Thursday, September 28, 2017

Rest in Peace, Hef

Hugh Hefner just died at 91. I was part of that joke "who reads Playboy articles?" The answer was - tons of people, even gay men like me. They published some of the best writers in America, fought for overturning censorship and government intervention into people's private lives, racism, on and on. When I was in my 20s, he owned two magazines, Playboy and OUI. The latter was sleek, irreverent, edgy: the European-style alternative to Playboy's "girl next door" style. They hired young editors and young writers, and many writers got their first exposure at Playboy (no pun intended). The two magazines published Charles Bukowski, Gay Talese, Norman Mailer, Alex Haley. Several years ago, with circulation shrinking, they went to a bi-monthly magazine. 

His definition of obscenity was "war, racism, bigotry, poverty, and injustice." I never had the opportunity to me Hugh Hefner, but he impacted me, and he impacted what and who we are as a nation. I'm a fan and always was. Rest in Peace, Hef.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Characters I Write

My career as a writer had been occupied in writing about characters who don’t fit into the social patterns. Most of my protagonists are gay men, but not all. These characters are very varied; some don’t fit in because of sheer defiance, some because they are terrified of society, some are simply scandalous. There are some, however, who have such a high degree of integrity that they don’t fit in anywhere in a world tainted by corruption.
The one thing they all have in common is that they are outsiders. They have many voices, and all sing, some loudly and some whisper, against the social norms. They are people who have few friends, yet value absolute loyalty to the personal relationships they find, they cling to those relationships as the plot darkens and they must fight to save themselves and the people that matter to them.
E.M. Forster once said: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” This, I believe goes to the heart of my outsider characters that I try to create. I’ve always regarded loyalty to friends and loved ones as going beyond admirable to heroic. It represents the best qualities of the outsider.
I write about outsiders because I believe the outsider is, should be, really, one of the most socially valuable people in the whole community. Because he/she often, more often than not, challenges the social norms, doing what he/she thinks is right, rather than what’s accepted or easy.
Admittedly, I’ve always felt myself to be an outsider, and not by choice. So that by creating these characters, I’m questioning my own experience, what I am and what I am becoming. I create these characters and plots to find out if there’s meaning in the external world for me, and then, I suppose, if I decide that there isn’t, to impose a meaning of my own.
There are as many reasons to write and create characters as there are writers, but I’m explaining what I feel motivates me as a writer, and that is my own experience. I take those different experiences and mold them into a real constructed, contrived novel or short story which has a plot played out in action and also a philosophical plot which either proves or disproves a question, which it the story’s main theme. It has motifs as in a symphonic work, and it comes to a conclusion. But at the heart of that plot are the main characters, and I tend to paint a detailed portrait of these characters. And within the heart of these characters lies the soul of the outsider struggling against society for ideas they believe are truth and just.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Steve Gregoire’s Passing

It’s been a sad day for Herman and myself.  Today we mourn the loss of our dearest friend Steven Gregoire, one of the kindest, most likable guys we will ever know. They say you’ll be fortunate to have five true friends throughout your lifetime. Steve was one of mine. He and Herman were lovers for twenty-one years, and then he became our closest friend for the next twenty-three years. We’ll miss you terribly, Steve.
From left to right, Steven, Herman, Alan

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Belated B-day Dinner Get-together at Michelin Star Eatery

A festive B-day dinner at a one Michelin Star restaurant...absolutely well earned. Lovely food, lovely wine, lovely friends to share the moment.
Terrapin Creek Restaurant.

The line up of good friends looks like a motley crew

Salad of Charred Octopus and Roasted Cauliflower

HAMACHI Crudo - lovely raw fish

Local Miyagi Oysters
Liberty Farms Duck Breast - black forbidden rice, cabbage, English peas carrots, duck jus

Thank you Malcolm and Pic for this delicious wine.

A belated BD celebration for Herman with extra deserts from chef owner Andrew Tran. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Our Third and Final Wedding of the Year

This is the third, and final wedding we are attending this year. We drove up from Palm Springs into Livermore for the wedding, and we were in such a rush to get on the road, we forgot to pack the hanging bag with our suits into the car. So we ended up going to the wedding in SoCal Casual attire. Luckily, we were not the only casually dressed men, although all the others were forty years younger than us.

Meghann and Kevin make a wonderful couple. She is sweet and caring, he is funny and charming. It was a beautiful ceremony, and Meghann couldn’t have been lovelier. The ceremony was performed in a chapel, but the dinner and dancing afterward were outdoors.

 The happy newlyweds

 Herman and I with Meghann.

The newlyweds and Herman’s parents, the longest married couple on the dance floor. They'll celebrate their 70th anniversary next year.