In his new memoir Miss Memory Lane, Colton Haynes explores his memories, weaving together a troubling tale of addiction, abuse, Hollywood and more through the lens of memory. Today, he joins Schön! to discuss the book, its reception, music and everything else.
MISS MEMORY LANE is out now to high critical acclaim. What has the process been like of seeing your book put out into the world and reading reactions to it?
I’m still processing it all, but I’m mostly experiencing an overwhelming feeling of joy. It’s been extra special for me to read reviews from people who haven’t followed my career and see how much they identify with my story.
Your book reflects on some deeply personal topics. Have you always been comfortable sharing your deeper struggles with the public, or was there a process you underwent to become more adept at this?
I’m terrible at small talk. I’ve always been comfortable sharing my journey with people, the highs and lows, especially over the last four years. I wish more people would, because it’s mutually rewarding and also incredibly freeing.
Obviously it’s difficult to know where to begin your own story. What did your planning process for this book look like?
Well, it was quite the process for me to make up my mind and say yes. I’d been approached over the years, but I wasn’t ready and was completely against it. I was still dealing with a lot of shame and embarrassment over how much I used to share online, and knew I’d have to be in a stronger place mentally to deal with misleading headlines, being taken out of context and the amount of disrespect that often comes with sharing such personal stories. My book had a few different versions, and was originally going to be a series of letters…but I decided to land on this final format once I realised how much of my story I was ready to tell.
What books did you read while writing, or in the lead up to writing, your book?
- How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones
- Girls Kiss Now by Jill Gutowitz
- Broken People by Sam Lansky
- Do Better by Rachel Ricketts
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
- Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi
You detail at several points in your book the process of having someone reach out to you to help you — advice you admit you frequently ignored. When you examine those times from the present, what do you wish you could have told yourself in those moments?
I tend to be the type of person who has to hit every branch on the way down to learn my lesson, and ultimately, I needed to be ready to make that decision on my own. I wish I was able to remind myself of how many people genuinely cared about me, and how many I was hurting by putting myself through that.
Congratulations on around four years sober! If you’re comfortable answering, what are some of the difficulties of being a sober person in Hollywood, and how do you surmount those?
The only difficult thing for me personally is having my sobriety mentioned in every single interview, even when it’s not specific to what I’m promoting or discussing. I could be talking about my cat, the weather or a project I put my entire soul into, and the article would read Big Gay Emotional Alcy Goes Deep 4 Pride. And that’s no shade to your question! [laughs]…Clearly, I talk about it openly in my book, so this question doesn’t feel out of place here, so I’m not coming for you! [laughs] It would be one thing if others presented it in a way that felt loving, then I wouldn’t mind…but it’s starting to feel like it’s being mentioned constantly to remind people that they can rewrite your story to whatever they want it to be, for the sake of clicks. Yawn…we’re bored.
You’ve said you have a strong relationship with your memories, however pained some might be. Do you find now that you often linger in your memories, or have you developed a healthier relationship with them as you explore your present life?
Oh, I’m still a memory lingerer [laughs], but writing this book was a way for me to carefully analyse my past in the hopes of experiencing happier chapters in my future. For so many years, I felt completely lost, and writing this book helped me find my way back to myself again.
On that topic, what would you say you learned about yourself through the crafting of this book?
I’m way too hard on myself and worry too much about what strangers think of me.
What music have you been listening to lately?
Blackpink (I even thanked them in my acknowledgments [laughs]), VINCINT, Kendrick Lamar, Jimmie Allen, J BALVIN, Lauv, Maggie Rogers, Lil Nas X, Tones And I, and I don’t think there’s a day that goes by where I don’t listen to Frank Ocean.
What’s been inspiring you lately?
What are you looking forward to right now?
Miss Memory Lane is out now.