Scaredy Cat

I have a confession to make … I’m a scaredy cat. Yep! That’s what I am. To revert to another term I haven’t used in years … What am I ascared of? I’m not sure. I just know that I’m not terribly brave or courageous; not like soldiers or policemen or firemen; not like atheists or agnostics. It’s all about facing death.

It’s always seemed to me that a person such as a policeman or fireman and more particularly a soldier has faced, if not death, at least the prospect of their own death at least once in the course of performing their duties. They have more than likely come to terms with the prospect of life coming to an end. There is a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes and I imagine that’s because when one finds one’s self in a foxhole one is face to face with the prospect of their end being there in that foxhole.

I don’t remember ever not believing that God exists. I always felt that He did. However, for most of my life I just never paid a bit of attention to what his existence really meant to me.

Atheists and agnostics simply baffle me. When I look at the complexity of life; the way every single solitary thing, in not just this world but in all of creation, is assembled and ordered, it is just not possible for me to consider for even a moment that it’s all random accident the way atheists do. I find it equally impossible to ascribe to the notion that “the universe”, an impartial and emotionally devoid entity created itself without the benefit of intelligent thought.

Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t it just a wee bit incongruous to think that morality is a natural happenstance which mankind has, over centuries come to accept as the correct way to live. Are “right” and “wrong” simply the unintended and accidental result of the passing of time. If that is the case, then it seems to me that it’s basically because the “weak” in society drummed up the notion, and began a campaign of acceptance among the compassionate strong, as a sort of shield against the not so compassionate among the “strong”.

But to be more practical about the issue, I find it further mind boggling to imagine that anyone with even a modicum of scientific knowledge can think that it’s all accidental. It’s been years since I studied biology and chemistry and even though there have been advancements in our human understanding of the “way things work” the basics remain intact. Everything, every single solitary minute particle of our world, our solar system, our universe, is ordered and positioned to serve a purpose of some sort. Again, I ask, accident?

And that brings me back to my confession. I realize that we all have to face the fact that there is an expiration date to our earthly existence. Firemen face that reality in doing their job. Policemen, in this current time of deadly attacks on them, certainly do and soldiers, in particular those who stare the enemy in the face at any given moment; those people have to deal with death as a matter of course. How they do it and continue with their jobs is a source of constant amazement for me. There is an old phrase that says, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” Seems logical to me though I have never been in one of those “foxholes”

I’ve never had the opportunity to discuss the issue with an atheist, so I can’t say what, if ever they find themselves in a “foxhole”, they would do. I think I would like to know how they mentally and emotionally address the final curtain.

For myself, I find enormous comfort in my belief that God does indeed exist; that He designed me and everything else in existence with care and precision meant to work together if we follow the instruction manual. I find further comfort in the fact that there are numerable instances in my personal life which I can point to that can only be explained in light of His existence and personal involvement in my life. I don’t care if it’s something as simple as searching for a misplaced item and saying aloud, “Where in the Sam Hill is my shoe?” and suddenly have it appear in my line of sight. It happens way too often to be coincidence. I am one person who has experienced God’s personal involvement in the mundane as well as the special occurrences of my life.

So how do I resolve the issue of being a scaredy cat? That’s really quite simple. I’m only scared when I don’t remember that I don’t need to be scared. Besides, as I have said to my best friend, Christine who is an avowed atheist, “If you’re right and I’m wrong I have not lost anything because there was nothing to lose in the first place. But, if I’m right and you’re wrong you will have lost everything.?

6/20/2010

Eight years ago today, June 20, 2010 at 1:37 AM in the morning I posted the following on my Facebook page.

“I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I … AM … DONE!!!!! HALLELUJAH! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY!! I … AM … DONE!!”

After 3 years of remembering, researching my own past and writing down the results, I had written the final sentence in “Dear Mom and Dad.” Had it been published in that original form it would have been in excess of 700 pages long. Thankfully, the person I’d been dealing with at iUniverse advised me that unless I was James Michener it was entirely too long. Following that advice, I began a slash and burn editing process. Well, I didn’t actually burn anything. I still have the original hard copy script in a 2” black binder on a shelf in my bedroom along with all the notes I used creating my original outline. In addition to that, I have several flash drives with the various edits in my desk drawer.

When I think about writing another book I find the prospect daunting. After all I had an accumulated 60 plus years of events and people to make writing easy. All I had to do was write about those people and events as they were, though not accurately  remembered in the first draft. Accurate memories came only when I realized that the people written about would actually be reading what I wrote. Now with a mere 8 years accumulation of people and events I wonder if it would be of any value.

I also wonder if I could add anything to the dialogue engaged in by the majority of the transgendered activists and their accomplices in the LGBT (I refuse to use the “Q” since that is a term earlier used to describe gay men) community. I have, since the publication of “Dear Mom and Dad”, written about issues that are near and dear to my heart with respect to the trans community and I have written about issues unrelated to gender identity; faith and politics in particular. My opinions on the latter have met with approval and with disdain. Writing another book is somewhat immaterial it seems. What is material to me is that whatever I do in the future be of consequence. It that includes the inspiration to write another book so-be-it.

My involvement in the lgbT community has left me with a few impressions which have had a lasting effect on my attitudes regarding “activism”. The most significant of those is the impression that the demands of the community to be treated equally are accompanied by demands for laws that in essence require not equal treatment but special treatment. It seems to me that the demand for special treatment trumps the request for equal treatment. It’s an attitude adapted from the racial equality movement which approaches their situation in the same manner. In both cases, it seems to me that the demands are equally exclusionary. Granny would have said something like, “Make up your mind. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” To me, demanding equality is the equivalent of admitting that one does not feel equal or at least doesn’t see one’s self as equal.

I am firmly convinced that what our community needs are more people like Dr. Marci Bowers who has gone about her life without wearing her gender transition status on her sleeve, helping make the lives of innumerable people more enjoyable and complete.

Another person that I see as an example of getting on with life and using her abilities and education without wearing her gender status on her sleeve is Amanda Renae Simpson. While I acknowledge that her liberal political activity was largely influenced by her gender affiliation, I am not by any means going to discount her contribution to our community by using her training, education and experience to move about the halls of government in both Arizona and Washington DC exposing those realms to the notion that gender identity does not exclude one from making a significant contribution to society by productive use of their training and abilities.

These two people are not the only ones in our community who have made the transition and gone on with their lives using the training and abilities they possess for the good of society, but they are 2 that I have a personal connection with and knowledge of. They have made life more livable and enjoyable for the rest of us by virtue of their willingness to take personal risks without making demands on society for special concessions for them; at least none that I’m aware of. That’s what “people” do. They don’t make an issue of their gender; they simply apply their extensive training for the betterment of society.

For myself, I realized long ago that getting on with life without making a stink about my gender identity made life so much easier. I freely admit that I have been extremely fortunate in my physical make-up but I have also made it part of my attitudinal make-up to not expect special treatment. The expectation of special treatment generally leads to disappointments and there are enough of those already. For me, being treated as if there were nothing special about me is the highest compliment I can receive as a transgender person. The only thing I want special recognition for is the application of my skills and training in my field and the application of my talent in my writing.

“Dear Mom and Dad” finally hit the market July of 2012 and my first blog entry was posted by the publisher the same month. Since then I have posted nearly 120 more. Altogether they could equal another book I suppose. But it would be rather disjointed since my subject matter has varied so much. All in all, I will continue writing one way or another. It might be another book …it might be a more blog. It might even be some of what “ended up on the cutting room floor” as the saying goes, in that original draft..

Stay tuned …

Becoming who and what we are supposed to be

In the world of the trans-sexual, first becoming who and what you feel you were meant to be, then living as who you feel you were meant to be, is often more than just a mixed bag of emotions and decisions. It’s often a veritable mine field. It’s not uncommon for “normal” people to have difficulty with the hand life has dealt them, but for “trannies” it’s often impossible.

I have been fortunate, extremely fortunate, but it’s not easy to say why, at least in language that many people understand. The reason for that is my firmly held belief God has been guiding me to my current situation since spring of my sophomore year in college. There are a couple of ways for me to explain what I mean and how life has played out for me … so far.

The first is to compare the course of much of my life to a pinball machine; a description I used briefly in “Dear Mom and Dad”. Immediately after turning my life over to Christ that spring I made a genuine effort to make changes in my life. When my grades came through at the end of the quarter they were accompanied by a letter from the university instructing me to kindly not darken the doorway of their school again. Okay … so Jesus didn’t rescue me from that lion’s den. That pinball of my life went straight in the crapper.

The next ball involved a new romantic relationship. The direction that took was an unhappy marriage to an unhappy young girl with the proverbial shotgun in my back. All the time I just kept thinking that God surely wouldn’t let this happen to me. But, He did. The pinballs just kept coming … and going straight into the crapper.

Occasionally I would utter desperate pleas to God to once again bail me out of trouble, and sometimes He would, but usually not. I genuinely believe that God did what any good parent would do for a headstrong child going the wrong direction. He let me go the wrong direction until alcohol got the best of me and one of His tools, namely my wife, forced me surrendered to God’s will completely. And therein lay the key … my will. I had turned my life over but not my will.

It took a while for the fog to clear and for me to finally surrender the last shred of my stubborn will, but when that happened the understanding of my own emotional make up, what that meant and where it was leading, became clearer with each passing year.

I did not make demands about the path of my future. I literally lived day by day, week by week, month by month as my life slowly evolved from occasional expression of who I was becoming, to more frequent expressions and eventually full and complete expression of who I am.

Each of those phases came about almost entirely without effort on my part. Opportunities to move to that next phase seemed to appear almost out of nowhere. Each of those steps was taken without expectation what the next step might be; just realization of the changes in my emotions, changes in the reality of what my life had become at each point.

For me to arrive at the point where I now find myself; to move from the life of George to my life, has taken the better part of 35 years. The first half of that time was a series of inconsistent starts and stops. The second half developed into a slow but steady progression of attitude changes, periods of acceptance of life as it was, followed by unexpected advances toward a complete metamorphosis.

The changes in my life have been gradual and I believe guided by the unseen but gratefully felt hand of my maker. It saddens me when I observe much of the gender identity community of which I am a part, struggling in unhappy circumstances. Many are simply unhappy because life On the South Bank of the Rubicon (See posts for June 15, 2013; March 28, 2015; September 24, 2015 and September 1, 2016) is not what they imagined. Often, it’s because they forced transition on themselves and their families.

People are creatures who tend to like things the way they were. Forcing change on them inevitably results in backlash. It certainly doesn’t help when the man or woman they knew tends to show through the wig or long or short hair and makeup or the lack of it. But the primary cause for the unhappiness is the rush to change.

Poets have long written comparisons of the aging of fine wine to allowing change from grape juice to wine to develop in its own time. And comparisons of improper care taken in the development of a wine are frequently seen. Trying to force that change is also like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

Would I be as happy as I am now if I had rushed into a transition neither I and those close to me were ill prepared for. Absolutely not! Many scoffers who consider me ignorant or lucky because they believe, or they think, I have had an easy transition. Or they think I just don’t understand them and their plight. In that they are partially right. I understand their plight, but I don’t understand them.

Every unhappy phase and moment in my life occurred when I was trying to run my life according to the gospel of “George”. When I finally decided to let God mold me and fix me, I found peace and comfort I can only compare to a warm blanket on a cold night. I still have moments of sadness. That is inevitable, but it is always followed by that sense of comfort.

When I see people in our gender community struggling with their lives and yet refusing to let God help them, it makes me sad. I want to share what I have found, but it seems that every attempt to do so is rebuffed.

But, I will keep trying to find the right words in the right combination and the right sequence. That’s what God expects of me, so I must.

Thank you Professor Jimmy and Crafton Hills College

Yesterday was another amazing day at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa California. Thanks to Professor Jimmy Urbanovich, A.K.A. Speech Teach … I was once again given the opportunity to speak at Crafton Hills College. The reception was, as it has been in the past, even more gratifying than the time before.
 
My experiences with the students and faculty there have continued to add support to my observations about people. The biggest complaint I have had with the LGBT community in general is that they make little effort to reach out to the rest of society to explain what it’s like to be in their shoes. Rather they tend to demand blind acceptance from society and when they meet with resistance, react with even more demands and anger. 
I have found in experiences like the one at CHC, that when I simply share my experience with people as I did yesterday, without an accompanying demand for acceptance that acceptance is the natural outcome. People tend become defensive when demands are made of them, especially when the demand is acceptance of something alien to them or something that they have been led to believe is somehow unnatural or evil.
To further advance my own perspective, I was overwhelmed by the responses I received yesterday, when after my main presentation in the auditorium we adjourned to Professor Jimmy’s classroom for some give-and-take questioning and answering.
There were the usual unenthusiastic attendees who were there simply because their attendance was a class requirement. Those individuals I always seek to find a way to draw out and challenge in a positive way. It’s part of the fun of what I do, but the real reward is from people like one young man who told me afterward that he had not wanted to come, but that a friend had challenged him to show up. This morning I had a lengthy e-mail from him explaining that I had given him a whole new, although uncertain, perspective on his own life.
One young woman, who attended the initial presentation wasn’t even a student, but chose to come to the more intimate session in the classroom even though it meant being late for work. She approached me before the session began to tell me that she would have to leave for work shortly and didn’t want me to think she didn’t want to hear anymore of what I had to say. She was still there nearly 2 hours later and was the first one ask for a picture with me.
Another student, a young man with a very athletic build shared his experience with seeing and individual in his locker room whose appearance was confusing to say the least; looked far more female than male in most respects in body but still apparently male. His concern was that the situation made him feel terribly uncomfortable, which bothered him. He asked me if that was wrong. I explained that his reaction was normal and not to be confused with disgust. He was simply experiencing a natural reaction to a new and unexpected situation. If there was something in the individuals behavior that added to the discomfort it was perfectly appropriate to avoid interacting with them.
These are just three of the reactions I received yesterday and they all point to my original statement above. Simply sharing your own story without demanding acceptance, understanding or approval is a far more acceptable way to gain acceptance, understanding or approval. It’s a far more effective approach with a far more rewarding outcome.
The discussion eventually led to “The Bathroom Issue”. On that I have some rather definite opinions which I shared and which are in line with what I stated above. I think the edict that former president Obama issued regarding transgender bathroom use was much to the same point I made in the second paragraph of this entry. There was no effort made to help people understand and furthermore, by virtue of it’s broad and general nature, it was an open invitation to abuse by individuals with less than noble intentions. And again it was made without regard to different regional moral and ethical standards which is why I personally agree with President Trump’s order to rescind the previous order on the grounds that it is a state’s prerogative issue.
My thanks, once again to Professor Jimmy and Crafton Hills College for the opportunity to share my story and views.

A Year On the South Bank of the Rubicon

Has it really been one year? Apparently so, and I have to admit that there was an unexpected rush of negative emotion the moment I set foot on the south bank of the Rubicon. I was aware of the possibility of that happening but I really didn’t think it would. Even though I was aware that regret could occur I didn’t expect it to rear its ugly head the instant I stepped out of the water. However, metaphorically speaking I polished my armor, picked up my sword and shield and set off for the imperial city.

It has been an absolutely amazing journey and much of what’s happened has been due to “Bruce” Jenner’s very public and visible transition to Caitlyn Jenner. For the first time since Dear Mom and Dad was published in 2012 the investments that my publisher was suggesting made sense, especially the opportunity to “pitch” my book to a group of movie producers in New York City on October 17th. The response to that presentation was overwhelming. Nothing has come of it yet but … hope springs eternal.

Of course there have been a few glitches and detours on the road to the imperial city, but nothing that can’t be overcome. Of course there is an occasional curiosity about what might have been had I not made the choice to cross that temperamental river, but only a curiosity, not a regret. I awake every morning with a sense of purpose that I seldom experienced there on the north shore. New challenges are daunting at times but serve to remind me that I am alive and well.

The one thing that remains unchanged is my Christian conviction and the confidence that is in inherent in that faith. Everything that has happened on my journey has been purposed by a bigger vision than I can even begin to comprehend. So my message today is short and sweet.

Regrets? Not a one! Happy? Absolutely! As they used to say on the cattle drives of years past … “Head ’em up and heel ‘em out!

The Orlando Alarm Clock

The one word that has consistently appeared on Facebook since the early hours of Sunday morning has been “LOVE”. It seems to have always been in the context of “Love your enemies” or most generally “Love, not hate, is the answer!” My question is: “The answer to what?” It certainly isn’t the answer for those families mourning the senseless loss their loved ones, now is it? Love was what they felt for those they lost in that horrible tragedy. I can assure you that Love is not what they feel for the hateful man who murdered their love ones. And I doubt seriously that Love is what they feel for Muslim terrorists either.

I can’t help but wonder if this will be a wake-up call for the collective community of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and the Transgendered. It should be!! Our community has been so invested in liberal/progressive ideology that any person wishing to take on the mantle of leadership in our country, and does so under that banner is automatically assumed to have our best interest at heart. Personally, I don’t think they do.

At this point in time, our country is under the leadership of people who refuse, absolutely refuse, to call a spade a spade, a Muslim terrorist a Muslim terrorist. When our leaders are more concerned with offending a religious group than they are with defending and protecting the very citizens they are sworn to defend and protect, we have a serious problem.

As a dual-gendered human being who is a part of the trans-gendered community I should be fearful for my own well-being, but I’m not. I’m angry. I’m angry at leadership that has created an atmosphere of official complacency and resignation to the inevitability of death and destruction at the hands of Muslim terrorists. It would be so much easier for me to be just as angry at people who continue to support out leadership, but I can’t. I can’t be as angry at them because, well because they are my friends and I love them.

I did say “I can’t be as angry …” But I can be somewhat angry because most of them are posting things on Facebook and Twitter that mention “Love” but the context of that “Love” is that l “Love” will solve the problem; that love will overcome the hatred that spawned the tragedy. It won’t, not ever. At least not in that context. Here’s how “Love” will solve the problem.

Pacifism which is kin to acquiescent love, has a limited place in this world. That place is not in the face of such hatred and violence producing ideology as that of Muslim extremism. Ask a parent if they think pacifism is the answer to defending their children against an ideology driven violence that would cast them off the roof of a tall building because of who they sleep with or because of the clothing they wear. I can assure you that the answer to that question will be an unequivocal, NO!

My grandmother, the oft mentioned “Granny,” was fond of saying that, “Charity begins at home.” Indeed, it does. In this case it begins with loving America, American values and Americans first. That means that our charity at home precludes placing the feelings of people who ascribe to a religious system which fosters such vicious hatred, as that seen in Orlando, ahead of the safety our own families and fellow citizens. So, how about replacing the word “Charity” in Granny’s phrase with Love. Let love begin at home and let that love express itself in taking the action necessary to eradicate the hateful ideology of radical Islam.

How do we eradicate that hateful ideology? I’ll take another of Granny’s methods for an example. When I was, probably less than 4 years old, my younger brother and I were with Granny at the camp in New Mexico and she had opened up the athletic supply shed for us to find things to keep us occupied. I selected a bow and arrow. I wasn’t strong enough to draw it back very far and the arrow was a blunt pointed target arrow. I chose my little brother as a target. The arrow struck him squarely in the middle of the chest and simply bounced off, leaving a little red mark.

Granny saw it all and I will never forget the sight of her charging across the yard with “discipline” on her mind. It’s a whipping I will never forget any more than I will forget being locked away in the supply shed for an extended period of time. My point? I never ever even considered pointing a weapon of any kind at my brother. I didn’t ever consider it because the reaction to my action was so severe as to eliminate the possibility of a repeat of the action.

We cannot simply Love our way to safety. We must discipline and act our way to safety. If we, as a nation, are to ever live in the peace that allows us to grow, prosper and achieve a harmony here at home, the threat that is Radical Islam, including the theological root from which it rose, must be totally and completely destroyed. Period!

Love is the answer, only if it is the kind of love that engenders the courage to act and stand up to the destructive nature of the hatred that cost the lives of all those people in Orlando, in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016. Ask the families of those people how that “Love thing” is working for them today.

Do you get my point? The safety of our LGB … T community lies not in the embrace of liberal progressivism which refuses to call a spade a spade. The safety of our LGB … T community lies in the embrace of those who recognize genuine active hatred for what it is and are willing to take the actions required to secure our freedoms … including the freedoms to show our love for those we love and visibly express who we are by the way we dress.

Wake up … The reality alarm clock is going off and the snooze button is broken.

Inspiration!

In the three plus years, nearly four years now, since Dear Mom and Dad, You Don’t Know Me, But …was published, no one has asked me what inspired me to write it … that is until now. So, I’ll tell you.

If you’re expecting a story of startling revelation or jolting inspiration you will most likely be disappointed. However, if you’re hoping for understanding and a view into the mindset that led to the writing of my memoir, then I think you will come away pleased with what you are going to discover … about me, my path and the many starts and stops along the way.You will understand how the inspiration for what I wrote eventually evolved into purpose and that it was the combination of the two that resulted in Dear Mom and Dad.

The first thing I ever wrote was a three-page theme for my 7th grade English class, titled “Wild Horse Hunt in Skull Valley”. It was about a wild horse hunt in Skull Valley, Utah that Dad had arranged for him, “our” brother and me/George to take part in. That was the only A+ “George” ever received in any academic endeavor.

One would think with that kind of encouragement,that writing would have become a passion, but it didn’t. From time to time, thought was given to various ideas for novels and a list of possible scenarios was even created, and a file started for those ideas. I still have that file … somewhere. But that was as far as writing ever got for me. I had difficulty even writing letters, beyond the ones, we were required to write every Sunday afternoon at summer camp which inspired the title for DM&D.

So years passed without ever writing anything. I relate in the book my first experience with the only job I ever had that involved writing. It was at a radio station and was due to the support of the man who is quoted on the front cover, my friend, mentor and chief encourager, the late Doug Benton. It was enjoyable and the results were surprisingly good. But after 3 years of that we moved to Arizona and the creativity streak ended.

After the death of “our” wife I became involved in Alpha Zeta, the Phoenix chapter of Tri-Ess International, a now mostly defunct organization for “Crossdressers” and it was there that I was first asked to write something about myself for the monthly newsletter. That effort was rewarded by a request to begin writing a monthly column. The result of that request was “Georgia: On My Mind”. Many of those articles were then picked up by Tri-Ess for publication in their quarterly publication, The Mirror.

My experience with Alpha Zeta and a “sister” organization TransGender Harmony brought me face to face with the primary dilemma in the trans community … “to be or not to be, to do or die” There was that segment of the community that only “dressed” on weekends, or once a month on meeting night. And on the other end of the spectrum were those that had “crossed the Rubicon,” so to speak and were living “full time” as they said. Those that had “crossed the Rubicon,” stood on the far side chiding those who chose not to.Considering them wimps and scaredy cats.

But the ones who suffered most were the families. Here was Dad, Mom’s handsome prince morphing into something that, in all too many cases, was a sad, silly looking imitation of a woman. That’s not what Mom met and fell in love with; that’s not what the kids wanted for a father. For many of us it was a hard lesson to learn, that Mom especially was not the least bit excited with this new “best girlfriend”.

For me, I simply couldn’t bring myself to say to my children, “I, Georgia, am doing away with your dad; putting an end to his existence. I had seen that happen a number of times and it was heartbreaking. The fact is that I did have two complete sets of emotions and just didn’t identify them as such. So, what happened?

I also learned that the suicide rate in the “gender-variant” community was horrendous; one study pegged the rate and nearly eleven times that of the normal world. I discovered too that there were many who were perfectly happy going back and forth from one to the other gender expression. How did these two spirits that were engaged in a tug-of-war in my soul manage to reconcile their differences.

I had two conversations with friends; both of them women that I/George had known for some time. I relate the incidents in my memoir. The first conversation involved the definition of a Sioux word, “Wenkte”. Loosely defined as a “two spirit person” and was a man who lived as a woman in the Sioux tribes.

The second conversation was with a woman I had known even longer than the first, but had never known of George’s “other side”. George shared the knowledge with her over lunch one day and when he was through, she quoted verbatim Genesis 1:26-27 which ends with, “So God created people in his own image; He patterned them after himself; male and female he made them.”It was the final key for me. George didn’t have to die for me to live. Whatever I chose to appear as on the outside was not as important as what was on the inside. And what was on the inside was two distinct sets of emotions.

In 2006 George was a victim of corporate downsizing due to the collapse of the construction industry in Arizona. I needed money and naively thought I could easily publish “something” that would yield some income. Silly me. What was I going to publish and how? Two things occurred almost simultaneously.

The first was an invitation to spend a weekend with friends at their home in the Sonoran Desert northeast of Phoenix. While I was there I was handed a copy of “How I Got This Way” by Patrick F McMannus. This book turned out to be a major inspiration because it was actually a collection of articles he had previously published in magazines like Field and Stream which were sandwiched in between a chapter on his early life and a chapter on how it all turned out for him. That was the answer for me about how to get publishedwhat I had already written. I would put together a collection of my best articles for Tri-Ess. But how would I get them published? I had the form but now I needed the how.

When I was in high school I had occasion to utilize Writer’s Market and thought I would find the solution to my publication dilemma there. So off to Barnes and Noble I went in search of a current copy of Writer’s Market. I found it easily enough but on the same shelf was a copy of “Get Published”, written by Susan Driscoll, then president and CEO of iUniverse, and Diane Gedymin, then editorial director of iUniverse. It was, for me, the perfect book at the perfect time, because it had detailed, easy to follow instructions on how to prepare a manuscript for publication. Within a month I had selected, edited and prepared a manuscript according to their instructions. In addition, I had e-mailed a copy to the president of Tri-Ess and asked her to write the Foreword. And then I waited.

While I waited for the promised Foreword to materialize I had time to think; to think about, among other things, my audience. My audience would be, at most, the membership of Tri-Ess which at the time might have reached two thousand. Call me grandiose, call me egotistical, call me greedy, but I wanted a bigger audience. I wanted the whole world in my theater. But, how was I going to achieve that?

It would be impossible because without a back story the world would not come to my theater. The title of McMannus’s book literally leaped off the cover; “How I Got This Way” ,,, how did I get this way? Indeed! How did I get this way?

I took a lead from my experience in AA where we are told to follow a simplethree item course in talking about our experience; what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now.

Maybe that could be called inspiration, maybe not, but I finally began to write, really write, for the first time in my life. However, as each page materialized I became aware that I had no idea where the next page would take me. I soon realized what all writers must realize at some point; that being the necessity of an outline. My outline revolved around the homes I had lived in over the years. After that list was compiled, and it was a long one, forty to be exact;the next step was short notes about anything or anyone that came to mind in relation to that home and place in time.Writing about a person’s own life can be a bit troubling at times, especially if one is brutally honest with themselves.

I confess that the first draft, while it may have been cathartic, was more ventilating as well as an expression of memories based in a desire to absolve me from responsibility and give the appearance of the various outcomes being the fault of others. Had that version gone to print it would have been over seven hundred pages long. In addition, it would have most likely resulted in numerous lawsuits. Thankfully, the man I had begun working with at iUniverse convinced me that seven hundred pages was totally unrealistic unless my name was James Michener.

Something about actually dealing with someone there at iUniverse brought the reality of my effort actually being published into focus. What I saw through that lense was the real truth of what had transpired in the past and that the people involved would know if I was not being honest and would certainly protest angrily if I wasn’t. That of course required that I be brutally honest with myself about the actual events and relationships. I recommend that activity to anyone regardless of whether or not they intend to actually publish or not, because that process alone did more to bring peace to my soul than anything.

The fact that I had responded to the inspiration to write in the third person, me always being there and observing George work his way through life without understanding why he felt so different from other people, aided greatly in dealing with the events of our life honestly. And that brought me to the brink of purpose; that being to share my experience and solution with others who might be coping with the confusion of two distinct sets of emotions, one male and one female.

Ultimately, I believe that God was the inspiration behind each and every move and that He intended me to be exactly what I have become. And that is the true inspiration behind Dear Mom and Dad, You Don’t Know Me, But …