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My Catch-22 Greeting

Posted: Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

I had been with the com­pany for years, when they hired a new head for my divi­sion. At our first meet­ing, the new guy tried to intro­duce him­self to me, but I held up my hand.

When they hire some­body at your level, the com­pany does a psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­file,” I said. “Since you’re here, I assume you passed the pro­file. It means the com­pany doesn’t think you’re a demented loon.”

He smiled.

So you aren’t crazy,” I con­tin­ued, “and I have real issues about that.”

I walked out of his office. He was my boss for sev­eral years, and he never men­tioned my snarky ‘welcome.’

Brent: the Heart Reader — audiobook

Posted: Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Brent: the Heart Reader

Brent: the Heart Reader. Cover for the audio­book version.

 

This is the cover of my sec­ond audio­book, Brent: The Heart Reader.

It’s still in the pipeline, but the record­ing (Chris Pat­ton) and art­work are done.

BRENT is my favorite book, and I’m so happy the pub­lisher decided to go audio­book with it. Record­ing and pro­duc­ing is a hefty expense.

BRENT is about a cute/young tarot reader who falls madly in lust (then love) with a young Apache man. They get their New Age on with a cool cast of char­ac­ters… some nur­tur­ing, oth­ers snarly and funny.

I really like this book, and I love that the Gay Book Hall of Fame added it to their collection.

Stay tuned: BRENT’s audio­book should be out in a cou­ple. of weeks.

My First Audiobook

Posted: Monday, December 9th, 2013

Vamp Camp is now an audio­book. My first.

I say it’s “mine” because I wrote the book, but Jason Lovett did all the heavy lift­ing on this project. He’s the nar­ra­tor (except for the intro and ded­i­ca­tion which I recorded and slipped in). The run­ning gag through the book is that the nar­ra­tor — a vam­pire — lives in Europe but is awful with every Euro­pean lan­guage. That’s hard to pull off, but Jason does it.

Vamp Camp is avail­able at Audi­ble and iTunes.

Vamp Camp by Wynn Wagner

Gov Perry vs Pres Obama

Posted: Sunday, December 1st, 2013

My cur­rent health insur­ance is the Texas High Risk Insur­ance Pool. By law, it costs dou­ble the rate of reg­u­lar insur­ance. So I pay $1200 a month for health insur­ance that has a $7000 deductible with a ton of balance-billing. In other words, it is expen­sive crap.

The state lege killed the pro­gram as of next January.

Now up pops Gov. Perry. He says the pol­icy is to be extended until March. Thanks to Pres. Obama, I will have bet­ter health insur­ance next year that is HUNDREDS cheaper. So, gov­er­nor… you can take your expen­sive junk-policy and find a cre­ative place to stick it.

AND… based on my expe­ri­ence with Texas insur­ance, I am com­pletely thrilled that you refused to let Texas imple­ment an exchange. There were annoy­ing prob­lems with the fed­eral healthcare.gov but I do have health insur­ance for next year.

You can fix a web­site. You can’t fix asshole.

Happy Happy

Posted: Thursday, November 28th, 2013

thanksgivukkahThanks­giv­ing. First day of Chanukah. Same day.  That won’t hap­pen again for hun­dreds of years. So, Gob­ble Tov on this fleet­ing alignment.

I ran into one of those web­sites that host dis­cus­sions on whether “pub­lic fig­ures” are gay or straight. I’m listed there, and some­one actu­ally spec­u­lated that I might be straight. I’m thank­ful that my gay­dar isn’t so bro­ken as that, but I won­der what I did to make him/her think I might not be gay. Did I miss some­thing somewhere?

I am seri­ously thank­ful for read­ers. Wynn’s books had their best year ever. My spir­i­tual and non-fiction did bet­ter than my gay romance fic­tion. Some bills actu­ally got paid. yippee!

Mostly, I’m thank­ful for my hus­band. After 20 years, I sus­pect I have a keeper.

 

Sculpture with Music

Posted: Monday, August 19th, 2013

The great­est part of lik­ing clas­si­cal (Mozart) or baroque (Bach) music is that when we find some­thing we like, it stays a “hit” for hun­dreds of years.

Act!

Bill the cat

Mozart (“too many notes) leaves me fraz­zled like Bill the Cat (“Bloom County” comic strip). Fraz­zled, but all in a good way. Mozart is like a roller coaster. Fun (in mod­er­a­tion and not when I am oper­at­ing heavy machinery).

Johan Sebastian Back

Johan Sebas­t­ian Back

Bach grounds me because it is pre­cise to the way musi­cal wave­lenghts work.

My heart is unleashed from every­thimg mun­dane. Bach is cor­rect math­e­mat­i­cally, so I never-ever crimge or won­der where some Shostakovich weird note.

I got over him being Lutheran. Petty. Stu­pid bias. But I’m okay with it now.

Musi­cians play­ing Bach do the best when they fol­low the notes… some­thing I always found hard on my key­board. I wanted to jazz up the con­certi, but Mr Bach really totally OWNS music. Mmmm. BMV 1055. Closed eyes.

Bach is a great SCULPTOR OF TIME.

My childhood rage against “The Man”

Posted: Saturday, July 20th, 2013


So much about race and racism lately. I’m old enough to remem­ber water foun­tains marked “COLORED.”

Almost any­one who knows me won’t be sur­prised to know that I always drank out of the “wrong” noz­zle. Mommy knew me, but she was always embar­rassed to see me at the “col­ored” water foun­tain. She said that I was invit­ing dis­ease. I told her we ought to treated “the col­oreds” bet­ter so they don’t have dis­ease. Mommy wasn’t impressed, but she was used to my behavior.

The man­ager at Mon­nigs Depart­ment Store in Fort Worth wasn’t up-to-speed on my shenani­gans and my quiet Drink In demon­stra­tions. He ordered both me and mother out of his store.

Years later, in high school, my sweet­heart was a kid named Tony. The fact he was black was a big­ger deal than the fact we were both gay. Gay is bet­ter than black in Texas, I guess.

Tony’s mom accepted me. Up to a point. She was cer­tainly more accept­ing and kind than my own mother. Tony and I were almost insep­a­ra­ble my senior year in high school. He was gor­geous and funny, and his kiss sent me fly­ing somewhere.

Tony’s mom got us into her car one Sat­ur­day morn­ing and headed East. She was quiet with eyes that could eat through solid steel. Stoic. Severe, maybe.

The point is that when she said we ought to get in the car, there’d be no ques­tions and no delay. She didn’t tell us like she was a drill sargeant, but we knew we needed to be in the car. Period. End of discussion.

Where? I didn’t know

Tony, Tony’s mom, and I drove and drove and drove. They wouldn’t tell me where, except that it was some kind of group protest. I didn’t really have any­thing to protest other than the Viet­nam war.

We finally got to a scene like you see on the news­reels: angry white uni­formed guys on horses. This wasn’t a news­reel. Not for me. That day, I was there. And I was on the dan­ger­ous side of the stand-off.

There were deputies with guns and scary dogs with teeth that were at least a foot or two long. One of the scary guys ordered me to get away from Tony. It wasn’t going to hap­pen, and I didn’t feel like explain­ing why. I was more ter­ri­fied than I had ever been.

Then the speaker took the micro­phone. My heart melted as Mar­tin Luther King, Jr, spoke. He called for resis­tance to evil. He called for peace. Love those who persecute.

I still get a cold chill when I think of that day. Dr. King’s words were awe­some, but I was so scared of those guys in uni­forms. I was just a kid, one of the few white guys in the audi­ence so I sup­pose that I stood out a lit­tle. Tony held me tight, sens­ing how afraid I was. He acted like it was an every­day thing for him. The sad part is that it prob­a­bly was an every­day thing.

I saw the dogs and guns, and I saw this man calmly call for peace. I’ve never been the same.

Let this affir­ma­tion be our ring­ing cry. It will give us the courage to face the uncer­tain­ties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we con­tinue our for­ward stride toward the city of free­dom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair. When our nights become darker than a thou­sand midnights/ Let us remem­ber that there is a cre­ative force in this uni­verse work­ing to pull down the gigan­tic moun­tains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and trans­form dark yes­ter­days into bright tomorrows.

Let us real­ize that the arc of the moral uni­verse is long, but it bends toward jus­tice. Let us real­ize that William Cullen Bryant is right: “Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again.” Let us go out real­iz­ing that the Bible is right: “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. What­so­ever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” This is our hope for the future, and with this faith we will be able to sing in some not too dis­tant tomor­row, with a cos­mic past tense, “We have over­come! We have over­come! Deep in my heart, I did believe we would overcome.“

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

Roman Catholic Hate Machine, even on Easter

Posted: Sunday, March 31st, 2013

RCC Tim­o­thy Dolan went on the ABC Sun­day talk show. Instead of all the pos­i­tive things he could have done on Easter, the car­di­nal spewed idi­otic crap. He said all my gay broth­ers and sis­ters are enti­tled to “friend­ship” but not love.

I am an Old Catholic arch­bishop, and I so wish my voice was loud enough to drown out this Roman Catholic cardinal’s hate. Friend­ship, not love. The gay kids in Dolan’s area (NYC) need warm hugs. Card. Dolan needs to be trans­ferred to Nome.

Friend­ship, not love. This is the Roman bless­ing for Easter.

The “M-word”

Posted: Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

There was a time when I didn’t think being mar­ried was a big deal. It’s the “M-word.” It’s just a word.

I would call les­bians and gays who wanted to be mar­ried “assim­i­la­tion­sts.”  There wasn’t any good rea­son to imi­tate straight peo­ple. Being gay was dif­fer­ent, I thought.

If my broth­ers and sis­ters wanted the M-word, I thought they should have that right. The right was denied to us by Pres. Bill Clin­ton. Instead of actual equal­ity, he came out for gays in the mil­i­tary. “Huh?” I said. It didn’t work, and he set­tled for that awful rule called “Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell.” Under DADT, les­bian and gay sol­diers kept get­ting thrown out. Bill Clin­ton — the man I sup­ported — signed DADT into law. I didn’t just sup­port him, I was an eager staff mem­ber who worked my butt off for his elec­tion. Then… awful got added to hideous. Clin­ton came out in favor of the fed­eral Defense of Mar­riage Act (DOMA). Pres Bubba said he was in favor of the law. He didn’t think peo­ple like me should get mar­ried. DOMA was the law of the land, and that fam­ily con­nec­tion is why I was a total sup­porter of Barack Obama. I wasn’t going to lift a fin­ger to help Clinton’s wife. Maybe that was wrong on my part, but it is how I felt. It is how I still feel to a cer­tain extent.

There were gays and les­bians in the Oval Office, and they were hop­ping mad at Clin­ton. Here’s the hate­ful phrase that pres­i­dent used for them: “Where else are you going to go?”

Betrayal is the sad­dest word ever defined.

So now, Clin­ton is all smiles when he says DOMA was a bad idea. He thinks me get­ting mar­ried would be fine. I don’t buy it. He wants us to for­get that he signed the law. More recently, we’re sup­posed to for­get that he sug­gested John Kerry come out strongly against mar­riage equal­ity (Kerry has always been for LGBT equality).

Clinton’s wife now says that gays and les­bians should be able to get mar­ried. I don’t buy that either.

Guilt by asso­ci­a­tion for Mrs. Clin­ton. Yup. It’s prob­a­bly wrong, but that is my hon­est feel­ings on the family.


Rick and I have been together for 20 years. He’s the love of my life.

Then some­thing weird hap­pened. We got married.

It was in the Dis­trict of Colum­bia. Same-gender cou­ples don’t even get a dou­ble take in the nation’s cap­i­tal. It hap­pens all the time. He and I went before a judge, and then we got a piece of paper.

The mag­i­cal thing hap­pened on our way home. We took the train from Wash­ing­ton to Chicago and then to Dallas.

Wow. I saw wheat grow­ing, and they really looked like those amber waves of grain. Beautiful.

For the first time in my life, I felt ordi­nary. I love ordinary.

That judge in Wash­ing­ton told me (not in so many words) that our life together had merit.

I can’t find the exact words to tell you how I felt on the train, except that my life with Rick was some­how hap­pier and richer.

edgy

Those who want to deny this M-word to gay cou­ples have no idea how caus­tic their mar­riage apartheid is. They say that boy-girl cou­ples can get mar­ried, but I can’t. When I was in the mid­dle of that mind­set, I had no idea of the spir­i­tual and emo­tional dam­age that soci­ety was doing. Once free from those sticky chains, I could look back and see the tragedy. I cried to think of my gay broth­ers and sis­ters who have never known mar­riage. I felt the hor­ror of all those young men and women who killed them­selves over society’s con­stant drub­bing. I felt angry at the hate-filled politi­cians in my home state of Texas.

The goody-two-shoes say “No mar­riage for queers.” In the same breath they berate les­bians and gays for being promis­cu­ous. They don’t see (or ignore the fact) that being mar­ried is society’s way of encour­ag­ing a healthy and lov­ing atmos­phere. There was a time when I’d see a gor­geous actor on TV and dream of rip­ping off his clothes and hav­ing wild sex with him. There’s one gay actor on prime time TV that used to be a reg­u­lar in my fan­tasy world. But he’s mar­ried. He and his hus­band have adopted chil­dren. Since Rick and I got offi­cially mar­ried, I love see­ing that actor on TV. He is still one of the most adorable peo­ple I’ve ever seen, but my heart soars for his mar­riage. How lucky those kids are to wake up every day to such a lovely father. I’m told that they live their lives out of the Hol­ly­wood spot­light. They’re just a reg­u­lar fam­ily. Until Rick and I were mar­ried, I couldn’t be happy for the actor and his hus­band. I wanted to be promis­cu­ous. The change wasn’t forced on me. I didn’t decide to stop think­ing about rip­ping his clothes off. It just hap­pened. I smile when his show comes on, and I am so happy for him.

I need to have hope and char­ity for every­one. The self-styled “reli­gious” right is included in the group of things I am sup­posed to love. I’m sup­posed to forgive.

To tell you the truth, I’m not there yet. I don’t like what the rightwing has done to Chris­tian­ity. That minor­ity of mon­sters have turned the reli­gion of love into some­thing with buzz saw blades. It’s like the Inqui­si­tion and the Witch Hunts all over.

What I love about Amer­ica is that it remains edgy and exper­i­men­tal. That’s the way the coun­try was started, and I hope — maybe even trust or expect — that the Con­sti­tu­tion will keep evolving.

I believe there will be a time when my mar­riage to the man I love will be rec­og­nized by my home state (Texas) and by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. That won’t come from any change in Texas pol­i­tics. It will only hap­pen when a higher and more pow­er­ful author­ity tells the rightwing to sit down.

Upstream from me: Gov Rick Perry, Rep Pete Ses­sions, Sen John Cornyn, and Sen Ted Cruz. I’m the gay bug. They’re the tea party wind­shield. The only thing that has my back is the US Con­sti­tu­tion. I look to the Supreme Court for cover. There is so much religion-wrapped hatred in Texas. I pray the court gets engaged with the destruc­tion of DOMA. Some states let les­bians and gays marry, while Texas politi­cians don’t even want to know that I kiss and hug my husband.

My polit­i­cal over­seers want to deny me lib­erty. They don’t see any rea­son to let me pur­sue happiness.

Texas will see mar­riage equal­ity one day. We aren’t there yet. I may not live long enough to see it, but I am con­fi­dent in the tra­jec­tory of Amer­i­can society.

What I can do in the mean­time is to release the hate­ful rightwing from ani­mos­ity. I want to keep a char­i­ta­ble atti­tude toward the hate-mongers because–

  • I am mar­ried to the love of my life, and noth­ing any­body says or does can change that; and,
  • the Lords of Karma are much bet­ter at lev­el­ing the field than I could ever be.

One other note. Rick will con­firm this. That actor? If he calls my cell phone, I have told Rick that I may not be around for a cou­ple of days. Mmmm.…

Rick and Wynn Wagner

Rick and Wynn Wagner

Lion King equality

Lion King equality

Grumpy Kitty equality

Grumpy Kitty equality

True Blood equality

True Blood equality

Bacon equality

Bacon equal­ity

Smirnoff equality

Smirnoff equal­ity

Paula Dean equality, y'all

Paula Dean equal­ity, y’all

Matzah equality

Passover equal­ity

Star Wars equality

Star Wars equality

Peanut equality

Peanut equal­ity

 

The Elephant Sneaks into My Wheelhouse

Posted: Monday, March 25th, 2013

I’m not a “one issue” per­son. No, really. Some (read: most) of my friends will chuckle at that. They’d tell you that I’m all over LGBT equal­ity, and that I’ve been that way since the GAY LIB days of the 1960s.

That part is true, but I have lots of things on my agenda. I worry about the bro­ken health care sys­tem in the US. I am con­cerned that Uncle Sam flexes his mil­i­tary fist way too quickly. I fear that too many peo­ple remain unem­ployed even though there are pot­holes in the streets that are large enough to swal­low small children.

Those are all crit­i­cally impor­tant issues, and I’m con­cerned about each.

But (and this is often a show-stopper)… you don’t get to talk to me about all those other things until we get past LGBT equal­ity. It is my sine qua non issue.

That’s why the recent switch of Sen. Rob Port­man on mar­riage equal­ity is so inter­est­ing to me.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

Sen. Rob Port­man (R-OH)

Mr. Port­man is a Repub­li­can from Ohio. He and I will most likely have a short con­ver­sa­tion because I am def­i­nitely not a Repub­li­can, and Ohio is far too cold for my ten­der bones. But he is the only elected Repub­li­can who doesn’t think my life is a waste of space. He thinks my love for my hus­band has merit, and that (by my own def­i­n­i­tion) lets me hear what he has to say on a whole agenda of topics.

My par­ents started out like most Repub­li­cans. They used words like F*g. It was incon­ve­nient for them because I was never “in” the closet. I was out my entire life. They knew my boyfriends in high school and col­lege, and they main­tained an uneasy silence. They knew I’d react noisily.

When I was out on my own, invi­ta­tions to fam­ily events would come in addressed to me but not my lover. I’d always ignore those kinds of invi­ta­tions. When mother asked about that, I told her why. It was an uneasy truce: no ver­bal bar­rages, but no real peace.

They finally came around. Before they died, they both accepted my lover/husband as part of the fam­ily. I started going to fam­ily out­ings again. My rel­a­tives (adopted fam­ily, no blood) didn’t like the arrange­ment, but nobody ever said any­thing. I can’t ask for more than that. What you think of me isn’t any con­cern of mine. I don’t care what you or any­one else thinks. You can talk behind my back, and that’s just ducky. We’ll only have prob­lems if you say some­thing impo­lite within earshot. That usu­ally includes say­ing things about gay kids who aren’t strong enough to stand up on their own.

My rel­a­tives (adopted) finally fig­ured all that out. Peace was at hand.

I think I’m still a Yella-Dog Demo­c­rat. That term goes back to when Rep Sam Ray­burn (D-TX) was Speaker of the House. When some­body asked him if he’d ever vote for a Repub­li­can, Mr Ray­burn said he’d rather vote for an old Yella-Dog.

Will and Sen. Rob Portman

Will and Sen. Rob Portman

I think I’m still one of those, but now I will eagerly give Sen Port­man a listen.

What’s more, I am so happy to see what came from Will Portman’s com­ing out. Will is the senator’s son. He’s a stu­dent at Yale Uni­ver­sity. After Will told his father that he’s gay, it started a two year process of evolv­ing into believ­ing that mar­riage equal­ity ought to be the law of the land.

So, thank you Will. Thanks for being hon­est about who you are. And thanks to your father for hav­ing the guts to go against what has been a rightwing lock on the social poli­cies of the Repub­li­can party.

 

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