Living Without LeRoy

With her new memoir, literary co-hoaxer Savannah Knoop steps out of JT LeRoy's shadow. But can she step out of Laura Albert's?

Thinking back, she remembered hoping they both could be on the same page about the JT LeRoy experience now. When the thought of writing a book about it all first came to her mind, Knoop instinctively turned to Albert, her prolific inspiration, hoping they might write it together. But eventually she got the message: That wouldn't work; she'd have to sort it out alone.

And she started to, in the book:

"At the readings in New York and Los Angeles, I met fans who were hungry for JT's acknowledgement. They told me how the books had affected them, and they recounted their own life stories. I listened silently and held their hands. I rationalized to myself that JT was a conduit for many people who had suffered and survived. JT existed as a force of energy flying above our heads, a symbol of hope for those who had undergone the same kind of trauma and lived through it. Laura, JT and I were a trinity. I didn't know what our mission was yet, but I knew it was something bigger than our trivial problems and rivalries."

It's true that what makes you a literary golem or a Zelig or patsy is not easy to define, but what makes you a writer is writing.

After her small parade of self-exposure had been staged and applauded, Knoop sat in the back room signing books, comfortably it seemed, as herself.

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