This Thing Called Courage

Sunday, January 28, 2007



IT WAS A PRIVILEGE AND A PLEASURE to stand with about 500 other Greater Bostonians yesterday at the Park Street end of the Boston Common, and witness to the continuing insanity of the Bush administration and its murderous policies. This was a gathering for those who couldn't make it to the large convocation d'outrage in Washington D.C., and similar demonstrations were held all across the country. The vitality and energy of the group was amazing-- it was inspiring, uplifting, and restoring. There were no counter-demonstrators, nor any negative feedback from the hundreds of cars passing by on Tremont Street-- one senses a greater, and greater, shift as more and more people come to the same conclusion: something is very wrong with the policies of this country. Well, we've all known that for years, but another powerful message of these gatherings was to serve notice to the newly elected Congress that the poeple have spoken, as they say, and they expect change-- drastic change. A stop-the-war funding bill is making its way through Congress this week, and if you haven't yet communicated to your congressional representative and U.S. senator, NOW is the time to let them know how you feel. Even many Republican senators and representatives are beginning to leave this sinking ship. This is especially imporant now, as it is beginning to be realized by more and more people that Bush has Iran in his sights next-- hey, why not? The Iraq War has been so successful, why not invade another sovereign state? If we can tie his hands on Iraq, he will be less able to transform the current debacle into a truly horrific disaster. Go here to ask your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 508:

http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/Peaceact/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=6579

It was so heartening to see, among all other ages groups, so many young people at yesterday's event, of high school and college age. While many activists bemoan the seeming apathy of the younger generation in today's struggles, there was no evidence of that yesterday. Many of the young people I spoke with were not affiliated with any group or organization-- they had heard about the demonstration and wanted to be part of it. There was lots of chanting, lots of singing, lots of sloganeering, and a tremendous amount of camaraderie-- and, again, the wonderful feeling one gets when one takes an active, participatory role in democracy in its most vital form.

As I have noted here before, I demonstrate every Monday night (schedule allowing) at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Route 60 in Arlington with other representatives of the Arlington contingent of United for Justice With Peace. There aren't too many of us there week in and week out-- maybe a dozen at most-- and the atmosphere is more one of stoic and silent witnessing. But yesterday's event, because of the sheer numbers, felt much different-- perhaps because of the elections-- and one can sense the beginning of a sea change. God willing!!!

In other news, I had two great events this past week, one at the Boston PrimeTimers, where over 100 gay/bi men 55 and older gathered to welcome me for the third time in three years. They are an amazing group-- avid readers, incredibly engaged, and wonderfully welcoming and polite. Two nights later I was at James's Gate, a wonderful Irish pub in Jamaica Plain, as a guest of the Jamaica Plain Men's Group (JPMG). About 70 members attended, and a good time was had by all. A special thank you to Bob Linscott of the JPMG for organizaing the event, and also the staff of James's Gate, who were kind, courteous, and did everything in their power to make the event a tremendous success. As usual I forgot to ask people at both events that if they liked the book, it would be nice if they wrote a review of same on the amazon page that sells my book. Oi. A marketer I am not.

I am looking forward to this week, which is less event filled and, therefore, will allow me more time to continue work on my current novel, Lucky in Love. I've got about 60 pages down thus far, which only takes us into the third chapter, but have already rewritten the shit out of the thing several times-- but now we are cooking with Crisco, as they say, and, after a few warm-ups and false leads, we know what we are doing-- well, more or less! Actually we never quite know what we are doing, we just follow the lead, as it were, and show up everyday as the story writes itself. There are four main characters: Lucky, an (apparent) young idler who gathers on a particular street corner almost every afternoon; Owen, a returned Iraqi War veteran, a maimed recluse who begins to make a hobby out of watching Lucky every day from his curtained bedroom across the street; a nameless, 200-year old Silver Maple tree which grows near the corner; and Margaret Mary Monahan, a no-nonsense, rather formidable 'helper' in her mid-sixties whom the Visiting Nurse Association sends to Owen's house 5 afternoons a week, to look after him. The narrator is a 1500 year old Irish Bard-- where he came from I have no idea-- I think I'm being channelled! Or would that be, somebody's channelling me? And am I even spelling that mystical word correctly? Hey, let's ask my channeller! Oh-- wait a minute-- something's coming through! He says, "it's one 'l', as anyone would tell you." Okay then, channeler it is!

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