STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)

Dreamers of the Day


Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell

I read, loved, and was forever changed by Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow.(Review Here) How could I resist reading another title from her? I am so glad I did.

This book was so enjoyable that I felt almost afraid to keep reading it. I was sure something awful would happen to the character I had grown to love. (No worries, the book has a wonderfully simplistic and very fulfilling happy ending.)

Set in the early 20s for the majority of the tale, the book follows the adventures of Angus and her dog Rosie as they unknowingly take part in the Cairo Convention and interact with such historical ficures as Lawrence of Arabia and Winston Churchill. Like The sparrow, a lot of the action of the novel takes place through dialogue, political and historical dialogue that manages to be both totally believable and insanely educational all while keeping your interest and furthering the character development and storyline.

In a word, the book was amazing.

I highly recommend it for its prose, its scope, and ultimately for the story… an oft forgotten real life drama of political map making and county borders drawing that all but created the Middle East as we know it. As that part of the world continues to be a focus of unrest and turmoil, a book like this that explains some of the issues from the point of view of inception, is a must read for anyone who wishes to have an understanding of the milieu of crossed loyalties and tribal dramas… while telling a late in life coming of age story involving a protagonist you can’t help but root for.

While the post dead aspect of the story is a bit sentimental and a wee bit silly, the ideas and impact of the rest of the book more than make up for it.

I highly recommend this title for those of you who like history, strong female characters, adventure, travel, and most importantly, well written prose!

Boys on Bikes, God, and A Rainbow Connection

Ever since I interviewed Matt Mazzei about his grassroots organization, the Rainbow Delegation(for GayFresn.com, read the article here), I have proudly worn my own rainbow bracelet. I don’t bother to take it off at that pool or in the shower. It has, like my support of the LGBT community, become an unavoidable part of myself.
The bracelets symbolize support for the LGBT community.

It gets noticed.

Once by a rude man who dumped water on my lap while I was sitting on a city bus for being a “queer lover.” 
Earlier this week by a Mormon duo, which is the story I am going to tell today.

I was walking to the Starbucks in Clovis, fresh from my final in my grant writing class. (I aced the final by the way.) It was dusk, the sidewalk was wet and slippery and they were in front of me before I had time to think. 
Two boys (I saw boys because I feel confident that they were a good 10 years younger than myself) in suits on two matching bikes pulled to a stop. I may not be the smartest cookie out there but I knew what was coming, sort of.

“Good evening!” the one in the rear sang out.

“Hi.” They were sort of blocking the sidewalk. I had to stop. I smiled to show them I bore them no ill will.

“Can we ask you something?” The one in the back again, he was the talker, the other hardly made any sounds. And then without waiting for permission: “Have you ever heard of the Book of Mormon?”

Who hasn’t? I thought,  “Yes” I said.

“Great” He smiled. A Very Cute Smile.”How did you hear about it?”

My mind skipped over the numerous TV ads, the whispered scorn for Mormons in my childhood church, the books I have read, the people I have talked to in the last few years… my mind went straight to another boy with another Very Cute Smile.

“I had a crush on a boy in high school who was Mormon.” This is true. However, we never talked religion. Ever. We hardly talked. It was more of a thing that I liked him, followed him around a bit, and had a private moment with him post prom that I still feel embarrassed about.

“Oh, great!” back to the present. “So you know that we believe in God and that God loves us.”

Maybe it was the trip down memory lane but I suddenly felt a bit strange to be talking to these boys, wasting their time. “Yeah I know you believe that, but look guys, I’m sorry, I’m not your target audience.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“Well, I don’t really believe in God.”

“Really? Why not?”

“It just doesn’t make sense. It is easier to believe that there isn’t something God-like since there isn’t any proof of God. I mean, there’s no evidence. There’s jut faith, and that’s just people feeling all warm and fuzzy.” Not my most articulate moment. I felt the collective skeptical community at my back sigh in exasperation.

“Well…” He has officially put the brakes on his bike and is about to launch into something. I beat him to it.

“Warm fuzzy feelings are great, but they don’t mean God exists. Look, I was a Christian, I went to church. I used to feel…. Something, something huge and amazing during the singing. But I realized it wasn’t God, it wasn’t magic or spirit, it was a sense of community. I felt lost in my life and I liked the sense of community, of being in sync with other people.” This is also true and possibly beside the point. I think one of the reasons I was so happy in the Pagan community (where I fled after leaving the Christian community) was due in large part to the chanting and the social aspects.

I try to bring it back to the boys on bikes, “So, community, great. Bug God? No. That just seems so… silly.”

He changes tact. “Well, let me ask you, have you ever prayed?”

I think he missed my point, but okay. “Yeah, of course. I was a Christian for like half my life. I prayed a lot.”

“Do you think God ever answered your prayers?”

I don’t hesitate this time, “Heh, well I remember my cataclysm. God ALWAYS answers prayers, right?” I tick them off on my fingers, “He says “Yes’, ‘No’, or “Wait’, right? All answers, just not always the one you want.”

I actually think that the God Answers All Prayers conversation I had with my Lutheran school teacher in 5th grade is what started my slide away from Christ. Coupled with my realizations that same year that heaven sounded like an awfully boring place and that babies could be sent to hell for just being born in the wrong place, my faith was understandably shaken.

 He concedes my point. “Yeah, that is how God answers prayer. But see we believe that God loves us, that we were with him before we were born…”

I cut him off “See, no, that reincarnation stuff? That sounds so… silly. And look, I’m sure you guys are nice guys and I understand you have your faith, but you have to understand that there are a lot of bad things associated with your religion too. A lot of hypocrisy. A lot of closed minded judgments. Which is ironic since your whole thing boils down to a dream and a warm and fuzzy feeling.” Yes, I have read how the Mormon Church got started. I might have over simplifies it a bit. But not by much.

“Actually, we are all about love. God’s love for us and our love for…” He starts in again, but I am tired of standing in a puddle on a sidewalk. I want my celebratory coffee drink and my new Russell book.

“And really guys, I mean, from everything I have read and seen… “ I hold up my left arm and point at my rainbow bracelet, “Y’all don’t seem too loving toward the LGBT community.”

There is a moment of silence.

“Ohhhh.” Sighs the one in front, who had until this point been alternating between watching our discussion and watching traffic.

“I, uhh, I didn’t see your bracelet.” My would-be-convertor has his foot back up on the pedal, “Yeah, I guess you aren’t our, what did you call it?”

“Your target audience?”

“Yeah, that.” It’s awkward now. I can see the wheels turning in his head.

The first one speaks up at last, “Okay then, well you have a good night miss.” He moves out of my way.

“You two guys, ride safe out there.”

“Wait,” The one in the back, persistent to the end, digs in his pocket, “Do you want a card? It has a website, you could go there, get help…”

I decide to ignore the “get help” part. “No, really. I would honestly just toss it. Give it to someone who might actually use it.” I smile so I don’t sound like too much of a wicked heathen.

“Okay…” He is hesitant to end the conversation.

I, on the other hand, am not. I sail between them with a final “Good night” tossed over my shoulder and continue on my way…

…to Starbucks where I am pleased to see both servers behind the counter wearing their own rainbow bracelets. We click them together, an instant bond and I order my drink.


MisFits

MisFits

This show is new to American audiences, but a fan favorite in the UK. This gritty and dark take on the superhero genre is well worth watching. An ensemble cast tells the story of five juvenile (early 20s) London delinquents who get zapped by mysterious lightning and develop powers. Although there are times when the accents (British etc) are a bit hard to understand, the cast is well formed and the storylines are surprisingly profound and compelling. I especially like that the rag tag group is not a family, a group of friends, or a team really... in fact, they don't particularly like one another.

Because of its across the pond roots, the show is full of violence, sex, nudity, and language. Thankfully, so far at least, it has managed to keep itself out of the realm of camp and corny and in the realm of interesting and slightly provocative. Also, a nice change of pace… we have teens/early 20s characters without any of the overly dramatic sappy teen/eary 20s angst. These characters are well rounded and fascinating.

It isn't totally devoid of camp...

The writers use the sci fi aspects to enhance the story arcs instead of relying on them to provide the story arcs which is understandably refreshing. Mixing dark comedy and believable dialogue with super powers that are not as super as one would hope and real life struggles of selfhood coming of age drama, this show is clearly something worth watching.

The entire first series (a 6 episode arc) is available on Hulu.
I have a new piece up over at GarFresno.com in which I talk about the label of bisexuality and pansexuality. Here is the teaser....




One of the things labels do is attach or confirm stigma or stenotypes, which is why we are so careful when allowing ourselves to be labeled. I resisted the label of “bi” for years because I didn’t see myself as a fence sitter, a slut, or a shifty spy. I saw myself as able to fall in love (and sometimes lust) with a person despite their gender, not because of it.  I was, and still am, attracted to people based on their personalities, their senses of humor, their ability to converse intelligently, etc. What does or doesn’t dangle between their legs is beside the point. When pressed, I usually would say that I was into people, not gender.

I became more comfortable being bi partly from exposure to more understanding and less judgmental people, and partly from a desire to change the stereotype.

And then I was introduced to the concept of Pansexual.  “What does that mean?” I asked innocently enough.

“It means that I am attracted to people based on their personalities and not limited by genitals. I‘m gender blind.”

“In my day, we called that bisexual.”

“No, bisexuality is limited. You only love two genders. I have the capacity to love them all.”

Let me stop right here and add that due to the fact that I am typing this, you might not be getting the smugness and slight condescending tone of this particular pansexual person.

REad the whole thing and weigh in here.