Tag Archives: stream of consciousness

Let’s Get Married!

5 Jan

gay rights more

If you are familiar with the works of Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and numerous other works about creativity and how to get in touch with your inner artist, you may also be familiar with one of the primary tools she recommends: Morning Pages. I borrowed this idea from Ms. Cameron (and I actually met her once, so perhaps I am not out of line if I just call her Julia) although my method is not exactly what Julia prescribes.

Julia recommends writing by hand in a journal you do not share with anyone else, nor should you even bother to go back and reread.

I, instead, am typing a blog for publication.

Actually, the only thing my blogging version of Morning Pages has in common with Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages is that the end product is stream of consciousness and it is unedited.

That’s right–I am blogging by the seat of my pants! (And loving it!)

Writing Morning Pages blogs used to be a regular part of my daily ritual. Rather than provide a mountain of excuses for why that may have changed, I will say, instead, I am glad to be returning to this practice.

Happy 2015.

It is the Monday following New Year’s Day, This is the day that students return to school, vacationers return to work and traffic resumes its normal congested pattern. It will be harder to find a parking place at work, AND, everyone will be back at the office and work will resume apace.

For me, this is represents the BIG let down after “The Holidays.” I may not recover until the Spring thaw.

Besides today, this dreaded day of days, this week promises to be very interesting.

Florida’s ban on same sex marriage has danced its way through the courts. Our valiant Attorney General Pam Bondi has argued and fought for the sanctity of marriage in every courtroom that would have her.

Ms. Bondi should know a little something about the sanctity of marriage–she has had at least 2 of them–and maybe even a third one. (She may or may not have wed her current live-in boyfriend, ophthalmologist Greg Henderson__Google it if you are interested.)

Not that I am judging–it is just that Pam’s main bone of contention about letting “the gays” marry in Florida will “cause significant public harm.” To whom? WTF does that mean?

How come Pam Bondi gets to be the arbiter of which marriages are good for the state and which are not?

She might respond, “Well, I have been married twice–maybe 3 times—you don’t know! YOU DON’T KNOW ME!!!”

All I can say to that is, accruing frequent flier miles does not make you a pilot. Just sayin’…

Leave the navigation to the folks with their eyes (and their hearts) wide open.

And so, to the surprise of no one, Pam Bondi has been rebuffed by every judge she blathered her blather before and now, legally, she has shot her wad.

So to speak.

Ahem…

At long last, the courts have run out of silly excuses for why two tax paying consenting adults cannot enter into a marriage contract that affords them the same protections as other consenting adults who happen to be of the opposite sex.

In other words, in the state of Florida, as of this week, gay marriage is “a thing.”

I have to admit, I am still blinking over the news.

Back in the day, when I came out, a lot of heterosexuals were eschewing marriage and “living in sin” seemed like a perfectly valid option. For the LGBT community, marriage was not even in the cards. Or on the radar. Or, whatever. We wanted job protection. We wanted to be able to find a decent place to live. We wanted people to stop beating us up just because we were gay.

You know, the fundamentals.

Now, as I enter the twilight of my life (No, I am not pretending to be a vampire–different twilight, OK?) it is finally legal for me to get married to another gay person of the same gender.

Even though I didn’t see this coming back when, I did see it coming more recently and yet, I am still amazed.

Which is really a lot of pressure! My significant other and I have only known each other for 36 years–we don’t want to rush into anything! Marriage–that’s a big step!

We don’t want to marry just because we can. It isn’t like one of those punch cards you get in some sandwich shop–after so many purchases you get to get married. Not just married–gay married.

So we are still kicking the idea around.

In the meantime, this weekend there will be a mass wedding in Hemming Park here in Jacksonville.

Hemming Park/Plaza (it has been called both and has been reconfigured many times over the years) is in the center of downtown.

My earliest memory of Hemming Park is from the early 1960s. My mother and I were in the park and I wanted a drink of water. Before I could get a drink, my mother hastily grabbed me and steered me toward another water fountain–the one that had a sign reading “Whites Only”–and away from the “Colored Only” drinking fountain I for which I had originally reached.

In my mother’s defense (may God rest her soul) she was terrified of ALL public drinking fountains. I am pretty sure she wasn’t any more enchanted by the idea of me drinking after white people. I just think she wanted to avoid a public spectacle.

More recently–I guess it was 2008, there was a demonstration in Hemming Plaza demanding marriage equality for gays and lesbians. It was heartening to see so many people step out and step up to say, gays and lesbians are loving and caring partners and parents–they deserve the same rights as any other citizens of this city and state.

And now it is going to happen.

No–I will not be getting married this weekend, but I am volunteering to help with the logistics of the event.

Although I am not quite ready to commit to a wedding of my own–I am ecstatically happy for the people who are not only ready to marry, but are finally allowed to marry.

Not a “separate but equal” domestic partnership, but a same as all of the other consenting adults in Florida, for real, legal marriage.

The “Heteros Only” sign has been taken down. God bless.

I am definitely looking forward to this Saturday.

But until then….for now, I have to get on my bike and ride to work.

The first Monday of 2015 looms…

Until tomorrow–have a great day!
.

Happy Monday!

Happy Hour Blog, seltzer edition

2 Oct

 

Sometimes, fueled by coffee, I write blogs in the morning by following my stream of consciousness. I call those blogs Morning Pages–with a tip of the hat, as well as an apology to Julia Cameron.

Sometimes I write blogs after work. Still following my stream of consciousness. Until recently, I was also unwinding with an adult beverage as a wrote.

Nothing like a martini or bourbon to get your stream of consciousness a’flowing. Not so good for your typing skills, which is why Hemingway advised writing when drunk, but always edit when sober.

Well, this is a Happy Hour blog without the alcohol.

Yes–I have made the decision to quit drinking. So, this happy hour is fueled by Publix Lemon Lime seltzer, served chilled in a wine glass.

Cheers.

Not too long before I left for Paris, a voice in my head said, “when you get back from France, your next big adventure will be to stop drinking.”

Sometimes I have monkey mind chatter in my head; sometimes I have negative self-talk, sometimes I have old songs stuck in there–like “Brandy”, which I unfortunately heard at the grocery store on Saturday and have been toting around ever since; and sometimes there is a voice in my head that seems to be saying something worth listening to because it is saying something intriguing…

After I returned from Paris,  our doctor told my partner he needed to stop drinking for health reasons. So he did.

Well, I thought, if he was going to quit, then so was I.

Of course, I wanted to be supportive.

“Oh, hon–I am so proud of the way you’re not drinking. Would you be a pal and pass the vodka and cocktail shaker please?”

That just seemed counter-productive to me.

So, just before my birthday, I drank up all of the Jim Beam in the house–my partner had already quit drinking, so I was just being considerate and helpful, as per my nature.

No, we were not going to pour perfectly good bourbon down the sink! We could have given it away, but the last time I tried to give a bottle of liquor as a donation to Good Will they just pitched a fit, so really, what choice did I have?

One problem with stream of consciousness writing is the steam meanders a bit. Sometimes it forks off into a whole other direction.

“Brandy, you’re a fine girl…what a good wife you would be…but my life, my lover, my lady, is the sea…”

That damn song. It keeps coming up but I am determined to banish it. Moving on…

I mentioned in my potty mouth birthday blog, that for some reason, I felt a certain fascination with the fact that I turned 54 years old, which means I am entering my 55th year on Earth.

That really feels like a big deal to me–the fact that I am making my 55th journey around the sun.

Not so much from a “look how old I am” perspective. It is more like I feel a need or a desire to make this particular trip an especially special orbit. I don’t just mean “do fun stuff”–not that I don’t want to have fun, but it is more about when I get to the end of this orbit, I want to be able to know I am a better person for having taken this particular the journey.

I don’t know what that means precisely, but I am going to be giving it some thought–and will no doubt blather about it in this blog, if you’re interested, stay tuned.

We’re all on this spaceship together, after all.

You know, it never bothered me back in the day (1972, I believe) but today I find myself pondering, quite deeply, why, at night, Brandy walks through a silent town and loves a man who’s not around. WTF? Brandy, girl–he told you he isn’t going to marry you. He went back to his wife, his lover, his lady–the sea.

I’m not saying he’s gay, but… you have to ask, did Brandy ever wonder why this man preferred to spend time in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of sailors instead of her?

Oh, I know he gave her that braided chain made of finest silver from the North of Spain. you know the one–it’s got that locket that bears the name of the man that Brandy loves.
Just cause he gave her a fine piece of jewelry  doesn’t mean he isn’t gay. The gays are known for their good taste in jewelry. Well, not me. Or my  partner–but a lot of other gays have real good taste in lockets and such.

Oh, enough of that damn song!

Trying to rechannel the stream…

You know what I think?

I think Brandy needs to haul butt out of that port on that western bay and find her a real man, a true man–someone who will love her more than he loves a giant body of salt water and excessive quality time with other men on a boat in the middle of nowhere.

Surely I can find something else to write about…

Oh–here’s something cool. It started to rain just as I was leaving work. I didn’t cycle to work today, I drove. This turned out to be a good thing, because of the rain, but also because there was the most perfect rainbow in front of me as I headed toward home. There I was, zipping along 95, trying to look at the rainbow and drive at the same time.

At least I wasn’t texting:

A rainbow! OMG! WTF! SMH! LOL!

Rainbows are decidedly low-tech, but well worth a look see. It was a perfect arch too.  I craned my neck trying to see if there was a pot of gold, but no dice. Still, the rainbow itself was beautiful. One of nature’s most perfect moments.

The only thing that could have improved the moment would have been if a unicorn had leapt across 95 while I was driving past.

That almost never happens, so it was really just too much to ask.  I’ll just be grateful for the rainbow and call it an evening.

Rainbows and unicorns seems as good a way to end a blog as any.

Besides, I need to go put on some music before “Brandy” makes me rethink this whole being sober thing…

Happy PM!

 

In which I get all potty mouth and optimistic on my birthday

3 Sep

Good morning and Happy Labor Day.

Labor Day became a federal holiday in the United States in 1894. I didn’t realize until I did a little research that the holiday was fast tracked by Congress after the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike. The folks in Washington were hoping to avoid further conflict by making Labor Day a national holiday.

I was only ever a member of one union. When I was teaching, I joined the teacher’s union. That’s right, I was one of those “bottom feeders” Rush Limbaugh talks about. But let me tell you, when you face a classroom of teenagers all day long, day in and day out, you really need to feel like someone has got your back.

Anyway, this blog isn’t about unions, except for the whole Happy Labor Day part. So, what is this blog about? How should I know? This is one of those steam of consciousness things I do. No telling where that stream will take me.

My birthday was last Tuesday. I took Monday and Tuesday off from work and had myself a long weekend. That was nice.

On the morning of my birthday, I rode my bike downtown to Chamblin’s Uptown.

I don’t really do commercials in this blog, but can I just say, I love Chamblin’s Uptown? It is an amazing used bookstore plus a wonderful cafe. It was the closest I’ve come to a “Paris-esque” experience since I returned from Paris. But really, I see Chamblin’s as being more like Greenwich Village must have been in its boho hey day.

Admittedly, I am a bit of a literary romantic. Guilty as charged.

I managed to spend seventy bucks on books, and since it was my birthday, hooray for me. Then I sat in the cafe, drank a bottomless cup of coffee (not literally. A bottomless cup holds no coffee–but you know what I mean, right?), ate an egg and cheese croissant and wrote in my journal.

Here’s what I wrote:

It is my motherfucking birthday!

What is significant about this opening line–besides the sheer poetry of it, is that I was actually feeling a little bit elated that it was my birthday.

I don’t get all that bummed out about birthdays, I am usually indifferent. I don’t want anyone to make a big deal out of it, but I do appreciate a simple acknowledgement–a simple, “Happy Birthday!” from a friend is sufficient. But elated? And this was before I had consumed one cup of coffee for every year of my life.  (Or so it seemed.)

Here’s the weirdest part about being so happy about it being my birthday–I wasn’t jazzed because I had just turned 54 as much as, I was excited that I am just beginning my 55th year of life.

I may be 54 on paper, but I have actually completed my 54th year on this planet–at least in this incarnation. (Not necessarily an endorsement of reincarnation, just leaving the door open…)

I know what you’re thinking–you’re thinking I was all a quiver over those senior citizen discounts that will start rolling my way. Yeah baby–cheaper movie tickets, Early Bird specials and the like.

Hey, someone wants to give me a discount for reaching a certain age, Ima gonna take it. But that had nothing to do with my elation.

Frankly, I can’t totally explain it. I just know that, for some reason, recognizing that I am beginning a new year of life, feels rich with possibility.

Maybe it is because my 54th year was such a special one. I stepped out of my comfort zone, actually left my house after dark on more than one occasion, worked on and performed in The Coming Out Monologues, met some amazing new friends, went to Paris. I didn’t see any of that coming when I ended my 53rd year of life and began my 54th. It was just another birthday.

I have a secret fear of being happy. (I guess it isn’t all that much of a secret since I just wrote it.) I can’t say when it began or why, but I do have this inner voice that tells me, “If you are happy, you will be smacked down!”

If things go well, then they are bound to go wrong.

You’re so in love, you get married, but you take your honeymoon voyage on the Titanic.

Or, something like that.

But somehow, passing through the time portal into my 55th year seemed like a really cool thing to be doing. For some reason, it made me happy. I know that life isn’t going to be perfect, but when it isn’t, maybe I shouldn’t take it so personally. Maybe I’m not being smacked down because I am happy. It’s just that, shit happens.

Sometimes good shit happens too!

Happy Motherfucking Monday!

Life is a Medley

18 Jun

 

I am starting my Monday with a cup of Harvest Medley yogurt and, of course, coffee. The yogurt is pretty tasty.

I am just a sucker for any food that calls itself a “Medley.” Sort of like a “melange.” Serve up a nice medley or a yummy melange and I am there.

Welcome to my morning page, stream of consciousness blog. This is truly one of those mornings when I start typing and see where I wind up.

Everybody’s living for the weekend….Well, I hope not, because we have 5 full days to squander before the weekend rolls around again. Let’s not hurt Monday’s feelings by pining for a different day. People are mean enough to Monday as it is.

I lost my virginity on a Monday (heterosexually speaking.) Also, it was raining. I am a bit more attuned to this fact right now, because I make reference to this event in the monologue I am performing in The Coming Out Monologues. (See earlier blog.) What I don’t mention in the monologue is something I only recently realized.

The particular Monday in question, November 27, 1978, was also the day that Dan White murdered George Moscone and Harvey Milk in San Francisco. Meanwhile, a man I did not know at the time, but would later spend most of my life with–then a stranger, now my significant other, Ray,was arriving in San Francisco with a friend of his. His friend was moving from Chicago to San Francisco, and my significant other, having recently broken up with his girl friend of many years, was along for the ride.

They heard the news on the radio as they drove into the city. Ray turned to his friend, Bill (no relation to me) and said, “That’s a weird welcome to San Francisco.”

Ray’s journey with Bill took him to New York,Washington, DC, Chicago and San Francisco. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, Ray met a lawyer in DC who wanted him to move in with him. Ray went back to Jacksonville to settle some personal business and to see his family. By then it was March of 1979. Our paths crossed. Eventually, Ray forgot about the lawyer in DC.

Chump. I would totally have gone back to DC and moved in with the attorney. Oh, well, there’s no accounting for taste.

Within a few years, Ray and I would move to San Francisco ourselves. We lived there for three years, and then returned to Jacksonville. Several years later, my job would require frequent trips to Washington, DC. I never did meet that attorney who, no doubt, got over Ray a long time ago.

Is any of this as cosmic as my weary brain seems to think it is? Might be the coffee kicking in. The caffeine hits a brain cell and suddenly my mind thinks we’re having an “insight” when in reality, it’s just some chemical reaction going on in my head.

Life is a medley–a melange, if you will–of connections that run between people, places and events.

See how I managed to bring the blog back full circle?

Life is like yogurt–stir it around, you never know what you might find on the bottom.

OK–that last line may have been a bridge too far, but it is a sign I am waking up.

Woo hoo. The coffee is kicking in now, baby.

Happy Monday.

Obessing about obsession

18 Jan

Sometimes I worry that I am not obsessive enough. When I was a kid I was obsessed with Dark Shadows and comic books. I remember my obsession quotient ebbing as I got older. Maybe my memory is poor, and I just might check this out against my teenage journals, but I am pretty sure I wasn’t all that obsessed with anything in my teen years other than surviving my teen years. I was pretty certain life was going to get a lot easier after high school. I was wrong, but it kept me going through the lowest points of my adolescent angst.

I guess, in retrospect, life did get better after my teen years. Perhaps it got richer–it certainly got more complicated. Plus, there was more sex.

Now that I think about it, maybe I have been obsessed before. There was that guy that time that I was pretty much stalking…Well, not stalking so much as following. Well, not following so much as “coincidentally being at the same place at the same time as he was” because through mere observation I had somewhat discerned where he lived and worked. This was before the Internet and stalking required a lot more good old fashioned footwork than it does now. Actually, that was more of a hobby than an obsession. I mean, I didn’t lose sleep over this guy or anything.

Maybe I just don’t understand the true meaning of obsession. Maybe it is a lot less intense than I think it is. Maybe some of my piques of interest were actually full blown obsessions and I just didn’t realize it. Maybe I don’t just like sushi, maybe I am obsessed with sushi, for example.

No, I just like sushi. That’s pretty much the extent of our relationship. Nothing personal, sushi.

Should Facebook add an Obsessed button to go right next to the Like button?  If they did, would I ever push it?

Maybe I am confusing obsession with passion. Not sure how much of that I have either. People say they are “passionate” about a cause or a performer and that sounds a little obsessive to me.  I don’t think I am passionate about anything. Does that mean I am just a dried up barren old fool in dire need of hormone treatments?

Maybe. Or more precisely, not to be too pathetic or to put too fine a point on it, maybe I am a bit cynical. Having navigated the more complicated waters of life post-adolescence, post-college, post-midlife and other posts in between, I have learned not too get too worked up about people, places, things. They will disappoint you.  At least sometimes.I am not sure that being even keeled about most things is such a bad way to be. It’s just that movies and songs make obsession look so darn sexy.

Maybe I’ll dig into my old journals and see if I used to dabble in obsession more than I remember. Maybe get a sense of what that was like

Perhaps, as an experiment, I need to put some effort into working up a real passion and then maybe I can foment that passion into a real obsession.

Any suggestions?

Happy Tuesday

Like the weather

13 Jan

When in doubt, talk about the weather.

While I am often content with silence and don’t feel overly invested in the need to make small talk, when small talk must be made, the weather is a safe topic.

Can you tell I have no idea what to blog about this morning? The stream of consciousness is running dry this AM. It’s dammed up, dammit!

So, the weather.

How about that weather?

Cold enough for you?

There is a local TV station that used to run this blurb advertising their meterological prowess that began: “You can’t live without weather, so you should have the best weather information.”

“You can’t live without weather.” Or oxygen for that matter, but let’s not talk about oxygen, let’s talk about the weather.

The close kin of talking about the weather is complaining about the weather. Right now in my corner of the world, people are complaining about the cold. We’re not having, like, freaky cold—it gets cold here most winters. But we complain about it anyway. We complain about the heat in the summer too, which doesn’t make much sense. You knew when you got up this morning you were in Florida and if you looked at the calendar and it was August, you also knew that is was going to be hot.

“Whew! Sure is hot out!” 

Right now we’d gladly trade the current weather for a scorcher.

I’ve noticed when it is winter, and we want to complain about the cold, a lot of people I encounter here in the Sunshine State will preface their winter-weather related whine with, “We’re in Florida!” Real indignent like. As if that invalidates the cold weather and, therefore, it should just go away.

Maybe this summer when someone complains to me about the heat, I’ll reply, “We’re in Florida!” Just in case they forgot.

Stay warm.

Happy Thursday.

Friday Lurid News

7 Jan

I always skim the headlines in the morning when I first sit down at the computer. I guess it is like skimming the newspaper, only I don’t get black smudges on my fingers. The local news always seems particularly lurid. Maybe I just live in a particularly lurid part of the world.

This morning’s stories: 40 year old woman sets her 75 year old boyfriend on fire. (Apparently she once tried to borrow a chain saw from a neighbor so she could cut her boyfriend), thieves have been stealing vases from a cemetery(only the story calls them”robbers”–maybe thieves was too hard to spell), a local cine-plex has reopened their snack bar after being shut down by the health department, but employees reveal the entire mall has a terrible roach and rat infestation problem.

Oh, and an orange alligator was spotted in Sarasota County. I guess he’s a real Gator. (Oh my, I attempted sports humor…)

In the national news there’s a lot of political stuff–mostly sniping and ridiculous speculation about the 2012 Presidential Election. Aw, do we have to start talking about that right now? We just went through a big, fat, national election and the smoke hasn’t even settled yet.Y’all lay off this story for just a little while, please! There’ll be plenty of time to talk about that soon enough. We have a local election happening in Jacksonville. Time to pick a new mayor (something, for my money, the city doesn’t do especially well most of the time…) and I think that we’ll be suffering enough without having to focus on the Presidential election just yet.

In other news, there is a velvety voiced homeless man who had become an overnight sensation. Apparently he is a former radio announcer whose career fell apart due to drugs and alcohol. A reporter found him on the street, put him on the You Tube and now he’s famous.That’s a nice story.

I am sure soon someone is going to be promoting the velvety voiced homeless man as a Presidential candidate and completely ruin that story for me.

The viral video thing is pretty fascinating. It used to be if you wanted to be famous you had to set some sports record, fly to the moon, star on TV or in a movie, sell a hit record, or kill somebody. Now you make a video, post it on You Tube and, if enough people watch it (“Leave Brittany alone!!!) you can skip the sports, space travel, and murder and go straight to famous.

Nice.

I am a little bemused that I have made it to the end of my grueling 4 day work week. This cold has kicked my butt all week, but I feel OK most of the time. Snot levels not withstanding.

Have a happy Friday. I’ll be back on Monday to resume this experiment in stream of consciousness blogging silliness.

Have a great weekend!

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