Wednesday, October 31, 2007


There is something inside.

Sometimes I can just hear it rattling around, other times, it's like a stone preventing a wheel from moving. Sometimes, I nearly forget it's there, but others it's a malignant mass in my soul, threatening my very existence.

I cannot determine exactly where it came from; I cannot name it or the things it does. All I can see are the symptoms of sickness it lays upon me: moodiness, indecision, denial, depression, addiction. These things control my days and dictate my actions, and I am powerless over them. How can I ever get to their source? It is more than enough work to cover the tracks of this devious specter, let alone deal with the perpetrator himself.

There is, at times, peace. How and when it comes are functions of a dozen or hundred things, most of which I can only name in those peaceful moments. Those moments come and go and are only remembered like artistic scenes in a film I can't remember how long ago or with whom I watched. It is an endless cycle of chaos and a fruitless endeavor to make any lasting peace of my days.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Rhoda Files

I had the odious pleasure of digging out several emails from an old teacher today, Ms. Rhoda B. Stamell.

I befriended Rhoda during my last attempt at finishing my bachelor's degree in spring 2005, in the World Masterpieces 2 course at LTU. Most of the other students were idiots anyway, but for some reason I, and a few others, stood out immediately. First I considered her a mentor, but her lack of boundaries and the flash-in-the-pan roles she assigns various people in her daily dramas confused the interaction considerably. I ate it up like candy.

She made no distinction between teaching and acting, and, accordingly, called her classes The Rhoda Show. Students are easily bedazzled by anyone willing to perform as eloquently and immersively as she can, and what inevitably developed was a sort of Stockholm Syndrome in which we all gave her glowing reviews in post-semester evaluations in exchange for her perverse use of our attention. During the course we had passing social correspondence, but afterward it really opened up.

I read some of her short stories; I bought her fat anthology; she gave me a rough draft of her novel. She was completely raw and stripped of any social facade or traditional boundaries between friends, or at least those between people with a 38 year age difference and the huge cultural gaps we shared. Our exchanges could be intellectually hostile and mentally stimulating at the same time. I thought that meant I was accepted as-is, but I was wrong.

Apparently, I am having trouble letting go of the wreck that came of our contentious friendship. Below are excerpts from past emails in which I expressed parts of myself as explanations of behaviors or comments she'd questioned. I think they reflect something I'm beginning to see more of and don't really like. Her words are not mine to share with you, so, with small exception, they do not appear here.

A few days after these emails were passed, she ended our relationship lock, stock, and barrel with four simple words. She rescinded an invitation for her 70th birthday party. The following April, however, when her book was finally published, she didn't forget me in the blanket notice she sent out.

I suppose I'm still angry about it. Comments on this post will be read, but may result in you getting flamed. Leave your email at your own risk.

* * * * *

It's a home-grown chaos I carry, but it dictates my sense of purpose and urgency. It's a foggy night that can't be rushed through, and the high beams only make things look worse. Not much of a serve, but it's what I do.

Right now I'm neck-deep in addiction and my greatest feat would be catching up on my VHS tapes of Stargate: Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica. I'm now 4 weeks behind. Despite how it sounds, don't call Child Protective Services just yet; I'm not a complete washup.


[Rhoda said: " is important to become fully involved in learning and investigating the world. The only way to do that is to become more educated and to step outside the narrow circle we all draw to make sure that we will feel safe. We aren't safe, of course, but the circle makes us think so.]


You should know that I have no intention of coasting through life on my existing education. I throw my own blocks down, I know, but kicking myself in the teeth for not being on the ball doesn't work to keep me motivated. I just have to work hard each day to do what's important.


I don't know what exactly your tone is, but things like "Really" and "And how do you like that, Lincoln?" make one thing clear: you're not enjoying our correspondence.

It's true: I am still young, have not seen much of this world, do not have a documented formal education, grew up wanting for material possessions, and hesitate because I fear failure. I have many faults. But our differences are not so great that I can't know you. My grandmother, my PhD'd colleagues, and the 3 year olds in my Sunday School class accept me despite any presumptions I make, correct or otherwise. Why won't you?

I know by now I've pushed you far over the edge, and maybe you'll even rescind your birthday party invitation. Maybe you'll badmouth me to your composition students. Maybe you'll say you never liked me to begin with. You don't like these arguments, not when I stand up for a contradictory opinion. This much I know, because you have taught me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Free Lunch

There is such a thing; believe it. Especially when you go into Jet's for a slice and pop (who can beat that at $2.75?) and they're out. Well, except for one cold, lonely slice which was by far not the best example of what I've found to be the greatest pizza ever. They offered me the cold slice for free while I waited for a fresh one, but I declined. So I sat and messed with my phone for eight whole minutes, and when it came time to pay for my steaming, saucy, foil-wrapped treasure, the counter guy waved me off. "You're all set," he said, "thanks for waiting."

Who am I to argue?

Monday, October 22, 2007

On the Terrible, Embarrassing Ignorance of America

So apparently during a questions/answer period following a talk at Carnegie Hall, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling revealed that Professor Dumbledore is gay.

Personally, I accept that homosexuality is as natural, healthy, and Divinely granted a trait as heterosexuality. Sure, it wasn't Adam and Steve(n), sure the Bible says 'abomination', but what I keep coming back to is that (1) if God made us all, he made us ALL, and (2) if God loves us all, he loves us ALL. Why can't we love each other?

Also, to all folks who compare homosexuals to pedophiles, I'd you to have a look at the sexual orientation of the last ten people you can find who were convicted of pedophilia or child pornography, or any other the thing you compare same-sex love to. ...was that enough time? What did you find?

Two people loving each other isn't terrible or disgusting only when they're opposite sex. It's an ironic statement about a society that condones heterosexuality with all its inherent gender conflicts, but condemns anyone seeking love and acceptance from a same-sex partner. Any two people loving each other is a beautiful and rare thing, and when any two people find each other who can love and care for each other throughout a lifetime, it's wondrous and joyful, regardless of the gender of those two people.

On Dumbledore...I could be wrong, but was there ever anything specific about his skin color? His hair color is white, and his eye color is blue, but are we sure he is Caucasion? What if, before the first movie had been cast, Jo had revealed that Dumbledore was in fact of African descent, and instead of Richard Harris, Sidney Poitier was the ideal man to play the troubled, fatherly old wizard? (Or Samuel L. Jackson..."It's the wand that says 'bad mother fucker' on it.") Just a thought, people.

The books are what they are, regardless of the backstories and histories the author envisioned for each character, and regardless of what she says about them now. As with every work of art, it will be viewed through the lens of the society that beholds it, in the context of the society that created it. As a fan, I applaud Ms. Rowling for answering a fan's question honestly. As a friend of gay people, I hope that the single largest effect this "revelation" has on us as a whole is to force us to examine our own hearts, our own presumptions about the world, and possibly, our own ignornace and prejudices.

Now, for your entertainment value, I present my responses to some comments following CNN's article:

* * *
jkarre wrote: "I do not want my young, impressionable child believing for one second that choosing that [gay] lifestyle is acceptable sometimes or any time. This is truly sad."

What is truly sad is the ignorance you are perpetuating in your children, and the hate they will pass onto anyone they meet who leads such a lifestyle, or any other kind aside from the one you've taught them to believe is right and moral. Shame on you and any parent who spreads intolerance.

* * *
William wrote: "If she really thought it was important, why didn't she incorporate it into the stories?"

Because it ISN'T important, any more than every character's implied HETEROsexuality is important in every other mainstream story, including this one. Anyone who's paid attention to a word Ms. Rowling's written or spoken about these characters will know that in order to create the HP world, she made them into real people with lives and pasts and issues--a necessary practice for any writer. This is especially necessary for Dumbledore, a central character mentioned hundreds of times in a composite story of seven volumes and thousands of pages.

* * *
Sue wrote: "The author's statement really makes the books and the movies deceptive and many parents wouldn't have bought the books nor let their children watch the movies had this come about sooner. Fortunately their was no outright homosexuality in the books or the movies to make matters worse."

Where is the deception? Was there some point in the text that secured your knowledge of Dumbledore's orientation as straight? If there was, I missed it. Also, where in any of the stories does any romantic relationship figure in, aside from husband/wife couples and teen crushes? Would you feel better if Ms. Rowling addended the novels now to include a list of women Dumbledore had been with in the past?

* * *
kat wrote: "JK rowling is an idiot." (and that's it)

Well look at the big brain on kat. Thanks for that wisdom.

* * *
D wrote: "You would have to go and ruin the Potter series by making the headmaster of the children's school gay. You disgust me now."

Do I really need to address this one? Poor D, such a victim. Think of all those wasted hours in seeming enjoyment and wonder! Imagine all the good quality stuff you could have been reading, instead of the evil, terrible gaymongering Harry Potter series!

* * *
Kirk wrote: "...the promotion of homosexuality in a children's book, even indirectly, is terrible. We already promote sex as something to do with whomever and whenever you feel like, to further teach our children that it's ok to be gay and that it's 'normal' is shameful. It's far from normal and everyone knows it."

Normal, healthy, unhealthy. What is healthy is knowing and being who you are without pretenses or falseness, especially based on fear of someone else's reaction. What's unhealthy is pretending to be something you're not, trying to live up to someone else's ideals of how your life should lived.

The concept of "normal" is the only one I vaguely identify with, but only as it comes to mean "average," "acceptable," or "socially ubiquitous." Guess what else is considered normal? Prejudice and hate.

* * *
Joe Smith wrote: "This subject does NOT need to be addressed in a book for this audience!"

Guess what, Joe, it wasn't addressed in any Harry Potter book. It is never implied, alluded to, referenced, or even (though you seem maybe to have thought so) denied.

* * *
bliss wrote: "wow on top of witchcraft now we add homo stuff wow its sad the series is over sales would have been lower"

i know bliss wow terrible that such an already sinful series of awful stuff makes the novelist the richest woman in england wow and now she decides to double the insult wow for shame (response edited to be better understood to the target individual)

* * *
Xysea wrote: "It doesn't change a thing. He's a beloved character no matter his sexual preference. Seriously, we've come much farther than that as a society. Haven't we? Haven't we??!!"

I'm afraid, Xysea, that we have not.