The “Book It” List

I love reading, and I love books, so much that I have the habit of trying to read too many books at the same time–the highest I’ve counted was over a dozen.

While this does allow me to indulge many interests simultaneously, it also prevents me from making significant progress toward finishing any of these books–which, in the grand scheme of things, I feel holds me back from achieving and experiencing everything I want to read.

So today I’m going to look back at my reading list for the year and try to map out my next steps–to possibly, hopefully, just maybe reach my goal of reading 40 books in 2020. (You know, because it’s 2020, and 20 + 20 = 40, I mean, that’s valid, right?)

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Something something anxiety and control maybe

If I had known having a therapist would provide so much writing material, I’d have gotten one years ago.

That’s my weak attempt at starting writing something I don’t know what I’m writing. I was left a little…unsettled? after our last session on Monday, and writing is the best way I know how to process my own thinking. So I’m hopeful inspiration will strike, separate the clouds, and grant some clarity amid the beautiful mess that is my mind.

And maybe you’ll find a spark of inspiration for yourself amidst my chaos.

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Meet the Beast

I am a Gemini. I have always known my soul is faceted, my spirit fragmented in many parts. I am the twins. I am the wise child and the simple son. I am the one who succumbs and the one who resists. I am also a product of a childhood built upon Disney and Tolkien: there is good and there is evil, and they are disjoint and easily distinguished.

And yet, as an adult, I now wonder: how different are they? And am I not both?

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Names Like Snowflakes

When I left my room at four in the morning to leave for Alaska, I expected a lot of things: It would be cold, maybe I’d see snow, I’d get to learn about a new culture, work in a school, and maybe see some whales or the aurora borealis. And except for the last two, I did all of these things–but one thing I didn’t expect to learn about was names.

Names mean a lot to me: As a writer, a character’s name (or lack thereof) can be the most defining element to a story. As a leader, learning the names of my fellow students is not only a great way to attract new members, but also to establish a genuine sense of community in our group. And as a gay man in a world where marriage equality seems inevitable only a few short years after it seemed impossible, I’ll someday have to choose my name, his name, or a strained attempt at something in between.

But as I learned in Alaska, the power of names doesn’t end there.

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Come On, You Know You Like This

Let me introduce you to some of my friends.

More importantly, let me introduce you to their rapists.

One of my friends at Guilford Tech was raped by his father. One of the guys I worked alongside was raped by his older brother’s best friend. One of the guys I’ve met at N.C. State was raped by his first boyfriend. I have a friend who was raped by her ex-husband, and another friend who was raped by her boyfriend. One of my very best friends was raped twice–by people she didn’t even know.

And people say there’s no such thing as rape culture.

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The Vacancy of Freedom

When the world didn’t end on Friday, I thought I’d post a revelatory message on Saturday. Instead, I got carried away applying for a scholarship and lost track of time. So, I figured, let’s just read the next lesson of the Pirkei Avot and post it promptly on Sunday. Well, as I decided to finish said application this evening and took something of a nap earlier in the afternoon, time has once more gotten away with me. Regardless, learning is learning no matter what time it happens at (although, arguably, midnight learning is best left for Shavuot).

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A Beautiful Lie

I’d like to say my silence this week has been a part of the blackout in opposition to SOPA, but that would be a beautiful lie.

I’d like to say the bill will do as it promises and end internet piracy without infringing upon our individual rights and freedoms (I’m an artist, too–I support intellectual property as much as you do), but that would be a beautiful lie.

I’d like to say I have complete faith in our legislation to do away with SOPA and its ally, PIPA, that they understand freedom and the importance of its protection, but that would be a beautiful lie.

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Black and White: Part One

In a moment I was called a bureaucrat and a dictator. I was told I’ve spent so much time up top I’ve forgotten how the people at the bottom still think. How they feel. How they live and die and prosper and are crushed, decimated, dessicated, turned to poison and ingested in the cannibalistic universe we live in. All these things in fewer words, but all these things nonetheless.

The truth is I haven’t forgotten. My hide has grown thicker. My skin has grown harder. My muscles, stronger; my bones, impassioned, have turned to steel. And my mind–that precious vestibule of unarticulated prowess–my mind has only sharpened in these days of misery as I live life. But I have not forgotten.

People don’t know me. Even when I see a man a hundred times a day, even when I share my deepest thoughts and my most hidden inclinations and my most obvious and embarrassing faults with him, he does not know me. Maybe I don’t speak as clearly as I think I speak. Or maybe, as is more probable, I’m simply deeper than I think I’m deep.

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