Interview with Douglas Baign, author of From Straight-laced to Cross-dressed

Inside the Book:

Title: From Straight-laced to Cross-dressed
Author: Douglas Baign
Genre: Biographies/Memoirs
Format: Ecopy /Paperback

From Straight-laced to Cross-dressed tells the story of a disturbed adult in therapy seeking to understand and prevent his desire to commit suicide. Douglas starts by knowing that it has something to do with sex but soon discovers that he can't talk about his sexuality without first discussing his religious beliefs and drift away from strict Christian Fundamentalism.The overlapping issues dredge up a confused morass of anger and love, abuse and sex.


Could you please tell us a little about your book?
My book weaves therapy sessions from the present with stories from my past as I gradually unravel the root causes as to why I once wanted to commit suicide, layer upon layer upon layer. I tell the story from the patient's point of view, starting from being inside the therapist's office wondering what the heck is going on. (I was so messed up that I didn't even know why I wanted to die.)

The journal the book is based on was a form of personal therapy. I wrote the book to speak both for myself and for others like me. Things that are obvious when you're mentally healthy are so muddled when you're not, but that's difficult to understand until you can get a glimpse inside a troubled mind. The book may also be useful for liberals or non-Christians who want to see inside the Fundamentalist mind.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
The inspiration probably started 45 years ago when I broke up with Leanne, my first girlfriend. She'd encouraged me to become a writer even back then but I didn't see how I could make a career out of it. Still, I was keeping a journal at the time.

Between the breakup and several other factors (too long to mention here) I became an emotional wreck and eventually suffered my first meltdown when I was about 21. I didn't even really understand what I was going through.

But I had my journal and Leane's love letters - about 100 8" x 11 1/2" pages of material or so. Something told me: “There's a clue in here. I don't know what the clue is, but if I keep this material I can go back over it again and learn more about what's wrong.”

It took me about 10 years to rebuild my life after my mental breakdown and I finally got married and finished college when I was 30. I then had a normal career, but eventually the same factors started to catch up to me right around the turn of the century and I became suicidal.

So I got onto meds, sought out a counselor, then dragged out my old journal and started looking for clues. After that, I started to write down observations and thoughts piecemeal. 10 years after that, I began to seriously sort out the material and to write the book.

What cause are you the most passionate about and why?
I get wound up about two things: deception and black-and-white thinking. You get both inside Christian Fundamentalism and that just absolutely drives me crazy. It’s not necessary.

I hate deception for the obvious reasons. But hating black-and-white thinking is more difficult to explain until you've experienced it first-hand. Limiting God to just black-and-white is like trying to watch “Sound of Music” in black-and-white - without any music. Bleh. Sometimes I get so angry at this that I just have to walk away.

I've seen black-and-white thinking firsthand from the belly of the fundamentalist beast and I've seen what it can do to people. It's not just my story, there are so many people who have been deceived by the same factors. I wrote this book partly to address the lies.

Do you have any rituals you follow when you finish a piece of work?
Not really. It feels good to finish and relax for a day or so, but then you're bummed because you're done.

Who has influenced you through your writing career?
My boss at work. I wrote lots of technical documentation and my boss helped me learn to write clearly and concisely. She also encouraged my outside interest in writing this book and in writing poetry. I worked for her for about 20 years, so she was a major influence.

I also admire Ray Bradbury's books. There's such color and passion to them, a vividness that I want to recreate. “The Martian Chronicles” and “Dandelion Wine” just sit on my bookshelf waiting to be reread. And reread again.

What are your long-term goals?
Wow. Live forever.

Well, OK. I mean that I'm 61 and it feels like there are too many things I want to accomplish to complete them all in one lifetime.

Mostly, I want to finish writing the books I have in my head. That's another memoir or two, a collection of children's stories, and at least two research books in religious history (a study of early Gnosticism and a history of Christian Fundamentalism from the Civil War to now). I've got notes on all these.

I'll also want to publish the book of poetry I've written and my two new “books” of the Bible (not really, but that's the premise). After that, I can write some more music, learn photography, and maybe learn to paint. Then maybe I’ll go skydiving.

Coming from a long line of teachers, Douglas Baign has a Masters degree in Education but spent his career testing and documenting low-level software. He likes looking at anything basic then challenging assumptions. Doug also has a BS in Cognitive Psychology and a deep and abiding interest in History and Physics.

Douglas' super-power is breaking things, especially computer code, but he prefers to create books, poetry and music. He also enjoys travel and photography.

Tour Schedule

Monday, February 4
Guest blogging at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

Tuesday, February 5
Book featured at Lover of Literature

Wednesday, February 6
Interviewed at As the Page Turns

Thursday, February 7
Guest blogging at The Literary Nook

Friday, February 8
Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom

Monday, February 11
Book reviewed at A Title Wave

Tuesday, February 12
Guest blogging at Bent Over Bookwords

Wednesday, February 13
Interviewed at Review From Here

Thursday, February 14
Book featured at The Zen Reader

Friday, February 15
Guest blogging at Harmonious Publicity
Book reviewed at C'est La T

Monday, February 18
Guest blogging at She Writes

Tuesday, February 19
Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight

Wednesday, February 20
Book reviewed at Voodoo Princess

Thursday, February 21
Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Friday, February 22
Guest blogging at The Revolving Bookshelf

Monday, February 25
Interviewed at Straight From the Author's Mouth

Tuesday, February 26
Guest blogging at Inkslinger's Opus

Wednesday, February 27
Interviewed at The Writer's Life

Thursday, February 28
Book reviewed at I'm Shelf-ish

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