Fearsome reflects

Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s I remember a time where what I felt and who I was attracted to was a secret. I learned early that I had a secret and a secret it would remain.

Therefore today when I run across a video such as this one in which a famous young gay man lives behind his secret I can empathize.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish Elton and others had been out and able to lead thus showing me that I was ok. However, I understand. I understand now that for them the safety of the curtain allowed them to live two lives. One life in front of the curtain out on stage and another in secret behind it. Society actually demanded the separation.

Stars of the past who tried to live their truth found their careers ruined and were ostracized, rejected into oblivion.

Today Elton is able to live as an out gay man. He is married and has two children. After all those years in hiding, today he can live as an example. Unfortunately Billy Haines never made it to see the day where his lifelong relationship would be validated much less that he could live and work as an out gay man.

What Billy Haines chose isn’t lost on me though. He chose to live his truth and to live as an out gay man, but it lost him his career. In his own way he blazed a trail by refusing to live a double life, or in other words he refused to live a lie.

Elton chose to live the lie until eventually his truth started to be too obvious, yet fortunately for him the times had changed to acceptance. But I don’t fault Elton. He had much to contribute, and contribute he did through his work and art. He was fortunate that thankfully times finally changed.

Societal “norms” keep people from fully expressing and living their truths.

Isn’t it time we appreciate differences and continue to challenge societal norms? Isn’t it time we actually question gender stereotypes? Isn’t it possible that the actual organ isn’t the actual sex? Isn’t it possible that sex, or sexuality, doesn’t even fucking matter?

Peppermint & Cazwell’s video Blend has appeared here before. It’s worth a re-post.

If we all do not understand, empathize, love, accept, support, forgive and STAND UP for each other then who will?

Let’s celebrate each other. Let’s celebrate life.

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Loving oneself

Growing up gay ain’t easy. Growing up gay the first things I learned is that I was wrong.

I was wrong for being scared the ball would hit me. I was wrong for twirling the baton. I was wrong for wanting to take dance lessons. I was wrong for having a knack for color and redecorating my room over and over. I was wrong for being in the band and wanting to be the drum major …right up front. I was wrong for knowing the answers and being a good student. I was wrong for crushing on boys. I was wrong for just wanting to hang out with girls playing mystery date and gossiping. I was wrong for simply being me.

I learned to hate myself. I learned to hide myself. I learned to lie. I learned to loathe, loathe myself. I learned that I should try to be something I wasn’t.

Luckily I found a way to appreciate who and what I was. Luckily I learned it was ok to be gay. Luckily I got on my feet before I harmed myself in any permanent way.

However the scars remain.

It was those individuals before me that took a stand and they cleared a path. A path that I could follow to live better. I could learn to accept myself and one day love myself. I could learn and allow those scars to become strength.

However it isn’t easy.

It doesn’t have to be easy. I just must remember to keep moving forward and to love myself. To keep moving forward and broaden the path for others behind me.

Pride month isn’t about flagrant narcissistic pride. Pride month is about loving yourself and loving others. Loving yourself for being simply who you are and loving others for simply being who they are.

Oh…and I must remember that I am enough.

Learn to Fly

Connection:

Life:

Connection enriches life. Life connects us. We are sharing a common experience right now. We learn, love, teach, understand, support, share, laugh, cry, hold, grow and feel.

We…

Feel.

I pause to feel. I pause to experience. I pause to connect. I pause to…

Wow, just beautifully fucking powerful wow.

May I learn to fly today, today right where I am.

…and may I have a sense of humor that I might not take myself too seriously…

Life, let’s live it …and together may we have a fabulous day.

I needed love today

Life.

Life comes at you.

Don’t get me wrong, life is good…good overall, but damn it can come at you.

I’ve had so many wonderful things happen to me in the past month, and I’ve had some confusing and bewildering things happen as well. I sure haven’t posted much and I have some great things to post about (such as an in person meeting with not one but three dear blogger friends…hint…it was in Philly). Overwhelm describes my loss of words, organization and time to actually sit and post. I need to post for me and my mental health so I start here.

I need  love today. I went in search of inspirational video to perhaps jar me into some sort of clarity. Below is the video that appeared when I clicked over to you tube. The message of love, of peace and of hope is exactly what I needed.

Beacons

Lighthouses serve both as a warning for hidden hazards laying just beneath a surface and as an indicator that a safe harbor awaits beyond.

Throughout life I have noticed beacons which helped me avoid the unseen, yet often due to various circumstances I overlooked a warning and found myself stranded on the rocks.

I am human, I am fallible.

However in each unfortunate circumstance when I have missed the warnings, or ignored them, I have found a safe harbor nearby.

In that safe harbor I can pause, reflect, heal, learn and grow.

Often it’s nothing specific that causes me to loose sight of the beacon ahead.

Life is. Life is busy. Life is distracting. Life is confusing. Life is exhilarating. Life is overwhelming. Life is fun. Life is troubling. Life is good. Life is hard. Life is sad. Life is hilarious. Life is love. Life is experience. Life is rewarding. Life is disappointing. Life is experiences. Life is unexpected. Life is unexplainable. Life is laughter. Life is imperfect. Life is. Life is. Life is.

My dear 17 year old Mitzi, our 5 pound chihuahua/poodle mix, is facing her next horizon. A horizon in which I can no longer watch her nor protect her. Each day with her has been a blessing from a power of love beyond any power that I can create. Each moment left is a treasure that I am grateful for. When her moment of transition arrives, I pray that I can set her free feeling the love that she, and her creator, blessed me with for all these years and continue to feel her love that will be with me always.

There are many hazards in the waters surrounding me at this time I my life. Some I am aware of, others I am/was blind to. I commit to learning to first forgive myself for my shortcomings and to open my eyes to the blessings, the beacons, the love, the gift of my life.

I commit to heal, to learn, to grow and to accept my imperfections.

Clawing out

Sometimes, in order to get out of a hole that which I have found myself, it feels as if I am clawing my way out of the darkness even though I cannot see any light. I have found that as I claw my way it is important for me to be open to see any cracks, or even pin holes, of light and appreciate these as inspiration to keep clawing my way out. Keep clawing even if these pin holes aren’t the solution or direction in which I should go.

Inspiration lifts me. I must allow it to do so.

The pit of darkness in which I have found myself is of my own making. I make it through overwhelm due to the choices I make as to how I perceive the world around me. Choices as to how I react to others, to politics, to situations, to emotions, to comments, to work, to stress, to joy, to sadness, to love, to criticism, to direction, to you, to my thoughts, to weather, to …

Perception, like everything else in our revolving universe, cycles. This, too, shall pass.

I can choose to hasten this passing by allowing little things to lift me. This morning I choose to allow my locality of living’s politics to shine a pin hole of light inspiration into my life as I claw my way back into the light in which I prefer to live.

As I sit in the United lounge in the San Diego airport awaiting my delayed flight out I read our local paper. To my delight below the coverage of last nights national prime time spectacle of absurd news, I find that my local government has voted to take it upon themselves to assist the asylum seekers awaiting at the international border into our city.

Pin hole of light I see.

I allow it to uplift me.

I smile. I feel better.

I believe that good overpowers bad. I believe that love beats hate. I believe that kindness conquers intolerance. I believe that light eliminates darkness.

I believe that vulnerability allows us to be seen as we truly are, as the truly the imperfect flawed beings that we are. I believe that through exposing our own vulnerability we demonstrate the courage it takes to be, to be ourselves.

I am me and I’m not perfect. However I am worthy, I am courageous, I am beautiful,  I am and I can.

I can do anything. Right now I make a choice. I choose light.

Whole Hearted

Living. Living life to the fullest.

Experiencing, learning, growing, loving, giving, sharing, teaching, risking…

Those who put themselves out there, those who risk, live.

I believe that those who expose themselves for who they really are, those who allow themselves to be vulnerable, live. They live life to the fullest. They live life with a whole heart.

Hearts were meant to be broken or else they wouldn’t break. Love.

Gifts were meant to be given and shared because if they were selfishly hoarded they wouldn’t be gifts, but would be burdens. Give.

Lessons and experiences only have value to enrich others when taught. Teach.

If one isn’t growing, one is dying. Grow.

Without risk there is nothing. Risk.

Will there be pain? Yes

Will there be joy? Yes

If we couldn’t feel pain, we wouldn’t feel joy. Feel.

To get to the other side of anything, we must walk through it. Experience.

My brain thinks. My heart loves, my heart gives, my heart shares, my heart teaches, my heart experiences, my heart risks, my heart feels, my heart grows, my heart lives!

I choose to live whole heartedly from this moment on. To live, live with my whole heart.

Turtles all the way down

Challenge religion, broaden horizons, keep an open mind, believe in love.

Sturgill Simpson – Turtles all the way down-

I’ve seen Jesus play with flames in a lake of fire that I was standing in
Met the devil in Seattle and spent 9 months inside the lion’s den
Met Buddha yet another time and he showed me a glowing light within
But I swear that God is there every time I glare in the eyes of my best friend
Says my son it’s all been done and someday your gonna wake up old and gray
So go and try to have some fun showing warmth to everyone
You meet and greet and cheat along the way
There’s a gateway in our mind that leads somewhere out there beyond this plane
Where reptile aliens made of light cut you open and pull out all your pain
Tell me how you make illegal something that we all make in our brain
Some say you might go crazy but then again it might make you go sane
Every time I take a look inside inside that old and fabled book
I’m blinded and reminded of the pain caused by some old man in the sky
Marijuana, LSD, Psilocybin, and DMT
They all changed the way I see
But love’s the only thing that ever saved my life
So don’t waste your mind on nursery rhymes
Or fairy tales of blood and wine
It’s turtles all the way down the line
So to each their own til’ we go home
To other realms our souls must roam
To and through the myth that we all call space and time

The Beginning

I start today like I start every day and that is with a choice:

Should I play the same record over and over or should I change my world?

Growth comes through change.

Today is the beginning of the rest of my life. All I have to do to change the world is to start by changing my mind.

 

“The Beginning”

This is the beginning of the record you like
Over and over, over and over!
This is the beginning of the record you like
Over and over, over and over!Breaking up, fading out,
Holding on until tomorrow!
Shake it off, turn around,
Won’t be long, till is a brand new day!

[Chorus:]
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life!
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life!

You better get it – get it (get – get) get it – get it – right – right
That was then, this is now.
Here we go starting over

That was then, this is now,
Here we go starting over!
You decide, change your mind,
Miracles happen every day!

[Chorus:]
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life!
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life!

You better get it – get it (get – get) get it – get it – right – right
That was then, this is now.
Here we go starting over

Change the world, change your mind,
We defy space and time!
Change the world, change your mind,
We defy space and time!
Change the world, change your mind,
We defy space and time!

[Chorus:]
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life!
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life

 

Challenge day 21

Today’s read pages 237-349, sections 15 & 16 of chapter On Writing.

One should have a literary agent before going to publish. Be wary of agents who will read for a fee.

Writing has more to do with instinct than with higher thought.

Does Mr. King do it for the money? He says although he has made plenty he never set a single word on paper with the thought of being paid for it. He has written because it fulfilled him. As with most anything in life, he says if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever. Writing is not life, but it can be a way back to life.

With this post I pause. I have arrived at the final postscript of the book. I am about to embark on a journey to take my mother back to my hometown to visit my brother and several of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. My attention will be on her and I have another book to read about spirituality without religion that may get a mention on this her blog thingy, or maybe not. I will return to the postscript of Stephen King’s On Writing upon my return to California at which time I will complete my blog posts of it and my Personal Challenge.

 

Challenge day 20

Todays read pages 231-237, section 14 of Chapter On Writing

Writing classes? One doesn’t really have to have them (nor does one need this or any other writing book). They may not hurt, but aren’t necessary. Classes mainly give a writer a chance to be around others who share their passion.

The perfect writing environment? Doesn’t exist. Do the best you can by creating your own writing space that has a door that closes. Use it.

Writers learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot. The most valuable lessons are the ones that you teach yourself. Those lessons always occur with the door closed on the writing space.

Stephen’s “pearl” today was this quote: “It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell makes the pearl, not pearl making seminars with other oysters.” (page 232, Stephen King, On Writing)

Challenge day 19

Todays read pages 220-231, sections 12 & 13 of chapter On Writing.

Tonight I’ll be short and brief. Short and brief because it’s late and I’m jonesing to get some sleep and short because this part talks about pace.

During the first draft, with the door closed, pace may not have been of concern as that was when the story was being unearthed. Now with a chance to revise and refine through a second draft one should be aware of pace. Look for a happy medium. Too fast and readers will get lost or worn out. Too slow and they will become bored or worse yet put it down. Be careful not to underexplain nor overexplain.

A good rule of thumb is second draft equals first draft minus 10%.

While one needs back story for character definition and motivation, the back story is just that, back. Get through it as quickly as possible while still doing it with grace. Everyone has a history, most of it isn’t interesting. Stick with the interesting.

Research is sometimes necessary when one writes into areas where one might not know much. Research is back story, keep it there. Remember you are writing a novel, not a research paper.

The story always comes first.

 

Challenge day 18

Todays read pages 208-220, section 11 of chapter On Writing.

How many drafts?

For Stephen King two plus a polish. For a beginner he recommends at least two drafts. The first draft with the study door closed (you the author only just getting the story out unaffected by outside input, interference or opinion), and at least one other draft with the study door open, sharing that first draft with trusted readers.

Upon completion of the very first writing you, the author, who has spent many months and unending hours unearthing this story onto the pages and need time away. Focus on another project or write a short story or go on an adventure…get away from the book. Rest.

Then sit down and go back though that first draft making notes where you see errors or holes. Do not get down on yourself, screw ups happen and can be fixed. Use this to not only fix mistakes but clear out the unnecessary and add clarity. Ask yourself about coherence and about elements, theme, resonance, meaning. After this stage then let a few trusted readers see this first full draft and read it.

Be careful not to be overbearing on your first readers. We writers can be needy. Resist the temptation.

Challenge day 17

Today’s read: pages 200-208, section 9 chapter On Writing.

Theme.

Theme is really no big deal.

When writing a book one is identifying trees. Once done, step back and look at the forest. Every book worth reading is about something. During or just after the first draft decide what it’s about. In the second draft make that something more clear.

Good fiction begins with the story and progresses to theme.

Once story is on paper think about what it means, then enrich following drafts with conclusions. This makes each tale written uniquely your own.

Challenge day 16

Today’s read pages 189-200, sections 8 & 9 chapter On Writing

Today’s take:

Pay attention to real people around you and tell the truth about what you see. Are fictional characters taken directly from everyday life? No. Well no not directly. However details of behaviors make fictional characters are drawn from life.

The best stories may be character driven but in the end the story should always be the boss. Help readers to understand characters, and even sympathize with them, to make the characters real.

In story telling practice is invaluable and honesty indispensable. Transcribe with clarity (without unnecessary adverbs). Use what bells and whistles work for or improve your writing as long as they don’t get in the way of telling the story. Symbolism exists to adorn and enrich, not create artificial profundity.

Story is about story.

Challenge day 15

Today’s read pages 180-189, section 7 of chapter On Writing.

Dialogue, it gives your cast their voices and is crucial to defining characters. What people are saying often conveys their character in ways of which they are unaware.

Character can be conveyed more vividly through speech. A cardinal rule of good fiction is never tell us anything you can show us. Good dialogue is a delight, bad dialogue is deadly. A writer can improve in respect to dialogue, but a man must know his limitations.

Dialogue is a skill best learned by people who enjoy talking and listening to others…especially listening. The key to writing good dialogue is honesty. It’s important to tell the truth. It must ring true on the page and in the ear. To ring true you must talk yourself and even more importantly listen.

Challenge day 14

With today’s read I realize that some of this will need to be bit off in small doses. As I’ve confessed before I never made it past high school English. I also confessed that I was the teacher’s pet my senior year. If you are capable of reading between those lines I hope you understand that to be 11th grade. I think I squeaked a C out of that 11th grade English class.

Todays read pages 173-180, section 6 of the chapter On Writing.

“Description is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the story.” It’s important to remember that it’s not only ‘how to’ describe but of ‘how much to’. One can only learn by doing. Reading helps this skill.

Begin with a visualization. End by translation what you see to the page. The trick is finding the happy medium. It’s also important to know what to describe. Remember the writer’s main job is telling the story.

Description begins with the writer’s imagination and finishes with the reader’s.

A writer needs to be able to open all of his senses. A writer then needs to remember it’s all about the story.

Stephen then gives us an example of a description that is just enough to help the reader sense the scene to before getting to the story. It was at this point my lack of further English education slowed me down to realize I need only bite off what I can chew. He introduced me to the simile. In other words he mentioned it and I had enough wits to know I needed to stop and find out what one was.

Simile? Thank goodness for google. A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things that is often introduced with like or as. Examples being ‘cheeks like roses’ or ‘expression as cold as ice’.

While reading up on similes I realized that they are similar to metaphors. Oh shit…time (at age 54) I finally found out what one of those is, so I google on. A metaphor is a direct comparison between two seemingly unrelated subjects. For example ‘all the world’s a stage’ or ‘drowning in money’.

Ok so what is the difference in a way this yearning mind can understand?

A simile compares two subjects, compares as to describe. Take ‘cheeks like roses’ which helps me to picture rosey, or pink, cheeks. It doesn’t make me actaullly picture roses in place of cheeks. The cheeks stay cheeks, just pink in color.

A metaphor equates two subjects. The example ‘all the world’s a stage’ helps me see the world’s as a stage. The two are equated and I can see one as the other. Or onto the other ‘drowning in money’ where money isn’t being described, but is equated with drowning in a way I can see the money actually swallowing or overtaking.

There I may not have these two down perfectly, but at least I may now grasp a basic understanding.