The Marvelous March To Completion: Day Eight: Secrets, Sweat and Statues

Dear Reader,

I am currently on a bit of a writing bender looking to make my upcoming deadline.  However, I finished up today’s chapter and wanted to post it for you all to enjoy.  As before, this post will include the previous half of the chapter which preceded it, with the new content separated by asterisks for easy skimming.

(UPDATE:  The next chapter has been added as well, so if you read already, read some more!  It was also completed on Day Eight, but later)

Today’s chapter was a little more poetic, and I haven’t proofread it yet, so if you spot errors don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

Enjoy!

Continue reading

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The First SIX Pages Revealed

Dear Readers!

Today is pretty exciting!  After some good feedback, and some long hours, I am happy to reveal the first six pages of my novel, my new “chapter one”, which will be used as a submission selection for my upcoming search for agents.  Look forward to more regular updates as I track my own progress and the techniques I use to try and find an agent!

So what do you think?  I feel like it carries the strength of all three previous versions, and does some nice interplay between the various narrative tensions.  It does lose most of the focus on Millicent, which has now been shifted to a prologue that will not be sent with the sampling, and a later chapter respectively.  At any rate, let me know what you think!  Do you think I have a chance of an agent with this draft?

GandalfandAslan

CHAPTER 1

In which our story begins with dirty laundry

Sebastian Smith lived in a small village, on a small island, ruled over by a small barony, in the otherwise large nation of Gregoria.  Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to have ever heard of the large nation of Gregoria, much less the small village of Hillsbac.  And I only mention the size of these places because Hilsbac was a place where big and small were a surprisingly complicated matter.

For instance, you might never imagine the very large number of problems the very small seaside village of Hilsbac could have.  Of course, there were all the little problems you would expect of a village; gossip, and garbage, and girls.  And there were also a fair share of medium sized problems, which the small villagers in small Hilsbac felt quite large when they solved; like hunting for winter meat and organizing a complicated marketplace for passing ships, who often stopped in Hilsbac on the long journey from one end of Gregoria to the other.

Sebastian Smith, whose story I am so excited to tell you, was neither the largest nor the smallest of the villagers in Hilsbac.  He, himself, was also a complicated mix of big and small; his ears were just a little too big and his feet were just a little too small.  I imagine, had you seen him, that you might have thought he wasn’t capable of handling very many problems at all.

The other people who lived in the small, seaside village with Sebastian shared this very opinion, and as a result, Sebastian Smith was not allowed in the general vicinity of many problems at all no matter what the size.  He was not, for instance, permitted to go out hunting with the men as most other boys who had lived more than ten winters were.  Nor was he welcome on the swift fishing boats that cut through the waves near the docks.  He was not trained to stand watch in the high towers of the village wall, nor was he skilled with the heavy iron swords of the village guardsmen.

In fact, out of all the problems Hilsbac had to deal with, Sebastian was allowed to solve only one. He was permitted, without exception, always to choose his own clothing, and to eat all of his own food.  He was allowed to bathe when he smelled, and to sleep when he was tired.  On the rare occasion of a scraped knee or a bad winter fever, Sebastian might be forced to ask for some small help, but by and large he helped the village by doing his very best to solve the only small problem they would let him solve: himself.

Of course I am telling you about the problems which Hilsbac and Sebastian had because it is a rather closely guarded secret of powerful men and women everywhere that the bigger a person you wish to be, the larger the problem you must attempt to solve.  Of course tackling big problems is not the only thing one must do to become big (there are, in fact, three things in total).  But it is important for you to understand how small the problems Sebastian was facing were, and as a result, how small his world seemed back then.  And then you will understand why what he did seemed, back then, quite as big as it did.

Sebastian had stolen a shirt.

The shirt belonged to Roland Baker, a boy of about Sebastian’s age, but twice his meager size.  It would have, as you might imagine, looked ridiculous on Sebastian, and owing to the above mentioned smallness of the town, been quite an obvious theft had he chosen to wear the garment.  But Sebastian had not stolen the shirt to wear it.  In fact, while not often invited to help with the more dangerous of traditionally male village activities (like hunting), at almost thirteen winters of age, Sebastian was already hard at work in his own way as a cook’s boy, amateur tailor, and one day, he hoped, as a carpenter like his father before him.  He also, on particularly boring weekends, offered to help the village matron with the management of the community laundry for a few spare coins.

It is important for you to notice two things out of this brief glimpse into Sebastian’s small world: The first is that Sebastian was perfectly capable of providing for his own clothing needs and was in fact expected to do so, and the second is that by virtue of this very pursuit, he had been put in a place to procure the ill-gotten shirt of Roland Baker, a young man who was expected by many people in the village to solve a great many problems; not simply small problems but even a fair few medium sized ones as well.

By itself, you might have come up with any number of reasons why Sebastian had stolen the shirt of Roland Baker; that is of course if you had noticed him as anything out of the ordinary while he was walking home with it.  However, if you had come across Sebastian in the midst of his current activity, you might have had a very different set of questions entirely.

Sebastian was sniffing the shirt.

He was crouching in the moist autumn snow which had fallen that afternoon, in the back alleyway between the blacksmith shop, and Mrs. Holand’s new two story family house (a gift from her husband, upon the birth of their tenth child, a house his own father had overseen construction of), with the light blue, still soiled fabric of Roland’s wadded up shirt practically smashed into his face.

In fact, dear reader, you might have used a different word to describe what Sebastian was doing to the shirt of Roland Baker for three main reasons. Firstly, the late autumn air was cold, and smells are made much duller by the cold, requiring a much more vigorous working of the nose to detect them.  Secondly, Sebastian knew that he wasn’t supposed to have the shirt, and I’m sure you’ll agree that never was a cookie more delicious than when it was stolen despite your mother’s sternest warnings.

And lastly, Sebastian was in love with Roland.

These things when taken together, might have given a neutral observer, who happened upon a small Sebastian with the large shirt, cause to describe the youth’s activity more accurately as huffing.  And while I, of course, agree that while I might have used the word huffing instead of sniffing all those paragraphs ago, you might not have quite understood what I meant. More than that, it is still very early in our story, and I still have the time to lead you on these little adventures with ideas.  And you will see very shortly that we will not have as much time to spend with one another, you and I, as you will be far more interested in Sebastian and the adventures he is about to have.

Sebastian himself would have been shocked to think that any greater adventures than had befallen him already that day could possibly be in store for him, but adventures would hardly be adventures if they were planned.  As Sebastian took another sniffling snort of Roland Baker’s shirt, he tried hard to forget the disastrous humiliation that had ended in his shameful crime.

*****

The fingers of twelve year old Sebastian Smith gently grazed the stiff fabric of Mrs. Geldeblat’s under-girdle.  Feeling his face flush, he strained further until he was able to barely hook his fingertips into the white lacing which would normally pull the garment tight around Mrs. Geldeblat’s round stomach.  With a tremendous effort he heaved himself to the side and tugged the oversized underwear close to his chest, panting as he pressed his face into the rough shingles of the roof on which he lay.

From the ground below, Mrs. Geldeblat barked, “Don’t just lay there Sebastian!  If my girdle isn’t flapping like a flag in the breeze, then get back down here!  You’ve still got to clean the rest of this mess up!”

Sebastian sighed, carefully raising himself up on his hands and knees to crawl towards the edge of the roof where he could drop down onto the balcony below.  He found the bulk of Mrs. Geldeblat’s girdle made his journey down much more complicated than his climb up.  Though he found himself very frustrated with Mrs. Geldeblat, not only for her large garments, but also for her ceaseless stream of comments and orders, he knew that really he had no one to blame but himself for the disaster strewn over the village square below.

As I mentioned earlier, the people of Hilsbac did not often let Sebastian help with any problems of consequence.  However, Sebastian still felt he should do his best to help with the problems he could solve.  It was this very thought which had caused Mrs. Geldeblat’s girdle to be launched to the top of the baker’s shop in the first place, not to mention Mr. Sander’s work coat, or Mrs. Threshton’s best sun dress, or little Amelia’s patch-kneed play clothes, all of which were scattered about in equally unique and inconvenient locations around the town square.

Sebastian, as you may have guessed, had attempted to solve the problem of the village laundry.  It might seem strange to you that the village had a laundry problem, all together.  Laundry in the world you and I live in is a very personal problem, consisting of machines, and sinks, and soap.  However, in the world Sebastian lived in, laundry was still a very public problem.  In order to save time, and water, most villagers brought their clothes to the village square once a week, and a group of sturdy women and awkward young girls (as well as Sebastian), gathered together to wash all of the laundry together.

The specific problem which Sebastian had attempted to solve was the problem of drying.  It was a small problem really, but one that always caused at least one small argument amongst the old women in charge of making sure every family had clean clothes for the coming week.  You see, there was only one corridor down which the salty sea breeze almost always blew, which was not also shaded from the warm sun by nearby buildings.  This section of street was naturally the most effective at drying clothing hung within it.  It was not nearly large enough for all of the clothes to be hung in it though, which meant that most of the clothing had to be dried either in the shady breeze or the windless sunshine.

It was nowhere near the biggest problem facing Hilsbac (which began with the letter D), but nevertheless, it was the problem Sebastian attempted to solve.  He had done so with great effort on his part.  Not only had he constructed a massive and complex system of rotating ropes, lashed together through rusted old pulleys salvaged from the castoff bits of ships that had long since set sail from the docks, but he had also convinced Mrs. Geldeblat to allow him to attempt to solve the problem at all.  Mrs. Geldeblat, who had been in charge of laundry for as long as Sebastian had been alive, had been very difficult to convince.

As he scrabbled over the open attic windowsill of the baker’s shop and into the narrow stairway which led to the floor below, trying hard to keep the white fabric of the girdle he carried from trailing in any more dust than it already had, Sebastian was certain he would never be able to convince Mrs. Geldeblat to let him try anything ever again.

While concealed safely in the staircase, Sebastian tried to puzzle out what had gone so terribly wrong.  He was so sure the idea was a good one.  It had seemed so simple to him.  If the problem was that only some clothes got to be both in the sun and the breeze, the solution was to make it easy to rotate all the clothes equally through the good spot.  And at first, it had gone so well!  The clothes had started rotating into the sweet spot on their ropes just as he thought.  But then somewhere between Mrs. Thurston’s best sun dress, and Amelia’s patch-kneed play clothes, one of the garments hit a snag.  Sebastian thought it was just a little bump, and so had continued to tug valiantly on the rope, never realizing how much tension he was building, until, with a crack like a whip, the main line snapped and still damp garments exploded in every direction.

After the initial shock of the disastrous laundry upheaval, Sebastian now sorely wished that he could have prevented the sudden snort of laughter he had let out when Mrs. Geldeblat had discovered her enormous girdle flapping in the wind, caught on the highest corner guttering of the baker’s shop.  But he hadn’t, and with Mrs. Geldeblat’s face turning roughly the same ruddy red shade as Mrs. Tawning’s favorite red blouse, Sebastian had scurried into the baker’s shop to retrieve the embarrassing garment, though he did note it was flapping directly into the sweet spot.

As he was tip-toeing slowly down the narrow staircase, drawing out each step to delay his inevitable meeting face to face with Mrs. Geldeblat, Sebastian stopped entirely when he heard the hushed voices of the Baker and his assistant wafting up through the loose boards of the stairs beneath his feet.

“Did you hear about poor Millicent Cobblestop?”, came the furtive voice of the young baker’s assistant.  Sebastian thought his name was Brennan or Brandon or Bradley.

“Aye, boy.  I was there when the poor Thrushton boy had to give the report to the mayor himself.  Was delivering the morning pastries to Mrs. Cobblestop.  You’ve never heard such terrible girlish sobbing in all your life…”, replied the Baker, who Sebastian only knew as the Baker.

Brennan or Brandon or Bradley gasped, “Oh…was Mrs. Cobblestop there too?”

The Baker snorted, “Nay.  Twas the Mayor’s girlish sobbing I’m referring too.  But who could blame him after what poor Henry Thrushton had to report.  Twasn’t just her death…but the manner of her death…all ash and grease on the field…it’s just not right.”

Brennan or Brandon or Bradley was silent for a long moment, and then asked with a catch in his voice, “But…sir…if the Mayor set his daughter out for the Dragon to come claim…wouldn’t he have expected that sort of report from Henry?”

The Baker let out a sigh, “I suppose you’re too young to really remember how a maiden sacrifice works.  It only happens once every ten years afterall.  You were what…five the last time a maiden was offered?”

“Four, sir.  I was four winters then.”, Brennan or Brandon or Bradley said.

“Then you probably don’t know how they normally go.  If the Dragon finds the maiden…well…suitable, I suppose, then he swoops down out of the sky and grabs her in his huge claws and off he flies with her.  He’s never…uh…done the deed right there in the field.  And some years, if he flies over a few maidens and doesn’t like it, he just stops asking.”, The Baker said.

Brennan or Brandon or Bradley  asked, “You mean the Dragon Stone stops glowing?”

“Nay, it hasn’t so much as dimmed.  Even after charring poor Millie worse than a loaf left in the oven all afternoon, the Dragon still wants another sacrifice.  This hasn’t happened ever before.  There’s a special council in two days’ time to decide what to do.  It’s the biggest problem we’ve ever had.  We’ll have to figure it out together.”  The sound of the Baker pulling a heavy stone plate out of the enormous oven muffled his reply to Brennan or Brandon or Bradley, and the strong smell of freshly baked bread wafted up into the attic staircase, causing Sebastian to shift with sudden hunger.

Sebastian twisted the handle to the attic door and stepped out into the back room of the Bake Shop, quite disturbed by the news he had heard.  His mind swam with thoughts of what the Dragon’s deadly new behavior would mean, for the village, for the other young girls, and especially for his two older sisters.  He didn’t realize the sudden odd heat in his chest was coming from a deep desire inside of him to protect his community.  He didn’t realize that he was walking not towards the square but towards the Baker and his apprentice.  He certainly didn’t realize that his mouth was open just about to say something very chivalrous about working together to overcome impossible challenges.

What he did hear was Brennan or Brandon or Bradley say with a smile in his voice, “I guess we could always ask the weird laundry kid what he thinks we should do, eh?”

The words stopped Sebastian in his tracks.  He realized all at once where he was, and was grateful that he hadn’t yet rounded the corner into the kitchen.  After four very awkward moments of silence, the sturdy laughter of the Baker echoed through the shop, and Brennan or Brandon or Bradley own short nervous bark of a laugh soon joined it.  By the time they stopped laughing, their guffaws were joined by the muffled sound of their oven mitted hands slapping their respective thighs.

Sebastian squirmed for every second of laugher the two men indulged in at his expense, both unaware of his eavesdropping.  He was twisting Mrs. Geldeblat’s girdle into tight knots by the time the Baker, still gasping slightly for breath, said, “Aye, that’s who can save us.  Young master girdle.  Maybe he can tinker together a special pile of junk to confuse the Dragon away.”

Brennan or Brandon or Bradley added, “Maybe the Dragon’s secret weakness is lady’s underthings!”

As the Baker and Brennan or Brandon or Bradley returned to their laughing (which was actually quite a relief from their earlier grim conversation) Sebastian retreated silently into the back room of the Bake Shop.  He felt very small, clutching in his hands the evidence of his laughably poor attempt to solve the village’s smallest of problems.  And now the villagers would face the largest problem they’d ever faced, and Sebastian wanted to help too.  But the townspeople intended to solve the problem together.

Of course Sebastian knew what the Baker meant when he said together.  When the Baker said together, what he meant were the strong men of the town, and the clever women, and the brave young people.  He meant the hunters, and the sailors, and the guardsmen, and the matrons.  He didn’t mean awkward laundry boys, whose ears were slightly too large, and whose feet were slightly too small.  Together didn’t mean Sebastian.

It stung, of course, but it didn’t surprise Sebastian.  He made his shuffling way across the stock room floor, and reached the rickety wooden door into the alleyway behind the shop.  As he stepped out into the alley, still slick with late autumn snow the sun had not melted, he looked down to his throbbing fingers still tangled tightly in Mrs. Geldeblat’s girdle and tried to turn his attention back to the problem at hand, back to the problem of laundry, back to the problem of his own making.  Surely he could solve that much.

What happened then might seem very strange to you if you were only to read it, just like that.  What happened next was that Sebastian found a shirt.  Not an exciting event by itself; and one that might even be expected given the already unfortunate events surrounding clothing that had so recently occurred.  However, this shirt was one that Sebastian recognized.  It was a shirt Sebastian liked very much.  Not because of the color or the cut, but because of who it belonged to.

And suddenly, Sebastian found that he had forgotten all about the shame of his failed invention or the anger of Mrs. Gildeblat, or even the humiliation of his mocking at the hands of the Baker and Brennan or Brandon or Bradley.  Sebastian had found something which his brain very much needed at that very moment.  He had found an escape.  Leaving the precious blue shirt where it lay, atop a snowy stack of firewood, Sebastian scurried into the village square to clean up his mess as quickly as he could, returning and rewashing every last piece of exploding laundry; every last piece except one.

The Marvelous Adventures of Sebastian Smith: In The Dungeon of Castle Gallifrax, Chapter 1

Dear readers,

In celebration of over 1500 unique views, and 100 followers, I have decided to release a special treat: the first chapter of my much anticipated novel!

The series is titled (tentatively) The Marvelous Adventures of Sebastian Smith, and novel one is called “In The Dungeons of Castle Gallifrax”.  The novel tells the story of a young boy who has always been a little bit different than the other people in his village.  Then one day, as a Dragon terrorizes his home, a mysterious traveling peddler has a most unusual proposal for Sebastian and the small village of Hilsbac.

This project was undertaken as a way to provide well-rounded, high quality, empowering literary role models for GLBTQ youth.  It is not exclusively for GLBTQ youth, but the story is about them for once.  It seeks to show queer culture and development in a light that presents the individuals as complete people rather than being dominated by their sexual orientation.  In this novel, the fact that Sebastian is same-sex attracted is no more important than the fact that Harry was opposite-sex attracted (we think).  It is at its heart, an adventure novel, and a story about what it means to really accept yourself.

Read chapter one after the jump, and check out the summary here.

Continue reading

An Open Letter to DC Comics RE: Superman and Orson Scott-Card.

supermanreveal1

(**NOTE:  This letter is in address to DC Comics decision to hire Orson Scott Card to write the Superman comic series.  At the time of this publication, Mr. Card was an outspoken anti-gay activist, and the letter addresses this.  Also, as a point of ethics, when I wrote this I did not realize how small Mr. Card’s purported involvement with the Superman franchise was, and have since discovered he will only be a small guest author for a side series.  However, I stand by my statements still)

Dear DC Comics,

I’m writing to you to discuss your decision to hire Orson Scott Card as a writer in charge of some of your Superman titles.  I have to admit I am a little bit conflicted.  But before I talk about that, I want to be clear about what I intend this letter to do.  I don’t want this letter simply to be another protesting email you receive.  I want this letter to start a conversation, somewhere, within your organization.  I want my conflict to become your conflict, because I think we can fight together, not against one another.  But, in the end, that is up to you.

Let’s get this out of the way first: I’m gay.  More than that, I am a gay consumer of your media products.  When I was young, I’ll even confess that I often stole your products from Grocery Stores and Comic Stores and Garage Sales; that was because I grew up without a lot of extra money, raised by a single mom, in a pretty religious home.  But your comics were some of the only fantastical things I was permitted to own, and my mom never could keep track of how many I was supposed to have.  I also want you to know that I apologized to the star superhero of every comic I ever stole or read without buying as a child, because I knew they wouldn’t approve of my actions.

I’m telling you this because I want you to understand that I am not just some gay guy who is generically appalled, for political or moral reasons, that a major corporation would hire someone as openly anti-rights as Mr. Card is.  I want you to know that I am a gay man, who from the time I was very smallest, believed that super heroes really do matter.  I believe, like so many other children and adults do, that the make-believe worlds populated by grown men and women in silly outfits with outlandish powers, is actually a deeply important part of our cultural identity.  I believe what you do is important, is what I’m trying to say.

So, you hired Orson Scott Card; to write what is, ostensibly, your flagship character (although I can feel Batman fans bristling).  And of course, I have a reaction.  Orson Scott Card is notoriously anti-gay.  He once sat on the board of directors for NOM, the National Organization for Marriage, he penned this essay (which seems to be about courts taking away democratic process, but spends an awful lot of time after that “proving” why gay’s aren’t normal and why gay relationships don’t qualify as marriages).  In a response to criticisms of that essay, he has been quoted, regarding gays and the idea of their legal right to marry, as saying:

“Inclusion” is an empty word when used as a general virtue. Its value depends entirely on what is and is not included. Every inclusion of one group is an exclusion of another. I think even Mr. Herman would agree with me that there are certain groups that should be perpetually excluded from civilized society. Where we differ is only on our list of those groups, not on the principle.”

Of course, what he means in this statement is that, in his worldview, gays should be perpetually excluded from civilized society.

I want to be fair to Mr. Card here though.  I know that he personally does not “agree” with what I would define as my “humanity”, and that in his world view I am not deserving of the legitimate rights afforded people who contribute to meaningfully to society.  But his protestations to the legalization of gay marriage seem to stem more, in his reasoning, from the perspective that courts and single individuals should not mandate major changes to our American society, no matter how “good” those changes seem.  And further, that if gay marriage is to be included in our society it should find its way there through the legal action of Congress and voters.  As a result of that view, I can see why you might have chosen him to write Superman, who often has to deal with the ethical ramifications of individual liberty, democratic process, and the fair use of immense power.

Further, as a writer myself, I can even see how Mr. Card would be uniquely qualified to tell some really killer Superman stories.  He has the commercial success, and wealth of experience that might really reinvigorate the stories being told about one of the most iconic and beloved heroes of America and even the world. His own personal experiences and viewpoints would undoubtedly really inform and nuance his tales.  I think this is part of why you must have hired him, and why you have stood by your decision, carefully stating that the personal views of your employees are not the views of DC Comics.  I appreciate that statement.  I also appreciate the courage it has taken for you to include homosexual portrayals of your characters in your comics, which you have done to one degree or another since the late 1980s.

And as a writer, I can also reasonably look at the stories which are told about Superman, and I can see where Mr. Card’s viewpoints on homosexuality will probably never be something Superman is forced to face.  Believe it or not, even though my rights and my struggles are very important to me, and to those who care for me, I can see where they are not of overwhelming importance when faced with say, global poverty, or human trafficking  or North Korean nuclear armaments or, you know, super-villains   These are the sorts of challenges I expect Superman to face.  As a writer, I think having him become suddenly a champion for gay rights would feel contrived.  It could be done, if you wanted to.  I’d be thrilled if you did!  But I don’t think Superman’s story arc will necessarily put him on the path to the equal rights discussion.  So it stands to reason that Mr. Card’s views about people like me will likely never come out of Superman’s mouth.

Here is my conflict though. Continue reading

Why should it even matter that you’re GAY?

Dear Readers,

I am gay.

I have been open about being gay for about a decade, and I have been accepting of my own homosexuality (by which I mean to say that I stopped trying to change it for Jesus) for about four years now.

I am a lot of other things as well.  I am a writer, working on my first novel.  I am a college graduate, who is very proud to call University of Texas at Austin my alma mater.  I am a home owner (see recent blog posts) and a wanderer.  I am a dabbler in Buddhism, and a practicing pagan of sorts.  I am a gamer, and a world traveler, and a coffee drinker.

But I am also gay.

priderally1

I’m SUPER gay.

The issue which has come up for me, which I didn’t expect to hit me so hard, is the recent attempt by several friends and acquaintances to reassure me that my being gay just “doesn’t matter” to them, and that it doesn’t change the way they view me as a person.

It came up first in regards to someone else, a young man I had encountered who, by my estimation of his self-expression, is likely attracted to other men.  His family, close friends of mine, when I made this observation, was very defensive, claiming that “it doesn’t matter” if he’s gay, it doesn’t change how we feel so why should we talk about it?!

It didn’t sit well with me, and I wasn’t sure why.  It was a good thing that his family didn’t devalue him because he was likely a little light in the loafers right?

Then, a few days ago, George Takei (Lord and Master of Facebook) posted a blog entry about this very subject (http://www.allegiancemusical.com/blog-entry/i-dont-even-think-you-gay-well-you-should?upw).  It was regarding the recent coming out of Jodi Foster in an award acceptance speech, and the relative non-reaction it received.  In that blog, as I understand it, Mr. Takei says some things I have felt for a long time, but never spoken. He talks about the importance of the homosexual struggle for equality, and its effect on the people who have struggled in a society that doesn’t accept them as they are, and the importance of gay role models in today’s society.  I was impressed and I reposted the article to my timeline.

I got a private message from a very good friend of mine shortly after that which read:  “Not to be contrary, but it really doesn’t matter to me [that you’re gay], and it doesn’t change who you are to me.”

Let me take just one moment here to tell you about my friend, whom I will call simply Friend from now on.  He is not someone I would consider close minded.  He and I have differing political opinions, but we have helped one another on many projects, share a close circle of friends, and he has been supportive of all of my partners and my choices in life.  I wanted to start out by conveying my esteem for him personally.

However, it stuck with me that he had never once told me that it didn’t matter to him that I was a Writer, or that I was a Wizard, or that I was Caucasian.  The only characteristic he had ever “differentiated” from my identity was my sexual orientation.  I know he didn’t mean it badly, but it itched, and then burned, and then downright began aching that he felt that was somehow appropriate.

During our ensuing conversation over the subject of Mr. Takei’s blog, he also raised some difficult points, and had some honest questions.  Most of our interaction, however, flowed out of one general question: “Even if someone is clearly gay, why is it a problem to avoid the topic?”

What follows is my best attempt at a response to him, in letter form.  Click more to read it. Continue reading