Saturday, November 28, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
We were lucky to have our needs met and our parents weren't out doing drugs. You don't know how good you had it, but you want us to feel sorry for you because someone made fun of you because you had glasses and braces and were smart. Maybe we should feel sorry for you because you're smart and can't even buy the things you need! Life changes us everyday, J.P., but you go on and quit blaming us for your life. I love you regardless of your sexual orientation, but what I hate is how irresponsibility you are and will always be. If you had the common sense that you have book sense, you might life a different life. You chose this, J.P. and now mom suffers for it! She waits for the phone call that says you're dying becuase your HIV has turned into AIDS. All you had to do was be responsible. I love you and pray for you daily and you act like you don't even have family unless you want something! It is all about choice! I'll see you on Thanksgiving and I hope you can be thankful my children and I will be there!
Fucking bitch! Needless to say, I'm not going home for Thanksgiving.
And, no, I wasn't trying to make anyone feel sorry for me: I was trying to explain to her that I was not the same shy little boy she grew up with, her comment being that I wasn't the same (Thank, God!) and that I could be "JP and be gay" at the same time, as though me being gay was overriding me being JP. I told her to try to stop being herself AND being straight at the same time. So, I apparently chose to get HIV. And I chose my irresponsible life of working two jobs: I work one job Monday through Friday and the other job Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday (usually from 11 am to 11 pm) and Sunday. I work 7 days a week, so I don't really know how exactly I'm being irresponsible.
Granted I'm not just over my third marriage and up until last month was living at home with our Mother. Who knows?
And as for having common sense as opposed to book sense, the message just screams a lack of both!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Pen Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word
Starting at the beginning of college or maybe before, I found a copy of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and though I found the book rather hard to keep reading, I started daily to get up a little early and right three pages of longhand every morning - what Ms. Cameron called "Morning Pages."
Coming into contact with other writers and books by writers discussing their process of writing, I found that a lot of people do this - maybe not necessarily only three pages - but getting up every morning and putting down on paper whatever. Some even said not to stop writing, not to take your pencil (or pen) up off the page, to not think but to try to connect with God, or the Universe, or whatever whispering voice inside you that demanded that you write.
I did this off and on for years. And it helped my writing for class: essays, short stories, poetry. Then in 2005, I quit writing. Not only that I destroyed almost everything I had written - in a very self-violent night that ended up with me in the ER with a dislocated bone in my foot and a couple of broken bones in my ankle. I think I was on Welbutrin at the time, and had quit taking it. I found myself in a situation with a lover and two friends who did not like him, and I know longer wanted to hear what I had to think or say or write.
The third essay in Burn This Book is "Writing in the Dark" by David Grossman:
"Our personal happiness or unhappiness, our 'terrestrial' condition, is of great importance for the things we write," says Natalia Ginzburg in It's Hard to Talk About Yourself, in a chapter in which she discusses her life and writing after a deep personal tragedy.
It is hard to talk about yourself, and so before I reflect on my writing experience now, at this time in my life, let me say a few words about the effects of a trauma, a disaster situation, on a society and on a nation as a whole.
The words of the mouse from Kafka's short story "A Little Fable" come to mind. As the trap closes in on the mouse and the cat prowls beyond, he says, "Alas, the world is growing smaller every day." After many years of living in an extreme and violent state of political, military, and religious conflict, I am sad to report that Kafka's mouse was right: the world is indeed growing smaller, growing narrower, every day. I can also tell you about the void that slowly emerges between the individual and the violent, chaotic state that encompasses practically every aspect of his life.
This void does not remain empty. It quickly fills up with apathy, cynicism, and above all despair - the despair that can fuel a distorted reality for many years, sometimes generations. The despair that one will never manage to change the situation, never redeem it. And the deepest despair of all - the despair of human beings, of what the distorted situation ultimately exposes in each of us.
I feel the heavy price that I and the people around me pay for this prolonged state of war. Part of this price is a shrinking of our soul's surface area - those parts of us that touch the violent, menacing world outside - and a diminished ability and willingness to empathize at all with other people in pain. We also pay the price by suspending our moral judgment, and we give up on understanding what we ourselves think. Given a situation so frightening, so deceptive, and so complicated - both morally and practically - we feel it may be better not to think or know. Better to hand over the job of thinking and doing and setting moral standards to those who are surely "in the know." Better not to feel too much until the crisis ends - and if it never ends, at least we'll have suffered a little less, developed a useful dullness, protected ourselves as much as we could with a little indifference, a little repression, a little deliberate blindness, and a large dose of self-anesthetics.
The constant - and very real - fear of being hurt, the fear of death, of intolerable loss, or even of "mere" humiliation, leads each of us, the citizens and prisoners of the conflict, to dampen our own vitality, our emotional and intellectual range, and to cloak ourselves in more and more protective layers until we suffocate. (22-4)
I realize that now when I start trying to write, every handwritten entry is an invocation and a plea to write everyday. But now that I've stopped for so many years, it is difficult to start - like starting a workout regimen or stopping drinking.
Only one of the three people who were part of my life on that day that I ripped apart all my journals is with me still - even though he was the lover, and, thus, the newest of the three. Now we consider each other cousins, because we wish above all else that we had family like each other.
Today, as I was walking to work I ran into my favorite poet who lives in Lexington and works at the University of Kentucky. I had taken two classes with Nikky Finney: one on writing poetry and one on writing short stories. At the end of one of the short story classes, she told me if I did not write, if I wasted my talent, that she would haunt me for the rest of my life. And she does. I miss seeing her long, neat dredlocks and her honey eyes. And I think constantly about not writing, yet I still, except for these brief moments on this blog, I still cannot get myself to the page. Because I still do not want to see, and I do want to think, and I do not want to understand.
During a news conference, Kentucky State Police Capt. Lisa Rudzinski demonstrated how duct tape held on the glasses of Williams E. Sparkman, Jr. In background is KSP Lt. David Jude, left, and KSP Detetective Donald Wilson. The Kentucky State Police held a news conference on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009 at their Centralized Laboratory Facility in Frankfort regarding their investigation of the death U.S. Census worker William E. Sparkman, Jr., who was found dead Sept. 12 near a secluded Clay County cemetery. Authorities announced Tuesday in Frankfort that Sparkman killed himself but tried to make the death look like a homicide.
A part-time U.S. Census worker found dead near a secluded Clay County cemetery killed himself but tried to make the death look like a murder, authorities have concluded.Originally it was thought that Bill Sparkman had been killed by someone angry at the Federal Government. The word FED had been written on his chest and his Census Worker ID was taped to his face.
Bill Sparkman, 51, of London, apparently was trying to preserve payments under life insurance policies he had taken out, one as recently as May, which paid benefits if he died as a result of murder or accident, but not suicide or natural causes, police said.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I posted his obit about a week or so and with some help of mutual friends finally found Jeremy's MySpace profile. I really don't know this guy at all. One of his pics, not of him but on his profile, was of a punk smoking: blood was running down his chest and the word SLUT was "carved" into his chest. I forget that just because I liked to get fucked raw, doesn't necessarily make me hardcore, so when I see something that is or represents hardcore, I suddenly realize I don't really know a lot of things.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Do These Sexy HIV Advocacy Ads Send the Wronog Message About HIV?
I guess I'm supposed to be neutered like the elderly are also supposed to be neutered? Just because I have HIV doesn't mean that I'm not sexy. That's the stigma that HIV- men like to cling to.
Bummed. Nothing is good right now between me and my roommate, my Boo. The past two days have been horrible with us yelling, and text-yelling. He's hidden my phone because I was trying to drunk text him last night. I'm not trying to harass him - I'm trying to be heard. I wish I could just be in bed, naked and jerking off but I'm in one of those silly little faggoty moods where I'd probably cry with every cumshot. God, I hate that - especially when I typically have to fantasize about him to get off. That's why I love porn...the job of fantasizing is done for me.
All I can think today is at least the sun is out and the sky is blue. At least I have my blogger friends. Even if I wish some of them were closer - getting a dick in my ass would help at least a bit - especially if the person was a friend rather than a stranger.
I wish he'd email me.
He's moving at the end of the month and that hurts too.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I finished Barbara Ehrenreich's newest Bright-Sided just today at lunch.
If your local library still uses the Dewey Decimal System, you may know that the 158.1 section is reserved for "self-help" books: how to feel better, how to increase your creativity, how to increase your self-esteem, your self-confidence, how to change the world through napping. You'll find a plethora of people from many different backgrounds telling you that with just a little work, some affirmations, some visualization and some exercises (the written kind) you will banish all negativity from your life, you will not only unblock your creative life but also live a life more creatively, you will be more successful, you will have more friends, you will be the life of the party.
I have loved the 158.1's. Whenever I felt down, I'd run to it, looking for Peter McWilliams to make me feel better and teach me how to stay that way. But it never really worked. No matter how much I worked, I either continued feeling depressed or slightly blue or bad things happened every once in a while...and the only thing that I picked up from that section of books was that I was mostly responsible. I was in error. I was out of touch. I was not accepting my bright inner flower. I felt out of love with the 158.1's.
A friend of mine who worked in a metaphysical bookstore and I would argue. We were both gay and we'd argue the politics of gay equality. His line: well, gay people don't feel loved so they don't want to go out and create the world that would give them equality. My line: fuck love! Use that anger, use those negative feelings and let's build a new world. Rip this one down and build a new one! We didn't stay friends for very long - granted that had something to do with him still being in love with me, and wishing I was a miniature version (he was 6'5") of himself.
I do not write this in a spirit of sourness or personal disappointment of any kind, nor do I have any romantic attachment to suffering as a source of insight or virtue. On the contrary, I would like to see more smiles, more laughter, more hugs, more happiness and, better yet, joy. In my own vision of utopia, there is not only more comfort, and security for everyone - better jobs, health care, and so forth - there are also more parties, festivities, and opportunities for dancing in the streets. Once our basic material needs are met - in my utopia, anyway - life becomes a perpetual celebration in which everyone has a talent to contribute. But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it. We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking. (12-3)
Though I do realize from the many arguments that I and this friend had before the breakup of our relationship, that I wasn't doing something right. I just don't know what that thing was.
But in the world of positive thinking other people are not there to be nurtured or to provide unwelcome reality checks. They are there only to nourish, praise, and affirm. Harsh as this dictum sounds, many ordinary people adopt it as their creed, displaying wall plaques or bumper stickers showing the word "Whining" with a cancel sign through it. There seems to be a massive empathy deficit, which people respond to by withdrawing their own. No one has the time or patience for anyone else's problems. (56)
...More and more people were employed in occupations that seemed to require positive thinking and all the work of self-improvement and maintenance that went into it. Norman Vincent Peale grasped this as well as anyone: the work of Americans, and especially of its ever-growing white-collar proletariat, is in no small part work that is performed on the self in order to make that self more acceptable and even likeable to employers, clients, coworkers, and potential customers. Positive thinking had ceased to be just a balm for the anxious or a cure for the psychosomatically distressed. It was beginning to be an obligation imposed on all American adults. (96)
In the hands of employers, positive thinking has been trasformed into something its nineteenth-century proponents probably never imagined - not an exhortation to get up and get going but a means of social control in the workplace, a goad to perform at ever-higher levels...With "motivation" as the whip, positive thinking became the hallmark of the compliant employee, and as the conditions of corporate employment worsened in the age of downsizing that began in the 1980s, the hand on the whip grew heavier. (100)
[Joel] Osteen's books re easy to read, too easy - like wallowing in marshmallows. (126)
HA! I love that last quote which is specifically on the "Gospel of Prosperity" movement in the Christian religion, of which Joel Osteen AND Rick Warren are parts.
But my gay brethren and sistren, do you want to see what "positive thinking" has done for you?
The Templeton Foundation...is probably best known for its efforts to put religion on an equal intellectual footing with science. Founded by billionaire investor Sir John Templeton in 1972, the foundation gives out an annual Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, which was designed to fill a gap left by the Novel prizes and pointedly pays more than they do...Until his death in 2008, Sir John Templeton was fond of bringing scientists and theologians together with the aim of finding common grounds in luxurious tropical resorts. (166)
But Templeton was not just another positive-thinking businessman. He was something of a political ideologue, as is, to an even greater degree, his son and, since 1995, successor at the foundation. John Templeton Jr. is a major Republican donor and activist, having helped fund a group called Let Freedom Ring, which worked to get out the evangelical vote for George Bush in 2004. In 2007, he contributed to Freedom's Watch, which paid for television commericials supporting the war in Iraq, often by conflating Iraq with al Qaeda. More recently, he supported the Romney and then the McCain campaigns for the presidency and was the second-largest individual donor to the campaign for California's Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage. [My emphasis] (167)
What I find odd about Bright-Sided is that "positive thinking" in its earliest stages started out as a reaction against Calvinism (or what we commonly called the American "Puritan" ethic). But as with a lot of things (look into the history of the Supreme Court in regards to slavery and the corporation) someone took it and ran with it, and now we have the economic mess that is the world. But the odd thing is that Calvinism focused on work - yes, you may still go to Hell, only God (literally) knows, but you exhibited or faked that you weren't be doing good works.
With "positive thinking" we didn't have to work: we could feel better, and everything we wanted, we simply had to visualize and as long as we were in the flow, we'd get it (this is both Joel Osteen's and Rick Warren's and all the CEO's philosophy). And in the process the world is falling apart. The economy is shit. And California of all places has a ban on gay marriage. It seems like it is time to get in touch with our inner Calvinist and instead of visualizing whirled peas, get out and do the work that is before us.