Wednesday, November 26, 2008

copy, paste, send

Friends, if you want to make the world better, you do it your damn self. That said, a little plagiarism never hurt. So for those of you who want to continue to push for Marriage Equality--or for civil rights in your own community, in general--please feel free to adapt any part of this letter I've written to my own awesome company.

Because we're a 501(c)3, we may not be able to openly support political causes (though I can think of a church that managed to get around that), but at the very least, our founders have said they're open to the request for half-time pay for anyone who does volunteer work on December 10th, Day Without a Gay. While I have yet to get what I'd consider a firm commitment, I thought I'd post this letter for you in the event any of you want to take the prime moment to deliver a note to your own executive decision-maker. There could not be a better time to give them a worthy cause to deliberate over than when they're gathered in the warm circle of their recognized families--wives, husbands, kids, and all the loved ones.

Don't know about this important day for Marriage Equality or community action of any stripe? Well read below and the letter will fill you in. Like I said, borrow what you will to send this to your higher-ups. You never know until you ask.


As you know, Proposition 8 passed and as a result, a ban against same-sex marriage was written into our state constitution. I've been very involved in the campaign for Marriage Equality and want to inform you of an important event coming up. It's called Day Without a Gay, December 10th.

This "call-in-sick" day is a call to do local, community-based volunteering of any kind on December 10th, not just for Marriage Equality, but for anything--soup kitchens, hospice, animal shelters, whatever cause one wants to support. This call for community action therefore is not just for those who care about gay rights, but also those interested in making our local community a better, more peaceful place to live. This of course, along with the protection of civil rights for all Bay Area residents, is a matter of great importance to so many of our authors, as well as our staff and comrades out in the world.

I'm proposing that (our company), as a way to visibly take a stand and modestly support our non-profit goals, offer half-time pay for any employee who takes the day or part of it and shows proof of having done volunteer work that day in the community.

Thanks so much and I hope you are well on your way to a relaxing holiday with your family,


Saturday, November 22, 2008

my little winter garden

We're fast approaching the Thanksgiving holidays and I thought I'd get a jump because I've got lots to list. We could be here a while. Stuff I'm thankful for, take one:

I get to watch my dog run in her dreams
and destuff unsuspecting fluffy toys. Bliss.

I'm amazed that fifteen months ago my cat was diagnosed with a cancer that vets said left her three months to live. I can't say how thankful I am that she remains strong and stubborn, bolder by the day. She walks across my head every morning to scold me into consciousness.

I am glad for my mind-boggling fear of my own mortality because of all it motivates me to do.

I cherish my parents in ways that are humbling.
And I admire how their lives exhibit their virtue and values.

I'm grateful for having known my bodhisattvas--all the folks I've wronged--and how much they stay in my mind and heart. I appreciate those hard lessons and I hold onto them.

It's lovely to see my brother in love all these years.

I am thankful for the people in my life. The ones I see often.

Less often.

Even less often.

And not nearly enough.

I'm thankful for the people who know me to the root.

I'm glad for my health, such as it is, breathtakingly free of guarantees.

I'm thankful for all the writing I've gotten to do these last years. I'm amazed by the way it's taught me discipline, bit by bit, so much so that a story collection now has a project plan. I'm thankful how much things just continue to look up and even in the spells when they don't, I've still got it pretty damn good if I just pay attention.

I appreciate all the dogs I've met through the volunteer work I do, how forgiving they've been after being beaten, fought, neglected, abused, and disregarded. I learn the most important lessons of my life from them.

I'm thankful to have a yard to share with my dog--15/16th of it hers, the rest of it mine for the garden. I'm so glad to be able to bring baby onions and chard to the table for our Thanksgiving dinner. Everything is looking hearty, despite the subterranean tunnels the jays seem intent on digging to get to the happy, fat worms. Carrots and potatoes are snoozing away underground, not a peep yet. Likewise shallots, garlic, radishes. Here's the cast of characters making a radiant appearance this season.

Mustard greens struggled at first,
but they're finding their way.

Volunteer onions everywhere!

Kale, looking very primordial.

Bok choy--evidence of critters, but no critters in sight.

God light on my garden bed.

The chard was so limp and so pathetic at the outset
that I nearly pulled it all, but I'm glad I let it go.
It's the happiest plant in the garden.

Recommended gardening playlist:

The Littlest Birds, The Be Good Tanyas
Look At Miss Ohio, Gillian Welch
As Is, Ani DiFranco
Cold Water, Damien Rice
Driving North, Chris Pureka
Day is Done, nick drake
Everything Has Changed, William Fitzsimmons
My First Lover, Gillian Welch
Life within a life, Jesca Hoop
Because We Do, The Ditty Bops
Timbindy, Ali Farka Toure
Cello Song, Nick Drake
At My Window Sad And Lonely, Billy Bragg & Wilco
Amie, Damien Rice
Wrecking Ball, Gillian Welch
Welcome to My Life, Melissa Ferrick
Time Has Told Me, Nick Drake
Little Plastic Castle, Ani DiFranco
Beautiful Man, Lori McKenna
Elvis Presly Blues, Gillian Welch
California Stars, Billy Bragg & Wilco
Which Will, Nick Drake
Silo Song, Chris Pureka

And of course, I thank you for reading.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

shared passions

I just keep finding new things to love about our president-elect. If I had a binder, I'd doodle doughnuts and Obamas all over it.

Speaking of doughnuts, I just finished a story about athletic boot camps yesterday and I managed to work doughnuts into a central thematic role. The story's coming out around New Year's and I may give you a sneak peek if you (a) are nice to me and (b) smile like Barack and (c) give me doughnuts.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"we must be doing something to be happy."--mahatma gandhi

So let me start with the diffusion of some cynicism regarding the scale of the Marriage Equality backlash. For those proponents who ask where the activists were before Proposition 8 passed, it doesn't matter. We're all here now. Good for us. For those folks who are grumbling about the irony of the black community or the Latino community or the newest immigrants in SF's Chinatown all voting predominantly against Marriage Equality, I'd suggest you shift your focus. The past has passed. There's work to be done and your energy would best be applied to something that will get results. Like showing up. Like speaking up. Like making friends with your neighbors in these communities.

I marched in San Francisco on Friday, October 7th. And then I drove a whole contingent up to Sacramento that Sunday. Both rallies were peaceful, moving events that did much to foment the effort to end discrimination against the gay community. Both had significance. But this weekend, the number of people who came out just blew those events into the dust. Hundreds of American cities saw demonstrations on the steps of their city halls, the likes of which our country has not seen since the '60s. It fills me with hope for our future.

Folks showed up in Honolulu at 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday to be a part of it. People gathered in Laramie, Mobile, and Montgomery, along with those who organized solidarity gatherings in the Netherlands, Canada, and a number of other countries. What's phenomenal is that this was a relatively spontaneous national event (international, actually) and it was not sponsored by organizations--this was grassroots organization on the part of committed and resourceful individuals. People are showing up in numbers that can't be ignored, and it's generally being lauded as the tipping point we've waited and worked for. The local showing was strong in San Francisco, especially considering we also had a noteworthy presence in Oakland, Berkeley, and plenty of other Bay Area cities. Word is that San Diego had upward of 20,000 folks. Nice. The estimates stream in here.

And as I stood at San Francisco City Hall in the blazing sun to hear the Marriage Equality gals speak again, along with Tom Ammiano, the Reverend Dr. Dorsey Blake, the compassionate representatives of Mormons for Marriage, the Reverend Penny Nixon, and several more, I took heart that the tone has already begun to change. Every march increases visibility, each speaker has a little more history on her side when she steps to the podium, and all this just brings us closer to the realization of gay rights.

My conclusions after the rally: I'm less useful attacking those who fear and discriminate against their fellow citizens. I'm not going to petition to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church. I'm not going to assault communities of color for the aggregate poll results. I forgive their mistakes and move forward to make it better.

It's time just to keep up the sometimes exhausting work of fighting for fundamental civil rights for the gay constituency, day in day out. And it's my role to keep this issue out in front of my comrades for whom the demands and distractions of daily life may make this matter easy to ignore. This is not just about gay rights. The minority is not being protected from the majority and that is a failure of representation on the part of our government.

When we bandy about the word "tradition," let's remember what it is we are talking about. The American tradition is one of citizens taking our inalienable rights into our own hands, of disparate communities like Glide Memorial or The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples ministers, politicians, teachers, technicians, CS reps, dog trainers, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, everyone and anyone who is concerned with justice gathering peacefully and powerfully to protect what it is we believe in.

The turnout at these events, the way it is widening and deepening, the increase in sensitive and accurate coverage that it is receiving, and not the shaming but the exposure of hate for the remediable social malady that it is--these are all encouraging reasons that now more than ever we are responsible to keep up the campaign. I believe this burgeoning tone of optimism bodes well for our country's future; but we cannot rest and sit back, believing that after November 4th we have elected public officials to federal office who will make the right decisions on our behalf. Citizens do best when we act as watchdogs and representatives ourselves, working to uphold liberty and justice--meaning freedom, equal protection, and basic human rights--for all.

So please take note and remember that your role in this matters. You are either one more or one less. Next up is Day without a Gay (December 10th). Of course you don't have to be gay to participate; you just have to care abt civil rights.

You can read about it here:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

even handsome clooneys agree

Apparently it is pretty celebrity week here at the Kennedy Depot. So in that spirit: if you do not listen to me, listen to George. He has a nicer voice anyway.

"At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won’t be an issue, and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black."

I'm sure we'll see even more compassionate, sensible celebs like the Divine Cloon joining the rank and file at one of the nationwide rallies in support of Marriage Equality this weekend. Want to know where you can go with your clever signs and changemaking ferocity? Check the general event blog or go directly to the location listing to find a peaceful gathering near you. It's time to show up or shut up, my friends. You want rights? Speak for yourself. Better yet, speak up for your neighbor. Who knows what may come of it ... maybe you'll even meet George out on the rally vanguard. Bonus.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

peripheral campaign news brought to you by the kennedy news bureau

Everyone and their iguana is posting about the general election today, so I thought I would offer you a picture.

The first thing you may notice is the Castro/Lagerfield/Robert Palmer bassist juxtaposition of Posh Beckham's outfit. But me? I noticed the Krispy Kreme crowns on the left-hand side over there.

Speaking of, you get one of their glazed doughnuts-from-heaven free if you scamper over to a KK near you and show off your nifty I Voted sticker. You're welcome.