10 22 2014
  9:30 pm  
     •     
McMenamins

"Writing my memoir wasn't my idea. I avoided the challenge for years. I'm a private person who's most comfortable with one-on-one interactions…

My close friends have told me with earnest fervor that my life experiences would make for interesting reading, given my unique perspective on the world… Short. Black. Christian. And gay...

How do I define self-worth in a world that correlates value with stature, physical perfection, and race? The answer: by walking tall."

-- Excerpted from the Introduction (pgs. x-xi)

Actor/artist/author Clay Rivers has certainly held a variety of jobs over the course of his career: graphic designer, teddy bear in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, Donald Duck at Disney World, and bit roles on such TV series as "Charmed" and in movies like "She's All That."

But finding work hasn't been the easiest thing, given that the guy's a gay black dwarf. So, besides sharing the average actor's anxiety about landing his next gig, Clay has had to deal with the triple whammy of discrimination based on his height, color and sexual preference.

And because he's a Christian, too, he's struggled to square his faith with his homosexuality. He even tried dating women after hearing a former drag queen address his congregation about how he had hung up his dresses and become straight with the help of the Lord.

Clay came to accept himself by the age of 38, which is when he came out to his mother. "Well, I still love you. You're still my son," she responded, despite being "well aware of the Biblical scriptures regarding homosexuality."

A man of admirable integrity, Clay talks about his willingness to walk out of a Hollywood audition where he was being asked to play a demeaning character showing short people in a bad light. What makes this autobiography intriguing is the fact that the complex author is able to both emote and entertain while giving the reader a decent idea of what it might be like to walk a mile in his complicated moccasins.  

A meaningful memoir by an introspective soul who has arrived at a peaceful place where he's perfectly comfortable in his own skin.

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