Archives for posts with tag: Religion and Spirituality

I felt both overwhelmed and liberated in 2013.  Simultaneously.

I spent the past few hours un-subscribing from 100 mailing lists from whom I receive emails begging for money.  All perfectly decent causes, gun control, black theatre, saving the ocean, climate control, Unicef, the world wildlife fund, democratic causes, mercy for animals, slow money…

I un-subscribed from cook shops, travel companies, furniture stores and fashion lines.  I spent a few moments each day erasing my name from the lists I added myself in the hope of being better informed, no more Gawker or Huffington Post or the Daily Beast.

It was an odd year.  It was unusually diverse.  I continued writing my film tho I stopped talking about it.  I met thieving producers and film industry liars.  I spent time with weed smoking Susan Sarandon in the back of her ping-pong club.  

Away from the film I travelled to Martha’s Vineyard, to Des Moines and over the Rocky Mountains.   I travelled by car all over America.  Los Angeles to New York and back again… three times.  I was constantly surprised by American kindness whenever I found it.  

I fell in and out of love with AA.  In and out of love with the gays tho… mostly out of love.

We are presently finalizing our divorce.

During the past months I began a strange adventure with a young man who I tentatively call my boy friend.  I began to dream again… of better things… even though I am still cautious and burned.  Erring toward single at all times.

I wrote a great deal but never published a word of it.

I wrote indignant things like this…

I am queer.  They are gay.  They are white and affluent.  They want to get married and join the army.  They want to assimilate.  That’s what they say.

When you question them… when you ask them what assimilation looks like… they still want to keep gay pride, gay bars, gay apps, gay film festivals, gay morality.

They want the gay section in the bookshop, the ‘gay voice’ section in The Huffington Post.  They don’t really understand what assimilation looks like because most of them are too comfy not assimilating.

He said, “This is all about your internalized homophobia.” I smiled.  “It’s not internalized, it’s externalized.”

One can devote ones life to betrayal.  Betrayed by parents, family members, institutions, schools, by loved ones even the country of ones origin.  I have felt a smidgen from all of the above.  Yet, I forgave my family, my school, the class system, my beloved country.

Because I wanted to be free.

I huffed and puffed about the NSA, I applauded Glen Greenwald and Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowdon.  I stopped worrying about who could read whatever I was writing privately or which ever websites I was wacking to because there is nothing private.  Not any more.

I met literary heroes on Fire Island like Andy Tobias and had breakfast with John Walters, I spent sultry nights on Cape Cod.  I started Anger Management classes and enjoy them tremendously.

My counsellor asks things like, “Where in your body to you feel the anger first?”

I began to identify the genesis of my anger and feelings of uncomfortability.  It usually starts with a demand for money from a worthy cause.  A picture or video of a screaming rabbit as it is having it’s fur pulled off or a pile of euthanized dogs waiting to be incinerated.

It was the hopelessness that infuriated me, the cruelty, the stupidity, the hypocrisy.

I came to conclusions in 2013.  That I do not, have never had, am not interested in… A CAREER!   Careers, I realized, are… for other people.  For those who may be interested in a legacy.  I stopped calling myself a film maker and started telling people, if they asked, that I do… nothing.

I understood that wherever I found myself both good or bad I was meant to be.  It was all for a reason.  A reason that would one day be revealed to me.  That my life was a series of choreographed moments. The life of a narcissist.  That the cameras I learned to love whilst in the reality show had always been there and had never gone away.

In 2013 I never gave up.  I waited patiently.  I didn’t worry about the future nor was I enslaved to the past.  For this I was grateful.

Occasionally I hankered to go home but knew that after a few days in Whitstable I would find my life shrinking and darkening.  I did not go home.  Though, I spoke more to my Mother this year and was curious about my nieces and nephews.

Finally the JB entanglement came to an end one nondescript day in November.  I wanted to write to him and make amends for the mess I had caused.

But I wrote this instead… it was never sent.

An apology is owed.

I was wrong to lie to you.  I was wrong to lose my temper.  I was wrong to fight you.  I was wrong to have asked for money to be paid when you owed me nothing.  I was wrong to have blamed you for any part of our unhealthy association.  The blame must fall squarely at my feet for everything that went wrong.   The moment you came out I should have politely walked way… I did not.   I was advised by everyone I knew and cared about… to walk away from you but chose to ignore their good suggestion.   I should have thanked you and walked away.  I regret very much that I did not.  I am extremely remorseful.  Due to my weakness of character I initiated a drama that harmed you and caused distress to your family.  I should have walked away.  The moment you told me you were gay.   I know that you are happy now.   I know that your happiness will continue.

It took two years to own up.

2013.  Un-subscribing to websites, making amends, keeping my side of the street clean, owning up, anger management.

Let’s see what 2014 will bring.

As the years pass by, unrelenting, amazing, fulfilling, desperate, happy, sad.

Even though I have filled my homes with art and furniture and friends and the lingering smells of delicious feasts… even though I have made films and plays and paintings…. all I have ever wanted, really craved… was peace of mind.

I’m getting there.  Slowly.  A Happy and Prosperous New Year everyone.

There are some moments that I didn’t want to share with you…but they have lingered like a prison fart.

Begging to be remembered.

One particular memory I hoped to forget:

Our dorm, as you know, was the school dorm…the honor dorm.  On occasions when the police came into the dorm to conduct the evening count, when we lay on our beds, our faces in the mat, our plastic identification bracelets on view for the deputy to inspect…the police would call out, “Give it up for deputy…so and so..” and it was our job to cheer and shout and welcome the new deputy into the dorm.

If the deputy was homophobic we would be primed to make even more noise, the more well endowed, busty trannies to leap up and show the deputy their tities or dance seductively around him.

The blushing deputy, bloated on the attention, would playfully curse his colleagues.

I refused to cheer and shout.  It made me sick.  I wondered if the Nazis had ever played games like that in the nissen huts at Auschwitz.  Making the starving jews/gays/gypsies play games for their amusement.

One night, an attractive deputy called Gonzales arrived and they cat-called him and cheered his arrival.  We gave it up for deputy Gonzales and he, in turn, ran a lap of honor around the dorm.  I thought, wow, he’s a good-looking man.

Weeks later Gonzales took a few of us to the visiting room but not before he had told us that homosexuals had a ‘sick lifestyle’ and we disgusted him.

It was strange to me that such a beautiful man had such ugly thoughts.

Today, I was arraigned which meant that I went back to court at 8.30am and plead Not Guilty.   It was odd being in court wearing my own clothes rather than my blues.  The DA, Anne-Marie Wise was wearing her badly cut, black suit, treating the event like it was a first degree murder of a small child…or something truly heinous.

Anne-Marie and I had Facebook friends in common (another DA) who she demanded de-friend me.  Surely she can’t do this?  Unbelievably her entire Facebook history is on view for the whole world to see.  Her kids, her vacations etc.  Why do people do that?

We were presented with the transcript from the preliminary trial so, I assume, this is all on public record.  Who I am, who he is, who she is etc.  I am still loathed to use his name…just in case it breaks some obscure law.

We met our new Judge, Judge Michael V. Jesic who seems like the most grown up Judge so far.  Like a real Judge.  He was a Hardcore Gang prosecutor.  Son of Yugoslavian immigrants, born in Belgrade.  He has gravitas.  He loves animals and met his wife at a pet adoption event.  Like most of them he is an ex-DA.  He seems, from the video published above, like a fair man.

The LA Times endorsed him in 2008 and he is most likely to be described as ‘ethical’ by his opponents.  Read a full description here.

However, he is a registered Republican (fiscally) and was strongly recommended by church organizations during his election campaign in 2008 as most likely to hold beliefs that would uphold their biblical values.

Judge Jesic will be our third and final judge.

The first judge (whose name escapes me) the first time I saw him last November, was a MESS.  Papers all over the place, tie off, hair askew…when I returned with TMZ in tow he had combed his hair, wearing his robe…his tie was neatly tied around his neck.  Showing his best side for the camera.

Judge Karen Nudell was our preliminary judge.  I was still in custody so the petulant, young deputy who lead me into the court would rearrange my chair and tell me off for wearing my spectacles on my head.

Judge Karen sat yawning, shuffling papers, playing with her huge earings and stroking her long hair.  She sat at an odd angle to the courtroom, like Mona Lisa…but less enigmatic.

She reminded me of the mother in the movie Carrie.

During the prelim Anne-Marie was trying to shame me for describing the victim as ‘The King of The Cocksuckers’.  I reminded her that we were gay and being good at cock sucking was probably not an insult.

You can tell what a fiasco the trial will be.  The press will have a field day.  Anyway, Judge Nudell looked appalled that the words cock and sucker were being used in her court in such close proximity.

My friend later commented that Judge Nudell’s grandchildren probably made excuses not to visit her on Sundays…

Let’s hope that Judge Jesic isn’t so squeamish.

You asked me to describe my arrest.  Well, let me tell you that the very courteous cops who arrested me looked like extras from a ZZ Top video.  Long beards.  Very, very long beards. So long in fact that their police badges were hidden behind them.

The detectives who interviewed me were charming.  The first was a good-looking man probably my age (looked better clean-shaven) and the second a younger, probably rookie detective.   I had no complaints about the way they treated me, they were doing their job.  I’m sure they would have preferred leaping over cars chasing rapists.

I have been slowly crawling back into my life.  The dog, who initially pretended not to recognize me, is back on my lap.  Three months apart, he had to make Jason his master.  He’s a one man dog.  Of course he was confused, poor darling.  We are getting on fine.  We walked to Sarah and Paul’s house on Hume but they moved out.  The house was open and empty…except for the leopard print, wall to wall, carpet.  He ran around the house looking for them.  So did I.

Mel took me to dinner at the Real Inn last night.  I ate fish and chips.  We sat by the fire.  We speculated about the couple sitting near us, whether they were having a first date.  She was wearing heels.  Her Angora sweater was too short revealing her fat hips.

The house is back to normal or as normal as it ever will be with three young men who find clearing up after themselves almost impossible.  Thank you twins and friend for being here.  Filling the house with laughter and youthful enthusiasm.  I delight in being mother hen…washing and making good food for them to eat.

I can’t complain about anything…even though I feel like I am already dead.

I used to be a Quaker, a member of the religious organization also known as The Society of Friends.

I went to my first meeting when I was 13 years old, primarily to get out of British boarding school Sunday morning chores.

My headmaster John Lampen and his wife Diana were running the small independent school near Shrewsbury called Shotton Hall.  They were both very enthusiastic Quakers.  They radiated that peculiar peace for which Quakers are renowned.

When everything at school seemed chaotic John would provide, in retrospect, a different kind of solution.  I was drawn to him yet baffled.  Nothing seemed to annoy him…and he knows I tried.

His alternative Oxbridge way of thinking both irritated and inspired me.   He was self-assured but never smug.

He had something I most definitely wanted.

I asked if I could go to their Quaker meetings.

Sunny Shrewsbury Sunday morning.  The meeting was held in a regency building set off the High Street.   Cobbled streets, plane trees, red sandstone peculiar to the region.

I was an unruly, difficult child.  At my first Quaker meeting I felt immediately accepted.  This was an inclusive church.  One where a young gay boy might find solace rather than damnation.

I heard, “There is that of God in every man.” and I was sold.  The God I knew existed.   No longer dressed in extravagant robes, tradition, canticles or phony ritual.  A simple room filled with love.  No more priests or clergy to funnel God into me like a goose choking back the corn, but there I was a 13-year-old boy looking within to find God in my heart.

I started going to meetings regularly, sitting silently for an hour, attempting to find and nurture a God of my understanding.   “Like a spec of gold.” Diana said.  If moved to share, a Friend would stand and speak.  Sharing whatever God Shot was on his or her mind.

This was revolutionary!  We were all priests.

It was as evident to me then as it is now that this was how human beings, focused on a power greater than themselves connected with their ‘God’ and each other…found joy.  Without the myths and tales and dogma of organized religion it was here that we set aside our differences and focused on thinking our way into right action.

I knew instinctively that when I sat quietly in a room of meditating humans I was probably doing something that we had learned to do millions of years before.  On the tundra, in the shadow of Stone Henge.

Some of us.

Reflection and God-consciousness does not suit every man.  It is apparent that not all men are created curious.

My years as an active Quaker were perhaps the happiest times of my life.  I loved the room.  I have never been frightened of old people, different people, sick people.  Perhaps that’s why I get into so much trouble?

I left school, striking out on my own into the dramatic new world of my own creation.  I left the tranquility of those Quaker meeting houses behind me.  I left God behind me.  Nearly twenty years later, smashed to pieces by my own bad choices I would once again seek out some fundamental truths and a relationship with a God I knew was indeed in every man….including me.

I did not return to The Society of Friends but to the rooms of AA where a healthy relationship with God is essential for an everyday peace.

Yesterday was my birthday and hundreds of you wished me well.  One of the great benefits of Facebook: we can celebrate our lives with an extended community of friends and acquaintances.  Amongst the notes Kevin Sessums wrote to me.

He said, “Happy b’day .. have a special day with special friends not just FB ones …”

I wondered if friends on Facebook were any less special than those I met in the real world.  I have never met Kevin yet I enjoy our Facebook friendship.  I don’t know if I would necessarily enjoy him more if I met him.

Pen Pals we used to call them when I was a child. People I wrote to in different countries who would tell me about their exotic lives and I would live vicariously through them.  Facebook is no different.  I like to engage as I do in the real world.  I like my ‘friends’ to see what I am up to and like when they comment.  I like when they share their holiday snaps, their location and trial and tribulations.

I have several real communities that I keep up with virtually.  Whitstable, Sydney, New York.  I have friends in all of those places (Jake cruelly called them my sycophants) and Facebook allows me the opportunity of enhancing and deepening my ties to those disparate people.

Real people disappoint me.  Facebook friends rarely do.  I have no expectations of those I meet on-line.  Enter my world or my house and I may not know you for very long.

I had lunch with Jennie Ketcham in Venice.  We hadn’t seen each other for an age.  She looked great.

Later that night Toby threw an impromptu party for me at his house and many LA friends arrived to wish me well.  Were they special friends?  The ones I know from AA and SAA most certainly are.   I have a deep connection with those friends with whom I sit quietly, go in peace and share a common interest in God.

I didn’t take any pictures.

Regardless of any drama that may or may not be unfolding in this real world I recognize at my core a stillness that I learned as a teenage boy from long dead Quakers on quiet Sunday mornings in Shrewsbury.  It is to you that I give thanks this morning.  Thank you Joyce, Priscilla, Raymond, Susan, Diana and John.  Thank you.

If I hadn’t met you, if you hadn’t shared so humbly what you knew to be the truth about God I don’t think I would have celebrated this last birthday nor many, many before it.

I sat quietly in St Patrick‘s cathedral.

Just me and the Little Dog strangely all alone in that vaulted place.

I have no idea how or why I ended up there. I wanted avocado on toast at Gitane not a divine intervention.

I genuflect and bow my head.

I knelt right at the front, first pew, and looked up at the painting of Jesus who in that particular church is part cherub.

I don’t really believe in Jesus.  It’s a lovely idea but nah…Jesus is not my friend.  God, on the other hand, is my friend and it was to him that I genuflect, to him that I kneel and to him that I found myself praying with some adolescent insistence.

I kept on praying for the strength to forgive.  Please let me have the strength to forgive him.  Forgive his childish letter, forgive him for so crudely lying his way into my life.  Forgive him for being ordinary.  Yes, that sounds cruel but I wanted him to be extraordinary and he just isn’t.

We only have a few more days before I face The Penguin in court and all I want is to forgive him, to look into his face and forgive him.  I am praying hard that happens.

I don’t mind listening to anything he throws at me…I know he is fighting for his life…as long as I am at peace.   He made some really, really silly mistakes.  Mistakes that not only impacted on my life but on every person around him.

If only he had the guts to just say that he was sorry, he has no idea how forgiving I can be.

I spoke to John yesterday about unanswered questions and he made a very good point.

If, for instance, I asked my step-father why he did what he did to me, he really wouldn’t know.  He didn’t know.  When I confronted him all those years ago he collapsed into my arms.  Defeated by my directness.  It was the only time I ever saw him vulnerable.

The Penguin has no idea why he did what he did so it’s really no use asking him why.  Even though I want to know so badly.

Last night I rolled around a large bed with a young man I met in the park.   He walked to my house, brought me lilacs, paid for my dinner and as people are want to do, flicked through various photographs on my iPhone left over from when I first met The Penguin.

He said, “He looks like me.”

Yes, I said.  “He does look like you but he’s not at peace like you are.”

NYC is jam-packed with beautiful jewish boys.

My darling God Children give me so much pleasure.  Here is a glimpse of them.   They have moved to Lake Malibu which is  just PERFECT.

Loads going on in SoCal…but just H’wood shit.   On HLN again tonight with my valued opinions about Charlie Sheen.   SAG awards…blah blah.  Aleksa won with her Boardwalk Empire colleagues.  She texted me after…so excited.  I am so proud of her.

I sat in my therapy group this morning at 7.30am.  A gay man in his early thirties shared his addiction story (drugs and alcohol).  He caught my attention when he said that he didn’t come out until very recently because he wanted people to like him and he feared that if he told those he knew that he was gay they wouldn’t.

Pathetic.

If I had heard his story a year ago I might very well have sympathized with him but I sat there remembering that this was Jake’s rationale for not coming out until the end of his twenties.

The desire to be liked has never really interested me, being disliked is far more rewarding, one always knows exactly where one stands.   Yet, I think that this desire to be liked may be how a great number of people think.  It seems imperative that they are liked even if they have to live a total lie.

To be liked?  It seems so desperate.  I guess that pathetic JB is getting a whole lot of sympathy from family and friends but especially from susceptible gay men as he miserably tells his tragic story.

Poor Jake knew that he was gay when he was 15 years old, brought up by kindly, understanding liberal parents (why didn’t he tell them?) went to Ithaca University upstate New York (I know out gay men who were his contemporaries) couldn’t come out at Uni apparently because it was a macho uni..he told me that if he had gone to NYU he would have come out earlier….blah blah blah. He then decided to work in the film industry which, as you imagine, is sooooo homophobic.  Couldn’t wouldn’t tell a fucking soul…OH..WAIT…he did tell a soul..he told all the men he was fucking because an ‘on the down low’ gay guy is MUCH sexier to fucked up gay men than just a regular gay guy.  He learned that very quickly.

When he finally came clean, came out, thrown out of his East Village porn performance pad he was GENUINELY disturbed that her friends, their neighbours didn’t see it his way.  Where was the fucking sympathy? Where’s MY SYMPATHY!!!

Even though she tried extracting the truth he STILL couldn’t tell her everything.   He continued lying to her even though she gave him ample opportunity to tell her the truth.

Listen, I sit in those therapy rooms listening to men who get caught cheating every single day.  How pathetic they become when their world of lies and intrigue is blown apart.  It is almost FUNNY how wronged some of them think they are.

I sat in that room this morning loathing that stranger telling his story.

Poor guy, he wanted to be liked so he lied to everyone including his parents and his girlfriend etc.  It was horribly familiar.

Fuck you lying addict gay guy.  This arrogant raconteur, this self-obsessed, manipulative, entitled asshole.  I was just amazed that in this day and age he expected us to feel sorry for him.  In 2010 are we still feeling sorry for people who want to be liked so much that they pathologically lie to the whole world?

Jake lied and lied and lied.  He took risks with his own and his girlfriend’s health.  He set aside his career and his ambition, and when he finally came clean blamed his ex gf for ruining his life because she threw him out of the house.

Want to know something even more damning?  He urged me to see it his way.

Most gay men would…but I didn’t.  For all of you, like Tres Triste, who want to blame me for his misery just give a thought to how I bullied him into telling that poor girl the truth.  Yes, I bullied him into it…because what he was doing to her was cruel and dangerous and one day she will thank me because he would have married her.

Think about HER.

Those of us who bravely told the truth when we were young about our sexuality were made to pay the price.

Before this morning I really hadn’t given Jake much thought.  I don’t bother imagining his life now because it doesn’t take much imagination to figue out exactly what’s going on.  Jake is an addict and his life’s trajectory is obvious to any of one of us who identify as addicts.

The asshole who commented that I was dragging Jake into my fucked up world forgot, it seems, that Jake in fact dragged me into his fucked up world.  A world of lies, deceit, false promises and a desire to be liked at all costs.

That pretty girl squandered her twenties (as well as finding true love) on him, she should sue the nasty little liar for what he stole from her..because it can never, ever be replaced.

Thankfully the $2,000 that he owes me can and will be replaced.

Can you imagine waking up on the eve of your thirties expecting to marry the man of your dreams only to find out that every moment of every day you shared with him was a total lie?

Apparently it was her fault for not realizing that he was a lying.   After all, he didn’t have any interest in sports.  At the end of October that poor girl has to move out of her home, has to find somewhere else to live.  Just because he wanted to be liked at all costs.

The gays will love him.  They’ll understand.  As long as he’s cute and puts out and doesn’t have any emotions.  Oh yes, he’ll fit in with the mediocre, middle of the road, bourgeoise gays..just fine.

It’s still fucking hot here in Malibu.  90somethingdegrees.  I feel a bit tense.  I feel a bit miserable.  I feel a bit powerless..hence I end up blogging about Jake.  Somehow blogging about him makes me feel better.

Finally, the guy who shared this morning told us that he is HIV positive because he was taking meth.  Oh GAYS!  The gays don’t seem to think about condoms when they are high on meth which is great for the drug companies because every expendable gay with HIV is worth $3,000,000 to big pharma.

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