|bookshelves||glbt, read, romance, young-adult|
|status||Read in September, 2012|
|review||A great read, and first book, by a promising new author!Edward develops his characters well and has a very authentic voice. There are plenty of family dynamics, school relationships and conflict within and between characters to keep the reader interested in this first love / coming of age story.
One of the things I particularly liked was the balance the author used for reactions to a gay character, both in families and in the school. They weren’t all negative and they weren’t all positive. Jake had many friends, from both sexes, that fully supported his boyfriend(s) and him, even to the point of some (OMG) kissing action.
A couple of times I did have to step back and wonder at how seemingly clueless Jake was in the “below the belt” department for an older teen gay boy, but that made for an easy exclusion of those awkward pawing scenes so prevalent in many coming out and male romance stories. The love scenes are tame, but the feelings seem sincere.
Jake’s family dynamics and the inevitable conflict therein are realistically developed without leaning too much on the absent father / over involved mother stereotype either. His younger sister, and confidant in all things “Drewish”, has a very sophisticated philosophy, but sometimes adults simply over-think the obvious.
Go take a look, we’ll be seeing more by Edward Jakab in the future!
As Andrew Ashling moved toward completion of the first book in his second trilogy…or the fourth book in the second movement of his double trilogy set…I was looking forward to more of a lot of things. I got it all, plus kind of an interesting new surprise.
I love the depth of character development he brings to the warriors, pages, dukes, mothers, aunts, brothers, etc. that have been carried along through the four books. Andrew makes me laugh at the antics the besotted pages get into with both their boyfriends and their girlfriends. I still cringe at the new and nasty torture techniques and depth of descriptions he lays before us for those who have done (or thought…) terrible things which he deems punishable. And I am rubbing my hands together in glee as I get to know an additional brother / prince that will certainly play a significant role in the future books.
In the third book Andrew proved that he was a chess player in the story telling sense of the word. He handled a number of dissimilar plot lines and blithely moved them forward to completion without using the wave of a magic wand. In this fourth book he pulls out all the stops and proves that in triplicate. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the written history of a story that happened far away and not a yarn spun by a pencil chewer sitting at a computer terminal. My eyes and fears (yes, I meant fears) opened with the new realizations that Anaxantis made as he moved through the story. This heightens my enthusiasm for the fifth and sixth installments of what, seems like, could be a life long endeavor for Andrew.
Book four has made me look at Andrew Ashling with new admiration for his story telling ability, and retained love for the wit, humor and sexuality in his writing. Thank you once again for bringing entertainment to my life, Andrew!
I spent a lot of time in churches this past weekend. I went to Sioux Falls, SD with my mother and partner, Paul, primarily to attend the celebration of the finished life of a good friend’s mother.
This friend, let’s call her Cammy, has always brought feelings of “it’s a small world” and “six degrees of separation” into my mind. I met her about 15 years ago at the very liberal church I attend in St. Paul, MN. She is PhD musician, stunning blond and stands straight and tall at 6’1″. She was married to an even taller black man and has three friendly, statuesque children with him. The reason I think it is a small world is because her father was a pastor (he has passed away) and just happened to be the pastor at my Mom’s home church in Renner, SD. Cammy spent many years at that church and was married there by her father. At the time, this didn’t go over very well, especially with some of my relatives, for reasons I’ll let you imagine. Cammy’s father also buried my grandfather (my mother’s father) and Mom never forgot the wonderful service he performed for her dad.
Cammy’s mother’s service was at St. Mark’s Lutheran in Sioux Falls, where her parents attended for the last 10 or 12 years. It was so clear how much her mother brought to these people and how she and Cammy’s father embodied the very meaning of Matthew 25:31-46.
Mom, Paul and I also visited the home church, West Nidaros Lutheran Church in Renner, SD. This was originally a successful farming based church that has made the transition of farming and suburban community church. It was probably appropriate that there was a baptism, or celebration of new life, during that service. There were lots of friendly faces, many of which were related to Mom and I. We visited the replica church built in honor of the original Nidaros in Norway, the log cabin of relatives, moved and rebuilt to emphasize the roots of the church and, of course, the grave markers for my grandparents, uncle and aunt on Mom’s side of the family.
Lastly, we drove by Mom’s home place, which is still in the family, but rented out. The owner makes sure the place is well maintained and beautiful.
When I go back to my grandparents place, the church they attended or the family reunions organized by those left around Renner, SD, I am reminded how far and wide is a family. I talked to 2nd, 3rd and 4th cousins after church and thought about how we are all connected through blood, gospel, friendship, race, sexual orientation, etc.
So many family members, so little time. Now that I’m 53, I think even more often about not wasting my precious time avoiding, criticizing or hating people that are family in so many senses of the word. The world has plenty of haters, what it needs is more lovers.
Provincetown is a wonderful gay meca at the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. When I was coming out, 27+ years ago, I had to make a business trip to Boston in December. I had never been to Boston before so I planned on spending the weekend, and asked around to get some ideas of where to go and what to see.
One of my friends at the time mentioned that all the gays hung out in Provincetown so I would want to steer clear of there… I quickly looked the place up and got on the phone to book a B&B for Friday and Saturday night.
This was not the Provincetown of scantily clad boys and wall to wall dancing every afternoon at the Boatslip. I was going in the middle of December and the weather was picture perfect pre-holiday bliss. The streets were quiet and the temperature was cold enough to keep snow glistening in yards and on rooftops.
I spent that weekend dancing with locals, since they seemed to be the only ones around. I was young and pretty new to the gay scene and I was really only interested in dancing and talking. The locals were, for the most part, friendly and not too pushy. One man I danced with for most of one evening was a waiter at the Red Inn. I gave him a ride home the first night. I turned down his offer to share his bed, but I did go and eat dinner with him (as he was waiting tables the next evening, lol). I ate some of the best seafood I had experienced in my life so far. This was the first time I had eaten simple, fresh lobster, straight from the tank (hopefully from the ocean prior to that??) to the boiling pot, to a plate with a large butter dipping dish in front of me. I gave him a big tip and then, of course, never talked to him again. This was before the days of e-mail, twitter, facebook, four-square, etc.
I still have many pleasant coming out memories of that trip, as well as some really cool hand made Christmas decorations I purchased as mementos.
Since that trip I’ve been back about twelve times and enjoyed each time as much as the first. Even though P-town is small, there is lots to do, plenty of great places to eat (Cafe Heaven and Red Inn being my favorites), artists of every media type, great beaches, parties going on all the time and a plethora of friendly GLBTQ and straight, but not narrow, people. There are also places to stay that would please every need. We have almost always stayed at Land’s End Inn because it is like a giant old English Manor house full of antiques and wondrous vistas and views.
However, if you wanted to stay jammed in with as many young gay guys as you could shake a…fist? at you could try the Boatslip
and there are also “clothing optional” options…which I’ll just let you imagine.
If this makes you want to book your trip to P-town, well, get at it! Check out the Provicetown Tourism Office site and travel gaily along!
I plucked a blog post from my friend, David Weiss’, site and re-blogged it here because I feel strongly about his writing and his subject. I have sung with his wife for many years and worshiped together with them in spiritual and physical presence.
If you are a supporter of social justice for all, including GLBT who are invisible to most people, even most other GLBT people, the movie David reviews can be both a trial and a testament. “Call Me Kuchu” is the story of a Ugandan queer’s life and death. Check out the rest of his site as well, including his written words.
From Wikipedia: Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
For all my friends in the Kingdom of Great Britain, I love you, but you’re better off without us anyway…we know that, you know that. Let’s just agree to disagree, okay? (chuckling right now, okay? come on, you can take a joke, right?).
Here are a few highlights of 4th of July for me:
- Love of Country. My country of origin is a little like my family. I was born into it and had no choice in the matter. The ideals are lofty, but sometimes the execution and interpretation seems imperfect. Beauty abounds, but I can also see age cracks, impatience and stubbornness. Through it all, I never stop loving.
- Celebration of Independence. We are the most free people in the world and I definitely celebrate and support this. That doesn’t mean I want to have my own individual half acre city/state. I need some help and some rules in order to be everything I can be. I am not part of the 1%, and I need community.
- Recognition of the men and women who serve and have served to keep us free. Even though I did not serve in the military, I recognize the need for a strong military. I always support the troops that go and do what their leaders lead them into. They are part of the backbone of our country. The leaders, not so much. The leaders are people and they make mistakes and have independent opinions, just like I do. While I recognize that they serve our country as well, I don’t hesitate to try to fire them or rehire them as I see fit.
- Celebration of the diversity that made our country great. Our country was originally founded by people fleeing from religious persecution. We set up a model to make sure this country continued to be diverse. Diversity isn’t something you can put a defined ring around. It is, by it’s nature, diverse.
- Finally, the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
- It did say all men, right? That’s really hard to misinterpret. I mean, really, I suppose you could argue all day about “men” vs. “men and women”, but come on, that’s just stupid. And it didn’t say “all men–except if they are black or gay or Irish or…whatever…” did it? All is all.
- What a simple, clear thought. Then the “interpretation” starts…ugh.
Bottom line, here’s what the 4th is to me:
Celebration and family. Happy Independence Day to all of you!
I attended a production of “Standing on Ceremony, The Gay Marriage Plays” on Saturday, June 9, 2012 with my partner, Paul, and two good friends of ours, Jim and Diane. The play is a series of eleven one act shorts, by eleven different, talented writers. The set was very simple, but effectively used. Because of the simple set, the play relied heavily on the actor’s ability to create character, emotion, time and place with the written words. All of them did this well, and several did it extremely well. The director, Wendy Knox of Frank Theatre, did a marvelous job with this collection, creating an evening of various forms of discussion between actors, bringing important points around gay marriage arguments home with humor, wit and poignancy.
There were three male actors and three female actors playing various roles in the eleven scenes. There was only one scene, called “On Facebook” by Doug Wright–he won a Tony for Best Play for his 2004, “I Am My Own Wife”, find the link to my review for this show here–that used all five actors at once. This scene was one of my favorites because I am such a social media addict! Who hasn’t seen that uncomfortable conversation thread that makes you want to jump in and state your hard developed philosophy in short snippets and emoji faces?
“The Marriage is Saved” by Joe Keenan, was another favorite with an especially strong performance by Aimee K. Bryant. “The Gay Agenda” by Paul Rudnick was full of spunk, rhetoric and emotion. “London Mosquitoes” by Moises Kaufman brought tears to the eyes of many, and the final scene, “Pablo & Andrew at the Altar of Words” by Jose Rivera had some of the most beautifully written, vision producing, poetry of love I have heard in quite a while.
If you are a supporter of Gay Marriage, or maybe if you are on the fence and would like a lively evening of fun with thought thrown in, please try to catch one of the final performances of this play on June 14, 15 and 16.