I wrote a short novel about love and grace in our times. You can read it for free on Amazon until March 11.


Saint John the Divine in Iowa, my screenplay that won the Meryl Streep-funded Writers Lab, told the story of an Episcopal Priest fighting to balance the needs of her congregation and her gay daughter. Priest Kid tells the daughter’s story…of having a mother who’s a saint, but who loves humanity as much as she loves her. It’s about good people, about hope and politics in families, about redemption. If you want a break from hate, as I do, this is the story.

Priest Kid

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Obergefell v. Hodges OR Dear Jude…


I didn’t think I’d see equality in my lifetime.

Imagine that.  Thinking you’d never be equal under the law.

And now we are.  I have nothing political to say except that equality and justice are my goals, now and always.

But I do have something to say.  Does this really surprise anyone?  Maybe only me, that this is how I want to mark the day.  The personal made political, once again.

Dear Jude,

When you came back into my life in 1987, I had just gone to my first Pride Parade.  Maybe that opened the door to the gift of you.

Because there I was, coming out of the closet yet again as bi-sexual, terrified of the consequences of being out–I’d seen my mother’s closeted relationship destroyed by homophobia and had been gay bashed and sexually harassed.  So I was self-hating and ashamed…and just ignorant, the way only someone who had never fully entered the gay community could be ignorant.

And there you were, so butch that standing next to you outed me.  There you were, taking my hand gently in yours as we walked down the street in the 1980’s, so not afraid, so proud to love me.  It cracked me wide open, and if that wasn’t enough, when I said, “I’m too scared to hold your hand right now.”  You said, “Okay, just let me know when you’re ready.”

When I said, “I don’t know if I’m bi or lesbian,” you said, “Well, we know you’re not straight, and that’s good enough for me.”

The tide of gentleness coming in to hold my fear without judgment, without any demand or push that I be better, without complaint for how it must have made things harder for you…the funny thing is, it made me better.  In the truest way.  I am the queer daughter of a lesbian mother who hid what made her happy.  I have a stepmother that not one of my siblings would admit parented us.  You reached into that hurt place and told me I could be exactly who I was…and that let me look at you and see pride and what pride had to offer.

I came out to my classes, I came out at church, I spoke publicly, and that was the gift you gave me.  To stand up and claim myself and my part in our struggle.

When we got married, you came over to hold me the night before, remember?  When we got married, you talked about the challenge of our then ten year relationship in front of all our friends, and how in spite of everything, we have always been able to laugh.

There is no unequal in loving you.  There is only how grateful I am for the way you give me back to myself…and the irritation at the very same thing (yes, I’m not going to stay all sweet much longer as you well know).

Today we are equal under the law.  You always seemed to know that we deserved it.  And so I unlearned my mother’s tragedy, and learned my own freedom.

If I could marry you again today, I would.  And tomorrow, and the next day, and then next.

Thank you for being my big-hearted, passive-aggressive, neurotic, gentle, out and proud renegade

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spouse.

And no, you can’t remind me I said this the next time we argue.

I love you madly,

Me

The Anniversary Approaches


About 20 years ago I had a friend who told me that if I stayed with my partner we’d have to go to couples therapy for the rest of our lives.

She wasn’t exactly a big fan of the relationship.

So as our 26th anniversary approaches, and I revisit, well, everything because the over-examined life is…well, worth living though it could be suggested that I might give myself a break once in a while (note to self:  get off my back!), I remember what she said and the extreme emphasis she put on every syllable.

Now anyone who has read this blog knows that my partner and I go through couples therapists like toilet paper (sorry, couldn’t think of a better comparison).  In fact, we have just fired The Stork for the 2nd time.  We don’t exactly like couples therapy.  My partner even begged me to not even look for a new therapist for a while.  (This is new, since I’m usually the anti-therapy advocate.)

So, we can’t be in couples therapy for the rest of our lives.

Nor can we be like that ad for E-Harmony saying, “My wife is a blessing to me,” or “I finally found a man of quality.”  We more closely resemble Ben Affleck’s Oscar remarks to Jennifer Garner.  “We’ve worked really hard on this marriage and marriage is hard, and it’s the best work there is.  Thank you for working with me.”

Add to the above statement the following:  “Because I know I am an unbelievable pain in the ass and completely whacked out.”  (Me.)  “Because I know I am an unbelievable pain in the ass and that my neurotic monologues about details drive you crazy.”  (Her.)

So, to get to my point.  Closeness is hard!  I mean, yes, of course, it feels good, maybe better than just about anything else, but then you get really scared and you start to freak out, so you have to distance a little (or a lot) just to not freak out in super unskillful ways and then your partner senses you distancing and starts to freak out and gets all clingy, and then you freak out that she’s getting all clingy just when you need space and then you have a massive fight and have to work on admitting all your own bullshit so you don’t get a divorce.

I exaggerate.  But only slightly.

26 years.  That means we’ve known each other for 30.  The other day I woke up and said, “How come I married such a goofball?”  And she said, “I don’t know.  Why do you think?”  And I said, “I guess I couldn’t find anyone better.”  And she said, “I’m taking that as a compliment.”  And then she hugged me for a really long time as if I’d said the best thing ever.

The truth is, I’ve never found anyone I liked more even if she is incredibly neurotic and can’t make a decision to save her life and buys every pair of pants in her size on her Gap credit card and then brings it all home so she’s have MORE time to decide and then loses the receipt and has to keep 12 pairs of pants from the Gap.

However, right now, this week, I bought her two pieces of furniture for her birthday, because believe it or not, that’s what she likes, but the colors were just a shade off and she’s like, “I want to do something small for my birthday so we can save our money and you can go to New York and be an actor.”

Like I said, I couldn’t find anyone better.

Of course, three weeks ago she yelled at me and I felt really hurt and she was appalled at herself, and I had to admit I’d raised my voice first….it was an exception to our usual, but there have been years where that kind of fighting was our usual, though thank whatever/whoever it is now some 15 years in the past (1998 was a suck year in this marriage).

Anyhow.  It upsets me that romance is idealized so much, because wanting the fairy tale, believing it’s the thing, led me to stay in my first real relationship, which was romantic, and passionate, and eventually destructive.  It upsets me that we understand so little about intimacy.  How much forgiveness it requires, how much being in reality.  I can only know my partner if I am willing to see her, as she is, and I can only see her as she is if I set aside illusions about what it means to be human, as well as all my illusions of how love will save me.  Then I can know the sum of her.

My partner is incredibly unbelievably loving, and she loves to take care of me, and she can be generous, and connected, and grounded and so inside her own goodness…and she can be mean, and passive aggressive and wanting her own way no matter what, and sometimes she tries to change me and sometimes she’s just plain grouchy.  Besides the daily neurosis which is alternately my entertainment and my frustration.  Is she a blessing, a moment of grace?  Yes.  But sometimes grace is kicking me to change where I really don’t want to, and sometimes grace is turning and telling her (or her telling me) that I’m me, and this thing that bothers her isn’t changing because I don’t want it to.

What I love about marriage is the attention.  Both the attention she gives me and the attention I get to pay, the way my consciousness rests and wrestles and battles its way to more light, all the time, as I fall into shadow with my partner, as I work my way out, or as we do it together.  There may be periods of pure light, but the shadows will fall, again and again, because that’s what marriage is…continuing to pull yourself, each other, the coupleship, into growth, into closeness, into the kind of knowing that comes from admitting all of who you are–insecure, gifted, warm, distracted, loving, passionate, moral, broken.

I have never known anyone as well as I know my partner, and so I have never loved anyone as much.  I am humbled by knowing my partner, and frustrated, and enlightened, and brought down into my own failings and then made better by how much I love her, which causes me to work on those very failings, or at least on more honesty, all the time.

It’s not ideal.  Or maybe it is.  Maybe this private, wonderful, irritating life is the ideal.  Only Jesus, can someone besides Ben Affleck admit how irritating it is?  How difficult?  He had it right.  It’s such hard work.  And the best work there is.  Marriage is a human making experience.  I am made human by the struggle, by the forgiveness, by the sheer fun and ridiculousness, by seeing how I want to get even when I’m hurt, by seeing how hard I’ll try to stop hurting the person I love most.

26 years.  My narcoleptic genius of the mundane will read this on her Facebook page and then she’ll say, “How about a little more on your faults?”

 

PS–I could have written more about marriage equality.  Metta for the Supreme Court.  May they have the sanity to know that making second class citizens hurts all of us.

 

6 Days and Counting until June 8, 25 years


We should have a party.

As my partner says, no matter how crazy we are, not that many people make it to 25 years, especially if they met in their early 20’s.

But how can we have a party on Pride Weekend, when I’m also in yoga teacher training until 8pm on June 8?  I mean, I don’t exactly have time to cook.

I’m considering just inviting the universe to descend upon our condo with ethnic take-out food to say hi.  And, “You made it.” And, “Don’t kill each other.”

I haven’t mentioned today’s thoughts to my partner yet, because she’s sitting with a bunch of therapists talking about her parts.

I’m going to eat some chocolate and then go to the gym because for some reason this makes sense to me.

Party.  It really does have to happen!

Serendipitous or Synchronous or both?


So here it is…today I had lunch with Father Paul Bresnahan.  He’s great.  Which means I agree with almost every word that comes out of his mouth.  No, seriously.  I am sitting in the deepest gratitude for the people I’m meeting in making this film.  Read his web site to find out what I’m talking about!  http://www.frpaul.com/ I mean, I know there are good people everywhere.  It’s just the opportunity to talk about spirituality with people who live it wows me.  Amazing!

Yes, I know, my last post was all about Buddhism.  Now I’m back in love with the Episcopals.  If meditation gave you bad moods, wouldn’t you flip?  Actually, the bad moods seem to be passing.  Now I’m calm.  I have a deep fear of becoming boring.  Because you know, that may be the only problem I have never had.  Still, I’ll probably get off the computer and meditate.  See if I can bore myself some more.

Anyhow, enough about me.  I met Father Paul because one of the Associate Producers on the film works in Salem, and through a random series of events, ended up performing in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.  He emailed me right away to say how gorgeous the church is, and that he’d met a woman who told him Father Paul would love the film.  So, lunch.  Talk about Leviticus, about the marriage of sexuality and spirituality, about how standing up for your gay children may cost you your job.  All the good stuff.

And it brought home that I need to drop all embarrassment about asking people to donate to this movie.  As the bisexual daughter of a closeted lesbian mother, I know what prejudice can do to people trying to love each other, I know what secrets can do to a family, and I know, above all things, what it is to be pronounced equal and to realize that no matter what you’d fought for, or said, or done, on some level you didn’t believe it until Justice Marshall wrote it into law.  “We in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are not in the business of creating second class citizens.”  Thank you, Justice Marshall, for changing my life.  Thank you to the people of Massachusetts, for leading the way.  Or, as the Buddhists say, may all beings be happy, may all beings be free from suffering, may all beings be free to love who they will.

Thank you, Father Paul, for proving that human nature holds so much good.