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    I talked with Comicality back in 2020 and together we produced this interview (reproduced here) which talks about my book Milo and writing in general. He (Comicality) was such a nice guy, easy to talk to and always encouraging, a huge personality who will be missed with his passing this year (2024) and who leaves a space in the lives of many that will be difficult to fill.

    https://imagine-magazine.org/releases/volume-56/talo-segura-milo/

     

     I am honored to bring you guys our new featured author, Talo Segura, and his story “Milo”! I truly enjoyed this story, and I’m happy to welcome Talo to the Imagine team!

    Here is our interview! Be sure to send feedback and comments whenever you get the chance! And look for “Milo” to have a new chapter every month this year! Cool? Enjoy!

    Comicality: – Welcome to Imagine! We’re happy to have you here with us, and I’m loving the talent that I see with your story here. So let me start off by asking…reading this story, right off the bat, it felt very personal to you as an author. If I may ask, where did the idea for this story come from? And how close is it to any personal experiences that you’ve had in the past? Or is this just an original idea that you wanted to explore on your own?

    Talo Segura: – Great question! Where did the inspiration come from? It’s a mixture, you take ideas and add in experiences and that kind of makes the basis for a good story. I took inspiration from a great film, but I don’t want to say too much because it could be a bit of a spoiler, let’s just say it was about how parents could react to discovering their son (or daughter) might be gay. I added in some personal experiences, long hot summers in the south of France, which (hopefully) evokes a certain atmosphere, I wanted the reader to feel they were there. The story plot and idea were original, aided by a little research to get the facts straight.

    Comicality: – You said that this was your very first effort at writing a novel. Can you tell us what made you actually sit down and do it? What motivated you to write “Milo”, and put it out there for people to see?

    Talo Segura: – I should make a confession (of sorts), I wrote something else, but Milo is my first book, first story I finished. I started writing encouraged by someone I met, I can’t say that the very first effort was a success, more disastrous. I still can’t decide about it, but that’s another story (no pun intended!).

    Along the way, I suddenly told myself, “I CAN write,” and set out to write the book that became Milo. A story I constructed with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and which I got edited and had feedback to help put together.

    What motivated me? Inspiration and a desire to prove something to myself. To produce a finished novel, or novella, because it’s short, but then it’s best to be realistic when you start. A short book completed is better than a long one you don’t quite manage.

    Comicality: – Congratulations on that then! Hehehe! So, if you had to describe your story (Without giving away any spoilers, of course), what would you say that it was about? What would you say to draw readers in, and what would you want them to take away from the story when they’re finished reading it from beginning to end?

    Talo Segura: – It isn’t easy to answer these questions. Let’s say I would very much like readers to be pulled into the story, to want to discover what happens, to be surprised by unexpected twists and turns, but to come away at the end pleased and a little sorry it had finished. Without giving anything away the book is a little like one of those European movies you might have seen. There is no huge world shattering event (it’s not a block buster with special effects) it is one summer and two families confronting what life throws at them.

    Comicality: – I can definitely see that. There seems to be a focus on the family life and surrounding characters in your story instead of just the protagonist and his thoughts about being gay. I’m interested in what you were thinking and what led you to make the choices you made to develop the story and build it up the way you did. Can you give us some insight on your thought process there?

    Talo Segura: – Lots of stories with a gay theme can swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. The desire to create and read about our hero who (perhaps) like us, is or might be gay, can lead to places which don’t look too much like the real world. That’s fine for fantasy and sci-fi, but this book was a real life drama, so I wanted the gay theme to be set as very much a part of everybody’s life. Which means the whole world isn’t gay and there might even be other issues people have to confront. I believe that in setting a balance rooted in reality it can make for a more powerful exposition of coming to terms with and accepting being gay, as part of everyday normality. At least, that is what I hope for.

    Comicality: – So, you feel that having a wide and diverse cast of characters and personalities makes for a more realistic representation of the real world when it comes to your writing? Care to elaborate?

    Talo Segura: – A diverse cast of characters can make for interesting reading, but I don’t mean to say you need a large number, more that the people that populate the story reflect reality. I’m talking about real life drama, a slice of life, and I mean an author might want to consider that there are men and women (boys and girls), all sorts of inbetweens and lots of diversity out there. I would simply like writers to think about that, the mother of the boy coming out, what is she thinking, why does she feel so bad?

    It is not easy to get inside the heads of your characters, but I think sometimes the parents (as an example) of the boy coming to terms with maybe being gay can get overlooked. What are their feelings? My own mother blamed herself, I don’t judge her for that, I tried to understand how she felt. She thought she may have been responsible, done something wrong. She did nothing at all to make me gay, but she was playing out all her own fears and worries at the same time as I was trying to come out and stop hiding.

    I think giving a little time to develop supporting characters personalities makes them more real and in doing so heightens the drama. It is not only all about the gay son coming out, but at the same time his mother and father are coming to terms. It’s why in Milo there is more going on than simply what is happening for the main character.

    Comicality: – Very true, indeed. I noticed that you have a real flair for description and paint beautiful pictures with your use of words and metaphor in your story. It’s really cool to see such passion in someone’s writing. Where does that come from? How do you find the words, and apply them so effectively to the scenarios that you create?

    Talo Segura: – I’m a little embarrassed by your praise. What can I say? Before ever trying to write I have been (still am) an avid reader. I love the English language (all variations) and I love books that not only tell a great story, but do so in a way that makes you enjoy reading the words. A story, for me, has three important aspects, the plot and storylines, the characters that people it, and the places where it takes place. The author has to try to bring alive those characters and evoke the imagination of the reader who conjures up the images in their head. It isn’t easy to do and I had lots of trying to get it right, I’m not sure I can match it in another book.

    Comicality: – Hehehe, well you’ve got to at least try, right? Now that you’ve gotten the writing bug, and a loyal fanbase reading your work, I would assume that you might try to follow up with a sophomore story some time in the near future. Do you have any ideas floating around as to what your next story might be about? Or is that on the back burner for now?

    Talo Segura: – They say that the second book is the hardest to write, I do have ideas floating around. Actually, more concrete than ideas, I have started writing, however it is probably best not to say too much. I am currently getting feedback to get another point of view, a second opinion. My dilemma is around the type of story, let me explain: Milo falls within a certain genre, would I disappoint readers with something different? I will let you in on a secret, which may be something a number of would be authors share, I am insecure. The hardest step to take is to publish what you have written and wait to see if it is read.

    Comicality: – “Milo” has many moments of sensual tension in the story, some a bit awkward, and some very arousing. How do you go about creating moments like these, enticing the reader, all while keeping your big secrets until later chapters?

    Talo Segura: – An interesting question and one which touches on how the author writes a book. Do you have an idea, sit down and start writing, see where it takes you, or do you plan it all out?

    I have an idea and an outline of where the story is going, then I plan out the detail before writing. Not all the way to the end, but enough to see the road ahead. Then I pause to consider one very important aspect, how do I bring it all together and end it. I may not have the ending in detail, but I do work it out before I get there.

    Writing in this way allows scenes that hint, mis-direct, and little things that get slipped in. It’s like a jigsaw, you have to create all the pieces and fit them together, you get to choose which parts you build in what order, but they all come together at the end to reveal the whole picture, or almost, you are allowed a few loose ends!

    Comicality: – Sweet! Well, would you like to give your audience any links to this story, any of your other projects, or to your social media? How can new fans of your work contact you if they want to send you feedback or ask any questions?

    Talo Segura: – Like any writer who publishes a story for free, the only recompense is a word from a reader. I always reply and am very happy to answer questions. I love feedback (even if it’s to say you didn’t like it). I count this as my first book, I don’t have anything else to really show you. It took me two years to get this together, which is a long time for a little book, but I had failures as well as help along the way. You can write me at: talo.segura.x@gmail.com

    Comicality: – One last question. What advice would you give to any other writers who may be just starting out, or are looking for a reason to create a story of their own? Maybe you inspired them to give it a shot.

    Talo Segura: – From my own experience you have to be a reader who loves reading before you attempt to be an author. You have to accept (not easy) that your first efforts might be – not that good. You have to try and get some help and feedback that you can use to develop your skill.

    And try to keep in mind that simply because most people are literate and know how to write does not mean everyone is an instant author. Everyone (most) know how to talk, can even sing along with music, but that doesn’t make you a singer!

    It takes effort, practice, perseverance, and a little help. But don’t be discouraged, try your hand, you got to try it to see if it works, same with everything. And remember this: everyone of you is good at something, it’s waiting there for you to discover.

    Comicality: – Thank you so much for the interview and your insight on how you put this series together and for giving us hope for another entertaining tale in the future. All of you guys can check out Talo Segura’s story right here in Imagine Magazine, chapter by chapter! And feel free to write in and give him your thoughts at the email above! K? Enjoy! And welcome to the asylum, Talo! >:)

  1. Graham Greene once said “a story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead”. In Glacier Bay, there are thirty thousand such stories. Here is but one of those stories. 

     

    Tyler’s Dilemma: Questioning Everything 

    A Glacier Bay Story

    By: Jason Rimbaud

    The parking lot was dark with only the faint light from the stars twinkling off the surface of the water. The water broke against the shore in gentle waves and there wasn’t a breath of air stirring the treetops. One could draw comparisons of an eerie fall night one would see in a horror movie. 

    A lone car parked in a deserted lot next to a scenic location. A moonless night with just the faint glow of the city lights in the distance. Two people fogging up the windows in a red Jeep oblivious to their surroundings. There would be soft music playing on the radio. A perfect invitation for a mad killer to attack them. 

    But that would only be in the movies. Glacier Bay had no mad killers. The rather small town of thirty thousand hadn’t had a murder in over ten years that wasn’t related to some kind of domestic disturbance. Any mad killer that found their way to this sleepy town would have been overcome by the vista and settle down to live a normal adjusted life in a seaside town. 

    Though Glacier Bay could suck the life right out of you by the sheer normalcy of everyday living. It was a town of mostly laid back conservative christians that worried more about getting to church each Sunday and making sure their kids got a great education than anything else. On the surface, Glacier Bay was a utopia for anyone weary of big city life and all the problems that stem from millions of people living together. 

    Yet it was quickly becoming quite cosmopolitan as more families moved to Glacier Bay to escape the claustrophobia of the big city. They preferred to commute the two hour drive to the office each day before retreating back to the safety of the mountains. 

    Each morning lines of cars disappeared over the horizon leaving a town filled with kids, bored housewives, and retirees that could afford to live in the exclusive coastal properties. The wives gathered in restaurants after going to the gym with their thousand dollar strollers, yoga pants, and bottomless Mimosas. The kids all dressed the same as they tried to mimic big city fashion and spent their time doing Tik Tok challenges and drinking white claws on the weekend. If you were to ask any of them, they would claim to be bored most of the time. 

    And that was exactly how Tyler Randolph Scott felt. Trapped by the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other side. In his seventeen years, thirteen of them had been spent in Glacier Bay. He felt cut off from the real world and all the stimuli that would save him from the brain numbing routine of small town life. 

    That was the driving force that led him to this mostly empty parking lot on a Friday night. It was three days before the start of his senior year and he was sitting in his brand new Jeep Compass with his best friend, Devin Jenkins, staring hesitantly at the door to the rest stop bathroom some twenty yards away. 

    “This is so fucked,” Tyler blurted after a few moments of staring at the closed door. He looked over at Devin and declared, “I’m not gonna do it.”

    “You’re the one who lost the bet,” Devin said with a wicked grin. “Now it’s time to pay up.”

    “I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do,” Tyler complained with a frown on his face.

    “You go inside, pick an empty stall. Then you wait until someone comes in the next stall. It’s easy.”

    “Oh really?” Tyler asked incredulously. “That’s your plan. Just wait in the stall until someone comes in. Then I just shove my dick in the hole.”

    Devin nodded as he said, “Pretty much.”

    “And what if the man that comes in shoves his dick through the hole instead?”

    “I’m not going to tell you how to live your life,” Devin said as he shrugged. 

    Tyler sat in silence for a moment. Why did he let Devin force him into these stupid bets? He blurted out, “This isn’t right.”

    “Coming from the guy that made me shove a marker up my ass and parade around MIndy’s house on the Fourth of July.”

    “That was just good ole clean fun,” Tyler said with a wave of his hand. “But you’re making me do something gay.”

    “Shoving a marker up your ass is pretty gay,” Devin countered. “Plus, I had to do it in front of a house full of my friends. You should thank your ass I’m not making you do that in front of them.”

    “Fine,” Tyler said as he unbuckled his seatbelt. “But I think after this, we should lay off the bets for a while.”

    “Agreed,” Devin said as he unbuckled his seatbelt. 

    “Where do you think you’re going ?” Tyler demanded as he turned to look at the boy intently. 

    “Inside with you,” Devin said casually. Like it was an everyday occurrence to watch his buddy get a blowjob in a bathroom rest stop.

    “Bullshit,” Tyler said quickly, a look of panic on his face. “No way you’re going inside with me.”

    “I need proof,” Devin said flatly. “No way I’m going to let you get out of this by only pretending you cleared your bet.”

    “I’m not letting you watch me get a blowjob from some dude in a public restroom,” Tyler argued as he shook his head violently. “It’s not gonna happen.”

    “What do you suggest then?” Devin asked as he crossed his arms stubbornly. There was no way he was going to let Tyler weasel out. Not after he had to have that marker in his ass. 

    “I’ll take a video,” Tyler offered quickly. 

    Devin thought about it for a moment and then nodded slowly. He said, “But once in the stall, I want a video of your face and without pausing, I want to see you shove your dick in the hole.”

    “Fine,” Tyler said as he opened the door and took a deep breath before he walked across the parking and into the bathroom.

  2. The tile says it all, but I suppose I should add more...

    Wales is presently wet. I don't like it, the cat doesn't like it, and the rain seems never ending. I wouldn't mind if it was hot, but oh no - winter beckons: no naked frolicking rain dances under warm skies for me. If I had any thermal underwear I'd be in them.

    ...and now the beast wants to go out again. It seems, like Pooh bear, I have a cat with very little brain... soon to be a wet cat with very little brain.

    I'll leave the ennui and existential crisis for another post.

    Ave.

  3. So, as I mentioned in the forums, I have been revisiting my past works and have been thinking of re-writing them. Though now that I think about it, the correct term is editing. The most I'm thinking of re-writing are a few paragraphs but never the whole story really because that is a lot of work.

    But, I don't know. Right now, I'm still afraid I might make a wreck of it instead of making it better.

    On the [new] writing front, I have completed a new short story. And it's long, wow. It's the first story I have completed since Having Put in Time. A story I wrote for Midnight Dude in 2011.

    2011!

    That's a long time.

    As for the story I "abandoned", In a World of Fools, I have actually gotten a few emails about it over the years, and I'm hoping they are reading this blog, because I do plan on continuing it. I think I mentioned in a blog post before that I stopped writing it because my computer back then died, and with it, all my files as well. It was frustrating at that time. But, now, I'm glad the cloud has been invented. No more lost files.

    Looking back, I'm also glad that I did not get to finish In a World of Fools, because, that time, I was in a really really bad place, and I fully intended to write the story as a tragedy. Regardless, I have learned my lesson, which is to complete the whole story/novel first before posting. It also will be easier that way to rewrite certain parts.

    Currently, I'm in the middle of drafting a Tagalog novel, 220, posted in my Wattpad account. I plan to translate this into English and have it here in AD.

    I also have a few ideas ruminating up there, but we'll see how it goes.

    I'm taking this one step at a time.

  4. I think I’ve been turning into a recluse. But, I haven’t lost my optimism…yet.

    A lot has been happening, but where to begin? I guess from the beginning. This will be long.

    When the economy started to go down in 2008, my business (I'm a structural engineer to help keep their buildings from crashing down) started to slow. My clients were architects and builders. Their businesses went down and consequently, so did mine. I eventually pulled out of the business and went on Social Security, because I could make more than my business was bringing in. We muddled on for a while, and then two of our foster kids were pulled from us because the agency had found adoptive families for them. Now David had to go to work. Because of the turn down in the income, I missed a rent payment in June of 2013. I was able to make the next few rent payments, but couldn’t pay the June rent. Well, in October of that year, we were evicted. I was pretty much in financial ruin.

    As my father was quite ill in the hospital, my brother offered to use his truck flatbed trailer and move us to Minnesota. We would be staying in my father’s house with no rent. So on October 30th we arrived in Thief River Falls, Minnesota and moved into my dad’s house. That gave me the opportunity see him in the hospital. The house is about 125 years old with riverfront property, large for this area, and not very well kept up. It needed a lot of mostly minor repairs that had been neglected over the last couple of years. We had given away all of our furniture as move space was limited, but kept linens, clothes and kitchen stuff.

    My dad passed away from cancer a month later in November of 2013. He left the house to my brother, also a David (my partner), and I. My brother has a home in town, so I remain living in the house that my dad left us, and he remained in his.

    David got a job with Digikey in February of 2014. It’s one of the largest electronic parts distributers in the country and employs a little over 1/3 of the city’s population of 8,500. I tried to get a job, but when they read my resume, I’m too qualified for anything that they could offer, so I stayed retired and continued to raise our remaining foster boy, Rio Northern.

    That didn’t go well. New Mexico put in a request that we be able to transport him to Minnesota. The approval came just 2 hours before we were to leave. Starting off on the right foot, huh? Rio was still under guardianship of the state of New Mexico. New Mexico has different policies than Pennington County. (The state runs the foster system in New Mexico while in Minnesota the counties run their social services.) New Mexico has a requirement that they must have a home visit by their case worker once a month, while Pennington County does not. New Mexico had requested that Pennington County Social Services provide that. That’s where the fireworks started. Pennington County did not have guardianship over Rio and did not want him here as they had no control over him. He was a burden to them.

    David and I had started the adoption process for Rio in the spring of 2013, but it was not complete when we left. New Mexico requested that Pennington County perform the final home study, which they did and approved the adoption in early March of 2015.

    Now, Rio does not have the best ability to make good choices and got into trouble with the law. He got a BB gun that first Christmas here. I figured that since he was going to be living in an area where everyone hunts and has a lot of guns and would be with my relative’s kids, he should get some firearm training from me. A new friend and Rio took the BB gun and went out the day after Christmas. The other kid took the gun and was shooting out car headlights and windows in a church. The police were able to follow their footprints in the snow and showed up at our house that afternoon. Since Rio was with him and considered an accomplice, he had to go to juvenile court. Rio had not fired the BB gun.

    This is a small town, and some of the police here are bullies. As Rio had been involved with the police, he now had a reputation with them as being quite the delinquent. And it got worse. Rio had been taking a med to help with his ADHD and PTSD. Shortly after that Christmas (February 2014, I think), the doctor changed his med to vivance. Shortly after the med change, Rio came home from a friends. He seemed to be depressed, and we questioned him but could find nothing that had made him depressed. I guess that he just didn’t want to talk about it. Fifteen minutes later I found his prescription bottle in the bathroom sink – empty! I immediately called 911 and an ambulance was dispatched along with the police. Rio had tried to commit suicide. He was put on a suicide watch at the hospital and given the standard blood tests. They found amphetamines in his system. Now Rio was not just a delinquent in the eyes of the police and the courts, but a meth-head as well. It’s really unfortunate how people don’t follow through and jump to conclusions. You see, vinance IS an amphetamine. He took his own prescribed medication not something from off the street. The police never understood or realized that.

    When we went to court in March 2015, Rio’s public defender and I were shocked when the county prosecuting attorney dropped all charges. Of course, we were elated, but couldn’t figure out why. We found out the next morning why. Pennington County had recanted their adoption approval. Two things were in play here. The first Is that our foster license had expired, but since we were in the adoption process, we were approved with an adoptive license to have a foster boy in our home. But now we didn’t have either a foster or adoptive license. Second is that there Is a federal agency that governs rules between states for foster kids that live out of the state that has their guardianship. Pennington County Social Services contacted them, telling them of the unlicensed home that Rio was in. New Mexico contacted us and said that they had three days to pick up Rio and return him to New Mexico. Needless to say, we were quite upset that Rio was being jerked from our home. I drove Rio back to Las Cruces that weekend. It was quite obvious to me, David and Rio’s attorney that we were set up! Pennington County Social Services couldn’t get Rio out if he were awaiting judgement from the judicial system. They obviously contacted the County Prosecutor’s office, and they worked it out.

    When Rio was back in New Mexico, he was scheduled to have his annual court hearing in a couple of weeks. The judge just wants to make sure that the agency is following through with their plans for getting these kids adopted at that hearing. I couldn’t afford staying in a motel for an extra two weeks, so I drove back to Minnesota to wait. Two weeks later, I drove back to New Mexico and contacted Rio’s attorney (New Mexico provides an attorney to protect the rights of kids under care by Social Services). She submitted a motion before Rio’s hearing that requested David and I be given permanent guardianship over Rio. New Mexico Social Services had to approve that motion before it could be so ordered. They could not approve the motion because of an agency policy to never let a minor out from under their control unless he or she was adopted, or aged out. I heard from the agency’s attorney that she thought that our home was the best place for Rio, but her hands were tied.

    Rio’s attorney and I had many breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings along with a few in her office to figure out what to do. She had an idea. She provided two motions to the court. The first one was to have Rio removed from control by the agency and placed under control of the court. This removed Rio from being under the policies of the agency. The second was to have Rio removed from control by the court and placed under permanent legal guardianship of David and I. The judge signed both orders the next morning, and Rio was now ours! I drove back to Minnesota the following day with my son!

    Pennington County was not pleased that we went around them. And, Rio was now under the scrutiny of the county sheriff’s and city police departments. In a way, we feel that even David and I are being watched. Police cars seem to be cruising our street a lot. The neighborhood has gone south since I remember it back in the day (I was born here). There was a drug bust in a house across the street a few months after we arrived.

    On a brighter note, David and I were married last year shortly after Rio and I returned to Minnesota. Minnesota already had already legalized gay marriage.

    It seems that living in Minnesota has been one crisis after another. I don’t like this town. It has totally changed since I was here years ago. Digikey has to hire a lot of people, and there are a lot of new arrivals with their delinquent kids because of that. We have to keep the house continually locked because of a lot of robberies that happen in this neighborhood.

    Rio turned 18 on September 13th last year. Oddly enough, his birthday is the day before mine, so we celebrate together. He was now out of our guardianship and technically on his own. He wants what all kids want, and that is to be on his own. So, Rio moved to Morehead, Minnesota last month. Fargo is just across the Red River of the North from Morehead. He had an opportunity to room with a friend of ours. She’s about 30 years old and could give him the guidance that he needed. The apartment building is just across the street from the State University of Minnesota Morehead. He enrolled in GED classes and now fully intends to attend the university to get a degree in graphic and video arts. He never had any ambition to go to college before this. I can’t tell you how much I’m impressed and pleased that he wants to finally make something of himself. The friends that he’s meeting there are nothing like the delinquents that he’s met here. They have goals. His roommate goes to the college. His roommate’s mother is a teacher. Perfect for developing motivation in him.

    Well, it didn’t go so well. David and I didn’t realize the mental aberrations that Rio’s roommate was living under. She started accusing Rio of things that he was not a part of, and she eventually moved out. Unfortunately, they were under lease, and Rio could not afford all of the expenses himself. Thankfully, the landlord is on Rio’s side and is trying to find a roommate for him. Unfortunately, David and I must pick up his new found expenses. We don’t want him to move back to Thief River Falls for two reasons. First is the proliferation of delinquent friends that seem to come around here and the attitude that he needs to be watched by the police. Second is that we want him in the school environment that’s afforded him where he is. He wants to stay because of the school and his future. We’re off to find him furniture tomorrow. We’re working on trying to keep him there, trying to help him find a roommate. The landlord offered to move him to a single bedroom apartment, but Rio can’t afford the rent all by himself. We’re still working on it. I'll be visiting Clay County (where Morehead is located) tomorrow.

    As for David and I, we want out of this place. I’ve mostly lived in larger cities and so has David. Maybe it has a lot to do with the anonymity of self and culture that large cities offer compared to small towns. My brother and I have worked out an arrangement. We had originally thought of buying a large 5th wheel trailer and truck to tour the country. We wanted to find a place to relocate to and wanted to find out where we might want to live first. That would work for us. This house has a sales value (given the repairs and upgrades that need to be made) of around $ 85,000. That means that what I own is around $ 42,500. He offered to buy me out (which I want) by giving me his 5th wheel trailer and truck and some cash as my portion. So hopefully, David and I will be out of here on Nov 1st this year on our way to investigate and enjoy the country.

    I've started writing again with the time I have now that Rio is in his own apartment. We still have to go get him in Morehead for his court appearances. It's a novel and will take some time to finish, but I think you'll like it.

    I've never lost my optimism. :)

    Richard

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    A report from Zuccotti Park, November 14th 2011

    Written December 25th, 2011 at 06:18 AM by larkin

    A report from Zuccotti Park, November 14th 2011

    (This is my piece, not, cut and paste from other sources)

    I have a bias so don't expect impartial reporting from me. I am sympathetic to the core issues of Occupation Wall Street. If I was homeless, I might be camped there with them.

    I traveled 300 miles for a number of reasons, one of which was to go to Zuccotti Park and visit the with the protesters. What makes Occupation Wall Street different from the others is that they are camped in the very center of the world and the contrast is formidable. Upon approaching the park the sky view is dominated by the lofty new world trade center building now almost complete. The campable part of the park is barely 60' x 250' and every square foot is occupied with tents. The overall appearance is grimy like many other parts of New York. The buildings surrounding the park aren't just buildings, they are shining monuments that tower over what I fear is a doomed encampment.

    On their own and sometimes with the help of the police, the indigent, the homeless and mentally ill came from other parts of the city. It was hoped by their adversaries that the presence of undesirables and potential trouble makers would discredit the motives of the movement.

    Instead of rejecting or ejecting these people, they fed them, scrounged up clothing and tried to organize social service for them. The philosophy was that these people are also part of the 99%. It was a true test of principles.

    Surrounding the entire park was a continuous stream of well dressed tourists taking pictures and donating a dollar here and there. I talked with one camper who could only be characterized as an romantic and impractical idealist. I asked him why he didn't make the walk to Washington. He said he didn't have a sleeping bag and he had to stay close to friends in Brooklyn. There were older people, Native American contingencies, There were disaffected democrats, libertarians and yes, socialist and anarchists.

    The button and poster sellers showed up in numbers. This is a capitalist country, after all.

    I was excited and fearful at the same time. The police lined the corners of the park acting as quiet and somewhat resentful custodians of something they really didn't want to be bothered with. The New York City police force is probably the most racially diverse police force in the country. They consist of men, women, black, Spanish, Asian, tall and short. They too have family members that have lost their houses or are unemployed. Like the service men that have joined the ranks of the protestors the police are not without sympathies for what is going on. However they are employed by the city and the people that conduct the affairs around Zuccotti park.

    There is a core group of activists that headed out towards Washington on foot. Their intention is to join up with Occupation Washington and forge solidarity. The walk is expected to take 2 weeks and they plan to accumulate supporters all along the way.

    I left the park with an ominous feeling about the future of the encampment and for all those involved. I knew it could go on this way. My guess was that rout was going to happen very soon and certainly while the activists were away on their march to Washington D.C. Activists specialize in confrontation and the police really don't need them.

    I got home on Monday evening. At 4 am this morning I checked Youtube and saw that the camp had been razed at 1 am this morning.

    The encampment at Zuccotti park maybe gone but it will become the Genesis for a much larger movement. These people didn't come out of nowhere and they challenged and took on the most powerful forces on the planet. They did it with no money. All across the country cities and the police forces will begin to tear down and raze these encampments but it will only make matters worse. The problem is a government unresponsive to the voters. It is a government that supports forces that are dismantling this once great country of ours. Until they begin to deal with these issues things are only going to escalate.

    To quote Chris Hedges, "We have nothing left but the street.."

  5. It's fast becoming a need of mammoth proportions to stand against religions as antiquated belief systems with no redeeming features.

    Moreover, religious belief is an immature explanation for what science now reveals as fact without superstition, morality without coercion, and love without the need to appeal to, or appease a god.

    How many lives will the religious sacrifice on the altar of their ignorance?

    How many beating hearts will the priests of burden rip from the bodies of the innocent?

    And how many times must we witness insanity destroying reason, intelligence, and truth, before we understand that nurturing the love within ourselves is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the mystery of life?

  6. Lives in Periphery

    A new serial novel by EleCivil

    ---

    Manufacturing plants opened up on the outskirts – little metal pockmarks against the amber waves of grain. They didn’t last. Now, there were abandoned factories and junk heaps just sitting around. Chunks of broken machines rusted into the gravel lots in front of condemned buildings. He had always been drawn to them; the abandoned machines and the ruins of a failed empire. This one was fairly close to school, and it had become his afternoon hideout. No one else knew this – they’d probably think he was weird – but the way he saw it, some people are called to the trees, some people are called to the water, and he was called to the rust. Given his childhood on the outskirts, rust seemed as natural and comforting as a cool breeze.

    ---

    “Consider it reparations for your history of repeated malfeasance. I know from your records that you’re smart enough. That’s why I’m using words like ‘malfeasance’. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that. I usually have to say things like ‘Hey, jerk - stop punching.’ This is refreshing.”

    ---

    He wasn't going to fall for this. This kind of tactic may work on middle schoolers, or hotheads, or the weak-nerved, but he was made of stronger stuff than that. This was such a transparent trick to make him implicate himself. Say nothing, and let the criminal go mad with guilt until he's ready to throw himself to the floor, pull up the boards and it's the beating of his hideous heart! But that wouldn't work on him. He wasn't a criminal.

    ---

    "Hell, if you’re going to play outlaw, you might as well go all out."

    ---

    Beginning Fall 2013

  7. Madrigal
    Latest Entry

    blog-0057805001341006077.jpgQuote from a previous blog about my avatar pic:

    My avatar pic was an assignment that required us to modify propaganda while still maintining the message current. I based mine off a satire of Sheppard Fairey's (sp?) HOPE image... for which he was apparently sued. I've always felt a strong connection to the trans community-- not because I am trans (I'm not trans nor do I feel a need to change my gender), but because of something else that is hard to explain. I guess I've always admired the fight and spirit behind every transgendered person, their generosity and their outlook on life. The actual work was a bit of a fiasco, both technically and concept-wise. I still enjoy looking at it every now and then though. I'll post it when I find it ^_^.

    The experience of unveiling this for critique was a little unsettling. I didn't expect people to have much of an opinion on the subject, since nobody in class was transgendered or queer as far as I knew. And I had no idea if the propaganda and my own beliefs would be confused as the same. Anyway there it is. Technically mediocre, but fun to make nonetheless. I can't remember the exact dimension. Something like... 18x12in? Hmmm.

  8. So, after a hard drive crash on Wednesday, I was in the PDX Apple Store to get another drive installed in my MacBook. The genius at the Genius Bar took the little gem to the surgical suite and began the surgery. I waited close to the Bar near a wall. I put my laptop bag on the floor at my feet and looked at some accessories on the wall. Within three minutes, a very delightful and very gay (at least according to my bidar) young man in a blue Apple Store shirt walked over, smiling, and asked if I needed anything. I said, "No thank you, I'm just waiting for a drive installation." Nice customer service I thought.

    Over the next seven minutes four more very nice young men, all of whom I assessed as gay, walked over one at a time to and to ask if they could help me. I'm trying to figure out why I warrant this attention from this group of guys. I mean I think I give off the vibe of a straight ex-cop. Then I remember that on my computer bag handle I've placed a luggage tag from HRC with the blue and yellow equal sign. I put it there mostly to piss off any homophobic cops and firefighters I see in the course of training them.

    Oh well. These solicitous young men were only interested in caring for what they thought was an elderly queen. I'm surprised that one of them didn't ask what I was doing during the riot. At least, that's the explanation I invented.

  9. blue
    Latest Entry

    It's been over a month now since my grandmother died. This past weekend was the 11th anniversary of my dad's death. I had a really close relationship with my family. That's no matter what I say about being gay, my feelings about that.

    The past few weeks, after doing a lot of immediately necessary things, I then sort of retreated into my shell. I know I can't really do that. My house is a mess. And by mess I mean something beyond pigsty. Pigs would be offended. My grandmother's house is still to get taken care of. It is neat and tidy, though. There's much to do.

    I've been alternately worried at not doing more, relieved that I can and should rest some, and wondering what's up with me, even though, yes, I've been through this before twice. One with my mom. Again with my dad, worse that time. I am doing better this go-round, and I have some idea what all this is. I'm alternating between, "I don't much care," and "I've got to do all this right now this instant," and a slightly guilty one, "I'm finally free, truly free, for the first time since my dad passed away." Well, and there's also, "how do I reintegrate into normal life?"

    The last few weeks, I've begun getting story ideas, bits and pieces, left and right. Other things have been scattered too. Normal habits are out of sync. My sleep/wake cycle, which has for years now been on emergency duty, day and night, is trying somehow to readjust, but it's completely out of sync. That's complicated by the fact that I've been a night owl most of my life, and more so from early college on. Memory-wise, I'll be fine and then I'll realize I've forgotten some little thing or some not so little thing. Add in very bad eyesight, and whew, it gets...interesting...in the sense of the old Chinese curse about, "May you live in interesting times."

    But that's mostly OK. I know what it is, I've been through it before, and this seems mild by comparison. Partly because, well, I've done a lot of grieving already, before she passed. Yet today, for the first time since then, I found this urge this evening at suppertime to call her on the phone, then remembered I can't. (Well, I could, but that's one heckuva long distance call, lemme tell ya.) -- You do have to learn to laugh, too, at the absurdity of some things.

    So I had been wondering just what's up with me, and tonight, while reading determinedly through a story at AwesomeDude, like I read a couple at Codey's World three days ago, and while I've been listening to AwesomeDude Radio (I swear, Dude and Des and Tim and Azy and Colin aren't paying me to say that) well, it dawned on me what I'm really doing.

    I'm cramming in as much relaxation and playtime and me time as I can, in ways that most appeal to me. I'm somehow, I think, trying to make up for lost time.

    Now, you may wonder a couple of things at this point. One is, Ben, are you OK? -- Yes, I am OK, or as OK as you can be in this situation. I kind of know how this plays out before you get to the other side of it, and this time around, I should know how to short circuit it and get on with things quicker.

    But I feel in some ways like a ghost or like Rip Van Winkle, suddenly waking and finding everything has changed completely, some alternate reality, some Twilight Zone episode, where it's all changed and it's a strange world now. Or like an invisible ghost that now sees things but isn't perceived and doesn't have connections to the real world. Well, except of course that's not quite true. But it is true that my circle of friends in the real world has shrunk to a truly tiny radius. My online life likewise means a whole lot to me, and is still a lifeline for socializing, for friendships, for being an equal partner in this odd primate species.

    That, incidentally, leads into the other question you may be wondering. Maybe you noticed, I didn't say anything about going out much and partying, or visiting friends, or a boyfriend, or...satisfying certain physical urges common to male (and female) primates. The answer to that one is pretty simple: I'm not quite ready yet. I'm actually going to appreciate (mostly) the chance to keep to myself some for Christmas and New Year's. Later on, I'll venture out and attempt to rejoin all those crazy monkey-boys and monkey-girls. And well, I've been a loner for a long time. So those urges mostly get taken care of solo, as much as solo can satisfy those, which is to say, it only partly does it. -- But hey, that will now get a chance to get worked on too, and that will be a very new thing for me.

    That particular aspect is something about being gay that people often miss. I think to some extent, a lot of gay folks are delayed in the dating and relationships department, because if you don't get to go out and practice as easily and often as someone straight, then you're going to have some catch-up homework to do to get up with the rest of the class. For some of us, that's very light. For others, we may have parts of ourselves stuck back in the teens or earlier or later, and so there's a lot to catch up with. Others don't have quite that issue, because for some reasons, they don't have that kind of lag in time or people.

    Well, anyway, right now, I'm about to finish up and head to bed for an indeterminate while to sleep, before my body wakes itself again to do something around here, or to get on the computer and write or surf. I may be up a while still, or I may go to bed, sleep for between two to six hours, and wake again.

    I'll have necessary errands (whatever else I get for making Christmas dinner, plus a haircut, plus whatever) on Thursday and back here. It's possible some out of town family might stop by over the holiday, either Christmas or New Year's, but since another relative is sick, they may not get to visit. (I'm OK with that either way.)

    In other words, I'm just complaining here how out of sync I feel and how odd it is, reintegrating into a world that is very different than what I've become used to.

    Soon enough, I should be up to things again, enough, for instance, to see if two people and a cup of coffee (or some such) can connect as friends after a consolation hug that was, hmm, really, really nice.

    Yes, in some ways, I feel like Rip Van Winkle or a ghost invisible in the world. But sometimes, that anonymity is a blessing, a buffer, a safety net, for a while.

    We'll see how things go. -- Some creativity is happening too, so it's better than you'd think.

    Yup, bedtime, finally. Might be lucky and dream about a nice cute guy. (This has happened a couple of times lately, enough just to reassure me I don't have something off kilter in there, despite whatever my conscious mind may think.)

    Zzzz, g'night, awake again sooner than you'd think.

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    Recent Entries

    TracyMN
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    Not sure I need another place to talk, but at least I'll be on solid ground.

    I'm going to go see what the rest of you do here.

    T.

  10. Manic Mike
    Latest Entry

    Working on my latest story brought back all these memories from when I was a kid and got me thinking. What does it means to be a man? the following is my attempt to answer that question.

    A man does not turn his back on his friends or break his word. He finishes what he starts. A man does not run when things get difficult. He stands and faces what lies in his path, steadfast in the knowledge that no matter what, he gave it his all. He does not let pride stop him from asking for help when he needs it. He sees a problem and fixes it. He knows when to lead and when to follow. He knows respect must be earned before it can be given. He admits when he is wrong and does not gloat when he is right. He humbles himself before his god, country and family and defends them until his last breath. He analyzes his weaknesses, improving them where he can, and accepts where he cannot. A man knows that true strength isn’t measured by muscles, but comes from within. He knows when to be strict and when to be lenient. He does not confess with his mouth, what his heart knows to be untrue. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. But most importantly a man speaks up when the situation calls for it and remains silent when it does not.

  11. Well, the hubbie was out of town for the day, but it's been good overall. Tyler had practice and we showed up a good 30 minutes early. One of his teammates showed up early as well as so we played 3-way catch until the rest of the team finally showed up for practice. I also took the niece out to the park since she's finally starting to behave again. We all had a good day.

    Our old neighborhood's little league started a few weeks earlier so today was their opening day. Instead of practice, two of Tyler's friends had games today. After their games, they decided to ask and see if they can come over. Tyler and his friend Adam decided to not bother changing, so they're still in their uniforms and lounging around while we watch DayBreakers. Yes, watching a vampire movie.

    For those that have read a specific story I wrote - no vampire Jarred jokes. They're scared enough at the moment as it is...

    Oh, and I tried to make Tyler and Adam sit on the other side of the room since they are a little ripe, but they refused after the first gory scene. *sigh*

  12. JamesSavik
    Latest Entry

    A little something that I'm doing for fun:

    I have created a wordpress blog and am featuring various classic rock groups and their music.

    There's a treasure of videos on Youtube. I've just saved you the trouble of sorting through all of the rubbish.

    Have a look. There's some great stuff there.

    I might even write the story of why I don't listen to Emerson, Lake & Palmer anymore. (It has a lot to do with a gymnast from New Orleans named Mark.)

    Cool Old Videos

  13. Wow! Didn?t realize it had been so long since I had posted here?. Well? when you read below, you will see that I?ve been rather busy.

    After my diagnosis, well, I had to face a few realities. The biggest one was, I was a gay man with AIDS. That is simply not conducive with the fa?ade I had been living for more than twenty years, and yes, in the end it was more than my wife could handle. We had a lot to sort out, I moved into the guest bedroom, and well, yea, we were finally divorced several months ago, and I?m living on my boat. But, it was a VERY friendly divorce, and we are still very close friends, but we both knew we had to move on. I like to tell the folks that I?m ?out? to (which is most anyone who wants to know) that it most closely resembles a ?Will and Grace? type relationship if one has to define it, but we did share most of our lives together, so it?s really the only thing that makes sense. She has moved on and is seeing a nice man, and ummm so am I. More about that later. My boss at work was very cool and understanding about all my ?issues? as were some of my co-workers I chose to share with, so no real work problems.

    I decided all this had to have a purpose. I met a wonderful person here in Mississippi that was trying to start up a HIV/AIDS peer support group and AIDS service organization. I agreed to serve on his board with several other wonderful people and have become a bit of an AIDS activist. There are SO many things Mississippi DOES NOT have for HIV survivors that other places take for granted, the list is too long for me to start that here. So far, our group has been quite successful. More about that in a bit as well.

    I have also kept up with my writing. After I finished Sky?s the Limit, Book II, (hosted here at AD) I wanted to do something different. Well, a wonderful fellow author whom I originally met at AD and formerly had some of his stories posted here, Adam Donaldson Powell, asked me to co-write a book with him. Adam and I had struck up a beautiful online friendship, and I had read and enjoyed all of his work so it seemed like a good a fit. The project would be more or less a sequel to his earlier PUBLISHED book, ?2014, Life and Adventures of an Incarnated Angel? which was a sort of science fiction/fantasy genre work. I was immediately intrigued.

    So, now it?s done, AND PUBLISHED. Yes, I am now a published author. :hug:

    The name of the book is ?Tunnel at the End of Time? and is available for purchase at www.cyberwit.net. It should be available at Amazon.com soon. Adam?s earlier book, ?2014? is also available at Cyberwit or Amazon. There?s lots more info on the book at Adam?s web site, www.adamdonaldsonpowell.com , along with some excerpts.

    Now, back to where I left off above. In the course of organizing a peer support group for the Jackson area, I met a wonderful man named Sam who joined our group almost a year ago now, right after he himself was diagnosed. Sam and I became instant friends as we quickly discovered in conversations that we shared many things in common. In fact, WAY too many to list here, but a short list would be the same TV shows, movies, music, etc., but also both of us had been married and had a son apiece until we had to finally face our sexuality.

    Sam and I dated for several weeks before he eventually moved in with me on the houseboat, and the two of us are also trying to restore an old house in North Mississippi where his grandmother had lived and is situated on family land. We call it ?the farm? as the adjacent land is inhabited by cattle that his dad raises. We pretty much stay on the boat during the week and work on the house on the weekends. Sam is a wonderful man, and both of us are very happy. I think THIS is what a relationship is REALLY supposed to be. :icon11:

    Our AIDS organization has really taken off. We co-hosted an AIDS town-hall discussion here in Jackson by the White House AIDS czar and his Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) which Prez. Obama has tasked with the responsibility of formulating the first U.S. national AIDS strategy/policy (about 25 years late, but better late than never). The meeting was one of only a dozen fact-finding meetings held in the U.S. last year. See www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap/events . We also sponsored a huge city-wide World AIDS Day event here in Jackson, with Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the former U.S. surgeon general under Prez Clinton as the keynote speaker, and the Mississippi Mass Choir, which has one numerous recording awards performed as well.

    So, yeah, I?ve been sorta busy. A new life, a new partner, a new published book, and a new calling, and sometime in there have to find time for my 9 to 5er to keep the bills paid.

    Hugz all,

    Rick

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