The San Francisco Chronicle got David Wiegand to talk about his experiences as one of several people JT Leroy enlisted to edit his work. And it sure sounds like Leroy — whoever he is — was quite a handful:
Knowing I’d edited fiction by friends over the years — notably, Ann Beattie — LeRoy asked me to look at a short story he’d written. From there, I fell into the job of being one of his editors. LeRoy works editors much as Louis B. Mayer worked writers back in MGM’s heyday. Several writers would be working on the same film, completely unaware that others were pounding away on typewriters in the next office. That’s what it’s like to edit JT LeRoy’s copy. While you’re offering suggestions about a piece, he’s also got a guy at Zoetrope weighing in, as well as Dave Eggers and whoever else gets hooked into the job — all for free.
Even though Leroy “couldn’t punctuate to save his life” Wiegand ultimately felt the work was good enough for him. So why did he quit as editor-for-free? “because I could never make him understand that the office is closed when he calls me at 2 a.m. to look at something he’s just e-mailed.”
Ah yeah, the whole professional courtesy thing…