Sunday, September 30, 2007

When heroes fall


The unbearable rarity of truth.

As a small child I was much more self-conscious than my peers, very easily embarrassed at the slightest misstep. It was a great mortification to be caught speaking something untrue. I learned early to think carefully before speaking. The result - I was a quiet child, a keen listener, a sponge for information.

I was eager to please. I made friends very easily but despite popularity I had a great tendency toward solitary activities. I rarely sought out my playmates. They came to me. In isolation I often played a sort of mind game with myself. Logic games - though I'd probably never heard of the word 'logic' yet. It was very much an obsessive compulsive instinct. I would string observations together and arrive at a conclusion. Normal thought pattern, right? But then I would audit the thought. I would take the same start and end point - that is - the same initial observation and same conclusion but find another route to tie them together. Even when the initial conclusion seemed obvious, I would insist on proving it to myself through a second train of logic on a separate track. I had the impression that this was not a normal pursuit but I didn't care. I obeyed the compulsion whenever it struck.

I learned quickly that other children were full of shit and could not be relied upon for factual information. And then learned that even adults were not always reliable. And as I grew into young adulthood I realized that worse still, adults were indeed too - full of shit.

I spent my youth trusting almost nothing from anyone but I tried to act normal, keen to fit in, to be accepted.

When I stumbled into writing as a hobby I discovered I had a knack for it. Then I discovered the capacity for writing (and other arts) to act as a tool in search of truth. It was Allistair MacLeod, speaking of his stories being born from his asking, "What if...," that finally enlightened me to the function of writing as a laboratory. As I turned my writing pursuits more toward the search for truth I began to feel a marvelous sort of peace, like I had come home after an eternal absence. I felt like I was doing exactly what I was meant to do in this life. My lack of interest and investment into normal things (career, marriage, material accumulation etc) has left me with nothing to lose, free to throw myself into this search with rigorous integrity and fearlessness.

I won't describe the journey thus far. You wouldn't believe most of it. You wouldn't want to.

It began a solitary journey. It's only deep in the works of certain poets that I find common observation, assurance, verification. One such poet is not dead. In the year we've associated closely his mentoring has been the single greatest influence on my life. I've evolved incredibly in one year - finding remarkable peace, freedom and clarity into my existence.

I'll call him 'MG'. He's the only man I ever met who appeared to demand the same integrity in thought and reasoning, the same dedication to pure logic, the same passion for unvarnished truth.

Last night, on the first anniversary of our association, it all fell apart.

We partake briefly in 'normal' conversation before and after our work sessions. The subject of homosexuality came up for the first time. My assumption was always that he'd find the subject mundane and irrelevant. He would have to, considering the bland truth of the matter in the light of pure logic.

"I can't believe what a strong voice we've allowed these people!" he said. I was taken aback. In this year I'd never heard him subscribe to an uninformed opinion. To do such would be sacrilege to our pursuits. And just as I did on the occasion a Reform Party candidate was inclined, in my confidence, to cut loose with his opinion on the evils of immigration and the societal repression of white males, I stayed perfectly quiet, not wishing to deter the speaker from spilling his true colors nor to fake approval in order to goad him into embellishment. I wanted the straight goods. And here too, I wanted to hear everything MG had to say on the matter of homosexuals.

"They get drawn into this thing around eighteen or nineteen," he said. They go to bathhouses all night. It's nothing for them to have sex with twelve to eighteen guys a night! And they think they have the right to marriage! Can you believe that? And I'm considered a dinosaur because I'm against homosexuals. Because I dare to call a perversion a perversion. It's bestial! They call me homophobic. Afraid-of-gays. I'm not afraid of them! They think they're accepted because they're on TV now. What's that show - about the gay one and the girl?"

"Will and Grace?"

"Yes. The TV networks are exploiting them because they're a peculiarity. But they think it's acceptance! It's insanity!"

I was stunned. I was horrified. The man I respected above any other, for his integrity, his enlightenment, suddenly from nowhere vomited up the most vacuous of testimony, stolen from idiots. The one vile offense we both despise. Immediately I mourned the treasured collection of poetic testimony I'd gathered from him. Immediately the entire vault of it fell in standing - from 'useful' to 'suspect'. The one man alive I thought to have evolved beyond all primitive tribalism has done nothing of the sort.

Today I had a long talk with excellent pal, Doctor Lock. He said something like this:

“You know it’s okay to accept the teachings while rejecting the teacher. It’s been done before.”

Thank you, Doc.

Rejoice in your heterosexuality, MG. I'll retain your teachings gratefully, though without reverence. You're still my Morpheus. But I'm not interested in hanging around in the matrix with you. If you ever escape, look me up. But for now, I go on alone.
[photo ungratefully ripped from allposters.com]

5 comments:

Claudia said...

Dinosaur indeed.

Sorry. I guess every once in a while life reminds us that there are asshats all around.

Kathleen said...

I'd like to say I'm stunned, but sadly, I'm not.

Dave said...

Amazing how some people who we think of as enlightened turn out to be rather dim.
Too bad The Squeeze and I never got to meet the ol' fellow.
There used to be a time when I was really worried about what people thought of me...now I don't really gvsht.

Babs said...

I'm so sorry that happened. It really is difficult for me to grasp how some people can be so close-minded to homosexuality.

When I read what MG said, my immediate response was anger, but then I just felt very sad. Sad for you because your poetry guru dropped the floor out from underneath your relationship, and then sad for all of us because we live in a world where some people still can't tolerate two people who love each other.

Doc sounds like a smart guy.

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Thanks for the support, folks.

Doc is a pretty smart guy but let's not offer too much praise. He drives a very small car and needs to be able to fit his head into it!