A fair number of my friends are posting these "unfriend me" messages. "If you don't agree with me on [insert issues here], please unfriend me now."
I respect their right to pare down their Friends lists in this way, but I will not be joining them.
We in the UU tradition are fond of quoting this quatrain by Edwin Markham:
“He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him in!"
Like it or not, here are a few things I believe, based on half a century of reading, learning, and direct experience:
1. All human beings have inherent worth and dignity, regardless of their ethnic origin, sex, gender, orientation, or belief system.
1-1/2. I did not stutter. I said "All human beings," including the damaged ones who have acted to harm others.
2. All human beings have a responsibility to love and protect each other and the natural world of which they are a part.
3. Over the centuries, we imperfect human beings have devised institutions for the purposes of abusing, misusing, and otherwise cruelly mistreating fellow human beings and the natural world; these institutions should be dismantled and replaced with institutions that nourish, sustain, and repair humanity and nature.
You may have disagreements with some of the above and still be my friend. I didn't say it would be easy for either of us.
Here's another Facebook Status post that I'm graduating to this blog.
People who know me well might know the following:
Other people who know me well might know that I manage to combine all four of the above through my involvement with the World Naked Bike Ride. Yes, this two-time candidate for public office is coming out as a Ciclonudista!
First, I want to thank Marge Piercy for the poem that inspired the title of this novel. Perhaps some day I'll get to meet her, and she can tell me whether I've completely misinterpreted the meaning of the poem.
Second, I want to thank the minister emeritus of First Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston, Rev. Robert L. Schaibly, to whom the novel is dedicated. Bob served First UU from 1982 until his retirement in 2002. So much cool stuff happened at that church during those 20 years, I wouldn't know where to begin. He is a figure of stratospheric intellect, with a beatific, reassuring presence, whose studies of zen led him to become its living avatar. Present moment...wonderful moment.
Third, I want to thank high school chums Dan Borden and Robert McLaren for convincing me to get a Facebook account back in 2009. I had tried some other social networking sites: in particular, Tribe (which amazingly still exists) and a couple of different Ning sites (extinct). I like the way Tribe was set up, with its emphasis on introducing people with similar interests. On too many occasions, however, Tribe felt like a big empty room. Eventually even my Tribe friends started drifting away from it and toward The Facebook.
Now the novel that spent four years gestating in my mind and my Mac has its own FB page.
I'm not going to insist that anyone buy the book before liking the page. That said, I'd really like for all of you to buy and read and enjoy the book. If you do, I'll have an incentive to publish a new, typographically improved edition of A Small Town for Its Size for your further enjoyment.
Even if this summary isn't brief, it will provide some impressions of the meeting without bogging it down in tedious explanations for non-insiders. I hope there will be an official report on the GPTX website before too long.
The Green Party of Texas Annual State Meeting took place Saturday and Sunday at the Bethlehem United Center on the southeast side. We spent a whole business day Saturday conducting, y'know, business, plus five hours Sunday. The Party business was interspersed with some mighty fine meals.
One of several items of business conducted at this past weekend's Annual State Meeting of the Green Party of Texas was the election of a mostly new State Executive Committee. The photo above shows how transparent the process of vote-counting was: Everybody not only got to observe but to participate. Yes, the furniture in the photo is rather low to the ground: We retreated to the Bethlehem Center's Pre-K classroom to tabulate the ballots.
Today I received the message below from a longtime church friend. This friend and her family switched from the church I still attend to the other large UU church in Houston during "The Troubles" that served as the initial inspiration for Earthworm.
She ordered the book directly from iUniverse, not from one of the big online vendors. It seems that iUniverse and Strebor have a deal with the same printing company. This news makes me wonder (and another friend has expressed the same thought) whether it's a sign that I should reach out to Caleb Alexander. Networking is usually a good thing. Also, his novel takes place, at least in part, less than two hours' drive from my fictitious college town of Santa Cecilia.
My other impression is that this right-cover-wrong-text foul-up will not happen to very many buyers of either Mr. Alexander's book or mine. iUniverse's model is on-demand printing, so it does not print and cover large numbers of copies of a book at one time—unless somebody orders a lot of copies. I'd be really surprised if the 20 copies I ordered for next week will have the same problem, but you'd better believe I'm going to check them before I try to sell them.
It may be a cliché, but it's wonderful to be able to hold the finished product in my hands. I even like the texture of the cover. My 10 author copies should arrive next week from iUniverse, along with five copies of A Small Town for Its Size. I ordered the same allotment of copies for another event the following week.
This Facebook status that I posted yesterday is now graduating to the blog so that more than my FB friends can see it.
Pride Month has begun. I'd like to take this opportunity to come out of the non-closet—before friends, family, et tout le monde—and recognize my cis-het privilege. I pray to the benevolent spirit of the universe that I may use my privilege to make life better and easier for our LGBTIQA etc. comrades, whatever their closet status. And if they don't want my help, may they tell me firmly and politely, "No, thank you."