Friday, January 02, 2015

Reviewing 2004-2014

Whew... I've reviewed the last ten years (eleven if you count 2003).

Looking back over the decade, my hair and beard are whiter now.  I've gone from having two white streaks in my beard and a white blaze running through my hair, to a white chinstrap beard and a wide streak of white in my hair to a mostly white beard and white hair with some dark streaks.

My body's gotten older; my joints hurt more often, especially in the last three years, and my eyes have gotten worse.  When I'm fine, I can take my body for granted; when I'm sick, I'm struck by how a little thing can set me back.   It least I still have most of my teeth.  And my libido.

This is the decade when people in my age cohort died:  Jay, Janice, Kent, Kristen, James, KD.   Elders passed, too:  Grandma Agnes, Ken and Leslie Engle, Uncle Lionel, folk's from my parents' congregation, and various friends' parents.  Dealing with age and death is going to continue into the next decade, I'm sure.

We don't do Death well in this culture.  When I look at imagery in museums, I see that personifications of Death were much more prevalent in the past.  It makes me want to place skeletal Deaths or Lilly-bearing Angels of Time over all the clocks in our house.

I've always maintained that I would live to one hundred.  Given my mother's mother's genes, it's possible (she made it to 99.5).  But... both my grandfathers had heart issues, and I had a depressing romp through various actuarial tables -- so it's possible that I've only got twenty-five years left to live.  I tell myself that I've never smoked, and I don't drink (much).  After thinking and talking about it, I finally started regular exercise.  Working out regularly has improved my mood, my weight, and my sex life.  I'm hoping it extends my time on the planet.

Mark and I went from having a "spiritual marriage" to having a legal one.  Building our household hasn't been without bumps along the way, mostly because I said that I'd build a household of eros, agape, and amore entwined--but it's easier for me to get caught up on the amore and eros and forget about the agape and its attendants:  respect and listening.

Looking at this decade in review, I don't talk about Mark much, but he's there.   Mark and I compliment each other; he makes me a better person and makes fun of me when I become a "distracted prophet."   I don't talk about our families much, either, mostly because I want to respect and protect their privacy.

This was the decade that I became a stay-at-home dad, and then the part-time working dad.   The most difficult thing for me is trying to appreciate life through The Child's eyes:  he's a war-mongering boy's boy whose heroes are Boss TweedRobert MosesRichard Nixon, and The Joker.  OK; and Minecraft YouTube video hosts Stampycat and iBalisticSquid.  I miss the days of Enrico Carouso and Rex Harrison as Henry Higgens.  And George Carlin narrating Thomas the Tank.

Despite his bravado, The Child cried last year when I read him "The Hobbit" at the end of the Battle of the Five Armies.  I'm in the middle of reading "The Lord of the Rings" to him.  We sometimes play chess, which he's good at when he's in the right mood.  We've recently started watching old Star Trek episodes with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.

The strangest thing for me is comparing my life to my dad's:  he's thirty years older than me, but I'm forty years older than The Child.  I remember my dad's fiftieth birthday party:  I was in college.  It feels so strange to be an old parent.  I'm so thankful for Mark on the days when parenting is extra difficult.

Spiritually... while I don't think I've gotten any more or less "woo-woo", I've certainly gotten more cynical.  I had sort of learned it when Starhawk visited in 2003, and it took several times to rediscover:  Often people go into relationships with people and groups looking for the perfect relationship, and then get annoyed or frustrated when they aren't perfect.  Often people hope a coven or ritual group will be life-changing: it will validate their life, or solve the one problem that's been bugging them for the last decade.  But, to borrow from the Wordo's critique group, a group wont be a silver bullet for your problems, and you're the one who cares about your spiritual development the most.

Theologically, I've moved from trying to find a gay male deity to identifying the divine within gay maleness.  Actually, I'm less interested in general in specific manifestations of deity than I was at the beginning of the year.  To borrow from the Women in Science Fiction Convention:  finding gay male deity started out as a destination and over the course of the decade became a process.  

One thing I appreciated from that didn't-quite-work-out UU minister was that he often said, "Scripture is everywhere; pay attention."  As someone who treats the whole world as a Rorschach Test, I can appreciate that. 

I still greet the Moon when it's in the sky.  I still sing "Center of the Sun," by We Three.  I still (sporadically) track the Sun and Moon's position in the sky on my home-made, portable Stonehenge.  I still (sometimes) do Tarot readings.  I still write down the sacred moments in dreams.

Writing...  I'm not entirely happy with where I am, writing wise.  I keep talking about discipline, and then I get distracted from writing.  I need to write more.  I need to submit more manuscripts.  I need to read more of what my peers in the science fiction and fantasy genres are writing.  I need to figure out why markets aren't buying what I send out.  I need to e-publish my manuscripts which have been sold.  And, if I'm serious about being a professional writer with a legacy of books (i. e. royalty checks) I need to start writing novels.

The Wordos are fun (mostly), and I enjoy the after-critique gatherings, and being at Wordos has given me tools to edit and critique manuscripts -- I need to be better at applying those tools to my manuscripts.

Creatively, I'm having fun, and the "Maker Art" that I do is fun and satisfying.

I think, looking at the last decade, "He Kept At It," would be an apt summary.  Some times it could be "He Kept At It The Wrong Way,"... but other times, at least, the decade could be summarized "He Kept At It Different Ways."  
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