Monday, May 18, 2009

Mom's Alzheimer's Journey #4

Soon after my father died and Mom was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Mom decided she wanted to move into an assisted living community. My sisters and I realize how fortunate we are; many people who need such care resist moving. Not Mom. As a retired R.N., she was pragmatically aware of her disease and all it meant. In fact, she self-diagnosed her condition long before she was officially evaluated.

That hasn't meant, however, that her new living arrangement has been an easy transition. Yes, the place is very nice--and she knows she fortunate to be able to afford it. She loves not having to shop, cook and clean. Yet at first she missed her friends, her community, in her hometown. She (sometimes jokingly) complained about all the "old people" there--and also how little "sense" many of them seemed to have. She is aware of those in the locked-up unit at the other end of the building, the Memory Care section that is likely to be her destiny some day.

Mom became immediately involved in almost every activity, from attending Resident Council meetings, to attending the nightly movies and outings, and participating in the exercise classes. She began to make some friends, while at the same time often experiencing extreme frustration while trying to communicate (as her verbal skills declined). This didn't stop her from agitating for change when she believed there was a problem. For instance, she spoke up about putting Resident Council meetings on the schedule rather than expecting people to remember they were the first and third Tuesday of each month. Another time, she and other residents noticed that the servers sometimes handled the forks by the tines; others were hesitant to speak up, but Mom sure wasn't!

Also, the evening movies were starting too soon, in her opinion, because some people were still finishing up dinner. Again, she spoke up. Some of these interactions were especially difficult for all involved because of Mom's language decline. However, even though she says often in her journal that it's "easier to keep quiet," she certainly doesn't always do so (perhaps to the chagrin of those running the place where she lives!).

This entry continues the journal she began keeping when she moved. Previous entries are linked here:

Mom's Alzheimer's Journey #1
Mom's Alzheimer's Journey #2
Mom's Alzheimer's Journey #3

(Note: I've kept the spellings and grammar the way Mom wrote them so that readers can have a sense of her abilities but have included needed corrections and more information in brackets when necessary for clarity. I've also changed some names to protect people's privacy.)

Winter/Spring 2008

I think Bernice (a resitant [resident] here) has lost all of what she used to have--for instance, I think Bernice used to eat in restaurants but she has foggent [forgotten] that she did. For instance she forgot whach [which] questions. Whether she just fortgot [forgot] or or doesn't know it. I suspect she just forgot it. She has AZ.

I wonder what Tilly's -- a resistent [resident]--dignosis is. Something I wonder about sometimes. Probrbely [Probably] she's undiagnosed. She's an enimga [enigma]. She remembers songs from the past. But She forgets wahat [what] happened yesterday morning. She's good at the "word game"--the instructor put a long word--or sometimes two connecting words on the board (not a very good board). And she's very good at that, [at extracting] words from the long word. ...

My numbers confuse me. For instance, I can't tell time by the clock. Fortunately, I know what numbers come next [in a sequence]. I'm confused about numbers in other ways too. For instance, I could[n't] figure out how many dominoes I had the other day. I thought there were 7, but I was often wrong.

I repeat the last thing I heard over and over in my head.

I danced today because of a musical program here (I'm at [she wrote her new address here, correctly) the music was proded [provided] by a man who played ... It sounds like a piano and various musical instruments. We have [a] grand piano here & 3 regulars play it. ... Anyway, I danced a jitterbug. I received various comments ... My husband & I couldn't imagine life withoust [without] dancing ... We sometimes danced at home.


I communicate poorly. I leave out a lot of words. I just don't talk most of the time. It's easier than trying to explain what I mean. ... Except when I'm with Carole, who understands. A few other people understand my illness, too, and make allowances.

Certain things keep going through my mind--people and all kinds of things.

I'm getting more and more sleepy although my mind is active. I do a number of thing[s]--go for walks & I use the exercise room regullary (you can see what problems I'm having spelling & writing)

I got lost going to the senior center today [which is next door to the assisted living community]. It's not my usual "lostness" I'm sure it's a symptom of my disease I got lost coming back from my walk ... I not only got lost, I can't find my way around the senior center, too. I saw a program on Carmen. It was opera.

It doesn't make me feel any better to know people in "memory care" that I will be like them eventually.

Phyllis said I did well coming back from my walk today. I think I memorized my way back--maybe memorized isn't the word, at least I learned my way back.

I feel back for Phyllis. She's in a place she doesn't want to be. She wants to be in a [three]-level place--assisted living & a nursing home (In case she needs it) & independent living. She needs this place now for her sister who has dementia. They went to a place the other day that has all three levels but it won't be finished for 3 years. (That's good for me.) [Mom said this because she liked Phyllis a lot and didn't want to see her leave.]


I'm glad I'm not like one gal with AZ who can't even remember what she ordered for breakfast. ... It's Teresa that I have been the butt of jokes about but she forgets soon after & I don't know what to do about that. I blurt out answers I don't mean ... If I told her my diagnosis she'd forget soon after! She doesn't mean any harm. I'm probably too sensitive.

I want to give a copy of my books to the Senior Center [She's referring to the three books she authored]--also to the public library but I'm waiting for the rain to stop.

I find more & more difficulty making myself understood. I try but sometimes it's no use. ... I'm not good at m-power, a memory game which is sposed [supposed] to help memory. It doesn't help. ...

I've missed two council meetings & I don't want to miss another. I missed two of them because I went on Valentine's day with my daughter, Ann, to Yosemite. I forget where else when I neglected to go.

I spoke to the diatician the other day (I forget when) about handling the silvevar [silverware] and stacking unused dishes. I don't know when she will be back to do the training to show them how to do it. They shouldn't do that! She was concerned about it ...


I told Cathy, a woman who works here that she wasn't told that the movies should start at 6:45 rather than 6:30. The woman ... the assistant .. told me she didn't understand what I was trying to say. (It's not surprising since I have a hard time expressing myself.) I was trying to explain that the movies start at 6:45 instead of 6:30. As I say, she interrupted me & told me to calm down. She thought I was saying something else. Anyway, when ... I made myself clear at last, she apologized & said that she was sorry. I don't think these people have enough training to do what they do, but that would take a college education ...

I have another [doctor's] appt. to have my colon looked at. Oh, happy days.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

With Arms Wide Open

I have two pieces in this anthology which of course makes me a bit biased. However, I truly did enjoy the idea of an anthology in which the pieces were all about how to love live because of, and often in spite of, its struggles and joys.One of my favorite pieces is "Banana Boats and Boatloads of Cousins" by K'Lee Williams. I love the way she evokes the joys of her wonderful childhood. I've heard people complain that they can't write because it seems all writing is based on the bad things that happened to people in life. Williams' piece is a great refutation of that premise.

"At Nine" by Kathi Anderson is a beautiful piece of poetry-ish prose about the enticements and fears of childhood freedom. A good read for adults and young adults. Sarah Natalia Lee's story "The Cafeteria" would be a good one to share with young adults as well, as it demonstrates the empowerment of compassion and resisting peer pressure.

Namid's memoir "I Am 30" is a straight-forward, beautiful yet brutal piece about life with M.S. The human will shines powerfully through her writing, as it does in Chelle Cordero's piece ("Strength and Love and Family"), which focuses on her struggles with pregnancy and miscarriage.

Smoky Trudeau's story "Goodbye, Emily Dickinson" is funny and moving; it's about someone who embraces life even though many others see her as pathetic. Sue Stewart's "50 and Counting", is a story many women who've been through mid-life divorce will relate to.

Life's biggest question is: What is this human will to continue in the face of everything life can throw at us--including knowledge of our own inevitable demise? This anthology grapples with this question through many different voices and lives.

Full Table of Contents:

The Visit ….. 9
Lillith T. Lewis

Strength and Love and Family ….. 21
Chelle Cordero

Banana Boats and Boatloads of Cousins ….. 25
K’lee Williams

At Nine ….. 33
Kathi Anderson

Flight of the Crone ….. 37
Smoky Trudeau

Reflected Fear ….. 39
Milena Gomez

Wide Open ….. 41
L.E. Harvey

The Ties That Unbind ….. 47
Victoria Howard

Season for Love ….. 57
Jacqueline Seewald

The Cafeteria ….. 69
Sarah Natalia Lee

The Color of Change ….. 75
Kate Evans

Gami ….. 79
K’lee Williams

Trey’s Need ….. 83
Kelsey Chasen

I Am 30 ….. 91

Someone Formerly Known As Not-So-Braveheart…..95
Leah Samul

Goodbye, Emily Dickinson ….. 103
Smoky Trudeau

Forest Song Little Mother Ch. 9 ….. 101
Vila SpiderHawk

Fifty and Counting ….. 145
Sue Stewart

Synonymous with Ecstasy
(or, an apologia for the thesaurus)….. 153
Kate Evans

The Journey ….. 161
Brenda Hill

Yesterday’s Hearts ….. 171
Marilyn Celeste Morris

Promises ….. 175
Ryan Callaway

Lonely Soul Ch. 19 ….. 203
Mary Quast

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Joy Leftow: Dare to be Different

I like Joy Leftow's iconoclastic ways and writing so much that I wanted to feature an inteview with her on this blog. Enjoy!

Please tell us about the genesis of your book.
Spot of Bleach is an organic mix of sensibility and growth up until the time book was printed in 2006, dating back to poetry first written in 1980 when I wrote the sestina “Twisted, A Sestina of Love” at a writing class at Columbia University. As I put the book together, it seemed to choose its own subjects from which I named chapters.

The placement of the chapters took some time to figure out. I took the book apart and put it together several times before being sure the fit was right. Finally it made sense that the very risqué love story should go at the end. I wrote that story in 2001 when I attended the creative writing program at CCNY, where I earned my second masters.

From the very beginning, my creative writings caused a riff in every writing class. Other members became angry about my style and very often argued about my characters complaining that the characters didn’t make them feel empathy. Most professors pointed out that the very thing that the other students didn’t like about my characters, are the things that make the characters alive and real.

What's the one thing you most want people to know about your book?
The book evolved out life experience, creativity, and my powers of observation. There are many stories to tell and within this volume I tell many. You may hate what I write about or how I write, but I promise this book won’t bore you.

I need writing like air and this book is what I breathed out. I call my poems “my offspring” because I have given them life. In that regard, the book is a parallel expression of the years from which the works are collected, an assortment of articles, stories, philosophical meanderings or what may now be called flash fiction along with narrative poetry.

Please tell us a little about the photographs that are included in your collection and how you see them as complementing the poems.

Years ago after I purchased my first digital, people said I had a good eye for showing things in a different perspective. Since the book is very personal, the photos add to this view by showing more about how I see things. For example, the cover section Philosophy has a photo I took while in Thailand visiting the Golden Buddha. The cover for the chapter forms is a famous rock form in Los Cabos. The cover pic came to me in a dream, and although the pic was ten years old, it was an urban pic of me in Central Park with my favorite statue, the Lewis Carroll Statue of Alice in Wonderland.

A Barbara Walters question: If you were a poem by any writer, which poem would you be and why?
I would be “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. Since childhood, I have loved that poem and trees have always appealed to me. I watch the moon and stars through stark branches. I watch the trees change season-to-season and sometimes fall into ill health or get blown over in a storm. Living in a big city as I do, trees are my opportunity to commune with nature. I’m lucky my building is in the northern tip of Manhattan Island where there are many parks. My apartment overlooks an extended spot of nature near the highway. I have several poems inspired by nature and trees.

Why do you write poetry?
I write because I have to; I don’t have a choice. Writing is my first love. I need writing to survive. My poetry has evolved along with me to do more than only share stories. Sometimes there’s a story within, but it will only be one facet of the entire poem which has taken on existential and surreal elements, especially in my newer bluetry series and other writing which can be seen on my blog.

Do you think the Internet is a good complement to writing—or does it just get in the way?
The internet is made for networking and research or maybe just made for me. I can surf all day and network endlessly and it seems to fit my style. It works for me. Look at all the things I’ve done on Facebook alone; first I made a fan club for someone else then for myself, then for a magazine which published my work. Then I promoted several other groups and people. Afterwards I became an editor for The Cartier Street Review and another editor took note of all this activity and asked me to edit an anthology with her. The internet helps move things along.

The only problem I see with this is for a solitary person like me, it encourages me to stay in the house and remain solitary. Why go out when I can accomplish so much sitting in front of a computer?

Do you believe all poetry is political—or just some poems?
I think all poetry is political to the extent that life is political. Every time we make a statement or write a sentence it has wider implications, unless all you say is pass the butter, and even something like that can be made political. Why not get up and get the butter yourself? So much is a mechanism of social behavior we learn. And why must we follow norms? Who is it who decides what norms to follow?

I have always rebelled against norms. For example, I love to eat with my hands instead of a fork, I love to bring up subjects that could be embarrassing. I often write about relationships based on power structures. Work relationships and the structure of work are also political so if you write about work then, in essence, it’s political. Some poetry is blatantly political, concerning the presidency or human rights. More subtle poetry is about relationships or written from a woman’s or man’s view. Sometimes people don’t consider my work political in spite of the fact that I often address social issues in my writing.

Please share with us one poem from the collection, and then riff a little about the journey the poem takes the reader on.

I’m close with this nurse who works at Presbyterian Hospital. One day she told me this story about this baby who’d been born at the hospital and was so tiny because he’d been born addicted to crack. This woman could not have her own children and had considered adoption but finally gave up on the idea. You know how couples are sometimes, they have so much for each other and there’s no more to go around, and her husband thrived under all her attention. This newborn called out to her in a way that made her move like she’d never moved before. As if suddenly without learning she’d gotten up and could tango. She told me a story and we both had tears in our eyes because I felt her pain and the pain of this infant.

Professional caregivers often suffer and burn out because of our pain. It’s a difficult job to keep giving with no payback in sight except to know you’ve done right by someone, so I related. That night, I said I’m going to write a poem about this baby and JoAnne said, Please do, it would help me to deal with it.
I wrote this poem back in 1994 and it’s as apt today as it was then because the problem still exists. I have friends on the scene who tell me each time they hear the poem they hear different things. People cry when I read this poem. They get it! Sometimes people get angry and tell me my poetry isn’t real poetry. There’s been a lot of controversy around that. I actually have a piece on my blog about this which got a great many responses.

Others who have heard me read this before will request it at readings. I'm actually quite bad at attending readings which is kind of strange because there's this dichotomy; I'm very friendly and outgoing while simultaneously reclusive and shy. The other thing to remember is that when blues first emerged, they said it wasn’t “real” music and the same with jazz. Dare to be different, I’ve lived my life by that code.

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a series of bluetry poems. I labeled them bluetry (yes I made it up) because this series concerns the common themes of blues. This year has been a year for the blues for me. I was compelled to write these. The first bluetry I wrote invokes Billie Holiday—one of my all-time favorites—and is called “I sing the blues for you today.” This poem took me three months before I knew where I was.

I threw Billie’s lines in the bluetry and they took off. I also have a bluetry poem about a dog rescue and canned hunts, another passion of mine. What I see happening in my poetry and writing is that I mix more elements together and take risks. I take a pinch of surreal, mix with equal parts enthusiasm and passion, add existentialism and observations, throw in some reality and voilà!

Anything else you'd like to add?
The most frequent comment about my work usually concerns its honesty and openness or something about my passion. Absolutely, I write with passion, the way I live. People often write me about my poetry and comment on my life being so sad. I don’t know what to do about that really but passion is evoked from intensity. That is the way I am and the way I was born. Perhaps artists become artists because they do feel things more intensely.

From way back I always have a pen in my hand. Now I mostly sit in front of the computer but if I'm forced to go out, I've always got pen and paper at hand and most often use it. Now, I have very little time, being totally involved with two current projects, editor at The Cartier Street Review, and also for The Smoking Book, an anthology concerning smoke, fire, fog, or anything that concerns smoke. I also write interviews for Street Literature Review, the paper mag. It’s also time to return to that unfinished 186 page novel and just spit it out! I love writing and love reading. Being busy with passion is what I live for.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Complementary Colors, Adam or Danny & Summer

Complementary Colors--my novel that comes out this summer--is about a straight woman who falls in love with a lesbian .

It's about what happens in life when we--and others--suddenly see ourselves differently.

Read Chapter One by clicking here.

If you leave a comment on the Complementary Colors blog (click on the "Leave a Comment" link at the end of the chapter), you can win one of 3 signed copies of the book that will be given away this summer.


Every Tuesday around this time I begin thinking about Adam: What he's going sing, the twist on what he's going to sing, what he's going to look like. Is this insane?

I hope he goes on tour by himself in the next year or two. He is definitely someone I would see in concert, but I don't have any desire to go to a huge stadium and be forced to sit through the others who, while they may be talented, don't hold a candle to Adam. That said, I have this sinking feeling that Danny Gokey's going do an upset and win. Don't know why, it's just a feeling I have.

My feeling is probably wrong. Let's hope.


Speaking of concerts, we have tickets for her in September:

and them in October:

Yep, they'll be together for the event! Of course they don't look like this anymore, but hearing their voices together will be Nostalgia 101. (What ever happened to men with beautiful hair and beards that looked like they belonged in a shampoo commercial?)

These concerts are my favorite venue, Mountain Winery.

Also in the plans for this summer are finishing the first draft of my novel and several great events: a trip to Tofino, a weekend at a rental house in Asilomar for a friend's 50th birthday, a family reunion, and a lot of hiking as well as kayaking in our new, red kayaks. Can you tell I'm excited for summer? The only thing that stands in my way are a stack of student papers, one more day of regular class, two finals to give, two full days of holistic scoring torture, and grades to compute...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Alzheimer's and families

I wrote about Alzheimer's in my last entry.

Now watch this video with Maria Shriver, whose father has the disease.

Make sure you have tissue. It's very sad but also very important. This disease affects so many families.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

For Mother's Day: Mom's Alzheimer's Journey #3

Last Mother's Day, I wrote an entry about my mom, highlighting her as a writer and a nurse. Re-reading it, it shocks me a little because it reminds me how much has changed since her Alzheimer's diagnosis.

When Mom was diagnosed, she started keeping a journal. Her wish is that I share this journal so that others can see how this disease affects people. She also wants me to write about it from my perspective, which I've been doing in a memoir that chronicles the illnesses of both my parents, and the impact on our family.

So, this is one of my Mother's Day gifts to Mom, continuing the series. (The other gift will be spending the day with her and a bunch of other family.)

Even though she can no longer do much reading and writing, her influence shines through me. Still, the journal can be very emotionally wrenching, especially this entry I share below. In the journal, it's evident she still has her sense of humor. For instance, she often addresses me, challenging me to decipher her spelling and handwriting. And though she also displays a pragmatic attitude toward death, it's painful to realize she has so much awareness of all she's undergoing.

She and I have talked about much of what's in this entry. She worries about us, her daughters, and how we are suffering. I tell her we are taking each day as it comes, enjoying being together. Besides, this is the way of things, isn't it? Parents take care of you, then you take care of them. She certainly did that for her own parents. I'm afraid I'm not as stoic about the whole thing as she is, but I try to be the best daughter I can be without jeopardizing my own health. Not always an easy balance to strike, but if anyone understands that, she does--the woman who took care of my ill father for more than 20 years.

At these links are the first two entries from her journal:
Mom's Alzheimer's Journey #1
Mom's Alzheimer's Journey #2

And now here's the third. (Note: I've kept the spellings and grammar the way Mom wrote them so that readers can have a sense of her abilities but have included needed corrections and more information in brackets when necessary for clarity)

[January-February 2008]

I lost my way coming back to my room today -- but maybe that was a fluke.

What's short--I wonder because because I read on the interenet that the average age of life after an AD diagnosis is 7 1/2 years. I also read on the internet that there's a 'short' & a 'long' AD. How log is log [long]? How short is short? Supposedly, the long variety is slow growing--pople [people] get the symptoms slowly over a period of time. I feell I have the rapidly the fast-growing variety. My symptoms seems to be coming on rapidly. So my question is still watch [what] is rapid & wot is slow? I'll ask the neurologist.

[Friends who were visiting] help me too much. I can understand that. They tried to help me across the street, as if I couldnt recognize the signifal [signal] lights. I tend to walk closer to the sidewalk and they wouldn't let me! As I said I can understand that. Theveve never dealt with someone with AZ, but neither have I.

I have more & more memory loss. I can't remember names and when I speak I can't remeber things--like words of things. One time, I remember not regnoising [recognizing] a place--it was if a blank wall were staring at me.

In the book I'm reading by an AZ patient, typing is not a problem for her, it is for me! Kathleen gave me the book--there are easy words in this book, so I can read it. She gave speeches til toward the end of her life. There are also short breaks in the book--places where one is able to stop, not the disese. I read about a treatment that slows down the disease for some people. It's an injection in the spine. I'm not looking for things to slow the disease, I'm look[ing] for things to speed it up! (Good luck, Kahtleen, in decifering this!)

I've lost Annie's present. It makes me very sad to realize this, not just because I lost it but I liked it and I have lost my glases. I can barely function without them.

I found them. They were in my apartment, under where the bed meets the mattress. A caregiver helped me find them.

[Note: An early symptom of my mom's disease, for at least a year before she was diagnosed, I can now see in retrospect: She had a very hard time organizing things, and she often lost things. I would help her clean up her desk, and then the next day it would be a mess again.]

I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping at night.

I've been having a lot of pain in my rt side. I think it is muscle pain. It is localized under the rt rib cage. I'm not sure it is a muscle pain. I hope it is something more serious, something that would take me quicker.

I blurt out things I don't mean regalerily [regularly]. I've been the laughing stock on many occasions. It bothers me some, but there is nothing I can do about it.

The preident [president] of the residents council is someone I can relate to ... her husband died of AZ. I'll try talking with her ...

I lose my way a lot. I lost my way coming back from my walk today (again). I couldn't even find my room. I've been losing my way other places too. Thank goodness I still remember--almost everything.

I've always been geographically challenged, but this is different.

I don't feel bad about my condition. "Why not me," as my husband would say, but when I think of all my daughters, I feel sad when I think of all they've been through & have yet to go through.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Supporting Marriage Equality & Rethinking Prop 8

I know that some people who voted Yes on Prop 8 are rethinking it...especially in light of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa. This new ad campaign does a beautiful job helping people understand the impact of it all.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Small Presses, Silly Hypocrisy and Gays in the Family

Some of you have requested and received the first two chapters of Complementary Colors.

I also wanted to let you know that the first chapter is now available to be read on the Complementary Colors blog. (If you want to read 2 chapters, email me.)

If you read any of the preview, I'd love to hear what you think. I'd also dig it if you blogged or facebooked about your reactions.

Small presses don't have access to the huge PR machines that big publishers do--so any way you can get the word out if you like the pages is appreciated. Small presses are the ones who put out a diversity of voices that are squashed by corporate publishing. Please support small presses!


Caption this picture (by commenting on that blog entry) and you could win a copy of For the May Queen!


I find this whole beauty pagent thing so bizarre. There's silly hypocrisy enough to go around. On the one had, anti-gay attitudes based on "morality" are spouted on national television from a nude-posing-boob-job-beauty queen. On the other hand, a beauty pagent sporting chicks in teeny bikinis includes a "morality clause" in the contract forbidding "partial nudity."

Something interesting has come up regarding Carrie Prejean's attitudes against gay people. Joe.My.God has reported that "Carrie Prejean's homophobia may have its origin in her parents' divorce and protracted custody battle in which her mother accused her father of being gay." Makes me think of Anita Bryant and her reportedly gay son.

Speaking of which...did you all see that Marie Osmond's daughter has come out as a lesbian--and that Marie is "supporting her." She says all kinds of loopy things about same-sex marriage in this clip, sounding like she's backpedaling on the official Mormon anti-gay stance. No matter how you interpret what she says about marriage, the way she enthuses about her daughter is a great pie-in-the-face to the Mormon elite for whom Marie has been tiara-wearing spokesmodel for decades.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Caption Me, Baby

Given all the news about Miss California's hypocritical anti-gay "Christianity" that's been in the news of late, I thought I'd run a fun little contest. Whoever writes the best caption for this photo in the next week or coupla a weeks (or whatever; I'm the goddess of this blog; I'll decide) will win a copy of For the May Queen. Winner will be announced on this blog soon. Let's say, before June. Post your captions in the comments of this entry.

You need to read Collin Kelley's blog entry about all the Miss California and all the other gay stuff that's been going on lately. He's hilarious and spot-on. And some Anonymous (don't you love it?) commenter has his panties in a bunch about it. Poor dude. Hey, history is with us, man. This is a civil rights issue. Get over it or you're gonna look like Ben Tillman in retrospect.

And did you hear Terry Gross on Fresh Air today? She did a whole show on gay civil rights, featuring the new movie Outrage (which is about outing political hypocrites) and ending with an interview of Camilla Taylor, a lawyer for Lambda Legal who was instrumental in making same-sex marriage happen in Iowa. Imagine this: She's a straight woman. She said she's taken on this cause because she doesn't want to live in a country where people are denied their civil rights.

All this...and with the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maine today, I was reminded what a thrilling time this is to a queer or a queer-supporter in this country.