the dreaded Monday ? … “How was your weekend?” … curating your life …

People like to ask on Mondays, “How was your weekend?” Formulating an answer today pushes some of my “crazy Charlie” buttons.

Friday, I realized I had done something to my back. I was a bit crooked, half-a-limp, numb-a-tingle in the extremities. This happens every now and then, no biggie. Once upon a time I would head to the chiropractor, or, more practically, the massage therapist, but now I just take it easy for a few days and wait for whatever was swollen or twisted or slightly unaligned to get righted.

Memory HeadSo, this weekend, I had an excuse not to do anything. Saturday, I intended to meet some friends, but by the time it was time to do so, I had already done some household chore-type things and was aching, which was making me tired, and we’d be meeting in a crowded location and I’d have to park and hike to find them and there might have been (probably would have been) other people there I’d know and wouldn’t have wanted to see and … I stayed home.

Sunday, not only was my back still not quite right (as in, I was crooked) but, too, there was something like a stomach ache or a brick or – well, pain – in my left abdomen-y, side area and so, I spent almost the entire day and night on the couch in my room. I say “almost” because, eventually, I moved to the bed.

So, how was my weekend? Well … how was yours? One of my friends, Ann, sent me this picture:

Ann Steve D.C.That’s Ann, there on the far right, the beautiful woman radiating Love and Light and good energy. She is cozied up to two fellows I’ve not seen in ages, and all three of them were in the last show I directed. And, they happen to be in a building which houses a theatre I built, in which Ann played Nellie Forbush in my production of Rodgers and Hammerstein‘s “South Pacific” which I did as a salute to my dear aunt, who had seen Mary Martin play Nellie. Ann was a stranger to me when she auditioned for the role but has since become a dear friend. She is a good memory, someone and something I enjoy remembering – even if the place where we met – that building where she stood posing with friends after seeing a show in a theatre I built and can no longer enter – is a less good memory.

One has to pick and choose and arrange and remind one’s self that “memory” is not a recording of an actual event, really, but, rather, a memory of a memory, colored and shaped and interpreted and – in fact – curated according to one’s own slant and taste from the storage space in the attic of one’s own mind.

As a child, raised in the D.C. suburbs in days when school budgets allowed for day-trips, I was regularly taken to the Smithsonian Museums ((CLICK HERE FOR INFO ABOUT THE SMITHSONIAN COMPLEX – really cool. Of course, if the looming government shutdown occurs tomorrow – all of it will be closed.)).

It was a different time, of course, and while I am sure this would never be the case today, we children were allowed to wander on our own through the museums. I can clearly remember the day after one of those trips being angrily instructed to write impressions about the things we had seen, what had most captured our attention the day before. This assignment was the result of those in charge having been alerted by a parent chaperone that some of us had not so much toured the museum, but, rather, had hung out in gift shop and cafeteria until sneaking outside to do – I don’t know what – it was before i was cool enough to sneak off for smoking and drugging.

Still, for me, the assignment presented a problem.

On these trips, my wandering was done mostly alone, about which I was ashamed. And because I did not want the other kids – all of whom, I was convinced, were happily paired and grouped with the sort of “come with me” friends I never seemed to have – to bear witness to my solitude, I tried to stay hidden. So, I hadn’t really seen all that much. But, me being me, I had picked up every brochure and piece of paper literature available.

So, I wrote about how the Smithsonian was the “nation’s attic” and how it reminded me of all of the un-used rooms in my aunt’s house in Libertytown, filled with relics and artifacts of my family’s history and past, and how I wished I could go through all the things at the Smithsonian that were NOT on display, and play in those rooms, like I spent my weekends in the rooms of my aunt’s home, making up my own story about the historical finds there, my own – wasn’t I clever – SMITH-son-ian.

I wish I could find that paper. I know the teacher made me read it out loud – which, no doubt, made it even MORE unlikely I would have anyone with whom to walk around on the next class trip we took – my words and my interpretation and spin and excuse for my solitude, then – as they do now sometimes – made me pariah. Oh well.

theatre destroyedThe Smithsonian now has something in excess of 130 million pieces and artifacts, and 250 plus curators to choose amongst and arrange them all. I don’t know how many memories a human mind holds or what triggers one of those recalled moments to the front; but I do know that when I got Ann’s picture, and spending the weekend on the couch, in recline and a sort of decline as well, that I was taken back for some reason to those Smith-son-ian visits, and my hiding, and struck by the parallels here, now, my writing in the batcave, my inability to go certain places, my unwillingness to visit some others, and how, goddammit, I am still wandering mostly alone, picking up brochures, wishing I could get into all the hidden rooms where people have left their pasts that I might figure out the stories … but what I’m seeing right now – though I can’t really see it – hard to explain – but, theatres in decay, rotting, molded, destroyed by neglect and absence of light and …

… my story? I need to curate a happier ending which has somehow been lost in the millions of artifacts left behind along the way of here, where I am going.

… some songs that came into my head late tonight …

I’m not sleeping. So many memories. I won’t bore you with the stories … here are the songs … enjoy.

… my favorite song by Betty Buckley

… and Barbara Cook

… and Marin Mazzie

… and Alice Ripley (which I have only just discovered)

… and someone I found …

… who will hold me, when there’s no one? When the smiles I used to see are not for me, what do I do? Nobody’s told me …

… all the lonely people …

Things happen that make songs come into my head … today, someone touched me deeply with a message, and I could see how loneliness had fueled it … and that I could not fix his loneliness … and something about that made me feel isolated and alone and then … I was singing in my head again … writing stories …

Or this …

Or …

Or …

Or this …

Or this … the pain around 2 minutes says it all …

So much lonely in the world … what to do, what to do?

… song of the day … Paisley Fields … James Wilson …Windows Fogged Up In Your Pickup Truck

My life has been an adventure populated by a cast of extremely interesting and gifted characters, who, long after I don’t see them daily, continue to pop up when I least expect them. Like today. Here’s the story (and the song of the day):

A few summers ago (I can’t honestly remember if it was two or three or …) I had the honor of appearing in an original musical at the Fringe Festival in New York. It was quite exciting and I spent a month with a wonderful group of people, one of whom was James Wilson ((CLICK HERE FOR HIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL)) who was the orchestra for the show. He also played at a sing-along bar some nights and I went twice and sang while he followed my warbling. It was grand fun and heady times, being in New York and pretending I would stay there forever and have such fun.

Now, here is his music, and you will love it too. Watch it. Like his channel. Buy his work. He appears as the bartender long around 1:23 in the video. You couldn’t hope to meet a nicer, more talented man. Enjoy.

Isn’t that beautiful? I love it very much. And I love the video story-telling as well. Congratulations, James. He was mentioned on Towelroad. Nice.

(AND P.S. SIDENOTE: If you read my earlier post about acculturated homophobia and male gay culture’s embrace of that sort of hatred [[AND IF YOU HAVE NOT – CLICK HERE TO DO SO]], and if you want proof of what I’m saying, read the comments on Towelroad about this song. Such bile and poison, just a shame.)

… fall comes out … the revelations … and acculturated homophobia and sexism …

I love the Fall. I love the cool of it, the beginning of chill, and the changing colors, and the way it promises a slowing, how its downshifting and stripping reminds us that every cycle requires an ending, a purging before rebirth, and too, the endings and purgings have a particular, specific and glorious beauty of their own. Fall: It celebrates with the death-bursts of beautiful hues and experiences unique to this phase of being.

I also love that this reveal, this Fall, is a reminder that the “end” is always present in the “beginning” – those spring buds, those summer leaves, the bold color-statements of the fall fashions before the strip to naked branch, even those empty, resting Winter landscape branches, are all of a piece, all part of the being, the truth of the landscape. The circle.

It is, sometimes, hard to remember when Spring and Summer are in full swing that there will be a Fall and a Winter. It is, sometimes, when one is a Fall person, difficult to remember in the throes of Spring and Summer heat and madness that the Autumn will return and embrace you, that if you look carefully and breathe deeply enough, you can feel it there in the Spring and Summer.

It is, sometimes, difficult to learn – when one is terribly attached to one or another season – to actually appreciate and enjoy the season in which one is living rather than to spend all one’s energy yearning for another time of year.

I love the Fall. It is a comforting season for me in which to sleep, the weather seeming to reach out to caress and cradle me into a comfortable slumber. I love the Fall. I am not a wonderfully-nature aware person as are some of my gardening and hiking friends, but in the Fall, I am hypnotized by the changing colors of the mountainside vistas I see and will lose myself in staring in awe and wonder at the pointillist glories of the horizon.

I have been thinking about this a lot; this reveal and the promise of all seasons in any season. I have been thinking about it because one of the themes of one of my current writing projects is the acculturated homophobia and misogyny embedded within the language, reactions and behaviors of otherwise completely loving and good-intentioned people. I was prompted to explore this theme by my own use of the word “bitch” and my discovery that its use was, ultimately, anti-woman and sexist – two things I NEVER thought I was in any way to any degree; but the cultural anti-woman and sexist bias had, to some degree, at least to the degree I used the word “bitch” – infected me.

Another example is the acculturated homophobia I have witnessed and, in fact, been subjected to by people who could never, would never in any way to any degree consider themselves anti-gay or homophobic; some of them are themselves gay. The gay MALE culture (I am not qualified to talk about the Lesbian or Transgender communities) has a sub-culture (not so sub actually) of stratification and pecking order wherein “personal preference” about age and “masculine” and the whole top, bottom, twink, bear, hairy, smooth, big, small, on and on delineation of who is and is not one’s type or hot or whatever seems to me a continuation and projection of an acculturated judgment about homosex and gender and masculine power.

I am, however, NOT allowed to talk about or say this because to do so – to in any way discuss it or suggest there might be an issue – is taken by some branches (see how I worked the trees back in – clever man) of the male gay culture and community as a betrayal, as opening doors for homophobes to attack.

Well, homophobes attack without needing my help.

But, this isn’t a dissertation – it’s a personal observation, sharing my experience, and while the acculturated homophobia (and sexism, good heavens, the sexism) of gay men is troubling enough, I don’t know a huge number of gay men, so what I have found more disturbing has been the hidden and unrecognized homophobia of the otherwise loving, liberal community.

Now, this is a touchy subject. I have found that often-times when a member of a minority group discusses his/her perception of minority-phobia in the behavior of society or individuals in that society, those individuals or society at large dismiss it as “You’re playing the homophobia/sexist/race/etc card” – and feel that the minority member is being overly-sensitive and trying to claim a victimhood to which they are not entitled.

I’m NOT saying that doesn’t happen. I’m also not saying I am a victim of anything. I am saying that I have had things said to me that felt to me shockingly homophobic – puritanical – sexist in foundation. One such example was some time ago and came from a Lesbian friend who would NEVER intentionally hurt my feelings and has a heart as loving and beautiful as the Fall horizon (she also never reads anything I write, so she won’t see this and if she did, she wouldn’t recognize herself, trust me – I would not risk causing her pain) so when she said what she said and did what she did – none of which I will go into – timed in reaction to me being more open and honest about my sexual feelings and experiences, I was quite taken aback, shocked, and fairly devastated.

Now, we have both pulled back from one another; she, for whatever reasons she has – I would guess she attributes it to being busy and feeling I’ve changed in ways with which she is vaguely uncomfortable – and I have retreated because, I have difficulty enough traversing the minefield of this puritanical culture’s anti-sex, homophobic, sexist, classist structure and strictures WITHOUT judging myself; I don’t need my friends to do the “Charlie … you’re being ….” or worse, the sort of implied “tsk-tsk” of judging me without actually KNOWING they are doing it.

Yes, I am expressing more anger than I have in the past in some of my thinking and writing and exploration of the why of things and the how of things; I think I am entitled. Yes, I am being more honestly myself and following urges I long submerged, exploring and expressing colors that were not there in the Spring and the Summer. Yes, I am changing, but this season of Charlie, this Fall, as it were, of bright colors and new bursts before that de-nuded landscape of the long Winter to come, is nothing that wasn’t there before, nothing that wasn’t always a part of me.

I am, I guess, a bit hurt by those who would rather I be Spring and Summer again, who have, in some ways, packed bags and left town until the season ends. But, I am who I am, and I apologized and held at bay who I was and what I needed to do for such a long time, often in the service of others, that I now expect people to have some patience with whatever sneezing or allergies my fading into reds and oranges and incipient defoliation causes them. We should all – each day – make sure to be aware of our acculturated puritanism, homophobia, sexism, and classism – to check at the door our acculturated sense of privilege and judgment – all those things which impede our realities and brainwash us into circumscribing and thwarting our creativity and self-expression.

I will change colors. I will ALLOW FULLY this part of my cycle, rather than the ways in which I obstructed and restricted my Spring and Summer, and I will NOT be judged nor tsk-ed nor marginalized. This Fall, I will only be celebrated.

… sebastian and charlie … a hate story …

{P.S. Before I start – how the HELL did I get so many hits yesterday? And why am I so ridiculously popular in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, and the U.K.? I’ve a feeling it has to do with that damn picture of a Calvin Klein clad penis. Really? Is that all I’m good for? Hmmph … I’ll have to let my friend Sebastian answer about that.}

What is the point of having multiple personalities if one is denied the benefit one receives from the compartmentalization?

Despite my admiration for Joanne Woodward in “The Three Faces of Eve” and Sally Field in “Sibyl“, I ALWAYS suspected the whole “multiples” thing was a big sham. As it turned out, it was (is). BELIEVE ME, if dissociating into disconnected personalities who live independent lives, unaware of one another was a possibility, I would LONG AGO have broken into many different pieces. But, then again, I barely can maintain one independent life, so how the fuck would I ever manage multiples?

That said, I know some people who have ruthlessly segregated parts of themselves – like their humanity, kindness, and conscience – so that they might operate by a code of dubious morality from which perch they re-cast the past and lie with ease about themselves and others, traipsing through their nasty little delusional lives entirely guilt-free.

Now, far be it from me to sit on my own delusional perch of dubious accomplishment and morality and judge them. Nope. Not this guy. So, it only made sense that when I saw with what EASE they continued to throw others (me, actually) under the bus and lie about me (actions speak louder than words but words libel – cliché alert) I thought, “Well, why can’t I disengage from my own sense of right and wrong and good and bad and smart and stupid? I mean, if THEY can do it, well, I can do it TEN TIMES as well.”

Little problem, I couldn’t turn to daily drugging of myself to accomplish it as I suspected they had. Funny what endless infusion of chemical to the brain will lead a person to do – but, I knew my addictive personality, and while it might have been okay for them to ingest daily doses of THC and Zolpidem and Pregabalin and Molly and whatever the fuck else they were having prescribed or could get their hands on, buying from dealers, and pretending they weren’t permanently altered by – I, Charlie, have that “keep on taking it/drinking it/smoking it until you drive into a telephone pole” gene and was already deeply enmeshed in trying to maintain my no nicotine and less alcohol status.

What to do? Easy! Create ANOTHER person who could do all the things Charlie couldn’t. And so, Sebastian was born.

Sebastian brideshead2mos468x576ab2Sebastian was born in the U.K. and ten years later than Charlie. Since he’s lived in this country for so long, Sebastian’s accent rarely comes out, and he doesn’t talk much – not big on telling people about his teddy-bear carrying past or about the Mr. Ryder who broke his heart when he was younger. What Sebastian can do that I can’t is to interact with others in a completely selfish way, worried only about his own pleasure, unconcerned with making actual, long-term, emotional connections. He is bolder, far more confident, slightly more attractive somehow, and almost entirely without conscience or shame. Unlike Charlie, he does NOT contemplate, he rarely speaks, and he NEVER writes – particularly long, introspective, discursive, TMI swaths of what seem to be personally revelatory essays which are, in large part, fictional – if one uses the current definition of “fiction” (which, of course, Charlie – I mean, I, would NOT – I don’t really believe in fiction or non-fiction – I believe that everything is spin and the only truth is in the emotional content behind language and action – BUT THAT IS ANOTHER STORY AND WHY MY FUCKING HEART IS BROKEN SO I’M NOT GOING THERE TODAY GODDAMMIT) –

What? Where was I? Who am I? Oh, right. Sebastian. Charlie would be terribly in love with Sebastian’s wounds. Sebastian would be rightfully terrified of Charlie’s ability to see into him. It would be ugly.brideshead love scene

It is, in fact, ugly, because, you see, someone has seen Charlie in Sebastian, and while it is far too complicated to go into and no real names are involved (or, even, known) – the two are fucking bleeding into each other – or bleeding fucking into each other – or bloody fucking bleeding into each other or – SOMETHING.


Charlie is crazy. He thinks too much. All you need to know is nothing. None of this is any of your bloody fucking business. Here’s the only kind of message I want to get – someone sent it to me last week:

Sept 2013

If you’ve got something to say, that’s how you say it. Now shut the fuck up Charlie and go to the gym – I got a new boyfriend there I’m working on if I can just get you out of the way.


This post from April is STILL getting hundreds of hits A DAY … come on. Why? And from where? And am I really to be reduced to having to write about and show dickpics for hits? Well, ok.

I knew a man once who was obsessed with the size of his genitalia. Here’s what I have learned from having known him:


It is a genetic accident how big your dick is; it is a personal choice how big a dick you are.

I wonder if he’s learned this yet?

… AmericanHorrorStory: COVEN … finally I have something to do Wednesday nights …

Mr. Ryan Murphy has given me many happy moments in the last few years since AMERICAN HORROR STORY began. I think it’s a work of genius. I love the repertory feel of it and his gift for attracting (and keeping) great and interesting and sexy and beautiful actors – not that they all have ALL of those qualities, but, a surprising number do.

Jessica Lange. Sarah Paulson. Zachary Quinto. Enough said right there. Then I say EVAN PETERS and … I need to stop. BUT, I’m not much good at stopping, and what’s EVEN BETTER about Ryan Murphy is that he has what seems to be the same cultural sensibility as do I, and so, I can count on long, intricately woven, Tennessee Williams-esque, gothic monologues delivered by brilliant actresses and, of equal importance, on seeing Evan Peters ass.

Here are the main titles for this season:

This is why I will be turning off my phone even earlier on Wednesday nights than I have been doing the rest of the days of the week. Although, last season I was forced to live-Tweet during the show, giving myself the feeling I was part of the cult-munity of AHS-watchers. But, not sure if I’ll be doing that this season … so pathetic and obsessed am I that I would watch the prior week’s episode in the hour before the week’s new episode, after the watching of which I would them IMMEDIATELY watch its instant repeat. The week Jessica, Sarah, and Evan did “The Name Game” I almost ended up in an asylum myself, so COMPLETELY HYPNOTIZED was I by the number (I’m pretty sure Evan wasn’t wearing underwear during the dance sequence – but, am embarrassed to admit, I didn’t notice that myself – another AHS-lunatic on-line pointed it out) ((READ ABOUT AND WATCH IT BY CLICKING HERE)).

I would like to make a casting and story suggestion. (What? Look, a man can dream.) Evan Peters needs to have some man on man action this season and it should be with a Brit and that Brit should be played by Russell Tovey. He’s in this country filming that Jonathan Groff thing for HBO anyway. Sign him up. I am available for consultations at any time, Mr. Murphy. I used to write ten full length shows a year for groups of children to adults ON DEMAND for the students I had – and if you think actors, producers, and critics are harsh – they have NOTHING on children and parents and community theatre types – TRUST ME ON THIS.

I can take pressure. In fact – you want a horror plot for next year – do community theatre and arts schools. Now there’s a nightmare.

I’m waiting.

… synchronicities and surprises … and genius grants (dammit) …

Well, one more year passes when I do NOT win the MacArthur Foundation Genius grants. Damn the luck. It seems some very deserving people did (CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THEM IN NYTimes). Nonetheless, I have – since I was a child – had this sort of ridiculous, ongoing fantasy that SOMEHOW I would be discovered by someone (like the MacArthur Foundation or the Medici Family) and “funded”. I dreamed that the theatre I made or, now, the writing I do, would be seen and APPRECIATED by one of these types of groups or people and I’d be granted a monthly stipend in perpetuity – perhaps given a part of a palace in which to live – and all my fears could be alleviated, my debts settled, and I could … well, we all have our stories, don’t we?

In any event, not this year. Drat.

So, me being me, I was going to write a LONG entry about all the things I have NOT won and have NOT gotten and how UNappreciated I am. BUT … then this morning happened.

Kenneth Walsh ... from his website

Kenneth Walsh … from his website

I have a list of sites I visit daily. One of my favorites is “Kenneth in the (212)” ((CLICK HERE TO VISIT)) written by Kenneth Walsh ((CLICK HERE FOR HIS TWITTER)). I’ve read it for years. I knew he had some sort of connection to Frederick, Maryland, where I live, so, like that time I found out Barbara Walsh knew some of the same people I did because she sat next to me at a musical the DAY AFTER I HAD SEEN HER ON BROADWAY AS JOANNE IN COMPANY (yeah, that happened) – I just get these joneses from knowing someone in New York – the city – has some Frederick connection – so, I love Kenneth Walsh all the more. Then, in today’s entry, he talks about his brother, Bill Walsh ((CLICK HERE FOR HIS TWITTER)), who wrote “Lapsing Into Comma” and “The Elephants of Style” and “Yes, I Could Care Less” – my BIBLES of grammar and usage! THEY ARE BROTHERS AND I DIDN’T KNOW IT?

So, me being me, I wrote to Mr. Walsh (Kenneth) a short appreciation of this information and his site and his brother’s work and how happy it made me to know that each morning as I sat at my desk, writing (I.E. killing time NOT writing by reading Mr. Walsh’s site – and others) with the bibles of grammar and usage by his brother inches away, there was also a Frederick connection. Lapsing Into CommaHe wrote me back a terribly charming response and informed me of yet ANOTHER Frederick connection – there is a third brother nearby!

I know, I know, but this sort of thing just tickles and delights me. Furthermore, that he bothered to take the time out of his busy day to reply and make my day was so kind; IN A WORLD THAT CAN BE AS NASTY AS THE ONE IN WHICH WE ARE LIVING, this is a beautiful thing and I am filled with gratitude.

So, NO, I did not win the MacArthur genius grant nor get a literary agent nor meet the 40-something man of my dreams at the gym or anywhere else – but, I had a lovely inter-web interlude with a writer I admire. And that is more than enough. Thank you, Mr. Walsh. Thank you, Universe.

… i can’t be reached …

I am more and more disconnected.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this.

Prompting said thought? The reaction to my shutting down my Facebook has been divided into two camps: those who took my absence to mean I had de-friended them and that other cohort who have yet to notice I am gone.

Both of which reactions give lie to the assumptions I had made about those who “followed” me on Facebook knowing something about me and what sort of person I was and, in some instances, caring about that person, what he was doing, and what he had to say.

invisible manFurthermore, my quality of life has in no way been diminished by NOT knowing what everyone is posting.

Now, what amuses me is that when people say “I’ll catch you on Facebook” and I explain that I don’t have one, they are, to a person, wildly congratulatory, as if Facebook is something to which one is OBLIGATED to pay homage and obeisance and to have escaped it is an achievement of more consequence than hitting a few keys leading to “delete”.

Further furthermore, these same people are filled with even more admiration to discover that I never answer my phone unless I know the person who is calling and that I have no message box. It has been filled for almost two years – the origination of which was an endless (it seemed at the time) stream of threatening calls from lawyers and associates about all the things I ought to do to avoid being – well – it doesn’t matter now. I don’t answer my phone and you can’t leave a message.

In fact, I rarely check any of my e-mail accounts either. At least, not the ones connected to the person people know as Charlie Smith. Charlie is slowly disappearing. He still has this blog and his Twitter, but, even those might not be long for this world.older younger cropped

Sebastian is having a much better life and much better luck right now than Charlie. So, he might take over. He’s much younger than Charlie, not nearly as contemplative and introverted, and dating a 25-year-old. Well, “dating“. Whatever. In fact, Sebastian seems to be wildly attractive to much younger men, which is a huge surprise to Charlie, who never was attractive to any men – let alone younger men, who seemed, in fact, to find him repugnant. In any event … not Sebastian, and even if Sebastian was rejected or someone found him to be repugnant – he wouldn’t care. He’s connected to what matters, he lives in the moment, he has no family, no friends, and he doesn’t really know anyone or even have a phone number or Facebook or Twitter or anything else.

I so admire Sebastian and his ability to sort of float through the world without getting stressed, and so, in order to be more like him, I have now started turning my phone off long around midnight and not re-connecting until mid-morning. During those hours, I am almost entirely unreachable unless you know where I live – or you are one of Sebastian’s 25 year olds – and since you don’t and you aren’t – well, catch me if you can.

And since Charlie write this, you won’t be chasing me in the first place. And Sebastian, well, he’s unreachable. And so, too, it occurs to me how prescient I was to name this blog “… here we are … going” – although, really, I’m the only one disappearing.