So today is the launch of SeanStrub.com, which was created with the help of some great professionals: designer Forest Evashevski, marketing, social media and PR gurus Alan Klein and Jay Blotcher at Public Impact Media Consultants, tech whiz Erik Smith at Macktez, and meme magician Scott Wooledge of Memeographs.
I'm a little nervous about it, to be frank, because it is a self-serving endeavor; the website was created to promote my book Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival, which Scribner will publish on January 14. Don't get me wrong, I'm not staking any claim to particular humility, as I know I can be as self-serving as the next person. However doing so quite so obviously feels a tad peculiar and obvious, but I’m sure I’ll adjust.
Between this new website, more frequent posting on my poz.com blog, and a forthcoming blizzard of Facebook Page posts and tweets (which will share blurbs, reviews, interviews, reading dates and every scrap of conceivable news about the book) I expect some people may find it to be too much. But others I hope will be informed and inspired; those are the people for whom I am putting myself out there, talking my head off about AIDS. So much still needs to be said, sometimes repeatedly. Even if some folks get sick of those saying it.
If reading Body Counts helps others glean a greater understanding of the epidemic and its effect on their lives, then I will consider it a success. I will be grateful, as well, because the book draws directly from what I have learned from POZ readers, ACT UP comrades and thousands of people with HIV I have met over the years. My memoir is shaped by so many I admire who have fought AIDS, campaigned for the rights of sexual and gender minorities, or worked to combat greed, intolerance and indifference.
Writing about my past -- and emotionally reliving it -- in Body Counts has been a remarkably cathartic experience for me. It took several years and required me to look at my life and my privilege and see things I wouldn't have recognized only a few years ago. I banished a few demons and possibly teased some others to the surface. If you'd like to continue the journey with me, then please sign up for the Body Counts newsletter. It will update you on readings, reviews and whatever conversation the book sparks. You can also "like" the Body Counts Facebook Page, follow me on Twitter and perhaps buy the book.
Here's an added altruistic incentive to buy Body Counts: Oriol, Jennifer, Jeremy, Ian and the team at POZ are generously taking book pre-orders and donating their proceeds to the Sero Project, a network of people with HIV fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice that I am very proud to lead. I'm feeling the love right now. Thank you.
And let me know what you're thinking about the current state of the epidemic, treatment, criminalization and activism. Remember: Body Counts is meant to spark a renewed discussion about AIDS!