It’s a Small World

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Dec 152011

Just like the Disney song, It’s a Small World, we all have moments when the smallness of the world crashes into our real life.  These moments are different for all of us from day to day and from person to person but they happen more frequently than one would guess.  I love these moments.  I feel they increase my connection to every person in the world.

Today, I had a wonderful conversation with my friend, Victoria.  She works with “at risk” teens in my local school system and she is just an amazing person.  She works miracles with the kids and has an incredible rapport with them.  She has four dogs, which she adores, and is someone that everyone can relate to in one way or another.

From our previous conversations, I gleaned that she is also a very devout Christian and had a very traditional mindset.  For those reasons, I never told her that I wrote gay fiction.  Today, I decided to take the proverbial leap of faith and show her my books as well as tell her explicitly what I wrote.  It turns out that Victoria’s daughter is gay and she is a firm supporter of gay rights.  Wow!  I was surprised but very happy to find this connection with Victoria.

Port Stanley

Trip Pic: Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands

 Posted by at 5:53 pm

Lou Gehrig’s Disease

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Oct 162011

ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal disease where motor neurons slowly die and thereby slowly reduce a person’s ability to move.  The drug, Riluzole, slows the progress of the disease and there are various devices and therapies that can be used to manage the symptoms however there is no cure for this disease.

On August 31, 2011, one of my partner’s co-workers passed away from ALS.  I never met him but he was the source of one of my favorite character’s names: Nishant.  I felt sadness at his passing.  He never knew that I “borrowed” his name and that he unintentionally became part of my stories.  I developed the character by myself but I do know, from my partner’s description, that both shared a vibrancy and love for life.

The real life Nishant was married and had a beautiful six-year old daughter.  He had a promising career with a software development company, and was loved by his family and many of his co-workers.  Part of me is angry that he was taken away too soon.  There is no history of Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 95% of the cases diagnosed.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to why it strikes.  My mind screams, “Not fair!”

Life is frequently unfair.  No matter how much we want the bad to not happen it is irrevocably intermingled with the good and it wouldn’t be life otherwise.

 Posted by at 7:05 pm

Proud of Madison

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Aug 222011

Yesterday, my partner and I attended Madison’s Pride parade and festival afterward.  There seemed to be many more people this year than in previous years and this heartens me.  I think the movement for equality, gay marriage rights, and equality in the military have taken huge steps forward.

New York legalizing gay marriage and the systematic dismantling of DADT are extremely significant and I hope the movement can keep building momentum.  Equality is a long overdue concept!  Don’t you agree?

After the parade we listened to speeches by Madison mayor, Paul Soglin, whom I don’t like, and long-time congresswoman, Tammy Baldwin.  I just love her.  Go Tammy!  The speeches were inspiring and spoke of hope but had a lingering aftertaste of what hasn’t been achieved yet.

What I found most inspiring was the openness that isn’t normally seen even in downtown Madison and the acceptance that homosexuality is a normal way of life and something that shouldn’t be shoved in a closet.  This is the way it should be everywhere.

 Posted by at 11:53 pm
Jul 252011

By now everyone knows that New York State has legalized gay marriage.  About time, I say.  I was moved reading CNN’s online article about the first weddings performed. I was especially pleased to read that Rabbi Shaaron Feinbaum of Beit Simchat Torah congregation offered religious ceremonies for those desiring one.  All too frequently, Western religions have become associated with intolerance and prejudice.

What has struck me in reading numerous articles on this, is the sheer joy of couples throughout New York.  Even though marriage rites pre-date any written history, it’s known that 5,000 years ago the Sumerians created rules governing marriage and the oldest marriage certificate was found on Elephantine Island, dating back 2,500 years.  It boggles the mind that some people can be excluded from participating in a fundamental right of humanity.

New York joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia in allowing same-sex marriages.  Illinois, Hawaii, Delaware, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington approved civil unions that provide gay couples with extensive marriage-like rights.

Where does my home state of Wisconsin sit?  One of my friends has now changed the name of the state to “Scottwalkerstan” and it seems that this part of the country is taking too many steps backward.  Domestic partnerships for same-sex couples have been recognized in Wisconsin since August 3, 2009 despite same-sex marriage being banned by Wisconsin statutes and a constitutional amendment in 2006.  On top of that residents who go out of state to contract a marriage that would be prohibited within Wisconsin can be fined up to $10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 9 months!

My thought on this: RIDICULOUS!  Wisconsin has been an interesting but mostly harmonious blend of liberal and conservative but always at the forefront of freedom and human rights.  It’s a disgrace that we are so far behind other states, including states with puritanical roots, in this issue.

 Posted by at 8:23 pm