Archive | September, 2012

Merle Miller's 'On Being Different' back in print

28 Sep

I was startled, in the best way, to see that Merle Miller’s small book about being gay, ‘On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual’, first published in 1971, is back in print, with a foreword by Dan Savage. It’s also refreshing in some small way that the book’s author used the word ‘homosexual’, a word we’re now told we ought not utter. Mr. Miller put it on the cover of his book, and thank god for it. I was a 13 year old homosexual desperate to know I was not alone.

I stole this book from the local bookstore in Elkhart, Indiana, when it was new and I was in the 8th grade. The only reading material besides it available to me were books I ordered from the Psychology Today Book Club and that my mother eventually discovered to an ugly end. (Our relationship healed over the years, but but it was Mr. Miller, not my parents, who kept me going.) I distinctly remember hiding it under my jacket, probably an army jacket, which was still a fashionable item with young hippies just past the end of the hippie era. Along with Patricia Nell Warren’s iconic 1974 novel ‘The Front Runner‘ (she was very gracious to grant me an interview for this website last year), it was one of those two or three books that helped me make it through.

From the book’s description on Amazon:

Originally published in 1971, Merle Miller’s On Being Different is a pioneering and thought-provoking book about being homosexual in the United States. Just two years after the Stonewall riots, Miller wrote a poignant essay for the New York Times Magazine entitled “What It Means To Be a Homosexual” in response to a homophobic article published in Harper’s Magazine. Described as “the most widely read and discussed essay of the decade,” it carried the seed that would blossom into On Being Different—one of the earliest memoirs to affirm the importance of coming out.

Merle Miller’s ‘On Being Different’ back in print

28 Sep

I was startled, in the best way, to see that Merle Miller’s small book about being gay, ‘On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual’, first published in 1971, is back in print, with a foreword by Dan Savage. It’s also refreshing in some small way that the book’s author used the word ‘homosexual’, a word we’re now told we ought not utter. Mr. Miller put it on the cover of his book, and thank god for it. I was a 13 year old homosexual desperate to know I was not alone.

I stole this book from the local bookstore in Elkhart, Indiana, when it was new and I was in the 8th grade. The only reading material besides it available to me were books I ordered from the Psychology Today Book Club and that my mother eventually discovered to an ugly end. (Our relationship healed over the years, but but it was Mr. Miller, not my parents, who kept me going.) I distinctly remember hiding it under my jacket, probably an army jacket, which was still a fashionable item with young hippies just past the end of the hippie era. Along with Patricia Nell Warren’s iconic 1974 novel ‘The Front Runner‘ (she was very gracious to grant me an interview for this website last year), it was one of those two or three books that helped me make it through.

From the book’s description on Amazon:

Originally published in 1971, Merle Miller’s On Being Different is a pioneering and thought-provoking book about being homosexual in the United States. Just two years after the Stonewall riots, Miller wrote a poignant essay for the New York Times Magazine entitled “What It Means To Be a Homosexual” in response to a homophobic article published in Harper’s Magazine. Described as “the most widely read and discussed essay of the decade,” it carried the seed that would blossom into On Being Different—one of the earliest memoirs to affirm the importance of coming out.

Lunch at Tod's Point, Old Greenwich, CT

27 Sep

I made it to visit my old boss and super friend Betty. She brought lunch for us and we enjoyed it on the beach. Very nice, perfect day.

Lunch at Tod’s Point, Old Greenwich, CT

27 Sep

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I made it to visit my old boss and super friend Betty. She brought lunch for us and we enjoyed it on the beach. Very nice, perfect day.

When age puts beauty to shame: RIP Jacques Beaumont

26 Sep

Jacques, 86, outside a 9th Avenue pastry shop

Cross-posted from lgtbSr:

RIP Jacques Beaumont, whom I had the pleasure of accompanying to one of his chemo sessions a few months ago. He was engaged with the moment from when I first stepped into the apartment he shared with his husband, until I said goodbye 8 hours later, after a hectic day of a bank stop, chemo session, pastry shop, butcher, grocery store, and four taxis – or was it five?

Monsieur Beaumont, who was of French origin, never stopped talking. He wanted to know about the cab drivers’ lives. The first driver was from Senegal, and Jacques quickly struck up a conversation with him in French.  He even got another driver, who was from the middle east and determined not to say a word, to finally open up, just a bit. He knew the butcher on 9th Avenue well, and the owner of the pastry shop, where he treated me to a cappuccino and bought a box of treats for the hospital staff that he planned to take the following day.

What struck me most about Jacques was how completely alive he was, how bright his mind and incandescent his curiosity, remaining by far more interesting, engaged and involved with the world than the vast majority of people I meet or observe. He didn’t need to tweet or blog or immerse himself in himself. He wanted to know about you. And oh, the stories he told!  His was a life few of us even dream of, not because we lack the imagination, but because it seemed from the telling just so damned exhausting.

What a joy it was to meet him for one day, to see how much he gave of his spirit to other people, and to know, regardless of how finished our culture is with us as we age, people like Jacques will leave the stage when they are good and ready.  I want to be him.

He is survived by his husband Richard Townsend. You can read about them in the New York Times, which details their wedding in the hospital. – Mark McNease/Editor

'Pride and Perilous' Chapter 1 – a taste tease

25 Sep

Now that ‘Murder at Pride Lodge’ is available on Amazon, I thought it would be good to give readers just a taste of Book II, ‘Pride and Perilous’, as I write the first draft.  The story revolves around a series of murders being committed in connection with the Katherine Pride Gallery in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. This is the gallery where Kyle and Danny first met, and where Kyle is about to have his first photography exhibit … if murder doesn’t get in the way.

Pride and Perilous – A Kyle Callahan Mystery

Chapter One

A Rainy Night in Brooklyn

It had been five years at least since Devin had worried about being followed. That’s how long he had been living as Devin 24/7.  Denise Ellerton had ceased to exist – officially, legally, physically, psychologically, and every other way in which each person functions in the world.  For Devin, she had ceased existing long before that, when he had realized as a teenager that he was not like other girls; that the simple reality of pronouns was different for him, as he thought of himself as a “he” while everyone else insisted on calling him “she.”  Tom-boyish Denise, odd Denise, rough-and-tumble Denise.  He had wanted to correct them then, and even younger, as early as the third grade.  “I’m not a girl,” he had wanted to say, but it wasn’t until he was in college that he fully understood what was going on with him, and when he finally had the distance from his family to do something about it.

The sensation of being shadowed down a dark street was one of those things that belonged to Denise, to women. Devin had long been aware of the differences in experiences men had from women; to suggest there were no differences was to choose denial over reality. There were experiences unique to men, and experiences unique to women, as well as experiences unique to those who did not fit readily into either. Devin considered himself a man, not “qenderqueer” or even transgender. He’d become a man in every way possible and chose to be that, not just self-identify as that, as if simply choosing to be a man made it so.  Had that been the case, his life would have been much simpler, much sooner. But the transition had been made, chosen, completed, and not since before it had he worried about being followed down his own Brooklyn street, late on a rainy Friday night. There was something different about this, too: it wasn’t random, as if he’d appeared at the wrong place at the wrong time, as so many people did who found themselves the victims of crimes of opportunity.  Devin had the very distinct and unsettling feeling that the man coming up slowly behind him had been there for awhile, had followed him off the R train, along the platform, up the stairs, and now, six blocks later, nearly to his apartment on Prospect Avenue.

Continue reading

‘Pride and Perilous’ Chapter 1 – a taste tease

25 Sep

Now that ‘Murder at Pride Lodge’ is available on Amazon, I thought it would be good to give readers just a taste of Book II, ‘Pride and Perilous’, as I write the first draft.  The story revolves around a series of murders being committed in connection with the Katherine Pride Gallery in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. This is the gallery where Kyle and Danny first met, and where Kyle is about to have his first photography exhibit … if murder doesn’t get in the way.

Pride and Perilous – A Kyle Callahan Mystery

Chapter One

A Rainy Night in Brooklyn

It had been five years at least since Devin had worried about being followed. That’s how long he had been living as Devin 24/7.  Denise Ellerton had ceased to exist – officially, legally, physically, psychologically, and every other way in which each person functions in the world.  For Devin, she had ceased existing long before that, when he had realized as a teenager that he was not like other girls; that the simple reality of pronouns was different for him, as he thought of himself as a “he” while everyone else insisted on calling him “she.”  Tom-boyish Denise, odd Denise, rough-and-tumble Denise.  He had wanted to correct them then, and even younger, as early as the third grade.  “I’m not a girl,” he had wanted to say, but it wasn’t until he was in college that he fully understood what was going on with him, and when he finally had the distance from his family to do something about it.

The sensation of being shadowed down a dark street was one of those things that belonged to Denise, to women. Devin had long been aware of the differences in experiences men had from women; to suggest there were no differences was to choose denial over reality. There were experiences unique to men, and experiences unique to women, as well as experiences unique to those who did not fit readily into either. Devin considered himself a man, not “qenderqueer” or even transgender. He’d become a man in every way possible and chose to be that, not just self-identify as that, as if simply choosing to be a man made it so.  Had that been the case, his life would have been much simpler, much sooner. But the transition had been made, chosen, completed, and not since before it had he worried about being followed down his own Brooklyn street, late on a rainy Friday night. There was something different about this, too: it wasn’t random, as if he’d appeared at the wrong place at the wrong time, as so many people did who found themselves the victims of crimes of opportunity.  Devin had the very distinct and unsettling feeling that the man coming up slowly behind him had been there for awhile, had followed him off the R train, along the platform, up the stairs, and now, six blocks later, nearly to his apartment on Prospect Avenue.

Continue reading

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