Sometimes I wish I could pull a Warhol and have an entire factory of happy drones churning away at making my work and leaving me to enjoy my fame and persona. Alas, writing the stories I want to tell can’t be delegated or automated, so I’m stuck with my own paucity in output versus the percolating ideas for projects.
Take for example “The extraordinary lives of ordinary people”, a series of short biographical plays that I always wanted to start with a personal hero of mine, Margaret Godfrey. A fine, funny and fierce lady who once stood up for me to an irate attorney who threatened all sorts of things (that’s a whole other tale that may or may not be told), she is also to be thanked for my legal sojourn in these here States. Eventually I worked for the same immigration non-profit counseling office she founded. The corps(e) emeritus is now Immigrant Law Group.
It was the young man’s bio on Box Turtle Bulletin that reminded me of that remarkable woman and another homage conceived at the same time to some of my dearly departed friends and lovers. Four of them, to be exact, then to be called Dead Men’s Ashes, though a fleeting temptation to rename it Asses to Ashes was mercifully drowned in its incipience.
One aspect of that project (and maybe of this post) that surprises me is a willingness to write frankly about my sexual past among other parts of my life. It is one thing to post my early, unpublished short work on medium, but an entirely different one to share this very personal eulogy and celebrations of their gifts in my life. For better or worse, if it hadn’t been for those hook up-to-friendships (which are by no means rare, at least with the gay men I know ), I would not have encountered those men even in a small and limited community.
“Historical honesty” is something I complain about rather often, and perhaps this is my own way of laying bare an aspect of life that historians often bemoan people’s reluctance to record: ordinary gay lives. Never mind that with (ahem) blogs and other self-publishing platforms (broad term, thing Grindr), there’s an abundance of records of the love that dared not speak its name. I have to add my drop to the ocean. Maybe.