I have recently written an essay entitled "Reflections on Media" for the Goddard College 3rd Alternative Media Conference. The conference is being held "virtually" this year and I'll be hosting a discussion based on this essay on Thursday, 13 October 2022, at 1:00 PM. See the Books & Essays / Essays & Commentary section of this web site for a link & details.
History & Analysis:
Earlier this year, our one local newspaper ceased producing it's print edition. From now, on, it will provide online only access. But in a way, it was dying for a long time, as many local papers have been. Large publishing companies have bought up numerous local newspapers, then struggled with the economics of decline.
Why? Well, as many of you know, paid subscriptions and newsstand sales have never sustained newspaper publishing. Newspapers needed both display and classified advertising revenue to make up the difference. Display advertising has mostly dried up because we shifted our shopping habits to buy from online vendors instead of local "brick & mortar" stores. Those stores, many now out of business, no longer pay to run ads in local newspapers. Instead, their empty hulks and vast expanses of asphalt parking lots, with weeds sprouting up in the cracks, are all that's left.
Meanwhile, online classified ad sources, such as Craigslist, Facebook "for sale" pages, and others have become the "go to" places to buy and sell odd items posted by other individuals or small businesses.
The world has changed.
In light of all this, a friend of mine, David Mark, suggested that we need a kind of non-profit yellow pages guide to the various non-profit organizations and groups in town. This might be a list, either published on paper, or somewhere online, for both newcomers and long time residents who haven't kept up with what's going on. If we don't have local news reporters, perhaps these organizations may provide "news" of their activities on their own web sites, at least. After all, they are part of the life blood of any town, in addition to local government and small shops and businesses. There is The Action Paper to carry much of the display and business service classified ads for those that remain.
Thus I'm embarking on a mission to gather as much data as I can, get permission from each and every organization as to whether to be included and if so, what data to provide, and publish something. At the moment, the cost of an online searchable database or printed paper publication seems out of reach for me, as I'm just starting out spending my own time and money to get things going.
So, my approach is, get started, put up a PDF file here on this web site (see the "Guide" menu), then see how people react. Does the community see the value of doing this? If so, I'll make refinements in the process, gather the help of others, and raise funds as I go. At the moment, it's only for Maynard, Massachusetts, where I now reside. But if it seems successful, I'll share how we did it here for folks in other towns to create their own versions.
In early April, I was finally able to take it in for them to have a look at it. As it turned out, the damage was deeper than I had anticipated, so the insurance company declared it totaled.
So, now, I've had to say goodbye to it (snif!). I saved the plates and removed all my belongings, so they can tow it away for used parts and eventually for scrap.
I am hoping to get an electric car next, so my days of driving a stick shift are finally over (all the cars I've owned since my first one have been standard transmission). My left foot won't know what to do!
It's all for the good. I'm turning my attention to work on more videos, poems, and essays devoted to promoting LOVE, the theme I established on the first page of my book "a man wearing a dress." As I see it, there are three main ways to express love in today's world. They are:
• Love of ourselves, deeply
• Love of all other people, no matter whom or from what ancestry
• Love of all of nature, which surrounds us, and of which we're all an integral part.
I'm going to post videos on YouTube and Vimeo, as I have been for the past several years. I'm putting links to those on my other web sites, Open Eyes Video (openeyesvideo.com) and Energy Stories (energystories.org). There are also links to these two web sites here at Message Rain, under the "Sister Sites" menu.
The theme is to move away from exploitation and fighting and turn toward nurture and collaboration, as much as possible, from now, on. That doesn't mean that I'm forgetting about Message Rain and gender identity! The issues I've presented here with regard to gender identity and sexuality are still quite relevant these days.
I don't know what brand or model of electric car I will buy (perhaps another used one?), but it's going to take some work to find something suitable, considering the demand for any kind of car these days is still very high. Stay tuned!
My second book, entitled, "Still Life (without the vase)" is now available!
The result is described further under the "Books" menu: Still Life (without the vase). There is information there on where you can buy it or how to order it directly from me.
I'm really proud of the images I selected for this book and I hope you enjoy it!
Within the last few months, I have developed a new workshop, "Understanding Blame and Shame and how to work through them." I designed it with LGBTQIA+ youth in mind, as so many are struggling with these issues, sometimes to the point of deep depression and suicide. But the material can benefit anyone, I believe. In fact, I first described it as being for "LGBTQIA+ youth and their allies" which could potentially be anyone, including parents, friends, teacher & school personnel, and so on.
I'm happy to say the first time I presented it, at First Event in early February, 20 people attended (filling the room I was given!), most of whom responded positively to the presentation and exercises.
I've revised and refined the contents, based on their suggestions, and am set to present it for the second time at the Keystone Conference March 2019. I'm honored to be able to present it there, the largest conference devoted to transgender and gender issues in general. I'm definitely excited, and just a little bit anxious. That's to be expected, I think!
I have just revised the Study Guide (See: Books --> a man wearing a dress --> Study Guide, on this web site) to make it more concise and easy to read. A number of teachers and professors have asked me about using the book with their students and colleagues. This prompted me to review the Study Guide and improve it. You are welcome to print it out and use it in classes, seminars, meetings, and and other groups. I would love to hear of your experiences in such settings. Please use the Contact Us page on this web site to share your reflections, comments, and suggestions with me! Thank you!
Last year, I worked diligently to promote my book at Pride. My crew and I handed out over 2000 postcards to promote my book before it was even published. At the end, I was a burn out case.
This year, I'm taking it easier. Instead of such overt promotional activity, I'll be marching with HAI, the Human Awareness Institute, offering free hugs to spectators along the route (look for the people wearing Free Hugs T-shirts). My son will be marching with me again this time (after a year's hiatus when we marched separately so that I could promote my book). And, yes, I'll be wearing a dress, as is my tradition.
This feels right. I'm glad to be back just enjoying and celebrating in the parade again.
I know it's been awhile. I've had to take some time out to attend to some other matters in life.
But I'm back working to get my book out there! I just added "Buy" buttons on my "Ordering" page. I'm working to make the eBook version available for Apple's iBook app (It's been harder than it would seem!). I'm also working to make it easier for libraries to include my book in their collections.
I'm also working to finalize editing of a recording of a live television interview. When I'm done, I'll be posting it on YouTube and Vimeo. I'll send out an Email blast when it's all ready. If you're not on the list, please click the button below and request to be added. Thanks!
Although it may have seemed that I disappeared for the past few weeks, (no events listed until May??!?), rest assured that I've been working hard in the mean time!
As always, I'm open to feedback or questions about anything going on. Please use the Contact Us page to send me a message. Thank you!
I'm a social activist who still needs to pay the mortgage, eat, and do the laundry. But, more than that, I'm a love activist. I want to make life better without having to say there's anything wrong with it now.