Laurence “Lars” Eighner Hexamer (born Laurence Vail Eighner; November 25, 1948) is the author of Travels with Lizbeth, a memoir of homelessness in the American Southwest during the late 1980s; the included essay “On Dumpster Diving,” which is widely anthologized both at full length and in abridged form under the title “My Daily Dives in the Dumpster”; Pawn to Queen Four, a novel; Lavender Blue: How to Write and Sell Gay Men’s Erotica, also published as Elements of Arousal (an early edition includes an introduction by noted erotica author John Preston); Gay Cosmos, a work of gay theory; and numerous short works of gay men’s erotica, collected under various titles.
Lars Eighner was born Laurence Vail Eighner in Corpus Christi, Texas, the son of Alice Elizabeth Vail Eighner (later Harlow) and Lawrence Clifton Eighner, and the grandson of the Texas poets Alice Ewing Vail (The Big Thicket) and John Arthur Vail (John Vail Ballads). He grew up in Houston, Texas, and was graduated from Lamar High School in 1966. He studied creative writing under George Williams of Rice University at the Corpus Christi Fine Arts Colony, and attended the University of Texas at Austin, doing major work in ethnic studies. Lars Eighner became homeless in 1988 after leaving a job he had held for ten years as an attendant at a state hospital in Austin, Texas. On July 5, 2015, Eighner was married to the man called Clint in his memoir, with whom he had lived for nearly 28 years. In 2017, he assumed his husband’s surname and his legal name became Laurence Eighner Hexamer.
Eighner began writing for publication in the early 1980s. By that time he was generally known as Lars, the result of having worked in a small office with two Larrys. Because in early writing attempts he had been confused with Black Mountain poet Larry Eigner, Eighner used ‘Lars’ for writing. His first book was a collection of short stories, Bayou Boy and Other Stories (Gay Sunshine Press, 1985). In the late 1980s, he and his dog Lizbeth became homeless, and his experiences as a homeless person in Austin, Texas; Los Angeles, and places in between are the subject of Travels with Lizbeth. Eighner was elected to the Texas Institute of Letters in 1994.
Books in order of publication:
|Lavender Blue: How To Write And Sell Gay Men’s Erotica||1987|
|On Dumpster Diving||1992|
|Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets||1993|
|Elements of Arousal: How to Write and Sell Gay Men’s Erotica||1994|
|Pawn To Queen Four||1995|
|Whispered in the Dark||1995|
|Wank: the tapes||1997|
|The Best American Erotica, Volume 4: Choke Hold||2016|