Arthur Wooten's amusing tales of dating life

If Armistead Maupin and David Sedaris had a love child, it would be Arthur Wooten.

It might take a certain amount of creativity to really absorb that concept, especially since Wooten, like Maupin and Sedaris, is middle-aged, but when you're dealing with apt wordsmiths capable of provoking thought, anything is possible.

And that is precisely what Wooten continues to prove.

Several years ago, he sat down to pen his first novel, “On Picking Fruit,” which chronicled the dating exploits of Curtis Jenkins, a 40-something gay New Yorker whose appetite for real love continually leaves him forever hungry. When publishing titans didn't bite, Wooten opted to publish his book online. He went on to produce other material, all the while fiercely self-promoting his work until one day, he received a surprise call from Allyson Books – the publishing house offered him a two-book deal.

Flash forward to the present day and you'll find Wooten's work nominated for a 2007 Lambda Literary Award and under consideration at a major cable network to be developed into a series.

“I have learned you can learn to be lucky in life,” Wooten admits.

The author will read from his second work, “Fruit Cocktail” – a sequel to “On Picking Fruit” – Wednesday at

A Different Light Bookstore.

Perseverance may be one of the secrets to Wooten's success, but the former gymnast and actor says he always envisioned something good coming of his creative offspring.

“It was a flame in my heart and I fanned it,” he says of his first book. “So many times, people like to put out our fires. We sometimes lose that flame and I am proof that you can find it again.”

He believes both straight and gay audiences have embraced both books because, quite simply, they can relate to it.

“I thinkwe all are looking for connection, whether it is within ourselves or our family or our jobs or intimate relationships,” he says. “We are looking for validation, for something that reminds us that there is more to life than just getting through the day.”

The entire experience ushered in a bevy of lessons, too, many pertaining to the ever-changing face of today's publishing industry. Even with the book deal, he still remains his own best publicist.

“For me, this whole thing is a forum, it's above and beyond the writing of the book,” he says. “Listen, life is too short. Go out there and do it. If I can, anybody can.”

IF YOU GO

Arthur Wooten

Where: A Different Light Bookstore, 489 Castro St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 13

Contact: (415) 431-0891

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