My name is Seth Greenland and I am not an alcoholic. Nor am I a drug abuser, sex addict, or overeater. I am not a philanderer, a movie star, or a professional athlete. I am not a politician, captain of industry, or supermodel.
I tell stories.
The spine of this one takes place about 25 years ago during a particularly hellish time. Everything I’ve experienced since then has been refracted through that prism. It was not the particular prism I was hoping for and in the ensuing years I’ve been trying to make sense of the way its memory has bent the light.
I worry about my lack of standing as a memoirist. I am a novelist and a playwright, but I’ve made my living writing for television and the movies which is a lunch box job even when the lunch box is stuffed with food from Spago. If I didn’t earn my keep as a writer, a job many people mistakenly consider interesting, there would be nothing remotely compelling about me. And since I currently live in Los Angeles where if you throw a Xanax tablet you will hit 10 of us, there is nothing remotely compelling about me.
I am a man who has sex with women. All right—woman, singular, if you must know—specifically, my wife who is, incidentally, the only wife I’ve ever had, leaving me entirely devoid of ex-spouses against whom I could rail in a memoir. I am a garden-variety cisgender male married to a cisgender female. My childhood was ham on Wonder Bread, playground basketball and piano lessons, the New York Yankees, Knicks, and Giants, looking for trouble in nearby woods, running across broad grassy fields, and struggling to stay awake in the public school I attended, all scored to rock and roll music and the tinkling of Good Humor truck bells before that sound became cinematic shorthand for imminent mayhem.
Excerpted from A Kingdom of Tender Colors: A Memoir of Comedy, Survival, and Love, by Seth Greenland, with permission of the publisher, Europa Editions.