Saturday, December 28, 2013

Matthew Shepard Foundation

I'm proud to share this news:

Judy Shepard- Matthew's mother and a heroic activist- will be
interviewed by me for the book I'm working on with Cleis Press
about LGBT/Intersex activism.

This follows the interview which Brenda Knight and I just did
with Barney Frank on December 13th. And more is yet to come.

It is an honor to be associated with such wonderful people.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Barney Frank, Brenda Knight, Cleis Press and moi

So! The stars are in alignment and thanks to Cleis Press giving me
a chance, the new anthology on LGBT activism is well underway.

All this is because Brenda Knight- the publisher- is open to creative
thinking and isn't one of theseshut-down myopic people

Sunday, December 1, 2013

the magic keeps expanding

On my street in San Francisco, there are roses and bottle brush trees,
lemon trees, orange trees and banana palms. Neighbors have created
lush gardens on the sidewalks right in front of their brightly painted
Victorian houses.

Dolores Park is two blocks away: a sloping green with magnolia trees
and palm trees and the city skyline, clearly visible. Downtown is a mile
off. This is where I take my puppy- A "Eurasier" dog- part Chow-Chow
and part wolf. Though his genealogy is a bit more complex, it boils down
to Chow and wolf. As such, "Tarquin" looks like a small gingerbread bear.

To the park we go, morning and afternoon- and, puppies being puppies,
Tarquin is a sensation. It's fine. He needs to be well socialized to people
(and to dogs). If not, the wolf thing will come out and he could be/come
too protective.

But the other day as he was romping happily with other dogs, a flash
of red, yellow and blue went by and someone cried, "Look at that!"
And someone else shouted, "Oh my God! I don't believe it!" 

Two giant Macaws were flying freely over the park. Three feet long
from their head to the tip of tail feathers, they were zooming around
before coming to light on the arm or shoulders of their trainer/friend.
I grabbed Tarquin and walked up the hill- unable to belueve my eyes
for, though I've lived in this area for many years, I never saw anything
so surprising or so wonderful (and- trust me here, folks- that's saying
a lot when it comes to San Francisco's Castro District.)

The bird handler- a young fellow of Chinese descent, named Chan-
was patient in answering questions as "Rudy" and "Bella" flew in
or flew out again. Chan explained that he'd trained them the same way
people train falcons and, indeed, when at one point Bella didn't return
but chose to linger in a palm tree two hundred yards away, Chan told
Rudy, "Go get Bella." Just like that, Rudy flew off, circled Bella,
cawed a few times and they both flew back to Chan.

If you want to see this on video, you can Google: "Chan the bird man"
and there it all is. Or go to his website  It's really
an amazing sight and, for me, an expansion of my world or the sense
of my city that, in San Francisco, brilliant red green and yellow parrots
fly free, circling overhead and adding to the brilliance of this world.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


When society disintegrates, people become insane.

CBS reports a popular new "game" on the east coast.
It's called "Knockout."

Groups target someone at random- anyone who might
be walking alone, day or night- and try to knock them
out- disable or kill them- with a single blow.

This has happened- and is happening- right now.
The victims- men and women, happen to be walking
by themselves, minding their own business.

Monday, November 18, 2013

In the reaching out...

The computer world is odd to me.
I don't understand what people post,
what goes for truth or promo any more
because the world is changing and I am
from another time. That's part of it.
But I do know what I am touched,
moved. And when I do something
about it... because that is unusual.

Two days ago, I read an article put up
on the Huffington Post about a young
man busted for a crime- he was set up-
further complicating a young gay life
already complicated by being given up
at birth.

He was raised with two gay parents
and they loved him but, like all teens,
he ran wild and one thing led to another.
It ended with him being incarcerated.
after meeting an older man with a stolen
credit card, who got him to use it. So...
the next stop was jail for what sounds
like a young pretty wispy blond boy.

God knows what happened there.
He got transferred from one hole
to another, got HIV along the way
and will be out in two years when
he will then be twenty five, without
any school, job, home, money, solid
friends or future unless people help.

The writing was so beautiful, I was
touched. I wrote the author and told
him his prose moved me, that I would
get the lad a coat when he gets out.
He was grateful. I thought that was all
there was to it until, through a totally
different direction, I found out that
this man whose writing I llike was
also very active in ACT UP in NYC
and I am looking for someone to write
a chapter about that in my anthology.
So I wrote back to invite him to join.

Isn;t that stramge? I read a piece that
moved me and felt motivated to do
something kind for someone lonely
and abused by life and by the system.
And it led me to a writer who may be
able or willing to collaborate in my art.
But all this was an accident brought
abiuyt by the Huffinton Post and by
getting out of a comfort zone and, put
simply, giving with no sense of reward,
but then seeing it come back to you,
potentially. And if not, not.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Listening to Bill Moyers interview nuclear activists
I hear a sobering fact: if there's another meltdown,
like the one that happened in Japan, that whole nation
and the entire west coast of the United States would
have to be evacuated.



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Anthology Underway

Tonight, I had a wonderful experience:
a friend warned me about the flakiness
of the Internet and the risks of trusting
people I haven't met in person but am
trying to work with on my new project.
Most of these I have met through email
and then through phone calls, just not
in person. And I'm not exactly so great
with computers or hip to technology.

So, having been spooked by my friend,
who meant well but, also, warned me that
the writers I'm counting on- many being
quite well known people- might simply
blow me off, or leave me high and dry
when it came time to deliver their work.
After all, that could be true (conceivably)-
what do I know?- I never did anything
like this before. So I decided to check.

I came home and emailed almost all
of the people about whom I had even
1% doubt- not based on their character,
just on the fact that we only made contact
recently. And even though my deadline
isn't until February 1st, I wanted to know
how responsive they'd be if I reached out
and asked for an update because, after all,
I have responsibilities to Cleis Press,
my publisher, and they've been great.

Well, so are the folks whom I emailed!!!
Guess what, Internet? Guess what, plasma?
There really are Human Beings on the far
side of that screen! Within a few minutes,
I got replies from almost every person-
all sweet, all totally supportive- friendly,
perfectly willing to share what they have
and communicate more, whatever I need.

Okay, there's one exception. A good guy
to be sure, but one dealing with an illness
in his family. And I kind of knew that he
might not, ultimately, be completely solid
as a creative collaborator because of that
fact. So he send back what the British call
"a wobbly." But this was the exact purpose
of the experiment: to see who's really there
and who might not work out.

So ask me if I'm happy! Go on. Here I am-
on a Friday night- emailing over a dozen
busy/creative/well-known people- feeling
slightly uncertain as to if they're really there
for me, if they'll pony up. And almost every
one replies within a few minutes. One even
offers me a lead for a still-vacant/unassigned
chapter in the work underway.

This is the kind of thing which makes me trust
that this work is flying along on "angel wings."
I really can't claim credit for that; it's larger than
me, larger than anyone. It's all about the power
of Truth using us all as its vehicle. I bow to That.
And, it seems, so do the incredible contributors
to the anthology. They proved it tonight.

Thank you.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Adrian Brooks in "the Advocate"

It is the knack of any natural-born storyteller to engage our belief, so that with the very next sentence or flip of a page we might actually learn something about ourselves. And it's often the simplest of folk tales, the ones with equal measures of the horrific and fantastic, that rivet our attention the most. Adrian Brooks takes a child's delight in telling a good story and, with an appropriate mixture of innocence and fright, commands attention in The Glass Arcade.
   A shy boy in rural Germany sees his parents gunned down by the Nazis and is carried away. It is 1934, a decade before the rest of the world will know of the fascist big lie. The boy keeps the truth of the experience deeply buried- a persistent wound- and is unable to express it or live fully with it, even 30 years later as a comfortable, married New York suburbanite. Only a chance encounter with a handsome young stranger pierces this numbing anguish, and slowly the man/boy unravels the story of his abduction and subsequent life under the fascists, that of a painted slave in a glittering palace catering to the sexual appetites of the Nazi elite. It is a tale of adolescent awakenings and historic undoings, of tenderness found in unexpected places and of that particularly human quality that the Nazis despise, and fear, the most. It is also a tale that, quite simply, is irresitable.
    The book was released last summer by Pocket Books, an affiliate of Simon & Schuster. Like most first novels, it was expected to have a short life before heading off to the paper shredders. But word-of-mouth, that quirk of fate in any publisher's lexicon, quickly spread The Glass Arcade to a wide and appreciative audience. The novel is now in its second printing, a British edition has been released, and a Hollywood film is under serious consideration.
    For many readers, the heart of the book's appeal lies with a young boy's coming of age in a fantastic- and perverse- setting. Forging an identity as an alien, yet sometimes seductive, environment is a perspective especially familiar to gay readers. That many of the characters in the book- good as well as bad- are homosexual seems incidental to the story. What's central is the search for freedom and self-recognition in the face of impossible odds. The book, quipped one reader, is best described as "Madam Kitty meets Hermann Hesse."
    An unlikely pairing, but seemingly less so after a visit with Brooks in San Francisco, his home the past several years. Poet, playwright, burgeoning cabaret performer, and now novelist, Brooks somehow merges the trappings of a polite, upper crust establishment upbringing with the sensibilities of a globe-trotting wild child. His poetry has long been familiar to readers of Gay Sunshine. His work in the theater- both written and performed- is familiar as well to audience of The Angels of Light, a San Francisco troupe noted for their ingenuous blend of message and stage magic and the recent recipients of four Bay Area Critic Circle Awards, including one for best over-all production.
    It is the dichotomy- the unresolved tension between knowing the best the material West has to offer and paying the price for it- that has, in part, sparked Brooks' creative spirit.
    "My life has a double meaning, to be sure. But I have found that to be very helpful. I don't think you can create without a necessary impulse to heal or close a rift between subjective and objective reality." In growing up within the privileged environment of the Philadelphia Main Line, says Brooks, "There was always a duality between being spoiled brats and having it drilled into our minds that it wasn't enough being a spoiled brat- that you actually had to go out and do something, yet confining your views to upper middle-class ethics and the white ruling establishment."
    Fortunate for him, he says, that there were two factors making this "terribly impossible." He was gay and a Quaker. "I knew I was gay as a child and was encouraged to go around the house in drag- kimonos, scarves, jewelry. I was a little theater object from the time I was three. My parents loved it- their generation couldn't indulge that- but they didn't realize that there were raising an artist. And because I was also raised Quaker, I heard from a very early age about Mahatma Gandhi, prejudice and bigotry against black people, which horrified me completely.
   "I was told nonviolent action was necessary, there is no ultimate right and wrong, and that whatever you have to do, do it- because that's what Quakers call 'The Inner Light.' It's what will help in terms of the world."
   Being trained in the role of "accomplished intellectual," while at the same time exposed to the arts and to "a moral life which had no clear form on the surface" left Brooks feeling confused and in need of some way to express all the aspects of his personality. He finished prep school "an academic washout" and began to travel, still believing "that if you didn;t have a Ph.D you'd fail and die in the gutter." About a year and a half later, he met someone who had attended the Friends World College, the international Quaker school whose centers all over the world aim to turn students into agents for social change. "Naturally," Brooks laughs, "the Quakers put their schools in the middle of the best dope routes in the world."
   The central question raised by the college, he says, is how do educated people from the industrialized West reconcile their knowledge of materialistic society's limitations with the legitimate concerns of Third World countries and developing nations. "I went iinto this world under the context of being a nonviolent revolutionary. I wanted to change things. This is an artist's function. I think that's everyone's function, but when I say artist I don't mean people who just paint and dance. I think art takes many forms.
    "The question is, 'How do we live on this planet and not exploit it? How do we all see ourselves as part of the solution to the long tradition of trashing whatever could be trashed for the quick buck?' I think that people whose lives take a recognizable form and meaning are part of the solution. Time is running out and yet, instead of political solutions, I see the only answer that means anything in human terms. I'm a humanist, and believe that people are much smarter than the systems that oppress them."
   One of the central characters in Brooks' recent novel is the aloof, majestic, and ultimately compassionate Frederich Lorken. Lorken had been a famous cabaret performer in Berlin, then the gayest city in the world. With the Nazis' rise to power he is scooped up and transported to the Glass Arcade, a palatial estate turned male brothel, where he is expected to ply his powers as a consumate illusionist for the price of his life. One suspects a strong connection between the character and Brooks' own psyche.
   "At an early age," says Brooks, "I chose illusion over reality. I used to come home from school and make tiny little villages and monasteries behind a hydrangea plant in our backyard. I had a whole concept of a nonviolent, well-ordered little world. The games were my illusions and I had an enormous peace while playing with them, an incredible feeling of sanity- my own. Frederich is a dreamer, but because he is an artist he actualizes his dreams. The Nazis profit from his power, but he finds out how to restore his honor by investing more in truth and love, as he sees it.
    "Still, at a very early age he thought he might be immune to the political activity around him because he was an artist. He was much more cavalier towards life. When he slipped, he saw immediately that protection, isolation, does not work for anybody."
     Brooks based his novel on a story by film director Paul Aaronm who had attended the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the man in charge of the "Final Solution"- the concentration camps.
    "I had originally set the novel during the closing moments of the war, but after reading about the persecution of homosexuals under the National Socialists, Ernst Rohm and 'the Night of the Long Knives,' I changed the focus to an earlier period. Because until Hitler killed Rohm, assuming command of Germany by eliminating his only rival, homosexuals still felt that they were immune from persecution. In Mein Kampf, I don;t think that Hitler had marked homosexuals as fit targets for persecution. In fact, there was a longstanding tradition of homosexuality in the German military and in 1928, shortly after the National Socialists did say that homosexuals were unfit people, the Reichstag passed a law making homosexuality legal. Immediately after this the stock market crashed and that liberal law was never enacted."
      Are there any lessons to be learned from this today? "In Germany, which after all was a very civilized country, homosexuals didn't see themselves as an oppressed minority until, in one fell swoop, they realized how precarious their position was. There was a certain myopia within the general body politic which thought, 'Things are very complicated right now, but if only we had a strong man in there it'll be all right.' Aside from the fact that the Nazis were lying to the German people, the people wanted a simplistic answer for a complicated situation.
   "Today, in this country, certainly in recent years, the same thing is going on. When homosexuals came out of the closet in the Stonewall riots there was an initial period of flash and exuberance and a sense that society was going to be shaken up. But as in any minority movement, after a certain period of attention-getting and achievement of immediate goals and priorities there is a real schism between people who want to be content with minimal acceptance and the people who realize that the fight and need for social integration isn't done until there is no longer any issue. The conservative drift in the gay community- particularly in so many peoples' conformity- is so highly obvious right now. But the danger is that this safety is completely illusionary.
   How is Brooks dealing with those issues in his art? "There is a basic choice that every artist makes between personal concerns and an overriding view of society. The worst art to me is political art. I don't believe in it. I'm not into slogans. I'm much more interested in seductions. In all my work there is a concealed message. When you get to the end of something you can say, that showed a woman taking responsibility for her life, or that showed old people capable in the face of a society that denies their existence, or, that showed a homosexual who wasn't so insatiable that he wouldn't be responsible. While I would like to entertain and tell wonderful stories- my priority in life is to become a performer- those ideas are my concerns.
   "My thinking isn't dictated by the fact that I'm a homosexual. To me, it's an endless source source of wealth, but I'm not a gay writer. I'm a writer who happens to be gay. If The Glass Arcade is successful it has to do with the fact that there is a fully human, interesting gay character who cares about art, life, people, politics and values- who is also trapped.
    "One of the most powerful answers that gay people have to offer is how life can be lived not for material gain or territorial protection, but how a heterogeneous society can value more than just breeding grounds or the economics that support biological renewal. There are bigger things at stake."
   In The Glass Arcade Brooks has used the disparate elements of his life- adventursome play in a glitter-theater of the absurd and fantastic, the awareness of social privilege, the insight that comes from conscious seeking- to reveal some of mankind's darkest repressions. Yet the book titillates more than it expounds, captivating with charm, sometimes by way of our prurient curiosities. Brooks knows all too well the use of the veil- a device used here not to disguise, but to prolong the pleasures of a singular tale well told.
   "I feel articulate and capable of disciplining myself after 33 years- something I thought I'd never master. Part of my urge to write is necessary proof to myself that I'm capable of maintaining form. And there is a need for people who can create- on any level- to do that. It helps other people.
   "It's difficult enough to make sense out of the world. The only sense I find is in people who inspect their own hearts and decide what is meaningful to them. Not taking form was the most terrifying prospect for me. Tennessee Williams says that being a writer is like trying to construct a new reality before the old one becomes untenable. I feel that way too. Each time I begin a project, I'm changing my life. I'm moving forward and trying to heal some fractures within myself."
                                                                                                                               by Mark Thompson
                                                                                                                               the Advocate
                                                                                                                               May 28, 1981

"Holy Cow!" An Angels of Light show in 1979 and 1980

This was a show by the free theater- the Angels of Light- in 1979 and, again, in 1980.
(Adrian Brooks on left). For more photos, check out the Facebook photo albums

Angels of Light Facebook Page

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Anti-LGBT violence in Russia & calls for an Olympic boycott

Two weeks before the end of WW2, the Nazis murdered Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a long-jailed Lutheran clergyman, internationally famous as a humanitarian. This is something he wrote about his silence during the long, intensifying vice-grip of Hitler and his henchmen:

"First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Should I raise my price?

I hate Microsoft. As if they don't already have all the money in the world, they call me several times a week, trying to sell me things I don't want. There's no way to block them because the people who call are in India, beyond the ability of a US phone company to fend off. And I've tried everything.

This morning's call came at 8:30 AM- a bad time for me because I go to bed at 1 or 2 AM and do not take kindly to be awakened by yet another phishing sales pitch from Microsoft.

"I hate Microsoft," I told the eager young Indian man. "As I tell each person who bothers me, I will never buy anything from your company. Never. Ever."

Without missing a beat, he persisted, "So what do you want from us?"

"What I want," I retorted, "is for you to leave me alone and not hassle me."

"That will cost you $200," he said.

"And it will cost you $2000 to suck my cock," I told him, ignoring his horrified gasp. "So if you send me $2000, I'll pay you $200 and we'll all be happy."

Then I hung up.

I wonder if this will work? If not, should I raise my price?

Please advise. And please feel free to try this approach.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Moon Rocks in Africa

The radical Quaker school I attended in 1969, the Friends World Institute, occupied a former colonial hotel- "the Kaptagat Arms" in the White Highlands of Kenya, thirty-seven miles from Uganda and at an altitude of 8,000 feet. There were leopards in the forest and a man known as "the monkey demon" roaming the hills. I saw him once- all covered with animal pelts- but I can't remember much else. Kenya has the best marijuana in the world, and it was the Sixties, after all, and even though we were supposed to be saving the world- like Peace Corps volunteers- the truth is we were just so, so stoned.

One day some other students and I were loaded, as usual, and sprawled out on the lawn just being in Africa, loving Africa and the freedom and sheer glory of it all, when an old woman came down the red dusty drive. She was bent over and relied on a stick but she did, finally, come approach us. Clearly, she was upset about something but she was probably Kikuyu and none of us spoke anything more than functional Swahili so we got Kamau, our cook. Kamau was a cheerful guy who always looked happy, especially when he got to behead chickens with his panga, a short machete. Now he was especially happy to translate. This made him feel even more important.

Well, the old woman took her time. She had to sit down and catch her breath. And we all sat there, stoned out of our minds and wondering what all this was about. But at last, she was ready and she spoke to Kamau, who dutifully translated.

Is it true that people from your country have really gone to the moon?

Ah. Yes. That is true, we told her. They did do that. They went there.

She nodded but she had to think about that. Carefully. And this took time.

Her next question: Is it true that they brought back rocks from the moon?

Yes, we told her. That is also true. The people who went to the moon did bring back rocks.

She nodded and had to think about that for quite a while before she spoke again.

And is it true, she asked, that those rocks are getting bigger and bigger and there is no way to stop them from growing and, soon, they are going to come here and crush us?

Now, honestly, we hadn't heard anything like that. But, then again, we were living at 8,000 feet in Africa without newspapers or TV or even radios so we couldn't be 100% positive. Still, we didn't want to stare- our eyes were so red!- and it would have been rude to laugh, and Kamau was looking so excited- just dying to tell her that it was true and panic the poor old thing. But we ruined his fun and, finally, someone said. Oh no, we haven't heard anything like that but it's probably not true, no.

She was so relieved, she thanked us and got up and started back to her village to share the good news: the big rocks were not coming. And we just stayed on the lawn, hoping that we were right.

This is where it happened:


Friday, August 2, 2013

For Writers In Hope of Good Angels

This is my first "unassisted blog," one I'm doing by myself, so I want to address it to other writers, particularly. I'm one of you and have been writing creatively for 40 years, keeping a journal for- gosh- 46 years. In sum, I've been through the ropes and through the publishing world mill, in various ways. All along, I got handed the same bullshit by top agents and big publishers: "You're really a fine writer and, if you were famous, I'd sign you up (or publish this), but you're not famous so I have to say No." When I asked how any writer was supposed to get sufficiently famous without an agent or publisher going to bat for them, these people invariably said that they couldn't answer that question. All said, "Basically, it's a crap shoot so... keep trying."

But it gets more surreal. One top agent in London who asked to see my work after we met socially, ripped my book to shreds when we spoke on the phone (by appointment) six weeks later. He told me that, though he hadn't finished reading the novel, he'd read enough to know that I had little, if any, talent; that I might consider going to school or learning how to write; that I didn't have a sensible plot or real characters. As he went on and on in this vein for at least five minutes, I took notes. Finally, when he'd finished, instead of committing suicide, I asked, "Well, as you say, you didn't finish it, so could you tell me where you are in the book so I can better understand your critique?" He said, "They're in London now." I replied, "Mark, my book doesn't take place in London." Long silence. Then I inquired, "Mark...? What is my book about?" Another long silence. Then I asked, "Mark, have you read even one word of my novel?" After another silence, he said, "I am so embarrassed." In short, this asshole hadn't even read one word of my work but felt justified in shredding- or trying to shred-  any confidence I had in myself as an artist, or a creative person with integrity.

My point here isn't to complain. In fact, it's the polar opposite. What I want to say to all writers out there is this: after four decades of being bludgeoned by top agents and big publishers, I realized that, even in a publishing world as crazy-making as the one in which we (all) now find ourselves, it's small independent presses, which treat authors with sensitivity and respect. And now, after all this time, almost as if the gods decided that I'd been through enough, I've connected with someone wonderful, whom I respect as a human being and friend. She's showing me that the equation so widely touted as a thing of the past- a human relationship between a writer and a publisher- is not entirely dead. It still does exist. Somehow, I've stumbled upon it. And it seems to be acquiring traction.

I cannot tell anyone else how to find it. In my own case, it came almost as accidental magic, simply as honestly respecting the publisher involved, not seeing her as part of a publishing world engine. Perhaps that is a lesson? Perhaps when/if we surrender to our own karma, or trust the fates, or don't stop believing in ourselves, (or listen to asshole agents who set out to destroy without bothering to read our work!), we allow ourselves to see others- and for us to be seen- in appropriate context? I hope so because, having been bulldozed and knocked around by the Establishment, I can see that the personal, warm, human association which I celebrate in my work and so looked for from editors or guiding figures is not impossible to attain. It still does exist. People do come through for one another and, so, I'm writing this to encourage all who read it not to give up believing in yourselves, or in your work, or in the fact that there really are "good angels" out there. I earnestly hope that you find them.      

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

American Karma

I think a lot on the karma manifesting around us now: the huge, complex issues of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, questions involving our privacy but, also, what we expect our country to do in an age of terrorism. We want to be safe and protected- it's only natural, of course- but we (also) want to feel immune from surveillance and domestic trampling of our rights and Government interference.

Part of this karma involves the split in our country- more intense than at any time since Vietnam. No one detests Republicans more than I, but do we really have to be so polarized that someone believing differently is demonized? I'm as guilty as anyone of that; I freely admit my bias in favor of the ways that I see historical American promises of full equality to all citizens, and my resentment of anyone, who tries to marginalize anyone, for any reason.

And so I plod along, one of millions, doing what I can do- (which isn't much)- and trying my best to be a decent person... and looking for one way every day to do something kind for someone else.  And now, through this strange new world of the Internet, I reach out into cyberspace, because that is one way people connect nowadays.

But what, I wonder, does "connection" mean?

A 2009 poll conducted by a university asked Americans how many people they felt they could talk to on a scale of 0-100. This number would include spouses, lovers, partners, family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. To put it another way: if you learned you were dying or had a huge crisis,  how many people are there whom you could turn to and truly share your innermost feelings?

The average answer in 2009...?


 Yes. One. The same university did the same poll in 1969. At that time, the answer was Two. Two people. And now, forty years later, despite the phenomenal reality of the Internet and social networks and computers etc, we are- as a people- more isolated than we were then... on average.

Perhaps I live in a bubble? Perhaps I've made a few good choices...? But I feel fortunate in that, however difficult life can be, however lonely, however challenging it is for any artist and humanist in
this day and age, I feel connected to many people, connected enough to share whatever I'm thinking and feeling, be it living with HIV, or aging, or anything else Life throws at me.

I wonder: is that somehow connected to living in the Bay Area? Or to finding my own spiritual core? Or is it a gift of the counter-culture, in which I was a part as long ago as the 60s and a choice millions made to esteem values other than "success" and "materialism"? I honestly don't know. I do know that, for me, blogging- this new form of sending messages out into the universe, messages which might reach people I don't even know socially- doesn't seem like a cry in the darkness of a lonely world, or an effort to connect from a life with only one other living soul who cares....

I see it as a way to share as if, whatever the limitations of this world may be, or the reality of city life, or urbanization, or separation from the land, or the gradual fracturing of family structure, the dissolve of a unity that churches used to address, we are still one people. And however isolated things may seem, we do speak the same language, feel the same things, share the same aspirations and yearn for closer bonds with others.

And so, whatever the challenges we face- the uncertainties of the ecological future, the bewildering state of denial which so many embrace (and here I mean the right wing, the homophobes, the racists, the people who would deny health care to the needy or eliminate food subsidies, etc)- even so, I still believe in human goodness; in our ability to reach each other; in the transforming power of love and the reality of higher Consciousness, of which we are all part. For myself, I know that to be true. And so blogging becomes a form of prayer, in a way, words spoken to the universe, words sent up like hopes or white candles, lit with a sense of reverence....


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My First Time...

Here we go. Time to join Cyberspace. This is my first time, my first blog. Eeek! I think this means that the Government is going to know when I change my underwear, and who I dreamed of, and what they were wearing, etc. Okay... I'll just try to make it interesting.