Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Going to California

No internet access for the past two weeks has meant no blogging. Odd, because I've found that blogging makes me more present... the witness self is more available consciously. And there's no way the magick of the past two weeks can be contained in a post, but this feels like a loose end, and so to summarize I will try, from my red couch in California.

The consistent theme of our trip has been connection. New friends, like Spider, Charlotte, Till and Charles. Old friends like Terry, Jenny, Sean. I find that my capacity to love increases with each new soul I love. And this summer has been about learning love, fo sho.

The trip from Ohio went down like this: Lothlorien in Indiana, which is the fairy sanctuary I lived in during the early 1990's... full of altars, community, trails, beads and baubles, handmade music, hula hooping, good food, shared laughing space, gardens, gifts, mosquitos chiggers ticks, rain, crystals and geodes, sharing. We spent a week or so there camping, and every time I go there (it's near Bloomington) I want to live there. Not so much when I'm not there, but somehow it draws me back again and again. Folks there live by "Keeping Each Other Alive" and it is flow and help and love. I stop wearing deodorant and embrace being hippie while there. Here, not so much.

We left Indiana in a flooding rainstorm, and then the miles started to rack up. I've found I'm pretty good at driving long distances and arriving intact. We drove to Denver, 1100 miles in thirty hours, AND we stopped to sleep and eat. Motel 6 gets points from me for being so freakin' cheep. Hot showers, cha cha cha.

Denver was homecoming... ahhhh, family. Kim and Sara and Tracy and her daughter Chelsea and FINALLY another kid for Moona to play with. Denver was all about snacks and beer... and the sweet familiarity of having a space among people who love me and I love... door is always open. My cousin Kim rocks it so hard...

And then back to Idaho. And three days camping in Pass Creek with Jon. Sigh. We found seeds and planted looksh, and harvested currants. Babbling brook (no shit!) mountains, cooking over the fire, sleeping beneath millions of stars, and that soul-wrenching deep connection that is pretty much a bitch-slap. And when I'm there I want to live there. Is there a theme happening yet?

Miles and miles of road, driving fast, excellent music (except for that Van Halen incident) and lovely phone conversations with Joel, who had my back during the trip. And pulling into Petaluma in the wee hours, home and weary. Today was weird, trying to figure out where I was. Orione and I reunited. A fight two hours later. Sigh.

I know there are reflections and perspective forthcoming, but not yet. It's just time for sleep and rest, because I leave in two days for Free Activist Witch Camp, a whole other level of intensity. I heart summer!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Out of the Attic

In the attic of my mother’s house there are many boxes. And this morning, in one such box, I found some in-roads to my past. With no logical order were things from my life gathered and contained, like a time capsule. Which ironically was one of the items in said box. And so a list, of all of this objects that hold memory, hold story, hold a map of growing up. Some brought tears, of course, and some brought surprising insight. Some I still cherish, and some I will let go. Here goes:

+crystal ball and its stand, wrapped in a velvet bag from Kimberly before she changed
+music box with blue birds from my childhood dresser
+small card that came with a flower, for starting first grade which read “You’re a big first grader now. I love you. Mommy.”
+box with Terry’s ID bracelet, that he gave me when I was 15, contained in an ornate wooden box. I put it on straightaway.
+the play I wrote my senior year of college, (more on this later)
+picture of Max, my grandmother’s golden retriever, on his one-year birthday
+Funny card from Margo, addressed to me when I lived at Lothlorien
+Letter from Matt Dube, apologizing for the way things worked out between us, saying that he “just wasn’t ready yet to hold hands in the big city.”
+Junior high yearbook
+Muppets stationary
+the rest of my piano music box collection
+time capsule I made with Kendra the summer after 7th grade which we buried in my grandma’s yard and she found eight years later
+the newspaper relating the tale of Justin’s accident, when he was trapped in the mountains during the blizzard of 1993, and subsequently lost all of his toes to frostbite. This accident was what brought us close. (Happy Birthday today, Cooter! Glad we talked!)
+scrapbook from junior high, containing all of my report cards, choir programs, playbills, +a picture of me and Robbie Hanson, and various ticket stubs and dried flowers
+a postcard I wrote in England and never mailed, but will give to Sean when I see him next week
+birthday cards for probably every birthday
+pictures of my dad as a baby and small boy
+pictures of my mom, in our kitchen in the house I grew up in
+three blank postcards from Chateau Woodland, where we vacationed in Canada. I’d written one word commentary on the back of each: “pretty,” “humor,” and “fun.”
+antique “Souvenir from Cleveland, Ohio” written in gold script on a rose colored porcelain cup, a treasure given me by my Otsie, the elderly woman who lived next door
+a note from Chuck D in college, welcoming me back and telling me he was going to call me every 15 minutes until I got myself down to Bugsy’s for “Alternative Night.”
+Philosophically Marxist letter from Chris Walker, written while we were in college.
+Grateful Dead postcard from Jenny, telling me to “Pray for Tour.”

What to say? That I am proud of the rich, interesting and loving life it seems I’ve lead for many years. That I am so grateful for all of the deep and long-lasting connections I’ve had with other humans. How sad I am that I didn’t recognize the importance of maintaining some connections: apparently Gretchen Murphy really loved me, and my self-esteem was too low to realize it. That I’ve missed opportunities to settle in deeply with some friends, because I was too shy. That I’ve been loved so well, by many people. That in re-reading these many letters, I hear new and more subtle voices emerging, that perhaps I was too obtuse to hear back then. That my grandmother had a quirky and communicative writing style, with a wry sense of humor. That the past can hold validation of Self.

This was like a journal, except in different form. I wonder how many of us have boxes that can both bring us to new understandings of our own lives, and also are a reminder to return to our roots, our starting ground, to make sure we are moving in right directions. It seems to me that my course was set, and I can look back and see road markers along the way. I’ve surely veered, but the muscle-memory of what is correct movement feels so familiar, even as I explore the growth edges.

The most profound thing in this box was my play, “Brown Rice.” I wrote it the last semester of my last year at Syracuse, and I wrote it out of joy and compulsion. I remember sitting at my word processor, night after night, as it poured out. A lot of it didn’t make sense to me at the time. It was airy, the words that were philosophical and hippie, poetic and ethereal. There was a very vague storyline, and many of my deepest experiences were cryptically encoded within the dialogue. It’s been in this box for these past years, apparently, and when I reread it this morning, tears and tears came. It made so much more sense, in light of my attempts to learn new patterns of loving, non-attachment, and union without sticky human entanglements. It speaks of a love of the Divine that I couldn’t connect with then, at least articulately, and yet this Love shines through the text. It feels like a letter, that I wrote to me, or an instruction manual, for now. Maybe I’ll retype some of it and post it to the blog.

Oh treasures. Oh treasures. And the grace that they’ve made their way back.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Terry and Me and the drag show

Freedom Valley

Warning: this post is all about a pretty personal reconnection. It’s not a travel posting, but an intimate reunion. Read forewarned.

Breakfast, farm style: My mom’s blueberry waffles made in the 1950’s waffle iron, coffee, juice, Ohio maple syrup. It’s good to wake in familiar space, Moona happily playing in the barn all morning, and the soaking of a Midwest thunder storm. I speak to Orione on Skype, see him playing with his new toys, but he’s fairly unwilling to converse on any real level. The real scoop on what’s up comes from his Baba, who tells me in great detail all that they’ve done. Sounds like a wonder- and indulgence-filled trip.

Moona and I pull out, heading southwest of Cleveland, to visit Terry, my first love and high school boyfriend. Haven’t seen nor spoken to Terry for twenty years, and we’re going camping with him and his partner at Freedom Valley Campground, “Where Men Go to Camp!” It’s a theme weekend welcoming friends and family of the gay men who frequent this campground, and we’ll be staying in Terry and Gary’s R.V.

After dealing with attempted (yet failed) collusive homophobia at the nearby gas station when I ask for directions, we find Freedom Valley and then Terry, with most of his family. The niece I knew as a baby now has her Master’s degree and is married… all of the sisters are present, as well as Terry’s mom. It’s an incredible reunion, complete with pictures of me and Terry, much in love, at 17. What babies! How thin!

After Terry’s family leaves, we spend the afternoon lounging by the pool and catching up. There is the saying of many sweet and tender things to each other, and what surprising and rare opportunities we are sometimes given. This is the lovely man to whom I entrusted my virginity all those years ago, and the choice was solid, then and now. The memories that return are of the intentionality and consciousness around the decision to become sexually active, and the wish that it will be the same for my own children when it comes to that time. It’s an utter pleasure to see him, meet Gary, and allow his story to reweave with my own.

Freedom Valley Campground is a very special place. I’ve spent a bunch of time in queer communities lately, and this place reminds me that being queer does not equate with radical politics, activism or lifestyle. What really hits home is the level of acceptance and celebration of queerness. Now, I live in San Francisco and take for granted what many in America still struggle for. Yet there is a poignancy about Freedom Valley for me… I am so glad to have my daughter exposed to this, and how would things have been different for me if my dad’s gayness had been normalized in such a way? As opposed to pathologized? This place is calm and peaceful. It’s centered around enjoying community and enjoying oneself. It’s not edgy, but rather full of colorful and kitschy gardens, light decorations and RVs. The men are so welcoming and friendly, and cruise around the campground in their golf carts. As Terry says, this is not camping, but ‘gay camping.’ Moona and I get taken on the grand tour, and carted around in style. We snack all afternoon on delicious bad-for-you foods like cheese dip and BBQ chips and doughnuts. After bed for her, I get to go to the drag show with Terry and Gary, which is amusing and has one really great performer. I’m too shy to give over the dollar tips Ter has given me. Quote of the day is when Gary comments on Terry’s love of Mylie Cyrus, “How gay is that?” And I must say, it’s pretty damn gay.

Several times during the afternoon and evening, I’m taken by surprise that here I am sitting next to this person who was my first true love, and there is still so much love and connection between us, but all of the weirdness is completely gone. He’s just an old friend now, and my daughter finds him pretty top-notch. The sense I gather of Terry is that his life is satisfying. Thanks, Facebook, maybe I’ll send you a $10 donation!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

House on the Rock and Clevo