Photos By Frank J Miles
Frank J Miles has carved a name for himself as a journalist. The 33 year old former William J. Clinton Foundation Senior Communications writer earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and a Master’s from Columbia University of New York. Since then he has worked as a copy editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and a reporter intern for New York Magazine. His commentaries and interviews have appeared in several publications such as “The Huffington Post,” “Lambda Literary” and “Mary: A Literary Quarterly.” Miles talked with PrideIndex about his writings and admits journalism is what he did out of trepidation.
PRIDEINDEX: You have written for several publications; why did you decide to become a journalist?
FRANK J MILES: I have written speeches for President Bill Clinton, commentaries for “The Huffington Post,” interviews in “Lambda Literary” and “CRUSHfanzine,” gay slang for “Mary: A Literary Quarterly,” pop-smut poetry for “Assaracus” and “This Is FYF.” I always have been insatiably curious, and I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to try new things. It’s been a pleasure for my chameleonic, polymathic nature. Putting all those words on the page gave great joy. And yet, I became a writer, because, at the time, it was the most accepting of spaces in which I attempted to live my life. And I was most afraid of appearing vacuous and whimsical. I always just wanted to be deep and smart. But man cannot live from spaces of fear. My résumé says writer, but over the last few years, I’ve had to leave that box. It’s not my passion. I am pushing toward new things. At 200%, like I do with everything.
PI: Have you ever considered a career in electronics journalism? Why or Why not?
FJM: No. Journalism is what I did out of trepidation. To pay bills. To build up my résumé. To get my name out of oblivion. To impress hot dudes. To have an answer at parties when strangers asked, “What do you do?” Journalism, writing, words. It’s not in my blood. That is not who I am, my personality, and my persona. It was a mask. I came out. Every next step for me now involves embracing my testosterone, above all else, which is the name I gave my inner fire.
PI: When and where you were first published?
FJM: The first that meant the most was this poetry contest. I wrote something god-awful and stuffed with words that no one knew what they meant. I had said it was my way of being transgressive, but really it was just another way of hiding. The first boy I went out on a date with was in the audience. He was spellbound – and gorgeous. Neither of us had any idea what we were doing. I dicked him over, accidentally, but I still did. It’s one of my biggest regrets.
PI: What was the name of the last good book you’ve read?
FJM: “Seven Years” by Peter Stamm – it was crisp, clear, direct, short, European, and delicious. It may seem like a mundane story. Just wait – it’s a horror novel. Read it! I like things, like the Hemingway ethos, where the main drive is: let’s get to the point! May all words be muscular, grab you by the scruff of the neck, and shake you awake anew.
PI: Do you have a favorite author if so who?
FJM: Stéphane Mallarmé – but it’s really William Shakespeare. Okay, it’s a tie.
PI: Have you ever considered writing a book? Why or why not?
FJM: Yes, but I won’t. I don’t have the skill set. I am a typical American raised on movies and plays and pop songs. Hallmark poetry. It’s the art that many have wanted me to contribute to our world – just not myself. I don’t have the right personality. I am too direct. Plus, judgmental. Writers have to be all about the empathy. Beneath the writer, I am an actor and a fashionista. Professions that ought not to be in charge of novels. You know who should write books? I use a good friend as an example. We went to a hotspot one night. He shows up at the discothèque at 2 a.m. with a sack of obscure works of literary fiction that he planned to read over the weekend. He’s the writer! I’m a socialite.
PI: If you were not a journalist/writer what other profession would you be?
FJM: I am an actor and a fashionista, like I said. I am very mercurial, and I get bored easily. Basically, I am just ever-curious. Right now, I am training to be a vegan bodybuilder, and being creative and imaginative through anything that’s not the mind. The hand, body, soul, heart, sure. I’m done thinking! I want to build other parts of me. I just want to be well-rounded. My boys and I have started a holistic wellness club called Supermodel Jock Philosophers with a Heart of Gold. I’d rather be an exercise trainer or a fitness model or build a house or landscape than put pen to paper. It’s freedom to say that. And when I am called a name – even if it’s writer – I want to feel good about it. Not cringe.
PI: I’ve looked at your Facebook page, there are several photos of scenes from nature are they your photos?
FJM: Thanks for noticing my attempt to create mood and tone and atmosphere! I don’t own the copyrights! I am good with cut and paste, though. I haven’t gotten the chance to be shown the world, yet. So I had to give it to myself. I’ve spent the last few years using social media, whether Facebook, Twitter, my NSFW blogs, Gchat away messages, what-have-you, to live out a Künstlerroman in real-time. It’s my voice. It’s my art. My gift to the world, or at least those that know me, or stumble upon me. Perhaps I am a muse – and not an artist. I have to give something back, yeah? It’s where I put my creativity. I am turning myself into an artist. I have no idea how – but I will get there. I am scared shitless. Mostly, because I never have put myself first. To get where I need to go, I must learn how to do that.
PI: I understand that you have worked with the LGBT Recording Academy/OUT Music Awards. How did you become involved the organization? Talk about your activism background with the Global Action Project and MCCNY Homeless Youth Services. Why is activism so important to you?
FJM: I liked the work that they were doing – and I wanted to lend a hand to kids that were less fortunate. I am making up for being provincial. An overprivileged me-me-me, gimme-gimme starlight who didn’t have any perspective. I spent my 20s in New York not eating and looking cute. I had the time of my life – a Kanye nobody knew, trying to climb faster than Madonna but sans a proper support system, the messiah that adopts you and pushes you up the ladder. But I snapped out of it – though I miss that life terribly, and I want it, in theory, above anything else every single day. That’s not my fate right now. Friends of mine, good people, who do that work in the trenches to make life better for others talk about catching the bug. I caught that bug. I went to work for President Clinton and his foundation as a writer. I learned about the world. I learned who lives on our planet. I grew up. I found a heart. I learned the universe is not a figment of my imagination. I know how the world works. I know perspective. I am a blest human being. Sure, I want the good life. But so does everyone. And how can I look at myself in the mirror and try to deny that to anyone else? Who the fuck am I?!
PI: Do you have a favorite out artist? If so who?
FJM: Tom Ford. I want to be Tom Ford when I grow up. I wish I could be that spruce. One day, when I am in shape enough, I plan to go to his store and try on his suits. I will be bringing a photographer to film this montage. And if Mr. Ford told me I looked good, I wouldn’t need any other compliment in life – ever. Because, truly, a compliment that doesn’t come from a gay man’s mouth doesn’t count.
PI: Do you think there will ever be an openly gay candidate or President of The United States? If so when?
FJM: I plan on living for the next 100 years. I’m sure there’ll be a President that reflects all of America: Jewish, Taíno, from the Delta and Appalachia and a reservation, atheist, a woman whose parents were born in Korea, and the first black President – married to a dude. If I were President, I’d be a Newt. But if I were First Gentleman, I’d be a Michelle. Ahem.
PI: What’s next on the horizon?
FJM: Magic and adventure. People, whether lovers, friends, mentors, those hiring, or gatekeepers, who see me, believe in me – and have follow-through. I don’t care if I am any good now at what I do. I just want the space, opportunity, access to be able to do it. I will get there. Genius, like the workhorse to the nth degree, like John Henry, is who works the hardest. And I don’t quit.
PI: What advice would you offer aspiring writers/journalist?
FJM: Don’t give attention – give applause. I haven’t met a soul in 33 years who didn’t want and need the latter. If they didn’t – they were lying, and in pain. Beam. Exhale. Make your fire light and then a glow. Come from peace and love. Be fearless. Be collaborative. Show compassion and empathy. Do it. Flow. Don’t give. Don’t take. Don’t barter. Flow. If you get there first, it is your moral responsibility as a breathing human being to hold the door open for all those who didn’t get there yet. Be only around people who see you – whoever you are. As narcissistic as I sound, and I’m not – just a loner, I know that the best things involve having all hands on deck. Together. Melting pot. Get over yourself – and come together, damn it. If they relate, follow me on Twitter: @FRANK_J_MILES or http://facebook.com/frank.j.miles. Like a drill sergeant-cheerleader coach, I can give individual advice to artists with similar souls – but the group. O, not the group. I’d have no idea what to say! Actually, scratch that. I do have five words of advice: Anything not bliss is irrelevant.