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Q&A with Daniel Curzon, about HALFWAY TO THE STARS: Cable Car Tales of a Grumpy Gripman
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                                    Q & A with author DANIEL CURZON

                                    ( “Old farts aren’t always wrong, either.” )

                                    HALFWAY TO THE STARS: Cable Car Tales of a Grumpy Gripman



Q: Daniel Curzon, haven’t you been around for years now?


A: Yeah. So? You want to make something of it?


A: You’re not exactly a household name even after over forty years as an author.


A: Toilet paper is a household name. Let’s just say I’m a niche market.


Q: What niche would that be?


A: I tend to see two sides of an issue at the same time. In HALFWAY TO THE STARS: Cable Car

    Tales of a Grumpy Gripman, my new novel, the grumpy narrator is not all conservative or all

     liberal. He jumps around. He can even be on different sides of the same topic, depending.


Q: Depending on what?


A: Depending on whether something is honest and true when considered in different lights or

     from different angles.


Q: Sounds complicated.


A: That’s why I’m a “niche” author. But it’s not really complicated. I feel that most people

     actually have different and competing takes on topics, even if they think they are all one thing

     or the other. I also know that people aren’t always aware of their own ambivalent feelings. Or

     cannot articulate them. My cable car guy can and does.


Q: For instance?


A: For instance, many folks are “conservative” on, say, same-sex marriage or bisexuality. But in

     their real lives they know people who are what their ideology tells them they should hate or

     penalize. Only they don’t because they “like” an individual. Now that more people are

     upfront about themselves and what they like sexually, the easy categories are harder to



Q: You wrote the first angry gay protest novel, correct? Something You Do in the Dark?


A: Yes, that came out from G.P. Putnam in May of 1971. It was a different world back then in

      the USA. We’ve come a long way since you could be fired and disgraced and kicked out of

      your family for being gay. Or it’s certainly a lot better. However, I sometimes wonder about


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      the American South, to say nothing of Uganda and Russia and Iran. You’d think it would still

      strike people everywhere that having Equal Rights is hardly wrong. You get what others have

      always had and it’s controversial? And, by the way, even inside San Francisco you will find

      the “bi-phobic.”


Q: I heard that the cable car guy in HALFWAY TO THE STARS is bisexual. Are you bisexual?


A: No, I am gay, but I do have a biological son who is now thirty years old. So I’m an Honorary

     Bi, I guess.


Q:  So what’s your bi guy’s particular angle?


A: He sees things from several points of view. By the way, that doesn’t make him especially

     pleased with what he sees. But he’s funny about it, for the most part.


Q: What does he see?


A: Driving the cable cars in San Francisco, he sees a lot of crime, both petty and major. The

     world of the cable cars is hardly “cute,” though the authorities of the city no doubt don’t like

     anyone pointing out the many problems of San Francisco life now. The book’s emphasis is on

     what is happening now, not in the past.


Q:  I’ve never been to San Francisco. What’s happened to it?


A: Well, according to my cable car driver, the downtown is full of creepy, weird, crazy, and

     dangerous people. They make for “interesting” material for a book, but you’d rather not

     encounter them in person.


Q: Is that the inspiration for the book?


A: I had a friend, now deceased, who was a gripman on the cable cars. I live in San Francisco

     and see the deterioration. And everybody is so damned Politically Correct and do not want to

     hurt anybody else’s  feelings, or they are downright afraid to speak out. So they act as

     “enablers” of the riff-raff. Here even saying “riff raff” is a no-no. You have free speech in

     America, until you try to use it. In some places you can’t say anything “liberal.” In San

     Francisco you can’t say anything “conservative.”


Q: So you’re saying your cable car driver is a racist old fart?


A:  No, he’s just a regular guy trying to keep the city he loves from becoming a killing zone like

      too many other American cities have become. He’s more of a Cassandra than an old fart. Old

      farts aren’t always wrong, either.



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