Thursday, July 9, 2009

a personal note

Tikuli Dogra's essay on human rights for gays and lesbians has inspired a long moment of reflection for me this morning. I think back over my life and how my attitude has shifted. Well..."shifted" is not quite right. It's more like when I first began to even have an attitude.

As I grew up in southern Arkansas, homosexuality was such a prohibited topic that I don't think I was aware there was such a thing until late junior high or early high school. And for years afterward, I never really formed a strong opinion one way or the other. Not until about 15 years ago.

I had just begun my obsession with classical music. And when I say "obsessed," I mean I was one gone cat. At the same time, I was just discovering the writings of Thomas Mann. It didn't take me long to realize that Tchaikovsky's gloriously beautiful and sometimes-tragic music was a gift from the heart of Being itself. And Mann! While reading The Magic Mountain, I fell into an aesthetic trance that has lost none of its mesmerism. In this story, Mann had to channel his "forbidden" passion into a heterosexual depiction: Hans Castorp's infatuation with the gnomic Clavdia Chauchat. There is a universal human need for companionship and for expressing the heat of Eros. Too bad that ignorance and meanness sometimes force one into self-censorship.

Along with experiencing the works, I read about the composer and the writer. About their lives of anguish. It was then, I'm pretty sure, that I actually committed to an opinion, an attitude about homosexuality. These were human beings, regardless of their wondrous contributions to music and literature. I began to sympathize with them, and I owed them a simple human understanding.

So...I finally came to less a decision than an awakening. I heartily recommend the new state of consciousness.


  1. Oh Tim thanks so much for this post.. I just stumbled upon it while going through your wonderful writings.. I hope the state of consciousness prevails.Have not seen much response as yet ..we seem to be the lonesome warriors .. but never mind the dawn will break soon ..

  2. I hope so, too, Tiku. Thanks so much.

  3. My attitude on this subject has shifted monumentally, as well. It is an honor to tiptoe through your musings. Ah, the tales I should tell, if only I had half of your gift for lyric prose.