The Great Believers and What it Meant to Me

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What can I say about the novel The Great Believers in only a paragraph that would do justice to how remarkable, fascinating, well written and profoundly moving it was? I am the first to admit my dislike of historical fiction but this book hit all the high notes! The jump back in time kept me wondering what will happen next? The characters and the way they developed through the novel astounded me. Yale was such a well fleshed out character I felt I knew him. Fiona was key to bringing the stories together. Every character in life or death brought meaning to the story. Every character had a purpose. Truly, the amount of research it took to develop this story into a masterpiece is noticeable. I had to read parts twice because they were so good that I simply didn’t want the novel to end. With the difficult subject matter, it tackles of the AIDS epidemic in Chicago it’s a beacon of light truly shining a flash of light on a topic not widely talked about. Many times, the scene was so well drawn out for me I felt I was there. The fear and shock of the epidemic of AIDS was real in this novel and that tragedy was something I didn’t know a lot about and am grateful for this novel to illuminate that for me and all that read this. Hats off to the Author for her dedication and descriptions of something she did not live through herself but was able to explore and able to explain so poignantly. And for the glimpses into Chicago my beloved city, it was a wonderful background for the novel but was like a character itself. A breath of fresh air in terms of historical fiction and simply an absolute gem of a novel.

When Words Willingly Spill Sentences of Breathless Beauty – My Review

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It is a thing of beauty for a novel to move someone so profoundly the way this book moved me. Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World is this rare glistening gem of a novel, the 516 pages filled to the brim with wit and emotion. The words lay carefully spread across the page, exposed, naked, vulnerable and free.  It takes life as we know and splits it all open. It breaks down barriers and shows us what can happen if we are willing to at least try to be ourselves and chase happiness. I cannot say I know what it is like to be a gay man, furthermore a gay man during the AIDS pandemic. I cannot say I understand the shame they were forced to feel. But I can say I feel deeply for them, and I am willing to learn whatever it takes to help people not feel so isolated and furthermore so full of self-hatred. Humans created their hell. Other people full of fear and lack of understanding for others created others suffering because they are unwilling to grow. So, they allow hate to fester. It is an ugly, open gapping hole, but there is some remarkable beauty in pain also – a wild paradox I know. It is somewhat like their love. They are young, gay, and just trying to figure everything with the additional layer of wondering if they are sin. What an awful burden placed upon them but those that refuse to understand that we are all human are summoning that pain. The words cascade onto the page and before my brain can fully process them the words leap straight into my soul. They plunge in within my permission but they blossom quickly into an explosion of joy. That an author could be so good with words that my head is still spinning grappling with – what did I just read? Did I stumble upon one of the greatest books I ever read? The answer is simply and unequivocal – YES!

A quote to remind everyone during this pandemic that there is hope

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“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

― Samwise Gamgee

Please everyone – in this time of great peril and the great unknown of what is ahead. Listen to the scientists and doctors warnings. Learn from the mistakes we have already seen. No one ever saw something of this magnitude coming, but it is here and experts say the worst is yet to come. Check on loved ones. Check on your neighbors. Practice kindness. Practice Social Distancing. Wash your hands frequently. Don’t touch your face. Cover your cough. If you experience symptoms call your doctor. Help us flatten the curve by staying home. Don’t sacrifice your safety, those you many live with, or anyone else by acting recklessly. We cannot afford it. Please find things to do around the house to pass the time. Read a book, watch a movie, check your entire pantry for expired food, write in a journal, do yoga, go for a walk in your neighborhood, listen to music,play board games, play video games, clean out your closet, and bake and cook like never before. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Remember that because right now we are inside the tunnel.

Soulmate

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As our fingers intertwine

I am yours

And you are mine

The fascinating movies we watch

The delicious things we cook and bake

I know that our paths crossing was no mistake

When we are together the world just stops moving

Our communication continues improving and our connection is pure

Of this I am sure

When I’m in your arms

There’s no place I’d rather be

To see your beautiful eyes looking upon me

Your love and care for me is your finest trait

And after searching my entire life I know for certain

I found my soulmate

My heart is with you wherever you go

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It was a very difficult day for me to even grasp

I received some very bad news and it deeply hurt my soul and made me gasp

You knew what to do make make it okay

With a few beautiful words that I continue to replay

Your words said something magical that made everything better, no longer did I feel low

Because you said “My heart is with you wherever you go”

Love will win

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Words cannot come out

Even though I have no doubt

How much I love you

It’s true

I am not plagued by doubt

I’m plagued by fear

Fear of losing you

Fear of no knowing what to do

Fear because I know it’s true

That you love me and I love you

I’m startled by how quickly friendship turned to like

And like turned to love

I know people will doubt

I know they won’t believe me at all

In the past I’ve put up an enormous wall

So tall that no one could climb through

Until the day that I met you

Now I feel the love in your touch and kiss

When we aren’t together it’s that feeling I miss

I miss the way you smile

The one I would walk a mile just to see

Your beautiful eyes staring back at me

I do surrender

I do give in

Because it happened now

Despite my qualms

Love will win

…And your Love is what Lingers…

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I feel horrific and sudden pain

Shooting daggers throughout my brain

It feels as if I am absolutely insane

Except I know that I am not

So I spot my headphones

And I put them on quickly

I scroll through my music swiftly

The daggers stab me over and over again

I don’t know when

When will it end

I’ve had this condition for so long

So because nothing helps I turn on a song

And when the piano and cello starts

I immediately fall apart more

Because it’s too beautiful

So I search again for a tune

To calm me down as I stare at the disappearing moon

I find something that will soothe me

And I listen to it quietly

It relaxes my wild mind

And calms my shaken nerves

Something I think I deserve

16 years of fighting to feel not sick

If I had the magic potion to cure me

I’d drink it up quick

Instead I cope, I deal

Sometimes I wonder if any of it’s real

Then I remember that soon today

My love and I will be together and I say

Everything will be okay

Because despite the illness that rages in my mind

Despite the doctors

Despite the medication

Despite side effects

Despite indifference

Despite sweating all night

Despite the anxiety, the fear

Despite the feeling utterly lost sometimes

Despite it all

When you stroke my hand slowly with you soft finger

When you tell me sweet things and smile at me, demonstrating in many ways how much you care

When you tell me “I choose you”

When you kiss me and my heart melts

All the pain goes away

And your love is what lingers

And as long as I’m with you

Which hopefully is forever

We can forget our suffering

Our different but similar pain

And remember that

Love cures all wounds

And I feel that so deeply in my heart

Whenever you are next to me

That’s where you belong

And I hope

That’s always where you’ll be

The Calm Shadows of the Morning

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When I awake, I find great joy in the calm shadows of the morning
I shower quickly, swiftly after I take my medicine
I feel calmer now, lightly somehow
I listen to music: to classical, to BTS, to Michael Bublé, to Ruelle,
To Linkin Park, to Andrea Bocelli, to Piano Guys, to Eminem, to Kasey Musgraves,
To Lewis Capaldi, to Taylor Swift, to Shawn Mendes, to Enrique Iglesias,
To Jacob Lee, to Dashboard Confessional, to Hinder, to Echosmith
To Ben Platt, To Panic! At the Disco and many, many more
Every morning my mind has different musical numbers in store
After I listen to things songs
Then my mind can get along
With the feelings I feel
And the things I think
With the water I sip
And the coffee I drink
After I have appreciated all these songs
Holding back the urge to sing along
I throw on a coat and I go
Braving the weather –
Cold, Hot, Ice, Snow…
Whatever it is away I go
On my journey for fresh air
My body, mind and soul say thank you once I return
After each day of this, one thing I learn
Self-care and being self-aware is what I need
And I have it down to a science indeed =)

Incredibly, Undeniably True

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All I can say with every fiber of my being

From the depths of my soul

And while I’m not ready to say it to you, it’s true

I’m falling madly, deeply in love with you

Upon this I dwell

You have cast a spell

Bewitched my mind

Captivated my soul

And stolen my heart

It’s yours to keep now

And keep safe for me

As our lives intertwine majestically

You make me feel

Like anything is possible

And one day I will tell you everything

How you make my heart sing

And just know this is true

You’re the only man for me

And I cannot wait to see you

Until then it’s little messages here and there

That I read over and over

I will declare soon to you and they are incredibly, undeniably true

These three words…

I love you

My prince

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A chariot (your car) awaits as I step out the door

You open my door, make sure I have my seatbelt and off we go

You drive slowly, carefully through the snow

We head to dinner and a movie now

I’m sitting in your car wondering how

How did I get so lucky with a man like you?

A man that is kind, understanding, caring and makes me dreams come true

The day is effortless, the day is fun

We laugh and joke until the day is done

When we saw the movie you held my hand

And stroked my finger gently

It felt like heaven please help me

To understand this

How after all this searching and hoping we shared a goodnight kiss

I stepped out of you car and realized this

I am your princess and you are my prince

You care for me in every way

In your arms I’ll forever stay

Until the next time we meet once more

I can only imagine what life has in store for two people falling head over heels

I hope you sleep well and I will too

And one day all our dreams will come true