think the small press are too segregated by sexuality, race, or gender?
Well, I do think that some publications are just totally unwilling to consider sexy gay poems at all. Some places won't even consider not-so-sexy gay poems. (mumble mumble, something something) Actually, I haven't submitted to all that many different places over the past 10 years. I just found places that I liked, and that liked me, and pretty much stuck with those. In general, those places tend to publish a wide variety of stuff -- straight kinds of stuff, gay kinds of stuff, undetermined kinds of stuff, and not-important-to-the-work-that-you-know-that kinds of stuff! Three "wide-variety" places that come to mind are Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, and Future Tense Books. I think Chiron Review publishes a tremendous variety of stuff, and likes to show off work from all kinds of writers. Editor Michael Hathaway has been very receptive to my stuff, and I sure continue to appreciate that! And Nerve Cowboy has published at least one of my poems in almost every single issue they've done. And Kevin Sampsell at Future Tense Books gave me a real ego-boost long ago when Brandon Freels (when Brandon was doing those "Mr. Puke" reviews) suggested I send Kevin some of my poems. Kevin read over my stuff and asked if he could do a chapbook of some of my work. I said yes, and that's how it came about that Future Tense Books published "Museum Quality Orgasm"; which I still think contains some of my sweetest, sexiest, and funniest poems. "Shy Boys At Home" is my only other chapbook, and was published by Chiron Review Press two or three years after Museum Quality Orgasm." "Shy Boys At Home" is real nice, too, or so it seems to me! But "museum quality orgasm" is perhaps just a tad bit more emotionally intense than "Shy Boys At Home." I like emotional intensity in poems.
Who are your favorite writers?
Poetry: Michael Hathaway, Scott Heim, Gavin Dillard, Edward Field, Vytautus Pliura, Antler, Joseph Shields. Prose: David Sedaris (particularly his book "Naked"), Dave Eggers ("A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius"), J. D. Salinger ("The Catcher in the Rye"), Bret Easton Ellis ("American Psycho"), Bailey White (her short essays, which, it seems to me, are all wonderful wonderful prose poems).
How long have you been married now, and how does that sort
My lover Jon and I have been together for over 22 years. I use the term "married" even though we've not done anything to make our marriage "legal" or quasi-legal, even. We just consider ourselves married. I don't know how it flies in Virginia, in general: we don't tell every tom dick and harry on the street that we're married. Only the lucky few!
Museum Quality Orgasm has a wonderful balance of poems that
I just write the kind of poems I like to read, ya know? Important elements for me are sexy guys, sensuality, sweetness, gentleness, humor, stuff that doesn't take itself too seriously, stuff like that. The fact that right this minute, some where in some warm sunny room, a cute sexy naked big-dicked young man is smearing butter on his balls just because he's never tried that before and he hopes it'll feel really really good, well, that's an image i've generally learned to savor, and not repress.
Who are the hottest guys on television (and who would you like to "out")?
I don't want to "out" anybody. That's something folks do for themselves if the circumstances seem to fit right. But in terms of the hottest guys on television, I do think these guys are sexy: Tom Welling on "Smallville", Gale Harold on "Queer As Folk", Charlie Hunnam on "Undeclared", David Duchovny in the early "X-Files", Jonathan Taylor Thomas on tv movies such as "Walking Across Egypt" and "On Common Ground", Matt and Joey Lawrence on re-runs of "Brotherly Love", and Ashton Kutcher on "That 70s Show".