Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

October 6, 2010

I keep reading articles about bullying, and invariably there is  a comment by someone saying something like: “People need to get over this. Bullying made me a stronger person… blah blah blah. That’s life… blah blah blah.” Actually, it’s not life. I am thirty years old, and the most tormented time of my life occured between fifth grade and senior year of high school. These are the years when we are supposed to be learning about the world and about what makes the world work, we are supposed to be concentrating on our studies. Sure the world can be cruel, and it often is, but I can’t agree that bullying is how we learn about how unfair the world can be. My experiences after this time, have largely been filled with kind people, intimacy, love, real happiness, some sadness, a bit of conflict, but never the crushing depression, humiliation, fear, self-hatred, hatred for others, that I experienced in school. I don’t remember anyone EVER reaching out to me, I don’t remember ever telling even my closest friends or my parents about what my days were really like when they were not around to witness it for fear that they would reject me for being gay (even those I knew would still love me.) One event that will always stick with me: I was being harassed by this guy named John. It was in art class and the teacher was literally a foot away from us. John crouched behind me and said graphic sexual things to me and put his hands on my shoulders, while across the room his friends laughed, and I stared at the teacher, who looked at me and then looked away. Even my table mates went about their business, as if he weren’t there at all. It was in high school that I stopped hating the people who were torturing me and started hating myself. What did I expect? I was a faggot.

I know for a fact that I would have tried harder in school if things had been different; I would have joined SOMETHING; I know that I would have been braver once I was out of school; I would have had more confidence in my abilities in everything;  I would have loved myself before the age of twenty. I sometimes say that being bullied made me stronger, but all it did was tell me that I was hated for who I was and what I couldn’t change. It made me HATE and mistrust heterosexual men. Not that girls weren’t as bad, but they were subtle about pointing out my difference. When I got my braces off after a year, a girl in my science class, who I had actually liked, said: “Great! You don’t sound like such a faggot anymore.”

It was a long time before I realized that I was not the one with the problem. Just because kids have always been bullied doesn’t make it right. Doesn’t mean it does NO damage. I can only speak for the gay kids: the world already tells us we’re wrong, just by bombarding us with straightness, by keeping the VERY existance of homosexuality away from children so that they don’t understand it. Even members of my own family have acted as if I am something to hide. My aunt didn’t tell her children I was gay until this year. They are 13 and 16, and I’m sure they figured it out. But what was she hiding from them? What is so shameful about me? Of course, this goes for everyone: do we want to stomp down the resources that are American children? We keep popping out more and more: do we want them to be beaten down so early in the game that they feel it’s useless to become great?


When you don’t do anything . . .
January 21, 2010

I made promises. I wrote notes; I paced. I washed the dishes because it had to be done. After that, I cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, and watched TV. I made new files and wrote a line in each one. I played a short phrase of music and then turned the keyboard off.

For years and years, writing a novel has been a plan. I’ve done work here and there, up to a point. I have reams of paper with words and characters that now seem unfamiliar and embarassing.

Maybe writing a book will always just be a plan. Maybe not. I think most people have something like this in their lives, something that nags at them, a project that is the project of their lives. I’m really good at talking and planning, not so good at doing. I like notes and fragments, and often when I’m writing I’ll encounter a problem I don’t want to deal with, so I leave a note for myself to deal with it later. As I get older I feel better about this. Sure, one day I might get it right, I might actually take a fragment of something and make it whole, or I might not. I wonder if anyone else can relate to this: being great at making not doing anything look like doing something.

December 22, 2009

I’ve been MIA for a while. Actually, I’ve been around, but I’ve been ignoring my blog, which I knew would happen at some point when I started it. I’m not very good at keeping diaries. I used to have an online journal (this was before “blogging”), and I would usually just write a line or two about what I was thinking, or what I’d observed. I enjoyed that. I like being brief, so I might go back to doing things that way. Perhaps, you (who are you anyway, probably one or two of my friends?) will be happy to know that in the time I was gone, I was working on stories, having the flu, watching the Simpsons, eating a lot, scrapping a car, and getting a new car. It’s hard for me to write stories and then come here and write about myself . . . so from now on, I’ll keep it brief. Oh, and Happy Holidays!

Note (1)
September 9, 2009

” . . . the rounded living contours of these fragments of the human body were phantomlike and hazy; like a fog or a pale, uncertain aura, they enclosed a clear, detailed, and carefully defined core: the skeleton.”

-description of an X-ray.

The Magic Mountain

Thomas Mann

The Magic Mountain (1)
September 7, 2009

On the back of my copy of The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, the editors call it a “dizzyingly rich novel of ideas.” An ordinary young man visits his sick cousin at a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps and ends up staying for seven years. The sanatorium, a strange community full of sick people from all over Europe, is meant to be a “microcosm for Europe” before WWI. I don’t know very much about European history, only what I learned in High School (and that isn’t enough), so tackling this book felt like a daunting task. I’ve been using the sales receipt as a book mark, and it’s dated 2007, and that’s when I first started it. A writer whose books I’d admired talked about The Magic Mountain at a signing, so I picked it up. I read about one hundred pages and then put it down, because at that time I was very worried that I was missing some piece of the historic puzzle. S0, the book sat on my shelf for these last few years, and I’ve always wanted to finish it . . . because, I really enjoyed the bit that I’d read. So, I’m trying again, and I’m making you hold me accountable. I don’t know why I feel like I HAVE to finish this novel, but now that I’m sitting down with it again, I’m enjoying Mann’s language, the real beauty of his descriptions, the surreal moments, the high altitude, the odd conversations  . . . I don’t really have a mind for philosophy, and “novels of ideas” usually leave me pretty cold, unless they’re complete. By that I mean, they have to be more than novels of ideas, they have to have characters and life. At least for this reader. I like books about people.

Even though Ulysses is filled with allusions and puzzles (which Joyce delighted in), it is still a book that can be enjoyed having not solved every puzzle or understood every allusion. It is, in some ways, a novel about “what the heart is and how it feels” as Stephen’s mother says at the end of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I’m still learning what The Magic Mountain is about; I haven’t finished it yet, so I should shut up about it until then.