Archive | November, 2012

MadeMark Photo: Don’t sit too close to me

30 Nov



MadeMark Photo: Profiles in cafeteriage

29 Nov



MadeMark Photo: Fog Alley

29 Nov


MadeMark Photo: Winter pretzels

28 Nov


I’m just not that into me (or: When blogging was fun)

28 Nov

The last few years have seen an evolution, or a cycling, or a re-cycling, in my writing life. I was very much into blogging for a few years. Back then (2005-2011?), MadeMark was a happening thing. I posted every day, usually several times a day. I admittedly liked the sound of my own voice. Blogging gave me a focus, an outlet for my creative energy.

Then I launched lgbtSr, a site for LGBT people over 50 “and our friends and allies.” I poured a great deal of time, effort and money into it, and loved it for a year and a half. Then, about a year ago, I started writing my murder mystery series, The Kyle Callahan Mysteries, and found myself having come full circle back to the kind of writing that I most love to do: sitting at the computer in the early morning making up stories out of whole cloth – or blank page, as the case may be.

At this point in my life and all my various cycles, I’m just not that into blogging anymore. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I daily observe a culture choking on its own irrelevant “news.” Websites devoted to headlines worthy (or unworthy, depending on how you look at it) of the yellowest of yellow journalism. Gay websites where the menu is red meat all the time, reminding readers at any hour just how horribly we’re spoken of by the anti-gay forces. Yada yada yada. Comment sections where the anger, sarcasm and frequent bitterness are knee deep.

I’ve had enough. I don’t need to chronicle my life in travel posts – I just need to enjoy the places we go to, and if I write about them, great. I don’t need to aggregate other people’s news that can be found anywhere a curious reader cares to look. I’m just not that into me, or it, or them, anymore.

But I DO love writing my murder stories! That was my passion all those years, getting up and writing a story, or a book, or a play, listening to voices in my head and writing down what they said. It will be my focus for the foreseeable future (a phrase I’ve always found strange, since the future is predictable but never foreseeable), along with minimal maintenance on the lgbtSr site, with most news items put on the Facebook page, it’s that easy. And the weekly ‘Aged to Perfection’ podcasts, which are still fun. I know, as each birthday passes, that time is a non-renewable resource and is best spent doing the things we truly want to do, and loving the people whose company we’re blessed to have. I’ll leave the red meat and the “most trended” stories and the screaming headlines to others.


MadeMark Photo: Self portrait #12

27 Nov


An excerpt from Edward Swift's 'The Daughter of the Doctor and the Saint'

25 Nov

Cross-posted from lgbtSr

Among the pleasures of editing lgbtSr is the opportunity we have to showcase artists, photographers, thinkers and writers. Edward Swift fits well in that company and it’s a delight to share excerpts from his last novel, ‘The Daughter of the Doctor and the Saint’. (You can read an interview I did with Edward here.)

Edward lived in New York City prior to moving to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he’d planned for many years to relocate. I met Edward when we both worked at Sesame Workshop (then Children’s Television Workshop) and again at Reuters, where he remained until his move. Edward is an artist of many talents and has pursued them wherever he lives. He’s also a prolific author. His book ‘Splendora’, first published in 1978, was ahead of its time in telling the story of a woman who goes back to her hometown of Splendora, Texas, to reveal a secret that rocks the sleepy town. His first memoir, ‘My Grandfather’s Finger’, recounts his life growing up in Big Thicket, East Texas, and he is working on a second memoir, ‘My Life in Books’ about his experiences in the writing, publishing and book selling worlds.

‘The Daughter of the Doctor and the Saint’ is the story of a woman who lives for love, poetry and revenge. Her mother is considered a living saint; her father a man of science and logic. The daughter’s lifelong mission-to destroy the family that murdered her father, distorted her mother’s reputation, and ruined her country-is fulfilled on the day she invites the president of the nation to lunch. What follows is an enticing introduction into this exotic woman’s world and to the people who inhabit it. – Mark McNease/Editor

The Daughter of the Doctor and the Saint

On the day the president came to lunch Señora Josefina Esperon arose before dawn. She was eighty-two years old. Her country was celebrating two hundred years of independence, and she was determined to make the occasion a memorable one for herself as well as the nation. Wrapped in a black kimono that smelled faintly of camphor, she sat on her balcony overlooking the Street of Merchants and Peddlers, and in the first hour of dawn she bleached her face with rice powder. Before the air was too heavy to breathe, she rouged her cheeks and lips, drew black lines around her eyes, and while the capital city, which she hardly recognized anymore, slumbered in tropical heat, she smoked one filterless cigarette.

“Smoking aids the circulation,” she said to her servant who was making the bed. But the old servant, who was called Contenta and whose real name was long forgotten, had spent fifty-seven years in that house, and she knew beyond a doubt that there was nothing wrong with the Señora’s circulation, it was her nerves.

“At your age you should know better than to invite the president of the country to lunch,” Contenta said. “What were you thinking? How many times have I told you, there isn’t any food in the house?”

“All you think of is food,” Señora Esperon replied. “Food is the least of our worries, especially today.”

“All I think of is God,” said Contenta. She fingered the many rosaries draped around her neck, wrapped around her wrists and ankles. “God will come to our aid, surely.”

“As surely as not,” replied Señora Esperon.

Allowing her thoughts to drift with the smoke that disappeared into the yellow sky, she gazed over tile rooftops to the remains of the harbor where her parents had arrived in the year 1901. So long ago, she thought and so many changes, almost none for the better. The capital city was once a bustling port, a gateway into a new world, where tall ships from Spain, Portugal, and Italy unloaded their cargo of wine, spices, and silks and returned with a bounty of new flavors and aromas. But after two hundred years of independence there were no ships in the harbor, no fishing boats docked to the rotting piers, and no passengers waiting for arrivals or departures. The crescent-shaped harbor had been diminished in size by the encroaching salt marsh and in place of the ships and fishing fleets, oil derricks stood like prehistoric skeletons facing the open sea where red algae floated like ribbons of blood.

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