5 Stars for Blue Days, Black Nights: A Memoir of Desire by Ron Nyswaner #MM #Memoir


Title: Blue Days, Black Nights: A Memoir of Desire
Author Name & Publisher: Ron Nyswaner (Lethe Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 12, 2016 – 206 Pages


In the years immediately following his Academy Award nomination for Philadelphia, screenwriter Ron Nyswaner fell through the rabbit hole. This gripping, intimate, and darkly comic memoir chronicles this period in his life, a period where a raging drug addiction collided with an obsessive and almost fatal love affair. A wrong turn down a one-way street in the shadow of the Sunset Strip’s Chateau Marmont leads Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner on a journey that will nearly drown him in the intoxicating, impulsive, maddening, tragic, and transformative nature of love. Despite the success of his latest film, Ron has been fighting depression and contemplating self-destruction. ”I don’t want a mediocre, empty life,” he tells his psychiatrist-acupuncturist-herbalist after halfheartedly attempting to hang himself with a belt. Then, on a trip from his home in upstate New York to Los Angeles, Ron meets and falls for world-weary Johann, a Latin-quoting, leather-clad hustler with a vague, European accent. In the next year Johann will teach him many things: how to make a crack pipe out of a soda can, how to come down from a crystal meth binge, how to walk down a city street as if he owns it, how to beg in Hungarian, and how to lose oneself utterly in reckless passion. If he can survive it, loving Johann might be Ron’s salvation.

”This beautifully honest tale of the author’s doomed drug-ladden love affair with a hustler is also a beautifully written page-turner.” — The Advocate

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Nyswaner’s memoir is captivating and beautifully-written. He’s a Hollywood screenwriter of some success. At the time this was written he was mostly known for “Philadelphia.” The memoir, though, is not about Hollywood, but about gay prostitutes and drugs. Nyswaner explores his relationship with Johann, which might be love or might be denial, simultaneously with his attempts at therapy and coping with his family.
It’s lush in detail, rich with cultural references and observations, and drops a few names. Mostly it’s a private journey. Nyswaner seems likeable and thoughtful. I’ve read other addiction memoirs, like Augusten Burrough’s “Dry” and Danny Wylde’s “The Wolves that Live in Skin and Space,” and this one is far more palpable. I found myself reading of Nyswaner’s existential crises and crystal meth while nodding along, pleasantly interested, and devouring it straight through.
C. E. Case


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Ron Nyswaner’s writing and producing career has taken him from independent films to breakthrough Hollywood dramas, award winning television movies, and, most recently, two hit cable television series. His credits include one of the most memorable and influential Hollywood dramas of recent times, PHILADELPHIA; a critically acclaimed and controversial cable television film, SOLDIER’S GIRL; the romantic drama, THE PAINTED VEIL, with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton; and the upcoming, gay-marriage themed FREEHELD, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page. His first documentary feature, SHE’S THE BEST THING IN IT, will play throughout 2015 in film festivals around the country. After two seasons as Writer/Co-Executive Producer on Showtime’s hit series, RAY DONOVAN, he is now a Writer/Co-Executive Producer on the eagerly awaited Season Five of the compelling CIA drama, HOMELAND.


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