The Late Show (and Tell)

I’m so fucking tired right now. And I love every little moment of this moment, right now.

Today started in much the same way that other days here have started, with a pleasant little walk down the main drag in Guerneville to the Coffee Bazaar for my daily doses of caffeine and solitude. I didn’t get anything more added to the huge leap I made yesterday with respect to the new novel, but I did get to surf the internet on the dialed-up iMac there, just to check make sure my server was still cranking away and accessible to the world, and to check in on other bloggers.

Good times.

As I was walking back to Fife’s, the fire dept was being mobilized to a spot just past Fife’s, just outside the western edge of town. Turns out it was my friend Lance’s brand new car that got wrecked by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel. No one was hurt, but the driver managed to damage three parked cars. In the morning, he’ll be renting a car so we can get back to San Francisco.

He was in good spirits, though, and the day went on with only little bits of gallows-type humor. We spent the day at Fife’s pool; there was an auction, and then there was poolside dancing.

I must have danced for 2 hours, without shoes, shaking my ass to some seriously fun stuff. I was a different person after all that, a much less burdened guy with a brilliant perspective on the world. Happy-happy.

We all hung out at the gang’s campsite (I am staying at a different site to most of them), just sitting there talking. Like old men on a porch or young kids on a stair.

I went to the bonfire tonight, but only stayed a little while. Too fucking tired. I did get a chance to hang a bit, though, with a newer friend, one I met in San Francisco a few months ago, a guy who is easily one of the most magnetic and beautiful men I have met in a very long time—and that’s saying something, having lived in the City as long as I have.

He is married, though, and my interests have a pretty specific focus elsewhere. It just blows me away when those moments hit…where the five senses overwhelm you—or fail you utterly, I can’t tell. Little tips and shards of light that zing back and forth, heat distortions in the air, sounds with unexpected harmonics. Forget opposable thumbs and walking upright; it’s this kind of inexplicable magic that sets us apart from lesser beasts.

I’m glad the spiritual end of the event happened tonight, and finished off with a quiet conversation with FTP in front of the bonfire.

As I said, I’m a different man today than I was yesterday, a man I have been before, though because I recognize him. And I’m glad he’s back.

In my mind and in my car

The Future certainly is an exciting concept, though often it’s just plain scary. Usually it’s scary when the Now sucks ass and I’m filled with worry about money and job and that kind of stuff, when even Tomorrow feels tenuous and the Future stretches out as nothing but a big fat stack of the same kind of bleak Tomorrows.

Even though the money/job situation hasn’t changed much for me in a while (read: still sucks ass), I’m finding some leftover bandwidth to remember that Today has a way of changing like the wind. Fortunes shift, big and small, and Tomorrow suddenly looks a whole lot better. That big fat stack of Tomorrows is still an extrapolation of Todays, but it’s a whole lot happier a prospect.

The ability and the wherewithal to even consider the Future, a good or bad one, is a luxury that many do not have, that many no longer have. Remembering this is usually the point where I stop beating myself up with worry and start kicking myself in the ass for being so dire in the first place.

Yesterday was a big-happy day for me. Hanging out with my friends, chilling after a full day of hard living with Dominic and Rich the day before, enjoying the company, the pool, the amazing weather here. Dinner at S & J’s house in the woods last night. All just good, amazing, investing fun.

Unstuck, Abstract!

Each day here in Guerneville I am awakened by mockingbirds shrieking…or by some folks down the way dropping something called “FOXY”, which keeps them awake and giggling all night and through the morning.

I am most certainly not a morning person, but during my time here I’m up with the birds and the foxy’s, usually by 06.45. I walk down the way and take a shower, brush my teeth, walk back to my tent. I grab my iBook (don’t say it) and head for a walk down to the coffee house that has internet connectivity—well, it has a lone Blueberry iMac running Mac OS 9, with a dialup connection. I don’t use it; I can’t easily use the connection to post blog entries, and well, fuck it, my email and the news of the world can wait a few days.

Besides, the hour or two I spend there feeds my need for solitude, or at least for reflection in this weekend of people-people-everywhere.

This morning was a landmark session. After having spent the last couple of weeks digging out notes and other preparatories for a nice long story I wanted to write, I finally pulled it all together into a serious timeline, fleshing out details with almost frictionless ease.

Odd that I had only brought up MacJournal, the app into which I have been entering all the materials (including writing) for the new novel, as a shield for the blog entries about bears. I figured if someone I knew came into the coffee shop, they might not…..appreciate….the subject or the tone of the entries. So the work on the novel was busy work, a cover up.

But lo and behold…there it was..the story laid itself out for me..or at least most of it has. And this is very different to how I wrote the first novel, which was a shoot-from-the-hip kind of thing that was character driven and finished up quite nicely even though I didn’t know where I was going with it before I started.

This one will also be character-driven, but I knew plot points in advance, and so I wrote timelines and filled them in in order to be sure that explications, foreshadowing, pattern and locations were all included.

To quote Sam, “it makes me happy in the pants.”

Bear-Naked Emperor

After walking around the pool at RRR, casually listening in on conversations, not with intent, but rather picking up bits here and there, there seems to be a self-awareness that is not sanctioned by the Book of Woof.

While the same sense of “Thou Shalt Act in Excess” comes into play as it has always come into play with sex, with “making out” (very ‘high school’), with eating, with drinking, with mirth, with girth; a new way to be excessive is on the rise: steroid use.

The evidence of the so-called musclebear is clear. So much so that someone I met today, who is a friend of friends of mine, offered up the prediction of a backlash against the musclebear and all other non-bears.

The definitions of ‘Bear’ will be reigned in, he said. A Fundamentalism will grow. The standard-model bear will react, calling a bear a bear and not-a-bear no-longer-a-bear, and the core Bear Image will contract (hold your irony) and the musclebears will be on their own, a sub-sub-sub-culture in search of an organizing principle, likely the one to be found in a syringe full of juice and the attending ‘cycling’: more standard behaviors!

Other folks made other comments which convinced me I was wrong in my previous postings. Wrong that there was a majority blind-obeisance to the group mentality. There is critique, wry or vulgar, and a healthy sense of humor about it all.

I guess we each take from the phenomenal those actual things that suit us, and discard the rest. I wonder if it can ever be more than that: can we change the phenomenological by assaulting its conscious elements?

My Life as a Bear

They say that the loneliest place in the world is in a crowd full of people who don’t understand you at all, who don’t care to understand you at all.

Lazybear Weekend is not the event you want to attend if you have no interest at all in sex. Which is me, for the most part, these days. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve decided to accept the fact and ride it out (so to speak). Even that aside, it has been a very long time since tricking was much fun for me, as it always seems to leave me wanting something more than just friction with another body.

None of the Ladybear Weekend folks know this, and yet because I am hairy, and because I have extra poundage on my frame, everyone assumes I am toeing the line on expected behaviors. It might also be the simple fact that I am attending such an event which would lead to the assumptions, but a) I am here to spend time-away with friends and b) these same assumptions come into play wherever I am wherever there are bears.

Because I do not have an internet connection here in Guerneville, no one will see these words until long after the fact, creating a bit of a safe-zone for me to vent freely.

Ostensibly, the Bear Movement (hey, stop snickering) began as a reaction to the Castro Clone look in the 1970s, bifurcating the gay population into Haves and Have-Nots insofar as muscly bodies go.

In the Have-Not’s, I’m assuming, that there was another bifurcation, into those who wanted to be Have’s and those who chose to expend their energies into reacting to the prevailing attitudes.

Those became the bears—or rather, the Bears—and turned that reaction into a force to be reckoned with, possessing gravity, if not gravitas, and long-tonnage, if not a longer-term view.

And like all movements which lack vision, it remained a simple reaction, even as it grew until it took on the worst in those it opposed. Lookism is what I’m talking about (yes, I’ve been a Northern Californian for 10+ years now, can you tell?), and if you’re not a bear, you’re not part of the club. There are loopholes for this, which wear the labels ‘cub’ and ‘otter’ and even ‘wolf’, a whole pantheon of critters to flesh out the umbrella bear movement, but those are satellite designations.

If you look like a bear, you’re in. Done. Nothing else need be explored. You have your E-Ticket. If you’re not a bear, you have the choice of a secondary designation (see pantheon, above) or you’re just an outsider.

The behavioral monoculture is confluent within the looks-imposed walls of beardom, and here’s where the lonely-in-a-crowd part comes in. The Primary Assumption of bear culture is simply this: If you look like one of us, then you act like one of us.

There is no first-blush. There is no Beginner’s Mind. There is no “get to know me”. There is only the package deal that comes with the Beard, Belly & Beyond.

The Primary Sin of bear culture: thou shalt not behave contrarily.

Neither Pastoral nor Lyrical

Irony and Satire have no place with the bears, it seems. I speak, of course, about the large, lumbering creature that is all of Beardom and not any one person, necessarily.

Irony appears only in the vast arrays of creature comforts lugged here from far and away in order to lend a Hollywood tone to the bucolic; think of it as a sort of Epcot pavilion for the great outdoors. But even then it’s as the object of irony and not observer of such. And co-opting is not the same thing as satirical commentary.

Nothing is ineffable, and the only nuance or complexity you’ll find is in the scattered and skulking and sketchy definitions of coupledom.

It’s all one note, folks; the big social monolith that is the Bears opens its mouth and sings, “Woof!”

Spotty Piggy!

So I’m off with a bunch of folks to Ladybear Weekend (ok, really it’s called Lazybear Weekend) with some friends. I don’t know if i’ll be able to post anything between now and when I get back, but I’m sure i’ll be writing something or other, and will, at the worst case, post things en masse after I get back.

Cheers! (oh, and woof-grrrrr)

Haikuesday!

Look at me, forgettin’ my own meme.

Good thing I had Scott to remind me. He picked a movie that he saw. Since I didn’t see it, i’ll have to write about what I saw at the theater most recently, Legally Blonde 2.

I mostly wear pink.
Haven’t I been here before?
It worked once before.

Bruiser’s mom locked up?
Animal testing is bad!
D.C. Here I Come!

Hello Patriots!
I am Capitol Barbie!
Where is my office?

Bob Newhart is rad!
My Bruiser is a gay boy!
Stan uses Product!

A Million Dog March
Activate the Delta Nu’s!
We Saved Bruiser’s Bill!

I mostly wear pink.
Haven’t I been here before?
It worked once before.

Schmaltzy vs Schlocky

My phab phemale phriend, Jeanome , refused to allow me to email her an AAC of “Beach Baby”, fearing that it would be too much schmaltz. Schmaltz???

Scott “Palo-stud-puhpet” actually disagreed with my assessment of the Best Pop Song EVER…I am shocked to inner stillness. But his suggestion of “Lonely Boy” is schmaltz…NOT schlock.

Clearly, we need a distinction.

A schmaltzy song, to my way of thinking, involves one or more of the following topics:

  • passing of generations
  • passing of a loved one
  • passing of a pet

In other words, maudlin maudlin maudlin!

Now, a schlocky song, on the other hand, is one that isn’t very well-made, but it’s dumb fun, and makes me smile. Schlocky songs:

  • are about luv, not LOVE
  • say ‘baby’ a LOT
  • usually have complex harmonies that sound simple

Schmaltzy songs: “Alone Again, Naturally” — Gilbert O’Sullivan (rolling eyes at the name) “Seasons in the Sun” — Terry Jacks “Shannon” — must have blocked it out…Henry Gross, I think.

So…death of family, death of self, death of dog.

Schlocky songs: “Heartbeat, It’s a Love Beat” — The DeFranco Family “Beach Baby” — First Class “Julie, Do Ya Love Me?” — Bobby Sherman

Here we have….a 12 yr old boy and his brothers & sisters singing about nebulous ‘Luv”, a song about a summer and a girl and spilled soda….and an anthemic nod to girl from a boy with a crush.

Schlocky songs make me happy…make me want to bounce around. Schmaltzy songs, on the other hand, make me uncomfortable in all those same places where, say, sand would be uncomfortable.

Very simple. Very easy.

Candor, Can Do

It’s strange, the things we’re taught should go unspoken. Like the good feelings we have about our friends and our loved-ones. Stranger still that when we do break through to say those things, the session of being candid becomes something that we don’t speak about after the fact: when a brutally honest, brutally candid, brutally sober instance of taking a friend aside and reminding him or her how important s/he is to me, and how much I enjoy and even depend on the relationship occurs, it’s almost embarrassing to call up the memory later, much less reminisce openly about it.

The resulting silences, when measured against the sheer noise of the negativity that rains down upon us all the time, would suggest that those instances of positivity are rare.

For me, they simply aren’t. Many of my friends remind me, bluntly or in more nuanced ways, that they are happy I am around, that I am their friends. My sense of abundance, as I have referred to it priorly, demands that I burden my friends and family with my feelings in kind, or just as often, that I get the ball rolling.

My friend, Dominic, is a rare bird (and a dirrrdy bird, but that’s another story). He and I are a perverse and, dammit, QUEER, pair. Honesty runs rampant between us; candor has its say. It’s a beautiful thing; he’s a beautiful thing.

This is us at Pink Saturday (our Saturday-night-before-Pride party)…

So do me a favor….go grab a friend (figuratively and literally, if you must/want), and tell that person how amazed and lucky you are to have him/her in your life.