Friday, May 13, 2011

Bees, Flowers, & Progeny

For all the complexities of the human brain, for all our technological achievements as a society, for all our philosophical pride in "free will," homo sapiens are still biologically an animal with certain imperatives--"Prime Directives" as they are known in science fiction films--most involving our survival as a species.

The imperative to leave something of ourselves behind for future generations is wired into our very being. Most humans obey this imperative by the most fundamental of all processes--breeding, by which we to pass our physical DNA down through the generations. (I've always found it interesting that gays frequently use the word "breeders" as a mild epithet when speaking of heterosexuals.) I am not a breeder. I will not pass my physical DNA down through time. I shall leave no living, breathing posterity. My words are my progeny. If I cannot produce children, I can hope to produce words which will outlive me. I cannot pass on my body, but I can pass on my mind.

I must admit that, though rarely, every now and again I miss not having children. I think I would really have made a very good father. But as a 100% homosexual male, the physical "insert tab A into slot B" process necessary to produce a child the usual way is utterly repugnant to me (and, if you are heterosexual, that statement is probably utterly incomprehensible to you). Until relatively recently, adoption by a single man...let alone any same-sex couple...was not an option, and now I have been, as with so many things, aged out of the possibility.

There's an old saying: "Love me, love my dog." My often-rather-embarrassing need for validation has resulted in my changing that to "Love my books, love me." As with most things, I tend to be a study in contradictions. On the one hand, I really want everyone to like me. But on the other hand, if they don't, I don't take it personally. Not all parents get along with their children, and vice-versa. So I strive to lay out as much of myself as I can in my writing. I can completely understand how richly rewarding it is for a parent to have the love of a child, but if I cannot produce children to love me, I can hope to produce an untold number of books through which I might win the affection of an untold number of readers. It's not the same, of course, but it comes close.

For a writer whose life is words, books and blogs and emails and letters are not unlike different children, each with their own separate personality. Each are comprised totally of words, yet each serves a specific purpose and have a different...well, I like the word "gravitas." In the world of writing, books are generally given much more respect than blogs or emails/letters, probably because the writer has invested more time and effort in them. While all writing is an aggregate of the writer's thoughts, beliefs, and life experiences, books present them in a more blended, broader-based form; blogs, emails and letters are on a more concentrated and personal level.

Just as heterosexual parents want the very best for their children, so do I want the best for my words. I would truly love to become rich and famous through my writing. But even as successful as I am in the denial of reality, I cannot delude myself into thinking I might ever achieve fame or fortune through my words.

Like 99.9 percent of all writers, straight or gay, I write because I cannot not write. Secondarily (and it's a big "second") I write to be to be read. But most importantly to me is that I be remembered; that when I however reluctantly am forced to turn in my membership card of life, my words might stay behind. And thus I put as much of my personality and feelings and outlooks and experiences and memories as I possibly can into words. Words are not life, but to me they are the next best thing.

I tried to come up with a single analogy to explain what I'm trying to say, but so many flood in that I can't choose just one. I've often, in describing the hard-to-explain relationship between my dual selves, Roger and Dorien, used the analogy that Roger is the bulb, and Dorien the flower. Taking that analogy one step further, my words are the pollen of Dorien's flower and you, by reading them, are the bee, and without your carrying away the pollen of my words, they end with me. I do not wish to die without a trace.

Dorien's blogs are published by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please come back.

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