Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Oh-My-God October

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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October 17th, 2010

I walk our spitz-husky, Cooper, around our city neighborhood in Rochester, NY, and cannot help but be stunned by the fantastic colors of October — even for a red/green color-blind guy like me.

Maybe this is what the world looks like to everybody else the rest of the year.

Thank God for the vibrant landscapes of October!

                       

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

October 10th, 2010

If you haven’t yet heard news about the “It Gets Better” project, I encourage you to take some time to check it out.

In support of theIt Gets Betterproject, I’ve recorded the following video to add my voice. It’s my prayer today that all kids learn to celebrate diversity in all of its forms. I recognize that’s a bit of a utopian ideal, but I do have faith in ultimate goodness.

Also, as of today, the ebook of IN JUPITER’S SHADOW is available as a free download to anyone who struggles with same-gender attraction and their faith. My wish is that this story helps those who struggle with sexuality and religion to feel less alone; to feel less condemned by God, or church, or family, or society — or even themselves.

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

Your Inner Glove

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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October 1st, 2010

It’s time.

In the ‘90s, you tried to make peace with your inner child. In the ‘00s, you tried to make peace with your outer adult.
In the ‘10s, you’ve tried to make peace with politics, religion, and Internet pop-ups.

For Heaven’s sake, it’s time to examine something actually important.

Your inner glove.

If you’re intrigued enough to learn more, simply read this year’s Annual Glove Notice at www.gregorygerard.net.

                       

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

I’m pleased to know Stephen, a young man who grew up in the same rural

Western New York town as I.

I should start by saying that (way back!) in 1984, during my own high school years, I found it nearly impossible to admit – even to myself – that I had an attraction to other guys. I lived in the shadows, afraid that God, or church, or family, or friends might condemn me for revealing feelings that I worked very hard to keep inside…feelings I knew were “different”…and maybe unacceptable. (For those few on the planet that I HAVEN’T told, this story is chronicled in my memoir mystery, IN JUPITER’S SHADOW).

Flash forward 26 years.

This summer I was happy to attend Stephen’s graduation party (incidentally, on the same day as Rochester’s Pride March 2010) and see him be himself – a high school graduate, enthusiastic, enroute to college, out and proud.

I don’t wish to minimize the coming out struggle. It’s unique for everyone, as unique as sexuality. I think being labeled as “different” in high school, no matter what the difference is, is tough. For kids who identify their sexuality as GLBT during their teen years and are willing to talk openly about it – willing to be themselves – I have heard stories that there can be amount of backlash among their peers for this honesty.

That having been said, I wish to celebrate what I observed at Stephen’s party: straight and gay friends alike gathered in a rural Western New York town, playing kickball, eating BBQ and cake, drinking Coke, celebrating on a warm summer day. Nothing special; everything special.

I think Stephen’s brave and I think his friends are true and I think times are changing.

For fun, I put my stuff on www.GregoryGerard.net.

For serious, I put my stuff on www.JupitersShadow.com.

I invite you to visit my stuff.

Soap Opera Hair

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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August 31st, 2010

I sit here in the barbershop, looking over the posters of coiffed twenty-something men (boys, I want to say, but that just makes me feel older) and I feel it slip tenderly away. Tender, not like ‘gee, what a tender scene in Tarzan when he bids his ape-mother goodbye.’ Tender like ‘I smashed my finger in the car door yesterday and it’s still pretty damn tender.’

I will never be on a soap opera.

I will never have that feeling they all must feel. To show up on the set every working day and stand in the lights. To deliver those serious, soap opera lines to all the beautiful people while the cameras roll; to joke around with all of them when the cameras are off. To step outside the studio and maneuver through throngs of adoring fans on my way to drinks at a co-worker’s penthouse.

Honestly, it’s not like I had a real shot at being a member of a soap opera cast. It’s just that I used to have soap opera hair. Thick, ready-to-be-blown-dry, with just a hint of a wave. My full brown mane flowed naturally from my scalp, its growth rate causing my father angst every time he ‘shelled out another $7 for a haircut’ — a fee that he felt was a necessary evil in the inflating economy of the 70s.

At the beginning, I didn’t care. I was just a kid; hair was just on my head. But then as barbers segued to hairstylists in my teens and $7 became 12, the professionals started making a fuss. “I’d kill to have your hair.” “Oh you have such thick locks.”

My hair pride grew.

Around that time I joined my older sisters watching soap operas. As the World Turns, Guiding Light, and the family favorite, All My Children. It’s not like I really needed to be a part of the cast. But as I saw all the handsome guys with their own thick locks and their polished smiles, I liked knowing, somewhere inside, that I too had the hair to be on a soap opera.

Not the star, mind you…but maybe an alcoholic gay son of thrice-divorced parents. Or an adopted teen of the town’s rich-and-widowed matriarch whose kleptomania kept him from really connecting with people. You know. Soap opera.

For a while in my own twenty-something years, I carried a torn out ad from the TV Guide in my wallet. It showed a guy and girl from As the World Turns, standing at a wedding. “I want my hair cut like his,” I’d say to the hairstylist at Regis Cuts, or at JC Penny’s Salon, pulling out the folded, slightly torn photo. They’d nod and cut, as though everybody pulled out a TV Guide ad. As though everybody had soap opera hair. But twenty became thirty, and thirty became forty.

IT happened in stages.

First, the top of my head became painfully sensitive while on a summer vacation. I couldn’t figure out why. “You got a sunburn,” an older, matronly traveling companion told me, after I asked her to examine my tortured scalp.

THEN the hairstylists stopped commenting on the thickness of my locks. How much fun it was to blow dry. Whether I would like gel.

THEN brown became flecked with gray. More grew in my nose and less on my head.

THEN people started commenting, not on my hair, but on my lack of hair. “You look so much like your father,” my dad’s cousin said when I visited her one day. My dad. A balding, overweight, average guy.

Back in the barbershop, I watch my reflection and think about him, my dad. He never seemed like soap opera material. I never saw anyone on All My Children like him. My spirits sink.

But then, in the mirror, as the Vietnamese barber runs his electric trimmer (“So easy,” he comments, when I tell him to simply cut it all at a setting of “one”)…then…

I spot a big clump of my hair as it plops on the floor.

The clump gives comfort.

Somehow, it tells me I’m still producing.

I may look like my father.

But I see me in there too, that former potential soap opera character. Something inside my head loosens.

Maybe someday I’ll still write a bestseller like Stephen King.

Maybe someday I’ll still sing a duet with a famous performer like kd lang.

Maybe someday I’ll still have lunch at the White House for an as-yet unrecognized talent.

And maybe, just maybe, I still have the chance to feel fulfilled.

Even if I’m never on a soap opera.

For fun, I put my stuff on www.GregoryGerard.net.

For serious, I put my stuff on www.JupitersShadow.com.

I invite you to visit my stuff.

How Uncool it is…

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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July 27th, 2010

 

…to say, after ten or so years, that I am still a tremendous fan of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer? And Joss Whedon, the writer/creator.

 

Work with me for a minute here.

 

You may have dismissed it, due to the juvenile name of the series. Or you may have thought “teenage angst, what has that got to do with my life?”

 

I just want to report that Buffy, The Vampire Slayer TV series has changed my life. Yes, changed my life. I don’t say that lightly; I don’t say it often. I even have a personal rule about ‘letting new television shows into my life.’ I don’t like wasting time watching television. And I know if I get hooked on something, I go all in. So I resist.

 

But my partner got into Buffy back in 2000. As a result, I’d catch a scene or two as I walked through the living room on my way to the kitchen. It seemed silly. Vampires. Demons. Silly makeup. Pretty people. I dismissed it, my normal reaction to new TV that I don’t want to entertain.

 

But my partner kept watching. And then…there was this episode…where Buffy was trying to save her younger sister from being killed. I honestly just sat down for a minute because I was waiting for the ice cream to thaw enough to get a scoop or two. And while the ice cream thawed, I watched a stalwart young woman fighting evil; protecting friends; offering humor; and risking all to save her sister’s life. She was thoughtful, which I didn’t expect, given the brief scenes of vampire teeth and lip gloss I’d previously observed. As the half gallon of ice cream melted on the counter, I got tears in my eyes watching Buffy offer her own life in sacrifice for her sister’s. In a swan dive to her death, she extended her arms and took the plunge, almost Christ-like.

 

I was hooked.

 

I later discovered this episode was deep into the fifth season. I got ahold of the earlier DVDs and started watching. Behind the teeny-bopper surface, I quickly learned that this television series deals with issues of friendship, life, death, culture, politics, religion, God, evil, family, depression, loss, responsibility, and, my favorite, the purpose of living.

 

Maybe you’re not aware of the depth of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, lost to you in the surface humor. Or maybe you’re not aware that academia has acknowledged the value of the stories. (Read this excerpt from Wikipedia: ‘Buffy eventually led to the publication of around twenty books and hundreds of articles examining the themes of the show from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives including sociology, Speech Communication, psychology, philosophy, and women’s studies‘).

 

Regardless…let me just say this. If you’ve dismissed it in the past, and are intrigued by what I’ve shared, consider picking up the series on DVD and deciding for yourself. If you stick with it through at least the first two seasons (approximately 30 shows), I suspect you won’t be disappointed.

 

Trust me on this one.

 

                        

 

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

 

July 18th, 2010

Fagbug. Yes, that’s actually the name of the movie.

Let me start by saying that it’s Pride Week here in Rochester, NY. Because I’m on the mailing list for our city’s GLBT annual movie festival, ImageOut, I got a note about an upcoming documentary at our city’s artsy theater, The Little. The story of a young woman (Erin Davies) at Russell Sage College in Albany, whose VW bug was defaced with anti-gay graffiti (which included the word “fag” in red spray paint across the driver’s window).

After contacting the police, she decided to undertake a personal quest. Instead of having the car repainted and the graffiti removed, she took the summer to drive around the US on her own – opening a dialogue about hate crimes — using the now-dubbed “Fagbug” as a conversation starter. The personal stories, prejudices, and solidarity she encountered make this a unique and interesting narrative.

Erin’s dedication to raising awareness about homophobia is admirable. I left the theater inspired to continue my own activism efforts with IN JUPITER’S SHADOW — reinforcing the concept that when we come out of the shadows and into the light, when we show the faces behind the stereotypes, we pave the way for future generations who will celebrate, not persecute, diversity. I encourage others to visit Erin’s site and view her story for themselves.

Roll on, Fagbug!

                   

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

Wooden Skateboard

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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July 4th, 2010

You’re not smiling. Probably because you’re out of quarters for video games or maybe because it’s really hot.

It’s the summertime heat that drove all three of you to the grassy shade near the Zoom Flume that day at King’s Island. Your sister’s friend Caroline, with her dark skin and dark humor that always makes you belly-laugh. Your sister Kathy, back when people said she looked like Sheena Easton. Back when people knew who Sheena Easton was.

And you.

I’m guessing you were fifteen at that point, give or take a few hormones. 1981. Those glasses – the big plastic frames that broke when you fell off the front of the skateboard and Dad “fixed them just fine, goddamn it” with superglue. Remember that skateboard from fifth grade?

All the guys at Saint Michael’s had one, so you asked and begged for one – even though Mom and Dad had two mortgages and money was so tight. But your birthday was coming, so Mom took you to Wayne Drugs, which had items like sport equipment and five-year diaries under one roof. You studied the skateboard display: hard-plastic skateboards – in flashy colors with a lip on the back to ‘pop a wheelie’ and do the stunts that were not yet a fad. Next to them, sturdy, wooden skateboards – with red racing stripes and resin wheels, guaranteed to sail across the pavement.

Your friend Chuckie had a wooden skateboard. He acted so cool riding around the parking lot behind school, so you picked one just like his and you could hardly wait to tell him the next day that you would be getting a skateboard for your birthday.

But – the next day – when you got to the playground and told of your proud, soon-to-be-part-of-the-skateboard-crowd status, Chuckie squinched his face tight and said, “You coulda got a plastic skateboard and you picked a wooden one?”

# # #

At forty-four, I think of you often. I get caught up in the glorification of then and the denegration of now. Life now seems complex and difficult. Your life at fifteen, through the murky channels of memory, seems graced, and lucky, and full of promise. In my mind, I look back and envy your full hair, your slim hips tucked neatly inside white painter’s pants – your certainty that life holds something grand just for you, waiting to be awarded in a fantastic ceremony of lights and applause.

But I look at this photo and I think about your wooden skateboard.

                       

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

Male Mid-Life Sucks

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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June 16th, 2010

There. I’ve said it.

I know it seems ungrateful and politically incorrect and I’m not the type of person who looks at the glass as half-empty. But in my mid forties, being a guy is starting to get to me.

What I learned from watching Lifetime Television for Women in the eighties and nineties was that middle-aged men were parodied in sitcoms and advertisements — everywhere in our culture. They were balding, a little overweight, a little insecure. They had to buy a sportscar (preferably red) and flash it in front of women too young for them. They turned their secretaries into mistresses and made an embarrassing shambles of their longtime relationships. Growing up, I learned mid-life men were a mess.

Flash forward. In 2010 I hear that thirty is the new twenty, and forty is the new thirty, blah blah blah. That’s okay for Sex and the City; for people who can afford to live the flash and set the rules. I’m not like that. I am a part-time writer in Western NY in my mid forties. My parents have passed away. I AM the next generation. And I need help.

I need help understanding the changes in my body; the swings in my mood; the bleakness of my passions.

Take one example. Nose hair. It’s something you really don’t think about. EVER. I know I never did. Now it’s an almost daily annoyance. It grows in droves, tickling the exterior edges of my nose over and over (and over). I trim it. It tickles the inside of my nose. I yank it out. My eyes tear.

I long for some male guidance. Audible wisdom in the presence of a silent God. Maybe from somebody like Fred Rogers. AFTER he takes off the sweater…hanging out backstage, just him and me, talking man-to-man. In my fantasy, we talk, we laugh, we have a beer…and somehow, over a period of days and weeks of our talking, it all becomes bearable. The voluminous nose hair, the bare scalp, the paunchy midriff, and all the rest of the stuff that only he and I can talk about over that beer.

Because the beer encourages us to show our fear and courage beneath the bravado; because the beer makes us honest and thoughtful; because, somehow through the homophobic haze of this culture, the beer teaches us that men need men.

                       

For fun, I post my stuff at www.gregorygerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

May 22nd, 2010

I’ve just returned to Rochester from the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans.

Other than to say that I NEVER want to drive 24 hours straight to anywhere again in my life (unless I am riding in one of those fancy RVs where there’s a driver named ‘Mentor’ and I can pop in a DVD anytime I like), I’d like to share how proud I am to be a part of this festival.

I’ve attended the festival twice now; both times I’ve met some talented writers and made some lasting friendships. Excited this time to participate in two writers panels and excited that the S&S bookstore sold five copies of IN JUPITER’S SHADOW. Beyond that, I come away inspired to write. Not just as a self-indulgent activity, but as an important way to support GLBT culture. I’m proud of who I am; I’m proud of who I love; I’m proud to capture this in words.

I’m especially happy to write this on Harvey Milk Day, another saint in the universe. If you don’t know who that is, please take two hours to watch the documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk.” I am always humbled to know what sacrifices people endure to make the world a better place.

Sainthood is not just for crusty books with worn pages. Selfless work continues today in so many places: for example, in brave young men and women who participate in the Soulforce Equality Ride. Ever heard of that? They filmed their efforts in 2007. Equality U: another documentary worth watching.

So today, I’m inspired to be who I am, saint and sinner alike. And I encourage all of you, whatever your talent: writing, activism, singing, signing, or even baking a pie for the new person on your block…be who you are, and try each day to make the world a better place.

For fun, I post my stuff at www.gregorygerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.