Alison Bechdel said she was compelled to write "Fun Home," her graphic memoir about growing up with a closeted-gay father and grappling with sexual identity issues.
The project that began as a highly personal telling of a particular story will soon take new form, and reach more people, as a Broadway musical. The Post and Courier contacted Bechdel to get her thoughts about the way in which her story has been transformed.
Q: When you wrote "Fun Home," which must have required a lot of digging into, and thinking about, family matters, identity issues and other highly personal and very serious questions, what were your hopes for the book?
A: I didn't have very clear hopes for the book. It was a story that I knew I had to tell, but I wasn't quite sure who I was telling it to. I couldn't quite imagine my audience, so I ended up telling it to myself.
Certainly the book has had more success and a broader reach than I ever imagined possible.
Q: In 2006, the year your book was published, graphic novels were hardly novel. What were you doing, if anything, that was unique?
A: If I was doing anything unique, it was in using comics to tell a story that did not have a lot of conventional comics "action" in it.
Q: Were you surprised by the manner in which your story was transformed for the stage, taking on a life of its own?
A: I continue to be entranced by what Lisa Kron, Jeanine Tesori, and Sam Gold have wrought. They culled the emotional nuggets out of my story and made them into a whole new thing. But the new thing feels absolutely true to the book.
Q: And now it's going to Broadway. What do you think about that?
A: I don't know quite what to think of that. I wish I could tell my parents, but if they weren't already dead, it would probably give them heart attacks.