Author Annie Proulx: I Wish I Never Wrote “Brokeback Mountain”


Brokeback Mountain has a legion of fans, but apparently author Annie Proulx, who wrote the short story the 2005 film was based on, is not one of them.

Speaking to the Paris Review, Proulx said  the film generated so much

“I wish I’d never written the story. It’s just been the cause of hassle and problems and irritation since the film came out,” she revealed.

Proulx says the problem is that many people misunderstand the point of the story:

I think it’s important to leave spaces in a story for readers to fill in from their own experience, but unfortunately the audience that Brokeback reached most strongly have powerful fantasy lives. And one of the reasons we keep the gates locked here is that a lot of men have decided that the story should have had a happy ending.

They can’t bear the way it ends — they just can’t stand it. So they rewrite the story, including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack is killed. And it just drives me wild.

They can’t understand that the story isn’t about Jack and Ennis. It’s about homophobia; it’s about a social situation; it’s about a place and a particular mindset and morality. They just don’t get it.

I can’t tell you how many of these things have been sent to me as though they’re expecting me to say, ‘Oh great, if only I’d had the sense to write it that way.’ And they all begin the same way — ‘I’m not gay, but…?’

Pop-culture lovers have been writing fan fiction since forever, but it sounds like some Brokeback fans are actually accosting Proulx, rather than just enjoying the fantasy.

brokeback mountain

“I haven’t had the same sort of problem with anything else I’ve ever written. Nothing else,” she revealed. “People saw it as a story about two cowboys. It was never about two cowboys.”

h/t: Pink News

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.