I recently had the opportunity to interview my writing mentor and good friend about several issues that have been weighing heavily on his mind for my buzzfeed community page.
Knowing Randy Jernigan as well as I do I knew that he was feeling just a bit over-worked and experiencing loads of stress. Why? First of all it's a political season, second, his Ellen DeGeneres Bio is late coming on to the market, and third, at 55 years old, the man just came out to the world as gay.
Yes, I was sure the man was carrying a butt-load of stress on his shoulders so I was thrilled when Randy said yes to my request for an interview.
For those of us who know Randy well, you know that a political season is a stressful time. When Randy gets behind a candidate--he tends to put his all into the candidate. This time Randy is supporting Hillary--and it's caused the author a huge amount of grief.
"I think I've come close to losing a few good friends over my support of Hillary. I live in Utah--so most of my friends here are conservative Republicans. I tend to post a lot of things on my social media sites that tend to make some angry with me. I've gotten into several arguments over what some post after I've posted something positive about who I'm supporting and I usually come away feeling just terribly guilty for what I might have said in response--and I tend to delete some off my page. But only if they start threatening or swearing. I think I need to just keep some things to myself--especially if it's of a political nature but I'm such a radical when it comes to certain issues," Randy explained.
Working With New Talent
A few months ago I reported that Randy was working with new author Les Bailey--the author of the new bestselling book, The Vampire Game. Bailey was a student of Randy's at his Writers Studio in Utah, as was I. So I was thrilled to learn that Bailey's book, which will be a trilogy, is being considered by film producers for a movie! A real dream come true for an inspired fiction writer.
"I knew when Les first came into my classroom some years ago, that he had a passion for his craft," Randy explained. "...and when I heard him read from his first assignment, I was absolutely blown away. I remember the chills that went up and down my arms as he read. I also remember turning to one of the other teachers in the room and saying--'this guy's going to be huge one day,' and so I'm so terribly proud of what Les has accomplished with his writing. Several years later Les called me and asked me to help him edit his new manuscript--as I read it I was so proud. I could literally feel his passion for his craft in every sentence. What a thrill it was to read that manuscript.
"I absolutely love working with new writers--especially when they have such a passion for their craft," Randy offered enthusiastically.
On Coming Out As Gay
"I had no real plans on coming out the way I did. I don't really know why I did it the way I did--but on hind sight, I'm happy I did.
"I was booked to do an early morning radio show and the host was a long-time friend. I usually give the host a certain number of approved question that they can ask, but I remember the morning was a rough one for me--I was an emotional wreck. I had just lost my best friend of 17 years and I was feeling like s**t. So I lost control of the interview--and I think my friend saw an opportunity to get some ratings and turn the subject onto my personal life.
"Well, it worked. He asked the question and I answered it--before I knew what I had done I had come out as gay on a national Christian radio show.
"...and you know what? I'm glad I did. It's been a long journey of pain and hurt for me. I dreamed of the day when I would come out and be honest about who I am and lay all my cared out on the table, as it were.
And while I've lost a few friends, I've gained a lot more. And most important, I've gained some self respect. It's not an easy thing to hide a big part of your life, such as you sexuality. It's damaging to the soul.
"My life tends to be crazy enough without having to keep secrets, so I'm happy that I came out the way I did. I feel as if a whole new world has opened up to me and I'm on a new journey," Randy proudly explained.
I'm told that Randy's 'Ellen bio' will be out within the next few week, and Randy has started working on another project entitled 'God, Faith and Humanity' for a British television network.